Don Epimenio Martinez Mora County, New Mexico

Don Epimenio Martinez, territorial sheep inspector, Wagon Mound, Mora County, New Mexico, figures as one of the prominent and influential men of his locality. Mr. Martinez was born in Taos County, New Mexico, July 17, 1859, son of Don Pablo and Libranda (Romero) Martinez, both natives of Taos County and still living there, thirty-five miles east of Taos, the former at the age of seventy-three years and the latter at sixty. Don Pablo Martinez is a nephew of old Father Antonio Martinez, is a man of superior ability, and has served in various official capacities, having filled the offices of sheriff of Taos County, deputy United States marshal, justice of the peace and probate judge. During the Civil war he served three years in the Union army.

Up to the age of twenty-one years Don E. spoke only the Spanish language, which alone was used in his father's family. Then he began the study of English. Soon afterward he moved to Colfax County and took claim to a tract of government land, where has since sprung up the town of Martinez, named in honor of him, and there he remained for about twelve years, conducting a sheep and cattle ranch and doing some farming. Also for four years of that time he kept a store. In these undertakings he prospered and accumulated money. At the end of the twelve years he moved to Moulding Place, six miles east of Wagon Mound, where he has since made his home. From time to time he has acquired land until now he owns some fifty claims, of one hundred and sixty acres each, aggregating eight thousand acres, and is ranked as the richest man in the county. Three of his ranches are unsurpassed by any others in Colfax and Mora counties, and his residence at Moulding Place, erected at a cost of seven thousand dollars, is one of the most attractive country homes in the Territory.

Mr. Martinez is a stanch Republican and for years has been actively identified with public affairs. In 1887 he was justice of the peace in Colfax County: was elected probate judge of that county in 1888, and served a term of two years, he being the first man in the county elected to that office on the Republican ticket. While there, he was a candidate for county treasurer, but was defeated. In 1897 he was appointed territorial sheep inspector, and served as such for a period of seven years, until 1904, when he resigned. He was again appointed to this position August 1, 1905, and is the incumbent of the office at this writing. In the advancement of educational matters Mr. Martinez has always shown a keen interest and for years he was a school director. He was one of the leaders in the building of the school house at Wagon Mound and also it was largely due to his efforts that a school was secured at Martinez. During the year 1899 he was postmaster of Wagon Mound.

Mr. Martinez was appointed and commissioned by the governor to represent the Territory of New Mexico at the Paris exposition in 1900, and while there he had the honor and pleasure of meeting the president of France and many of the monarchs of the different nations of the old world. He saw, too, the greatness and beauty of the different countries and the magnificent palaces of the once great Napoleon, likewise the palaces of Marie Antoinette of Versailles and the castles of King Philip XIV. He spent one month in Paris, where he made many friends, and at the Salazar, who died November 6, 1903, leaving a family of five children: exposition had the pleasure of seeing the samples of all of the manufactured products of the world, as well as the evidence of the civilization of different countries as represented in their ancient and modern customs, dress and practices. From Paris he made his way to many of the leading cities of Germany and Italy, passing through the San Gotthard tunnel, twelve miles in length. He visited Lake Como, the city of Milan and its surroundings, the palaces of Victor Emanuel, Venice with its San Marcos church and tower, also the great Doges palaces and the golden stairs. He also saw some of the finest crystal manufactories of the world and that Campanile, built over a thousand years ago. He says that one of the happiest periods of his life was spent on the Grand Canal at Venice as he rode for hours on the night of July 26, 1900, in one of the finest gondolas of that city. He visited Florence on his way to Rome, where he arrived on the 28th of July. At ten o'clock that night, when in the Plaza de Ricord, the telegram was received of the assassination of King Humbert. He visited the ruins of the Coliseum, also St. Peter's and the Vatican and many other points of interest of "the eternal city." Later he went to Naples and to Pompeii and climbed Mount Vesuvius. There he had a very narrow escape, being robbed by a gang of highwaymen, who took all of his money and valuable possessions that he had with him, but he fortunately escaped without personal injury. He afterward visited Christopher Columbus' native city and various points of interest in Spain, together with other places, modern and historic, on the continent.

Mr. Martinez, on the 10th of January. 1906, was appointed a commissioner to represent Mora County as one of the vice-presidents at the Fall Annual Fair held in Albuquerque in September of that year. He is numbered today among the prosperous merchants of his town, being a member of the Wagon Mound Mercantile Company.

April 22, 1887, Mr. Martinez married Miss Parfirio Mares. They have two adopted daughters. 

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Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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