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Family History Stories Paraphrased
Page 21 of 38 

J. Y. Thornton
James B. Read
Jim Miller
John J. Heringa
John W. Evans
John W. Poe
Sophie Poe

Begin Family Histories:

J. Y. Thornton
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Thornton, Clark, Geronimo, Mock, Curry, Brady, Bonney, Ollinger, Wallace, O'Neal, Church, Richardson, Fullen, Prager, Whiteman, Blasheck, Dunnahoo, Brookshier, Raynes, (Raines?), Cahoon 

J. Y. Thornton came to New Mexico as a soldier in the United States Army in 1870. He served five years until 1875 with the Fifteenth Infantry stationed at Fort Stanton which was established in 1855 for the purpose of protection of the early settlers from Indian hostilities. The old fort was abandoned in 1861, was reoccupied in 1863, and the old adobe buildings were replaced by stone and brick constructions in 1858, two years before Mr. Thornton was detailed for duty at the post.

Mr. Thornton's valiant services during those dangerous times of Indian uprisings and Massacres, proved him to be a soldier whose bravery in performance of his duties entitled him to the praise and public recognition given him in later years by General Pershing, who visited Mr. Thornton at his home in Roswell, February 23, 1916, and by Captain D. H. Clark U. S. A. Commandant of Cadets at the University of Florida in 1903, who during that year wrote Mr. Thornton in praise of his valor and loyalty to duty while a soldier during the Indian War. A part of the letter which was dated September 20, 1903 is given below:

I remember well the Geronimo Campaign in which you served. I was Quartermaster, and Major Mock was Post Commander at Fort Stanton. A courier came in about eleven o'clock reported an uprising and massacre by Geronimo's band of Indians at Aqua Chiquita. It was by my orders you went out after the dead and wounded. After the drive of 180 miles, without a change of team, you returned in thirty-six hours, thereby making one of the most remarkable drives on record. You deserve every honor of your valor and bravery in making that hazardous drive through the heart of a hostile Indian country, in going to the assistance of your dead and wounded comrades.

After Mr. Thornton received his discharge from the army on October 9, 1875, on which his conduct and character was marked good during his five years of service in the army, he engaged for five years in the cattle business at Fort Stanton with George Curry, who afterwards was Governor of the Territory of New Mexico, during part of which time Mr. Thornton served under him as oil inspector for the Territory. In 1880 Mr. Thornton moved to Lincoln, New Mexico, where he and George Curry owned the hotel north of the jail in which William Bonney who was known as Billy the Kid, New Mexico desperado, was confined, awaiting his hanging which was to take place on May 13, 1880 for the killing of Sheriff Jim Brady.

One of Billy the Kid's guards named Ollinger, was eating dinner at Mr. Thornton's hotel when he heard the Kid's shot that killed Bell, the other guard. On running from the dining room Ollinger, at a call from Billy the Kid looked up and received a volley of shots from his own gun that he had left leaning against the wall at the jail. With both guards killed within two or three minute's time Billy the Kid ordered his shackles sawed off by the jailer, mounted a horse and made his sensational escape. Mr. Thornton owned the pioneer livery stable at Lincoln and organized the first produce establishment at that place, in which he handled hay and feed. General Wallace spent some time in Lincoln during Mr. Thornton's residence at that place. They were friends, as all men were, who were on the side of peace, law, and order and were united with a common cause of bringing to a close the days of horror of the Lincoln County War and of bringing Billy the Kid to justice.

Mr. Thornton, with a posse of nine men under leader John Hurley one day, entered a cave near White Oaks seeking the young killer and desperado. The Kid was concealed behind rocks at the far end and was not discovered, but he could have shot each one as they entered the cave if he had desired. He afterwards said they all had once been his friends and he couldn't shoot them down unless they had him cornered and forced him to do so. While living at Lincoln Mr. Thornton and a Mr. White of Las Cruces came to Roswell and organized the First Knights of Pythias Lodge.

While in Roswell they stopped at the Pauly Hotel owned by Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Church. Mr. Church had remodeled the building from the original O'Neal House which had been conducted by a Mrs. O'Neal, a widow, who by advice of Judge Granville A. Richardson, came from White Oaks for the purpose of opening Roswell's first real hotel. At the time of this visit of Mr. Thornton's and Mr. White's Roswell had been incorporated as a village in 1891, there were about fifteen or eighteen residence houses, Chaves County had been created from parts of Lincoln County in 1889, and Roswell had been made County Seat, a courthouse and jail had been built, the Main street of the town, laid out in blocks in 1885, had been graded by a twenty horse grading and ditching machine, from the Hondo River as far north as North Spring River. Besides the new Pauly Hotel, there was a church of adobe built in 1887, and a new three room brick school house erected in 1889 had replaced the one room adobe built in 1885, which had become to small.

There was a weekly newspaper, the Pecos Valley Register established by James A Erwin and Louis O. Fullen in 1888. Besides the pioneer store on North Main Street, Jaffa Prager Company in 1886 had opened a dry goods and grocery store and Mr. Whiteman in 1889 opened a grocery store on South Main street. There was also a grist mill established by George Blashek in 1881 and a blacksmith shop opened for business by Rufus H. Dunnahoo in 1881. The first Bank of Roswell had been established by E. A. Cahoon about 1890. Roswell Lodge No. 18 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons had been instituted in 1889 and was chartered in 1890, and on the coming of Mr. Thornton and Mr. White the Knights of Pythias Lodge was organized by them in 1891 or 1892.

Being favorably positioned the growing town, Mr. Thornton with his family moved to Roswell in 1895, where he in 1897 built the home at what is now 209 North Pennsylvania Avenue. He lived there continuously until his death in 1919, and his wife lives there at the present time. Mr. Thornton was born and educated in Danville, Pennsylvania which was his home until moving to New Mexico in 1870. His father, Captain Isiah Paul Thornton, was also a soldier having been made a Captain during the Mexican War. After moving from Fort Stanton to Lincoln Mr. Thornton was married, at that place on February 15, 1886, to Miss Nellie Leahy of Monroe, Wisconsin. She had come to New Mexico with a friend in 1884 for the benefit of her health, after having had pneumonia.

Mr. and Mrs. Thornton had four daughters Mabel and Eva, both of whom died during the same month of September with scarlet fever, and Kitty, Mrs. Raynes V. West of Long Beach, California and Dolly, now Mrs. Orville B. Brookshier of Roswell, New Mexico. Mr. Thornton was a charter member of Elks Lodge and of Knights of Pythias. During his long residence in Roswell he was was active in important business developments and improvements for the improving of the City. His death occurred at Roswell on August 19, 1919, his funeral at South Park being attended by many old friends of Fort Stanton and Lincoln as well as Comrades who lived at Roswell, and enjoyed with him peaceful days he had helped bring to New Mexico. He served five years as a soldier and guard to protect the pioneer from Indian hostilities during the first years of settlement in New Mexico.

James B. Read
By James A. Burns
Mrs. T. Y. Thornton
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Santa Fe, General
Surnames mentioned: Burns, Kearney, Armijo, Read, Cano, Larkin, Ynacia, Santistevan, Gusdorf, Hughes, Harum, McCarthy, Dolan, Crepusculo, Martinez, Martin, Secrest, Crepusculo, Joseph, Ricos, Franklin, Giddings, Molland's , Dwire, O'Ryan, Hampel

Almost a century has now passed since the American invasion of New Mexico and the almost bloodless conquest of the Territory by General Kearney and his troops. A bloodless entry into Las Vegas, a small battle near Glorietta, and skirmished with unorganized mountaineers along the Santa Fe Trail, and Kearney's dragoons entered Santa Fe, and found things so quiet that the commanding officer, tired after a hard day's ride, went to bed in the old Palace of the Governor's and put off until the next day, the formal ceremonies of taking possession of the city.

There can be no question of the patriotism and love of country of the Spanish American people of Santa Fe and New Mexico generally, whose ancestors had lived in the country for a hundred and fifty years, following the reconquest in 1692. And some of whom had been here even earlier, before the Indian rebellion. But in the short space of a quarter of a century, they had become so disgusted with the gross incompetence and monumental grafting of the officials of the Mexican Republic that they were ready to submit to the rule of a people, alien in blood, laws and customs, to say nothing of religion.

Also, as a contributing factor to the peaceful conquest, the Santa Fe Trail had been opened at about the same time as the Mexican Revolution. They had begun to do their trading with St. Louis instead of Chihuahua in old Mexico, and the Ricos were sending their children to the States for an American education. There was besides the hatred and fear of those invaders from the southeast, the Tejanos, or Texans, with whom Governor Armijo had had several battles in the years 1840-45 just before the American entry.

Like soldiers in other campaigns since Caesar's Gallic wars, and even following the example of their Spanish predecessors in the army of De Vargas, some of the American soldiers, whether from choice or the exigency of their military duties, instead of following Kearney to California, remained in New Mexico, married Spanish women, and raised families of children, who while loyal to the flag that flew over them, drew in with their mother's milk the intense local patriotism and love of their native New Mexico, which distinguish the Spanish American people.

Among the most prominent American soldiers who remained in New Mexico, after the departure of General Kearney, and who helped to inaugurate the civil government of the United States in the territory, was Captain Benjamin Franklin Read, U.S.A., grandfather of James B. Read. Captain Read was descended from Revolutionary stock, his grandfather having been one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and having such a strong friendship and regard for Benjamin Franklin that in each following generation at least one son bore the name Benjamin, either as a first or as a middle name.

Within two or three years after coming to New Mexico, Captain Read married Ynacia Cano, daughter of an old Spanish family of Sante Fe, and in 1858, left her a widow with three young sons. Mrs. Ynacia Read raised these three boys, sending them to the parochial schools of Santa Fe and to St. Micheal's College, which education they afterwards supplemented by their own efforts. They all grew to be a credit to her and their dead father. They were Alexander, afterward District Attorney for Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties; Benjamin F, author of the only authoritative history of New Mexico, and Larkin C. Read, afterward State superintendent of schools.

James Bassuet Read, son of Larkin G. Read and Teodora Martinez, was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 15, 1873, so that he is now in his 58th year but looks to be several years younger. He attended the public schools of Santa Fe and later St. Micheal's College. He first entered the employ of the First National Bank of Santa Fe and except for about nine months service in the army during the Spanish American War, has continuously been employed in the bank from that time until 1923, a term of 27 years, where he received an excellent financial training under the late Levi Hughes, President of the Bank. In his first few years in the bank, he also had the guidance of his father, who died in 1803, when his son had reached the age of twenty years. His father had been brought up to follow strict principles of rigid honesty by his Spanish mother, Dona Ynacia Read, a woman of strong force of character.

While attending St. Micheal's College, young Larkin, then a boy of about sixteen, was employed weekends and during the summer vacation as clerk and interpreter for Territorial Governor Giddings about 1872 who had his office in the old Governor's Palace. One day, needing currency for some purpose, the Governor sent Larkin across the Plaza to the bank with a check for $150.00. The cashier in the rush of business and not knowing what the Governor wanted the money for, glanced at the check, and going back to the vault, made up a bundle of currency amounting to $1,500.00 and gave it to young Read. Larkin thought there was something wrong but took the money back to Governor Giddings and called his attention to the mistake.

The Governor counted out the $150.00 he had sent for and told the boy to return the rest of the money to the banker who had not yet realized his error. He thanked Larkin profusely and sent him to the Governor with a note. Get this boy the best of clothes for his size you can find in Santa Fe. Many thanks, Governor. All right, Larkin, let's go over to Seligman's. And Governor Giddings took the boy and bought him a new suit of clothes, etc. Proud of his new suit, the boy took it home and showed it to his mother. But Abuela Ynacia was not so easily satisfied and took the boy back to Governor Giddings office. Por que you buy my boy these clothes? The Governor explained at considerable length that the suit was a reward from the banker, for the boy's honesty in returning the money and only then would she allow Larkin to take the suit home and show it to his admiring brothers.

After serving an apprenticeship of fourteen years in the bank from 1896 to 1910, from messenger, clerk and bookkeeper and teller, in which he mastered the details of the clerical work of the bank, he was promoted to assistant cashier in 1910. Still with watchful guidance of Mr. Hughes, he gained a knowledge of the larger problems of the banking business and able to bear larger responsibilities and in 1915 was promoted to cashier, where he served until 1923. From 1919 to 1923 Mr. Read officiated as State Bank Examiner in addition to his work as cashier of the First National Bank in Santa Fe.

At this time the First National Bank of Santa Fe was the largest and as it still is, one of the strongest banks in the State of New Mexico. At this time, Mr. Hughes was trying to help the cattle men of New Mexico out of the difficulties they had gotten into during the World War and to protect them from the rapacity and incompetence of the bureaucrats in charge of the War Finance Corporation. Mr. Hughes was covertly sneered at by Eastern lawyers as a sort of David Harum banker, but even though, through his life-long association and acquaintance with cattle men and farmers of New Mexico he had the common touch, he could also walk with Kings, and with his mastery of financial problems, even lay down the law to them. In this work and the voluminous detail work it entailed, he was ably seconded by his young cashier. The burden finally proved too much for Mr. Hughes and broke his health and no doubt shortened his life by ten years.

Mr. Read served an cashier of the Santa Fe bank until 1923, where a business opportunity brought him to Taos from the time of the American occupation until after the beginning of the century, the banking business if such it could be called of Taos, was conducted under very primitive conditions. Sheep men, farmers and others, left their ready cash with the merchants of the town, Bent and St. Vrain, Antonio Joseph, Don Juan Santistevan and later, with Gusdorf Brothers, and McCarthy, Peter Dolan and others. These merchants made loans on sheep and wool, mostly character loans, depending almost entirely on their personal judgment for the safety of their money. Costly losses and a robbery or two caused them to attempt to start a bank in Taos, which were rather abortive because the men in charge were not trained bankers.

A First National Bank of Taos, as organized about 1919 with Alex Gusdorf as President and other business men as directors. This proved unworkable and the bank was soon changed to the First State Bank of Taos in 1920, which has remained ever since. Alex Gusdorf died in 1923 and the late Dr. T. P. Martin was elected President. The doctor, who had been living in Taos since 1896, was a man of good business judgment, and a wide acquaintance over northern New Mexico but could not spare the time from his extensive practice, and the clerical force was poorly trained in the handling of banking routine. In this emergency, Dr. Martin appealed to his old time pioneer friend, Levi Hughes, to loan him a man from his staff, to take over the work of examining loans, and to train his office force.

The doctor and Jim Read, who had known one another for years, made a satisfactory arrangement and Read and his wife came to Taos, where he and the doctor lived as close neighbors and friends until the latter's death in 1935. Taos was not an unknown quantity to Jim Read! He had visited the old town at various times, was acquainted with many of the business men and his father had started his career as an educator in Taos. The Read family has been connected with the history of Taos at various times during the past hundred years so that when Jim Read came to Taos to take charge of the Bank, he was but following in the footsteps of his father and other ancestors.

His mother, Teodora Martinez, was the grand daughter of Antonio Martinez, who brought the first printing press to New Mexico with which Padre Martinez printed El Crepusculo, The Dawn, the first newspaper in New Mexico, in Taos. Besides this, he printed text books for his school and other books which are still in possession of the Read family. In 1877, Jim's father, Larkin G. Read, then a young man of 21, and starting his career as a school teacher, came to Taos at the request of the late Archbishop Lamy and taught in the parochial school. He returned in 1883 and spent another year in the schools of Taos.

When Jim Read came to Taos, the First State Bank, was located in the a building at the southwest corner of the Plaza, where Molland's Drug Store is now. Expanding business and the need for larger and more commodious quarters caused the directors to construct their own building at the northwest corner of the Plaza to which they moved in September 1929. Mr. Read served as cashier of the First State Bank from 1923 until January 1936, where he was elected Vice President with Mrs. Bertha Gusdorf as President to succeed the late Dr. T. P. Martin.

Mr. Read is in active charge and control of the policy of the bank, with Mr. C. D. Secrest in charge of the office routine as cashier. The gradual decline or at least stand still, of the sheep and wool and farming business and the growth in volume and value of the tourist business and the growth in general business and population in the old town in the last fifteen years, brought new problems for the banker to solve, which he has done to the satisfaction of his directors, if not always to the satisfaction of the customers, or would-be customers of the bank. He has been accused of ultra conservatism in the making of loans, but the steady growth in the volume of deposits and even in the amount of loans to justify his judgment even though he may at times appear to loan over backwards in conservatism.

Several stories are current which illustrate his caution. One fly-by-night promoter was heard to say That fellow in the bank can say No! in 57 different languages. On another occasion, a party who had failed to secure a loan and has some what disgruntled, was heard to remark, What does that fellow Read know about banking? He never loaned a dollar in his life. This vary astuteness, however, brought him the position of President of the New Mexico State Bankers Association in 1933 to 1934. During the Spanish American War, young Read enlisted in the First Regiment of New Mexico Territorial Volunteers in June 1898 and was mustered out as a corporal in February 1899. His regiment spent most of their nine months service in camp at Albany, Georgia.

He returned to his work in the Santa Fe Bank and his father, Larkin G. Read, died in the fall of that same year, 1899. He was married June 22, 1906, to Myrtle G. Hampel, of Santa Fe, who came to Taos with him in 1923 and who now has a flower, gift and curio store at the northeast corner of the Plaza. In 1935 they purchased the house on North Pueblo Avenue formerly owned by Carol Dwire of the Forest Service, who had been transferred to Alamogordo. Mr. and Mrs. Read had no children of their own and in 1912 adopted Leona Griffin, and brought her to Taos in 1923. She studied art in Taos and for a while in New York City, and showed some ability. While in New York she met Desmond O'Ryan, a young Canadian, son of an official of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. They mere married in Taos in September 1930 and spent sometime in Calcutta, India, where Mr. O'Ryan is connected with the English Civil Service. Mrs. O'Ryan is the owner of the old Pablo Martinez hacienda at Ranchitos, one of the oldest and largest houses in the vicinity of Taos.

Mr. Read is fully, if not quite, six feet tall, weighs about 170 pounds, dark complexion and black hair, some what sprinkled with gray, but looks younger than his years. He is always well dressed and has the erect soldierly carriage inherited from his grandfather. He speaks both Spanish and English fluently, having learned both languages in his boyhood. He is very fond of flowers, raising them at home and bringing a large bunch of them to the bank nearly every morning to decorate his desk and others in the bank. He is very fond of children, and the children are very fond of him. It is nothing unusual for him to stop on the street and joke and laugh with them or for some toddler of three or four to call out, Hello Jim. Sources: Mr. Read. Information on Larkin G. Read from Lewis Illustrated History of New Mexico, 1895.

Jim Miller
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves
Surnames mentioned: Miller, Tunstall, Morton, Baker, Wildy, Smith, Wilburn, Chisum, Les, Stone, Prager, Rogers

J. M. Miller, affectionately called Uncle Jim Miller and as such, will probably always be remembered, first came to Roswell to visit a brother, during the month of March 1878. Besides visiting, he was also in search of a suitable location in which he could establish and develop a ranch home in which he and his family would be able to dwell in peace and harmony of surroundings.

In Roswell he found every thing else but peace, and quiet and harmony. Shooting contests, and practice with six shooters and Winchesters were the chief diversions of both old and young for Roswell, and the country roundabout was seething with unrest and excitement over recent killings of John Tunstall, a young Englishman who was killed February 18th, 1878, just a month before the coming of Mr. Miller, by a posse, which was the climax of bitter feuds and fighting of rival cattlemen that formed the two factions of the Lincoln County War. The shooting of Mortan and Baker a few weeks following the Tunstall murder was the cause of much excitement upon the arrival of Mr. Miller. Billy the Kid, a youthful desperado, had made his appearance at Old Seven Rivers during the spring of 1877 and had gone to Lincoln where he made his home and worked for John Tunstall for whose shooting he swore to have revenge. He was like a firebrand in blowing the hatred and lust for murdering, to extremes of almost frenzy, and to him more than any other persons, belongs the credit, or discredit, of bringing about the Lincoln War which was in full blast. No one dared venture out without a six shooter or gun of some kind. Mr. Miller being a quiet peaceable man, after a short visit, returned to his home in Colorado. However, he had liked all that he had seen in this section of Southeast New Mexico. He remembered the great wide unfenced lands covered with green grass and the rivers, he had crossed filled with fine clear water. He knew the possibilities of this country which seemed to him to be ideal for the sheep business, he desired to enter into. After reaching his former home in Colorado, he turned his prairie schooner around and came right back again to New Mexico.

The Berrendo two miles north of Roswell was running bank full. North Spring River, now a bog hole, where Mr. Miller watered his team before entering the town, ran over the hubs of his wheels, while his four horses were drinking, just about where the Roswell Museum stands at the present time on the corner of North Main and Eleventh Streets. In the town of Roswell there were only two buildings. They were built of adobe, one for a store and one for a hotel. Captain Lea had arrived a year earlier, February 12, 1877 and had purchased all the holdings of Smith and Wilburn and in August before Mr. Miller's return, Major W. Wildy purchased the holdings of Marion Turner, which included the store which contained the post office, a few drugs and a few dry goods and groceries. He could buy when he returned the flour, sugar, coffee and whiskey if he desired all of which Marion Turner, the previous store keeper had run out of, on Mr. Miller's previous visit.

Captain Lea had established the home for his wife, and Wildy the baby and only son, in the adobe built for a hotel by Smith and Wilburn, in which Elinor, his daughter, the first white girl baby born in Roswell, was born. Since the coming of Captain Lea, who insisted on having law and order, the town, all of which was owned by Captain Lea and his wife Sally Wildy Lea, had become the place of peace and quiet sought by Mr. Miller. He located on what is now known as the old Chisholm Hog Ranch, eleven miles southeast of Roswell. Mr. Miller talked with Captain Lea and Judge Stone, who owned a small bunch of sheep, and quickly realized that there was a promising future here for sheep raising, handled on a large scale, where they could range on hundreds of acres of fine open pasture land, the most of which from Seven Rivers to the Bosque Grande thirty-five miles Northeast of Roswell was used as free grazing land by John Chisum. Mr. Miller bought his first bunch of sheep in 1880, and at last, as he desired, was launched in the sheep business for practically all of the remainder of his life. He knew that the best blooded stock he could procure would pay better in the end. He paid a large sum of money for one of the finest rams that could be bought, for his own use, and the use of other smaller sheep men.

He continued in the sheep business about eighteen years. In 1897 he sold twenty-one thousand head, practically retiring from the sheep business, retaining only a very few head. He again entered the sheep business two years later, in 1899, on a large scale, in partnership with his sons Fred and Sherman, thereby aiding in establishing what has become one of the best paying industries in the Pecos Valley of Southeast New Mexico. Property interests of Mr. Miller were fifteen blocks from thirty to fifty acres each in all about 525 in the Pomona Farm Tract, and 1,920 acres along the eight miles southeast of Roswell on the Pecos River, which was used by him for agricultural purposes and grazing.

In 1881 he contracted and built the first school house, a one room adobe with a dirt floor, and sod roof, where his boys went to school, about three miles east of Roswell and were taught by the first teacher for the Roswell community, who was an attorney by the name of Asbury C. Rogers. Mr. Miller was known as a man that was a friend of all well meaning men. It is said by old timers, that no one else could have run sheep on cattle land and keep friendly as he did, with cattlemen. He helped other small sheep and cattle men in getting a start where it was hard to get established on land already usurped by large cattle holders. His home was open hospitably to the cowboy and small herd cattle men, as well as to the big cattle owners. He was generous to a fault in sharing with the poor and needy. During the hard days of depression, before his death in February, 1936, he gave aid to the poor and needy whenever he saw where it was needed.

He was a level headed business man and one of the leaders in all important business affairs of the town, especially in securing educational advantages, for the town children, as well as for his own children and the farming communities. While his older boys, Hugh, Fred and Sherman, received the best education a new country could afford, Prager and Jaffa Miller the two younger sons, both graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute, and college. Mr. Miller is survived by his wife who lives in Oklahoma at the present time, and three soms - Sherman who lives in Roswell, and Prager who lives in Albuquerque, and Jaffa who lives in Santa Fe. The last years of Mr. Miller's life were spent in the old Bankhead Hotel that was known as the cattleman's favorite rendezvous, and until his last days he enjoyed talking of the old days when Roswell was only a post office trading post, for cattlemen, and children walked the cattle trails around the town with six shooters strapped to their belts. His funeral in Roswell was attended by people from long distances and from all walks of life, who came to pay their last respects to their honored friend. Sources of Information: From the subject himself as told to the Writer and History of New Mexico, Pacific States Publishing Company.

John J. Heringa
By Carrie L. Hodges
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Union
Surnames mentioned: Heringa, Dawson, Pesman

John J. Heringa came to New Mexico in 1891, so that his entire business experience has been acquired in this state. He was born in Fresland, Holland, April 22, 1872. His father being an Attorney at Law, was able to give his son every educational advantage he would take. At the age of about nineteen years he left school and came to the United States, sailing on the steamship Spaarndam, from Rotterdam to New York City, New York. Alone and without funds, he made his way westward to New Mexico, arriving at Maxwell in August, 1892.

For two years he worked for a living and in the meantime, mastered both the English and Spanish languages as well as adapting himself rapidly, to the ways and conditions of the new country to which he had come. The ranching industry attracted him immensely, and his first employment was on the Dawson ranch near Maxwell, a combined cattle and sheep ranch, where he remained for two years.

With the experience he had gained, he became a farmer in the same community, his farm being in the irrigation district. In time he became the owner of a grain and alfalfa farm, and remained at this place until 1907, when he exchanged his holdings at Maxwell for a store of general merchandise at Pasamonte. This small retail business, under Mr. Heringa's able management, grew rapidly, and latter he was appointed postmaster of Pasamonte, the post office being located in the store building. In this district, Union County, he continued his efforts as a cattle and sheep rancher, and added to his land acreage as well as his herds. He engaged in farming as well as ranching, also hog and poultry raising.

He early acquired American citizenship and cast his first presidential vote in 1912, and the only official service he ever performed was that of postmaster of Pasamonte. He is a member of the Masonic Lodge at Clayton, and of the New Mexico Cattle and Horse Growers Association. He was also one of the organizers of the Life Insurance Company of the Southwest at Albuquerque, and since its consolidation with the Two Republics Life Insurance Company, has remained a stockholder.

He was a stockholder in the War Finance Corporation and during the World War acted as registrar for his district. Was also appraiser and director of the Ute Valley Loan Association. He was one of the organizers of the Farmers and Stockman's Bank in Clayton, New Mexico, and at present is actively engaged in promoting this organization. Mr. Heringa returned to Holland for his wife, and was married to Miss. Wendolina Pesman July 18, 1899. They came to New Mexico where they have since resided. To this union were born four children, Edward, Elizabeth, Dia and John, all living except John who is now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Heringa make their home in Clayton, and during his forty-four years of residence in New Mexico, is considered to be one of the most successful ranchers, and business men in Northeastern New Mexico, and Union County where most of his interests are centered.

John W. Evans
By Carrie L. Hodges
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Union
Surnames mentioned: Evans, Thomas, Horn, Tixier, Hammond, Charleston

One of northeastern New Mexico's most prominent and prosperous business men and ranchmen was John W. Evans, who, though he lived a number of years in the town of Clayton, called his homestead, located five miles south of town, home. Mr. Evans was born in Madison, Indiana, August 17, 1844. When a very small lad, he was left fatherless. The mother then assumed the two-fold duty of parenthood to the child, but after a period of invalidism lasting fifteen years, she passed on, leaving her son in the care of very near and dear friends, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, where he was tenderly cared for and reared to young manhood. At the declaration of the Civil War, Mr. Evans enlisted in the civil service, and served his country well until peace was declared, after which he returned to his home in Madison. He then entered a school of photography at Cincinnati, Ohio, at which place he worked at this profession for several years.

He then came West and located at Lancaster, Texas, where he opened a studio. After several years spent there, he moved his studio to Lisbon, Texas. It was at this place he was married to Sarah E. Horn, July 23, 1882. They made their home on a farm near Lisbon for five years, then moved to Western Texas and located near Vernon. It was at this town he left his wife and three step-children while he journeyed farther nest to investigate the new and sparsely populated state of New Mexico, with the view of locating, which he did, filing on a claim of 160 acres, five miles south of Clayton, on the Perico in the year 1883. Later he filed on an adjoining 160 acres, and as time passed, purchased land from adjoining neighbors until the Evans Ranch, as it became popularly known, consisted of 3800 acres.

Their first home consisted of a tent and dugout in which they lived for some time, as building materials were difficult to obtain. At last they were privileged to build a modest abode, which they occupied during their stay on the ranch, covering a period of twenty years. As this location was in a well watered district, this progressive family enjoyed the privileged of truck gardening and fruit orchard, a luxury denied many inhabitants of the state, even today. The cattle industry proved successful for them, and they were considered among the most successful ranchers of the community.

In 1891 or 1892, Mr. Evans erected a frame building on the site of the present Evans Block, located on 1st. Street and Main, Clayton, New Mexico. For several years he conducted a general store, and after his appointment as postmaster of Clayton, in 1893, the post office was also located in this store. Mr. Evans was the town's third postmaster, and served in this capacity for seven years. This general store and post office building was destroyed by fire in later years, and, the building known as the Land Office Building at the present time, the home of the WPA office force which was erected on the site. The other frame buildings that compose the Evans Block, were also built at the same time.

It will be of historical interest to the present generation to know that the stone building, located in the Evans Block, on 1st. Street is the first location of the original Tixier Dry Goods Store, owned and operated by the late M. B. Tixier, of Clayton. This building was erected by Mr. Evans for the sole purpose of accommodating Mr. Tixier in his business efforts. After his resignation from the position of postmaster, Mr. Evans retired for a period of relaxation, after which he accepted the position of cashier in the First National Bank of Clayton, organized and operated by the late Herbert J. Hammond, Sr., and located in the old post office building. At this time the Evans family moved into town and resided in what is now known as the Dr. Charlton home on Main Street, one door east of the present Pioneer Garage.

After serving in the capacity of Cashier for a number of years, Mr. Evans retired from active business and spent the remainder of his days at the ranch home, now known as the Rixey Ranch, on Perico Creek. On July 31, 1911, he passed away, and with his passing, Clayton lost on of its earliest most respected and influential citizens. 

John W. Poe
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Poe, Lea, Garrett, Alberding, Lea, Smith

John W. Poe the son of Nathan and Louise Poe was born in Kentucky October 17, 1880. He attended the public schools of his home state, but the greater part of his education, he acquired as a pupil in life's school of experience and responsibilities. A fondness for descriptive literature lead to extensive traveling which broadened his views and visions and gave to him a very accurate knowledge of foreign and National affairs. From the time, when as a youth he stole away in the night from his Kentucky home with resolve to go west seeking a home and fortune in new environments, Mr. Poe's plans were well defined, and always executed. Whatever he would undertake he carried through to successful Completion.

Around the time of 1879 Mr. Poe engaged in farming in Jackson County Missouri. In 1871 he was employed by a bridge contractor in construction work on the Santa Fe Railroad near Emporia Kansas. From 1872 until 1874 was in the stock business in western Texas, and spent four years hunting buffalo on the west Texas plains. In 1881 he came to Lincoln County New Mexico as detective for the Canadian River Cattle Association. Mr. Poe was one of the deputies under Pat Garrett, Sheriff of Lincoln County, and helped in locating Billy the Kid, an outlaw of that district, when he was found and shot by Pat Garrett at Fort Sumner July 14, 1881.

After the killing of Billy the Kid Mr. Poe continued ranching and cattle business in Lincoln County until 1885. He was married in Roswell during that time, about May 1883, to Miss Sophie Alberding who was a guest of Captain and Mrs. Joseph C. Lea, who were living at the time in the first residence built in Roswell which was built, by Van C. Smith in 1869 for a hotel. Mr. Poe spent the year 1886 traveling and prospecting in South America. He decided to remain in New Mexico, returned and established what is now known as the L.F.D. stock farm, four miles east of Roswell. Here he engaged successfully in the ranching and livestock, from 1886 until 1893, then turning his interests into the banking business, organizing-and was President of-the Bank of Roswell from 1893 until 1899. The following year in 1900 he organized and was President, of the Citizen's Bank of Roswell which was Nationalized in 1903. Mr. Poe was director, during those years, of numerous business enterprises and developments of Roswell and Pecos Valley. As a peace officer Mr. Poe experienced, perhaps, the most thrilling experiences of his life.

He served as City Marshall at Fort Guffin Texas in 1878-79 and deputy United States Marshall for the Panhandle of Texas from 1878 until 1881, in 1882 was elected sheriff for Lincoln County remaining in office three years. He was a member of New Mexico Territorial Board of Equalization 1888 and 1889 was chairman of Roswell council in 1901 to 1902. In 1908 became chairman of the commission that built the Roswell water works and sewer system. Mr. Poe was a thirty third degree Mason of New Mexico and one of the most prominent representative of that order in the southwest, was a member of independent order of Odd Fellows, and of the Royal Order of Scotland.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Poe were leaders in all special social and cultural circles during the many years of their residence in Roswell, were protestants, in faith, staunch democrats and members of the Country Club and travel. In 1907 they toured Europe and in 1913 they visited many historic points of interest and the art and trade centers in a trip around the world. Mr. Poe died in 1923. Mrs. Poe is the author of Buckboard Days published in 1936. This is a story of the life of her illustrious husband, John William Poe, and the interesting account of the early settlement of Roswell, and the exciting days during the period of lawlessness and many daring episodes of Billy the Kid. The account of those stories were given by Mr. Poe himself who as deputy sheriff under Pat Garrett was active in bringing peace and order out of those terrorizing days of lawlessness. Sources: Twitchill's History Vol V; Buckboards days by Sophie Poe.

Sophie Poe
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: De Baca, Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Poe, Lea, Garrett, Alberding

One day in may 1882, Milo Pierce, Captain Joseph Lea's partner in the sheep business, mentioned an important name in my hearing. The name was that of a man famous in New Mexico at that time,  John William Poe, special officer of the Canadian river Cattle Association, and the deputy sheriff who, more than any other,  was responsible for the killing of the outlaw Billy the Kid in Fort Sumner by Pat Garrett.

After hearing this conversation it was in praise of John Poe one night, just at bed time, Captain Lea called me into a back room of his home, where I was a guest. When I entered the room I saw Pat Garrett sitting with his long legs stretched toward the fire. Captain Lea walked up and down. These extraordinarily tall men, both six feet four inches tall, were very solemn, and the Captain said slowly: Sophie I've just had a letter from John W. Poe, our next sheriff, Pat Garrett refused reelection, and he is coming to Roswell for a visit! He will stay here with us. I said Yes Sir, and waited. Poe has been down in Mexico and has had an attack of Mexican fever, said Captain Lea, and he going to stay here for a while and recover. He will do some hunting over on the Llano Estacado. He's been fond of that country ever since his buffalo hunting days. Pat Garrett had not said a word but watched me out of one corner of his eye. Now Sophie, we, Pat and I, have talked all this over and we want you to like John Poe and not just like you like every body else. He looked at Pat Garrett, who was studying his boots intently, so Captain Lea went on:
You see Sophie John Poe is going to be our next sheriff and he's going to be more than that. Eventually he will be one of the really big men of this section, and Pat and I have decided you should marry him. That is what I called you to tell you. For a moment I was utterly dumb. I could only stare at the two amazing matchmaker. Then I exploded. What gave you the idea, I demanded furiously, that you could call me in and just tell me whom I should marry? Do you think you can dispose of me as if I were one of your prize short horns? If you do I'll tell you right now. Well a few days later Captain Lea came in and said, John Poe's in town, and will be over pretty soon. Better run and smooth up your bangs. I want you to look your very prettiest for him.

It was not hard to obey the order, I was interested had n o objections now to meeting this famous John Poe. When I came down to the living room a few minutes later Captain Lea was letting in a tall wide shouldered man, and they turned to me. Mr. Poe, Captain Lea said, this is Miss Sophie Alberding our guest. I am sure that I looked up into the eyes of this handsome stalwart plainsman and realized, then and there, that the conqueror of the citadel had come. I realized that what Pat Garrett had said was true-that none of the men I had been thrown with stood on the same footing with John William Poe. So we were married in Roswell on 5 May 1883.