O. R. Smyth Grant County, New Mexico

O. R. Smyth, now living retired in Lordsburg, is one of the honored pioneers of New Mexico who have aided in reclaiming this region from the domain of the savage and converted it to the use of modern civilization. He was born and reared in Hempstead, New York, and came to the west on the second train that reached Pueblo, Colorado, over the Santa Fe Railroad. He prospected in that state and became familiar with mining processes and methods there. He also followed coal mining in Missouri. In 1876 he arrived in the Territory of New Mexico, locating in Santa Fe, where he spent a few months, after which he took charge of the overland stage at Silver City, conducting the stage business between the two railroads, the Santa Fc and the Southern Pacific. Those were troublous times, when the Indians were frequently upon the war-path and resented the encroachments of the white race upon their hunting grounds. They stopped not at any atrocity nor depredation and constantly waged warfare upon the white people. There were nineteen men in the employ of Mr. Smyth who were killed by the Indians during the time that he had charge of the overland stage route.

He is familiar with almost every chapter of the history of the early pioneer days here and from actual experiences can relate incidents of far more thrilling interest than man}' a tale of fiction. Since his retirement from the stage business in 1881 he has devoted his time and energies to mining, freighting and merchandising, but at this writing is practically living retired, having in the course of an active, busy and useful life accumulated a competence that now enables him to put aside all business cares. In 1902 he was elected to the office of county commissioner of Grant County and discharged the duties of the position with the same fidelity and promptness that have ever marked the discharge of his business obligations and the care of his private interests.

He belongs to Pyramid Lodge No. 23, K. P., of Lordsburg and is one of the prominent and honored citizens of this locality to whom the Territory owes a debt of gratitude for what he has accomplished in reclaiming this district for the uses of the white race.

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

©New Mexico American History and Genealogy Project 2011 - 2017
Created 1996 by Charles Barnum & 2016 by Judy White