Edgar Hotchkiss, a Colona resident who passed away Jan. 12 of this year, belonged to a family whose members contributed significantly to local history.
Edgar, as confirmed by Doris Gregory’s book “The History of Colona and Pioneer Families,” was great-grandson to an historical area pioneer, Preston Hotchkiss.
Preston, one of three Hotchkiss brothers who left their mark on the state of Colorado in the early 1880s, first entered the state on an endeavor to find gold on Pike’s Peak in 1859.
Eventually, he settled in Saguache and was listed as a merchant, as well as being involved in the milling and lumbering trade.
The town of Hotchkiss was named after brothers Enos, Roswell and Preston, who traveled to Colorado from Nebraska in nine covered wagons.
In 1876, Preston moved to the Uncompahgre Valley with his brother Roswell and built a saw mill on the river near the historical town of Portland, between Ouray and Ridgway. Roswell was one of the first postmasters in the county of Ouray.
Many businesses and homes in the city of Ouray were built with the Hotchkiss brothers’ lumber.
Further making his mark on Ouray, Preston acquired several properties that had been put up for auction by the sheriff in 1876, according to Ouray County Courthouse records.