M. M. Chase Colfax County, New Mexico

M. M. Chase, a rancher at Cimarron, Colfax County, was born in Rock County, Wisconsin, October 8, 1842, and was there educated. He started west in 1857 when only fifteen years of age, making his way to California. He traveled with a party, but the Indians captured their outfit and only nine men in the train escaped. There were thirty-seven altogether in the party who traveled westward with a wagon train until they were attacked by Sioux Indians. The survivors of the party managed to return to the states, and Mr. Chase lived in the middle west until 1860, when he went to Colorado and engaged in the meat business. He first made his way to the Gregory diggings, now Central City, Colorado, where he engaged in mining to a limited extent, but in 1861 took a contract for furnishing beef to the United States troops and removed to Denver, where he continued in the meat business until his arrival in New Mexico in June. 1867, when he purchased a ranch and located on the Vermejo River. Subsequently he sold that property and took a claim, but on account of the Indians, who rendered life and property insecure, he purchased his present place, the old Kit Carson homestead-in 1872.

In the meantime Mr. Chase had been married in 1861, at Central City, Colorado, to Miss Theresa M. Wade. After the removal to New Mexico Mrs. Chase and three other white women in Colfax and Union counties purchased from the Maxwell company nine hundred and sixty acres of land, and later nine hundred and sixty acres more. Mr. Chase engaged in the cattle business on the Vermejo, where he continued for a quarter of a century. It was a wild country, in which the work of improvement and development had scarcely been begun. Among his neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Hogue, and during the absence of the husband the Indians captured the wife. Hastily securing the assistance of the settlers, a party started in pursuit, but their horses gave out before they had come up with the red men. Mr. Hogue, however, insisted on going on and at length reached Denver, where he committed suicide. General Custer, however, captured Mrs. Hogue and returned her in safety to the Southern Hotel in St. Louis. Mr. Chase is very familiar with the history of pioneer experiences in this part of the country and relates many interesting incidents of the early days. He says that Si Huff was the first man to drive a herd of cattle from northwestern Texas. Mr. Chase went to Pecos to meet Huff with the cattle, and on returning to Las Vegas received a telegram that the Indians had surrounded Cimarron and were demanding their just rations, which had been stolen by the commissary department. This was in 1876. Irvin, who was in charge of the agency, wired the family in town to go home in a covered wagon. They reached the Cimarron hill and told the Indians that supplies would be run out according to their demands. The Utes and Apaches were the Indians who lived in this locality and they were the only protection from hostile tribes who resided elsewhere.

For some time Mr. Chase engaged in the cattle business and found it profitable, and he also gave considerable attention to the sheep industry, but in 1901 sold his sheep and the Horseshoe ranch. In 1873 he planted an orchard, setting out at first two hundred and fifty trees. He afterward enlarged his orchards until he had seventy-six acres in fruit, mostly apples and pears, and the average crops amounted to five hundred thousand pounds yearly. He also placed five hundred acres of land under irrigation and engaged in the raising of oats, alfalfa and barley. All through the years he continued actively in the cattle business and was connected with the first cattle company, known as the Cimarron Cattle Company.

Unto Mr. and Mr. Chase were born the following sons and daughters: Lottie, the deceased wife of Charles Springer; Nason G.: Laura, the wife of Dr. C. B Kohlhausen; Ida, the wife of H. P. England; Mary, the second wife of Charles Springer; and Stanley M. In former years Mr. Chase was a Mason and acted as master of Cimarron lodge. In politics he was an active but independent voter. He is well known as a prominent pioneer resident of the Territory, his identification with its interests dating back to a very early period in its progress. His mind bears the impress of the early and picturesque times when the red men rode over the prairies and across the ranges, stealing: cattle and other stock and rendering life insecure. On the° other hand the pioneers displayed great personal courage and bravery in defending their interests and the warfare was one between barbarism and civilization, in which the latter has eventually come off conqueror in the strife.

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

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