Nick Hughes Sr. Grant County, New Mexico

Nick Hughes, Sr., well known as a cattleman of Lordsburg, is familiar with the history of the Southwest from the early period in its pioneer development, for he came to New Mexico in 1856 at the age of fifteen years as a member of the United States cavalry engaged in active service against the Navajo Indians. He was born in Ireland. Entering the army in early manhood, he served for five terms, which covered the period of the Civil war, and also brought him into contact with military experiences upon the frontier in the subjugation of the red race, who took advantage of every available opportunity in a manifestation of the hostile spirit which made life such a hazardous thing to the frontier settlers. After retiring from the army he located in Puerto de Luna and embarked in the cattle business, the wide, open country giving an excellent range. About 1870 or 1871 he removed to Sension, in Chihuahua, Mexico, where he engaged in trade, largely dealing in cattle, horses and other stock. He was thus engaged until 1878, when he removed to the Sang Somone valley in Arizona. In 1887 he removed to the ranch a mile and a half northeast of Lordsburg, where he is now engaged in the cattle business. He has large herds and is constantly breeding up the stock to better strains.

None of the usual experiences of life on the frontier when the settlers were constantly exposed to the dangers of Indian attack are unknown to Mr. Hughes. He has had many encounters with the red men and various narrow escapes, and his life history, if written in detail, would be a most thrilling story of the varied experiences when his life was endangered and his escape seemed almost miraculous. On one occasion, between Chihuahua, Mexico, and Silver City, while carrying a big bag of silver and gold which he had received in payment for a thousand head of cattle, he was attacked by rustlers, but escaped. Later he was jumped by a band of Indians, but again escaped, on each occasion owing to the fact that he rode a splendid horse, which outdistanced his pursuers. He has watched with interest the changes that have come as the tide of emigration has steadily flowed to this region, the white race having reclaimed the district for the uses of civilization, churches and schools being planted upon the frontier, business interests established and the development of the natural resources of the country carried on until, in point of business activity and sources of culture. New Mexico is not behind the older cities and long settled districts of the east.

Mr. Hughes was married in New Mexico in 1863 to Miss Josefa Armijo, and to them have been born four children: James, deceased; John, who was killed in Old Mexico; Mary, the wife of John Robson; and Nick, Jr., who was born December 25, 1870, in Bernalillo County. He was reared to the stock business and had the reputation of being the best broncho rider in the Territory. He owns a ranch one mile east of Lordsburg, where he is engaged in raising cattle and horses, and he is also engaged in farming to some extent, having about twenty acres under irrigation. He has a wife and four sons in the Territory. In politics he is an active Democrat, which is also the political faith of the father, who has always been an advocate of the principles of that party.

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

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Created 1996 by Charles Barnum & 2016 by Judy White

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