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Family History Stories Paraphrased
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Mrs. Dorothy Cleve Norton
Billy the Kid Story
Mrs. George F. Cornell
Mrs. Gertrude Lea Dills
Mrs. Ina W. Mayes 

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Mrs. Dorothy Cleve Norton
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves
Surnames mentioned: Norton, Cleve, Hendrix, Tillotson, Paul, Oris, Hinkle

The Community settlement Elk derived its name from large herds of elk found, during the early days of its settlement, in Elk Canyon, which runs northwest through the farms and ranching lands of that district. There are four hundred and seventy-five people in the Elk community. With an altitude of 5,350 feet Elk is located in a beautiful part of New Mexico, eighty-five miles southwest of Roswell, on the upper Penasco River in the southwestern part of Chaves County on U. S. Highway 83.

While Elk does not have a railroad or train service, there is a daily bus transportation service connecting Artesia east and Cloudcroft west. The Southern Pacific Railroad given transportation service, from Cloudcroft, thirty-one miles with connections at Alamogordo. There is a school bus for transportation of children from the ranching and farming districts, to the Elk school. 

Splendid ranch house accommodations may be had for regular boarders, or tourists on the Cleve ranch. The rates are from $2.50 up. Arrangements may be made for tours, horseback or cars to the many points of interest in the Elk districts. There are no tourist camps. The winters are mild and summers are delightfully cool. The average temperature for January, was 39.4 with the  minimum of 23.8, and the maximum of 55.1.

The early day settlement of the Elk community and the establishment of the first ranches in that location is of unusual historical interest, as given by Mrs. Dorothy Cleve Norton, Granddaughter of George Hendrix, and daughter of Bernard Cleve pioneer settlers of the Elk community.

George Hendrix, his wife Sarah Elizabeth Hendrix and seven of their eight children arrived in the Elk Canyon country in December, 1887. They had started on their journey to New Mexico, from Johnson City, Texas, September 12th 1887. There were four other families, twenty-five people altogether in the caravan. There were five covered wagons, one, the chuck wagon was drawn by oxen. The wagons were followed by about five hundred head of stock and thirty-five horses.

The country was suffering from a severe drought season during the months of their traveling across the plains. Very little water was found on the long hard drives between their camping places. The caravan people as well as the stock suffered acutely from alkali water, which was boiled and used for coffee. The starved cattle became poor and weak, some gave out entirely and were lost.

The stock and caravan were held up at the state line on the Black River for cattle inspection. Travel worn, exhausted and hungry the caravan arrived at Hope, December 23, 1887. They made camp just below Y C Crossing near a rock house. There was a four foot snow covering the camp ground, the next morning the 24th which caused suffering, and the disbanding of the caravan.

What remained of the five hundred head of stock had drifted away, in the wind and snow; only four remained. Some were dead on the camp grounds. The Hendrix family was taken into the shelter of a dirt roofed homestead house of John Paul, who was the first man who settled in the town of Hope.

George Hendrix never fully recovered from the hardships endured on the journey, and from a blow on the head with a walnut limb given by a companion, when asked by Mr. Hendrix to pay his part of the expenses of the caravan. His state of health caused the girls, as well as the boys, of the family, to labor in the fields, as few pioneers are ever compelled to labor. They improved and cultivated a rented place on the Penasco River, which was owned by the C A Bar Cattle Company. This place was afterwards owned by Angie Hendrix Cleve and her husband Bernard Cleve, to whom she was married April 22, 1894. They were married in the home of her sister who had previously married T. C. Tillotson of Elk.

Bernard Cleve, owned in partnership with a cousin, J. F. Hinkle, the Elk store and some cattle. In 1887 Mr. Cleve bought out Mr. Hinkle's interests and built the home on the Cleve estate, where Mrs. Cleve lives at present, and where the five children, Katherine, Bernard, Jr., Dorothy, Mrs. M. L. Norton, Marjorie and Oris were born.

Bernard Cleve was born February 8th, 1863, on a farm two miles west of Washington, Missouri. He came to New Mexico and settled on the Penasco River at Elk in 1885, where he worked as a cowboy and later a stockman, postmaster and merchant, owning the Elk store and one at Cloudcroft. He was prominent as a community builder and political organizer. Mr. Cleve died March 26th 1913.

At the time of the establishment of the post office at Elk in 1885 mail was brought in once a week. It is now delivered dally. Mrs. Cleve is postmistress and owner of the store in which the post office is established. Sheep and stock raising, farming and lumber are the chief industries of Elk. There is one store and a sawmill.

The Elk country is rich in undeveloped archaeological sites. Mrs. Cleve has found numerous valuable specimens of pottery on her estate. Most interesting among these is a pottery bowl, unbroken with burned food, apparently beans in the bottom. These archaeological sites, the old homes of the first settlers, George Hendrix, J. F. Hinkle and the Bernard Cleve families, the trees and springs and the Apache Indian chuck wagon meals served seven miles from Spur Ranch, are some of the many points or interest to be found in the Elk Canyon districts surrounded by the Sacramento Mountains.

Big game hunting in the mountains, where game is plentiful, is enjoyed by the people of Elk. There is a good school, with one teacher and thirty pupils. A splendid cattle country, delightful climate and ideally located, Elk has much to offer in colorful history, scenery, and romance. Source: Mrs. Dorothy Cleve Norton.

Billy the Kid Story
By Georgia B. Redfield
Source: Mrs. Ella B. Davidson
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln, De Baca
Surnames mentioned: Story, Davidson, Bolton, Church, Stanton, Bell, Ollinger, Kid, Davidson, Cyrus, Brady, McSween, Garrett, Bowdre, Kilgore, Kinkle

Mrs. Ella Bolton Davidson, is one of the few living pioneer women, who experienced all the hardships and dangers of the first years of settlement of the new country of Southeast New Mexico. Mrs. Davidson, as a child, lived in Fort Stanton, New Mexico, an army post, where she was constantly surrounded by danger from Indians, and where she had few educational advantages. Later, as a woman she lived the hard life of a pioneer's wife and became a typical pioneer mother, when unattended by a physician her second child, a little girl, was born. She made a happy home for her family, in which she ruled with gentleness and kindness, and graciously welcomed the stranger and newcomer as well as her friends. Wherever she has lived she quietly became one of the leaders in all cultural and educational issues instituted for the improvement and enjoyment of the town's people.

In 1871, when six years of age Ella Bolton and her mother Ella, Doyel Bolton and a brother and older sister who is Mrs. Amelia Bolton Church, came to America from their native town and country, Wexford, Ireland. They joined their husband and father, John Bolton, at Fort Stanton, New Mexico. Mr. Bolton had preceded his family in coming to the United States and was head of the Government Commissary Department at Fort Stanton, which was an army post maintained for protection of the early New Mexico settlers from the hostile Mescalero and Apache Indians.

After the voyage from Ireland, on landing in New York, the Bolton family continued their journey to New Mexico, by rail. They traveled as far as the railroad went, in the state of Kansas, where they were met at the end of the railroad by a military escort sent from Fort Stanton, for their protection from Indians during the remainder of their journey overland through the hostile Indian infested country of Kansas, Colorado and part of New Mexico through which they were to travel. An army post ambulance was sent in which Mrs. Bolton and the children rode. While the soldiers rode in three covered wagons.

They were allowed to make only thirty miles a day and were required to make camp at Government Army Posts, stationed along the route. At night the wagons and ambulance were place in a circle in which the mules, used for their conveyances, were confined where they could be watched and guarded from Indian raids. There were no Indian attacks, and no Indians were seen on their entire journey, though there may have been some hidden in many places who dared not attack the well armed soldiers who were constantly on the alert. The ambulance was, comparatively speaking, easy riding, but the slow traveling had become monotonous and uninteresting long before the three weeks time taken far the journey had passed. They saw no houses or human beings for hundreds of miles in some districts, except the soldiers at the army stations.

The children becoming restless and adventuresome, on the frequent stops, would wander short distances from the wagons. On one occasion while gathering little stones found on mounds made by ants which they put in little tobacco sacks, discarded by the soldiers, they were suddenly running and screaming from the pain of many ant stings. This becoming an experience of the journey, they never forgot. Also red chili peppers called New Mexico fruit by a Mexican who presented some to the children when bitten into by them, became another experience of childish importance, as the one of the stinging ants, and likewise was never forgotten.

The original Fort Stanton, of flimsy construction, established in 1855 on the site now occupied by the Government Marine Hospital was purposely established on Indian hunting grounds between the White Mountains and El Capitan, and was built in a strategic flat stretch of land from which Indian activities could be under observation. Many raids and massacres were headed off and prevented by the alert attention of the army officers.

The fort was named for Captain Henry W. Stanton, First Dragoons, who was killed January 19, 1855, sixty-six miles southwest of Roswell, on the Penasco River in the Sacramento Mountains near the old home site of J. F. Hinkle, former Governor of New Mexico. As an army post the fort was abandoned in 1861, was again occupied by the army in 1863 and substantial stone and brick buildings and other improvements for defense, were constructed in 1868. In this reconstructed fort John Bolton, after the arrival of his family in 1871, built their adobe house and here, in this, her first New Mexico home, Ella Bolton with her parents and her sister and brother spent three of her early childhood years.

Fort Stanton was again abandoned as an army post in 1896 and since 1899 it has been continuously occupied as a Government sanatorium. In 1873 John Bolton moved his family to Lincoln, New Mexico where he was made postmaster, and here Ella Bolton, nearly ten years of age, and her sister Amelia two years older grew to young girlhood. They entered into the social life of the town, and with their youthful grace and charm contributed to the pleasure of the social gatherings of the harassed people of bullet scarred Old Lincoln during the Lincoln County War of 1876 to 1879. Billy the Kid, famous outlaw of that region, who was one of the leaders of the gang of the Alexander A. McSween adherents, against the Major Lawrence G. Murphy followers contributed a large share to the destruction and murdering that resulted through the many encounters of that famous cattle war.

Ella Bolton met the young desperado at a dancing party given by a woman hostess who shared the belief of many others, that the Kid had been led into evil paths, and through kindness and friendliness of hospitality might be led back into the straight and narrow way. Billy the Kid thoroughly enjoyed the party and the occasion of his dancing with Ella Bolton until in his exuberance of enjoyment of the dance, he lifted her and lightly swung her off her feet. The Then he who had boasted of conquests and murders of numerous big strong man, was made ashamed when he was left on the dance floor, where he stood in confusion, vanquished by a small young girl.

On April 1, 1878 Major William Brady, Sheriff of Lincoln County was fired upon and killed by the McSween partisans, among them Billy the Kid. The gang lay in wait, concealed by an adobe wall, until Sheriff Brady should walk by after having gone through the motion of dismissing court, that because of threats of shooting and murdering had never convened. On hearing the shots that killed Sheriff Bardy and Deputy Sheriff George Hindman who was one of three man who accompanied him, the other two were not shot the Lincoln school master became excited and dismissed the school children who walked to their homes in danger of being shot by any of the throngs of armed men, who wrought to a high tension of excitement, would have shot to kill on any slight excuse.

The bodies of Brady and Hindman, no one dared remove, still lay in the street when the school children passed and Ella Bolton, among them, realized then that the slender gray eyed youth, she knew as William Bonney, was possessed of a passion for murdering and destruction. The story as an eye witness of parts of the final bloody battle that practically ended the Lincoln County War is best given in Mrs. Davidson's own words: Lincoln became an armed battle ground after the killing of Ollinger and Bell, the Kid's guards when he made his escape from the Lincoln jail where he had been confined since his capture after the slaying of Brady and Hindman.

On the Sunday evening before the terrible days that ended the Lincoln County War Mother said: Ella this is the week that will end all this bloodshed and fighting and, I thank God your father is away and won't be mixed up in the shooting, but I an afraid to stay here with you children unprotected. So that night after supper she took us to stay with the Ellis family, in their house which was built with all the rooms in one long row. About ten o'clock we heard someone with spurs on, come clattering down the whole length of the house. The door where we sat opened and there was Billy the Kid! He was followed by fourteen men who took possession of the house. We went back to our home but Mother was afraid to stay there after she thought our water supply would perhaps be cut off, so we went to Juan Patron's house and about midnight that house was taken over by some of the fighters. We then went to Montonna's store where we went to bed and when we got up the next morning about twenty men had taken possession there, but we stayed there from Sunday evening, until the next Friday morning. Mother got up and after we saw men fired on and one killed, she said, I am going to take you children out of this danger.

So she took us two miles out of town where there were some tall poplar trees, many are are still there, and about noon we saw heavy smoke. It was the McSween store that had been set afire by the Murphy men to burn out the McSween men, one of them was the Kid who were surrounded, so they couldn't escape. When the fire was under way Mr. McSween calmly walked to the door as if surrendering and was shot down. Then, two others that followed were riddled with bullets. George Coe Henry Brown and Charlie Bowdre were among the crowd that escaped. Billy the Kid was the last one left in the building. During the excitement of the roof crashing in, he rushed out with two pistols blazing. Bob Beckwith whose shot had killed McSween was killed by one flying bullet and two others were wounded. The Kid, with bullets whizzing all around him, made his escape.

After this battle that took place in July, 1878 everything quieted down, and my mother took us home. Mrs. McSween whose home was burned, stayed with us all night, and the next morning she asked me to go with her to see the ruins of her house. We found only the springs and other wires of her piano that was the pride of her life. She raked in the ashes where her bureau had stood and found her locket, That was the most destructive battle of the Lincoln County War. We were terribly upset with all the fighting and killings. My sister Amelia had more than she could stand so my mother sent her to a ranch until things could settle down.

We moved to the Block Ranch in 1879 and my father engaged in ranching. Indians made a raid one night while the ranch hands were away with all the ammunition. My father who was the only man on the place found four gun shells, that these he fired, thinking to frighten the Indians, who were not to be scared off. They drove away eighty horses. I spent all of the time of the raid shaking with fright, hidden under the bed.

We moved to White Oaks in 1830, where I was married in 1883 to Syrus L. Cyrus Leland Davidson. We had two children, a boy named Syrus Cyrus for his father who was born in 1884 in White Oaks. Millie, our daughter was born in 1886 in Picacho where there was no physician to be had for attendance of her birth. We moved to Roswell in 1898.

Mrs. Davidson, who is the only surviving member of her immediate family, makes her home with her sister Mrs. Amelia Church in Roswell. She is a member of the Chaves County Archaeological and Historical Society and is a member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, of which she was one of the organizers and hard workers for the church fund when the church was built in 1899. She also was one of the guild workers who gave a turkey dinner to raise the money with which three dozen kitchen chairs were bought for seats for the church.

After having lived in New Mexico, under nerve breaking conditions and rough surroundings, for over half an average life time, Mrs. Davidson, at the present time shows no ravages of those times of her hard past life. She is small in height and slender built, and has calm kind eyes and a placid countenance. There are no signs of strain or nervousness, in her quiet manner of bearing that one usually finds in those who have lived under the strain of harrowing experiences. She receives her friends in a quiet restful atmosphere, where she has all the comforts and beauty of surroundings of a modern home, that the pioneer, during the days of settlement, never believed one would be able to obtain and enjoy in New Mexico. Source: Mrs. Ella Bolton Davidson, Mrs. Belle Kilgore.

Mrs. George F. Cornell
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Curry
Surnames mentioned: Cornell

One day early in the week I called on Mrs. Cornell. She is a very pleasant woman in her early sixties. I was very favorably impressed when she ushered me into her living room. Of course, I knew that she was an artist, but I was not prepared to see such excellent decoration as were on the walls of her home. The room was finished in harmonious colors of yellows and brown. Those panels depicted different scenes in the historical development of the west. There campfire scenes, covered wagons, Indians, on the chase and attacking the early white settlers, wooded scenes and through it all you could see the pen of an artist.

Yes, there are my designs, she answered to my question if she had planned the work. I took only a few lessons of drawing and painting in school and so people call me a natural-born artist. Her husband is an interior decorator and she assist him in his designing. They have decorated many private homes, for there they can have a free hand and be elaborate or simple as the case may warrant. You might call us pioneer tourists, for we came out west with a cousin, traveling for his health in 1917. We were seventeen days on the road. We went to California on that trip. In 1918 we moved here and have been here almost all the time since that date. Our work has been done throughout the western cities of this country and Texas.

It used to seem very strange to me. The people spoke differently then from what they do now, but I suppose I have just become used the to the way they talk in the south and west. It must be that I have become accustomed to the eccentric manners and speech, for I do not notice now that the people are so very much different from those in the same circumstances in life from those in Ohio. I was born near Toledo, Ohio and was educated in that state, lived there until we came to New Mexico.

The sand was one of the greatest annoyances that we had to put up with. There were no paved streets or hard roads. When we started to go any where we always took a spade and shovel and burlap sacks. Generally we started out fairly well, but the sand would become so deep in places that our car would stick, then Mr. Cornell would get out and shovel and dig the sand away from the wheels, then place the burlap sacks in front of them. I would drive the car and perhaps would go a few hundred feet and stall, then there would be more digging and scratching and much sweating and down the burlap sacks would be placed, again and again we would have to repeat the process, until we arrived at our destination.

I remember once that my cousin, a minister was called to Melrose to perform a marriage ceremony. It is about twenty-five miles west of Clovis. He did not have a car, so I told him that I would take him up there in our car. We went through the usual process of digging and padding the road and consequently we were late. When we arrived the large crowd had come from all over that section of the country. The bride's mother took me quite a distance from the house and told me in hushed tones, we are not going to have anything to eat. It had been customary for the affair dinner to be given by the groom's parents the day before the wedding and a bridal dinner to be given on the day of the ceremony by the bride's parents. We went back to the two roomed house. Now a shack is a building either of lumber or adobe or of any material that the homesteader could get for the least money and these shacks are made with a roof that has only one side pitched or elevated.

The bride decided that she wanted some one to play a wedding march. They asked me to play but I could not play or could not think of anything that would be appropriate. They had an upright organ, finally a lady in the crowd said that she could play church music. They handed me a song book and requested that I select a suitable song for them to march to. Well, the song was selected, but I have forgotten what song I chose and the organist began to play. There were only a few steps for the bride and groom to march so before the first two or three bars of music had been played, the couple were standing before the preacher. By that time the house was literally jammed. I was given a seat of honor, for I was the honored guest. It was a large rocking chair, with a high back. There were also two high backed dining room chairs, and do not recall whether there were any other chairs, but there were many boxes and stools.

The ceremony began with some confusion. It was to be a ring ceremony, and the groom fumbled around in his pocket, finally found the ring, started to give to the preacher, but dropped it. It rolled around on the floor among the people. At last it was found and the minister performed the usual ceremony. When he pronounced husband and wife' there was a general rush to congratulate them and a great deal of kissing and many suggestive wishes.

When the hubbub had subsided, the minister said that he needed some witnesses to sign the license. He suggested that the bride's and groom's mothers sign the paper. The bride's mother was a short plump, smiling woman and signed the license and stepped back for the groom's mother to put her name. This lady was a tall angular sober woman and dignifiedly walked up to the table and took the pen in her hand, put the pen on the paper. She raised abruptly and said, Why. I can't write. There was a hush in the room, very embarrassed the lady turned away and sat down quickly in one of the high back chairs. and zoom, the chair collapsed, and she fell to the floor. Her voluminous skirts and feet went straight up in the air, when she attempted, to rise, she could not and began to yell. There was a great scramble, and the minister with the help of some of the guests finally lifted her to her feet.

Yes, I signed the license as a witness. This may not seem so queer to the western people as it did to me at that time. But with the humorous surroundings and awkwardness there was love and kindness and these young people wanted the ceremony according to custom that they had seen and read about. These young people who married twenty years ago, are now among the foremost families of the county and have all modern conveniences that come with hard roads and paved streets.

The western ways and southern drawl is not so pronounced because the citizens of this territory have come from all parts of the United States, and have gone through the melting pot, as it were and have developed into one of the best classes of people, and have the easiest flow of language. The western terms, Spanish phrases influenced by Indian idioms makes a rich expressive and purposeful language. We have had many and varied experiences traveling around in the different parts of the country.

Once up in the mountains, we were traveling, but my husband wanted to go on a hunt and as we were near a small house, we camped there that night and asked me if I would afraid to stay there until he came back from the hunt. I told that I would not be afraid. It was a two room shack and all the windows were out and there was no door shutter. During the day, long horned cows came and put their heads or tried to, in the windows. I drove them away. My husband did not get back that night so I barred the doorway with some brush and passed the night by myself. The next morning soon after sunup, a man stepped up into the door-way. I had taken the brush away. I jumped and so did he. Oh, he said, I did not know that anyone was here. I want to get my saddle and blanket out of that back room. He was very sorry that he startled me. My husband in from his hunt and had not been successful.

Mrs. Gertrude Lea Dills
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by Janet Greer
Counties: Chaves, Eddy, Lea
Surnames mentioned: Dills, Johnson, Lea

Mrs. Gertrude, Lea Dills, wife of Lucius Dills, stands high in the respect of the citizens of Southeast New Mexico, and in the affections of the early settlers of Roswell where she has lived continuously since early childhood. As a child she attended the first Sunday School of Roswell organized in 1885, by Mrs. Helen Johnson, the first services of which were held in a tent. Gertrude Lea was one of the Sunday School class who repeated the Lord's Prayer when there was no Minister of the Gospel to conduct funeral services for another member of the same class, the son of Mrs. Johnson, the teacher  who conducted the funeral services.

After the tragic death of the youth by drowning, and the conducting of the funeral services by his own mother, plans were made for securing a minister and building a church, which materialized in the erection in 1887 of the little adobe church building for the Methodist Church South, the first church built in Roswell which still stands at 311 North Pennsylvania Avenue, in use at the present time as an apartment dwelling house. Mrs. Dills has been a member of the Methodist Church South since 1891. However, she had attended church services and Sunday School at the adobe church building since the first days of its erection in 1887. She has been a member of Roswell No. 10, Order of Eastern Star since 1904, was worthy Matron in 1909, and Worthy Grand Matron for the State of New Mexico, in 1921 and 1922.  Mrs. Gertrude Lea Dills.

Mrs. Ina W. Mayes
By Edith L. Crawford
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Mayers, Wauchope, Siringo, Wilson

I was born in the state of Illinois in 1866. In the spring of 1873 my father, W. J. Wauchope, went to Kansas and bought a farm in Sumner County, eight miles from Wellington and twenty-five miles from Wichita, Kansas. In the fall of this same year he sent back to LaSalle, Illinois for my mother and the five children, three girls and two boys. We went by train. We lived on this farm for six years raising wheat and corn mostly. In 1874 we had a wonderful crop and the grasshoppers came and cleaned our fields, they were called the Rocky Mountain grasshoppers. They came in such droves that the sky turned dark and we could hear the roar long before we could see what they were. We were very frightened. By night our fields were cleaned out and crops all gone. The grasshoppers were so thick that they stopped trains. The next year we put in a big wheat crop. Just as it was ready to harvest, Father took the whole family to Wichita with him for supplies, going in a covered wagon.

On our way back home we were caught in a terrible rain and hail storm. When we reached the banks of the river it was running bank full so we camped on the bank of this river until noon the next day before we could cross. On arriving home we found our wheat pasted flat on the ground. The hail had beat it down and ruined it. The neighbors told us that the hail stones were as large as goose eggs.  My father was so discouraged at this that he left his family and went to Chicago, Illinois and got a job. We had a hired man that year and he did not take any care of the crops and the sun flowers took the farm. My father came home in the fall and the next year he planted mostly corn and made a bumper crop. By the time it was ready to gather he could not sell it for any price. The cribs were all full and corn was in the yard and fields and everywhere. Father bought hogs and fattened them and sold them. By this time my father was so discouraged with farming he decided to leave. He went to Fort Dodge, Kansas, looking for something else and there he met Charles Siringo who had just landed in Fort Dodge with a herd of cattle he had driven through from Texas.

I want to say here that in later years I met this same Charles Siringo, in White Oaks, New Mexico, and he became a very good friend of our family. This gave my father the idea of going to Texas and getting in the cattle business. In the fall of 1879 he sold his Kansas farm and we all started for Texas. There were seven of us children then. We went in a covered wagon drawn by six horses. Father put side boards on the wagon and in the bottom part stored our trunks and other belongings. Then father built the wagon out to six feet wide so the bed springs would fit flat and we all slept in the wagon. Mother's Singer sewing machine was tied on the wagon and so were the water kegs. We did not bring any live stock except the team. We were so heavily loaded that it took all six horses to pull the wagon. We headed straight south through the Indian Territory. 

Father wanted to locate on the Red River in Texas. I remember once when we camped for dinner near an Indian village the Indians flocked around our camp. We were all just scared to death of them. Mother cooked a big pot of sweet potatoes and set it down in the middle of a bunch of Indians. When they had eaten all they could they put the rest in their blankets and took them away with them. Mother always tried to stay on the good side of the Indians and would give them most anything she had. One day as we were pulling up a long grade, just as we reached the top of the hill one of the wagon wheels broke down, and we had to camp on the side of the hill. Father rode eight miles to an Indian settlement to get the wheel fixed. We had to stay these three days. Father rode back and forth each day until the wheel was fixed. When he got back with the wheel it was too late to start on that night so he put the wheel on the wagon and drew it down to the foot of the hill. There was a terrible north wind blowing up, it was bitter cold, and we had to stay there the next day.

The only time we were really frightened by the Indians was once when we camped for the night in a lot of sage brush and could not see very far. After making camp two Indians rode up on horses and looked over the camp. They talked and laughed to each other and rode off. After a little while we heard Indians whooping and yelling. Father became uneasy, so he hitched up the horses and we left in the night. The rest of the way was uneventful though we traveled through some lovely country.

When we got to the Red River we decided to go on south to the Wichita River. There we ran into a big snow storm and had to stay there for a week, having to dig our wood from underneath the snow. We did not like that country as it was too cold so we went on further south to Fort Worth, Texas. It rained so much that we could not pull through the black mud so we were there for another week. From Fort Worth we went on to San Antonio, Texas. We made our camp about four miles from the town of San Antonio, and stayed there a month to rest and to decide what to do. Father scouted the area and went to Texas and bought thirty head of cows. We broke camp and went through Castorville to pick up the cattle and started west for Fort Davis, Texas. While we were gathering the cattle at Castorville it rained so much that the wagon could not be pulled through the mud. All our provisions ran low and we could not get any more, living on mush and molasses several days. 

We took two of the teams to drive the cows and the children took turns about riding and driving the cattle. One day two men caught up with us one riding a horse and one a burro. They traveled on with us, helping us with the cattle. We were glad to have them as the Indians were on the war path in this part of the country. Just about a month before, the Indians had attacked an emigrant train going over the same route and had killed all the people, driven off the stock, took what they wanted, and had burned the rest of the stuff and the wagons. We did not see any Indians. The soldiers had come in after their attack on the emigrant train and the Indians had scattered. We were scared to death all the time. We had been warned of a dry stretch of country about sixty-five miles long where there was no water. It took us three days to cross this and our cattle and horses had no water. 

Father would take some of our drinking water and wet the tongues of the team so that they could go on. They almost gave out. One of the cows had a baby calf, we took the calf in the wagon and the cow went with the herd. The cow gave us milk which we were glad to have. The two men who had been with us decided that they could make better time so they went on ahead of us. After being out one day they returned to our camp. The burro had given out and the man who was riding him had to walk. He was so exhausted when he got to camp that he just fell down. Mother gave him some milk and revived him and both of the men stayed with us the rest of the trip until we reached Fort Davis. On the third day we reached a watering hole that the Government had fixed up just a short time before. This was a small spring in the rocks and a trough had been made for the water to run through. It was not very large. When the cattle smelled the water they struck out at a trot to get it. We did not loose a single head of the stock but they were very weak. From there we went on to Muscas Canyon where we camped for about a week. It was a beautiful place, with grass about ten inches high, we turned the stock loose to graze and rest. We then went to Fort Davis and stayed a month there. We had intended to locate there, but there were so many Indians and so much talk of their killing white settlers, we were afraid to stay. Father wanted to go on to El Paso but was afraid to make the trip on account of the Indians. One of the men who was with us got a job driving a stage coach between Fort Davis and El Paso.

We never saw or heard from him again and just supposed he was killed in an Indian raid. Selling all our stock except four horses we started back to San Antonio, Texas, making good time as we had no stock to look after. We lived about nine months in San Antonio and all the children who were old enough went to school there. We rented a fortified house with walls two feet thick and with a two foot adobe wall all around it with only one entrance to the plaza, a gate which was kept locked. My father did odd jobs. One day my father picked up an old newspaper and brought it home, as mother was reading it she saw where a John E. Wilson had made a rich gold strike in White Oaks, New Mexico. This is what is now known as the South Homestake in White Oaks. That was the name of my mother's father and she had not heard from him in twenty years. He had left Illinois to prospect for gold in Colorado. Mother said I just know that is my father. She wrote him a letter and he answered right away wanting us to come to White Oaks. Leaving San Antonio for White Oaks on March 21, 1881, we had to buy our whole outfit again getting a covered wagon with four horses. Our trip was not very eventful except for one incident, that happened about half way. We camped one night near a tent fort, where there were soldiers, staking our four horses near our camp, for it was an awfully dark night. In the night we heard an awful commotion and our horses broke loose and ran away.

My father went on foot to look for them and found them twenty miles below where we were camped, at a cow ranch. It took him four days to get them and we were in that camp about a week. We got to White Oaks on Sunday afternoon, May 1st, 1881. We met a lady and two children and talked to them and they said they were coming from Sunday school. We lived with my grandfather Wilson in White Oaks, and my father hauled freight from Las Vegas and Socorro to White Oaks. After living in White Oaks for five years my father went to South America, leaving my mother and the seven children with my grandfather. In 1890 he came back to this country and while on a visit to his mother in Iowa was taken very ill, there my mother went to nurse him. He died after a short illness at the age of forty-nine years. My mother took his body back to the old home at LaSalle, Illinois for burial. She returned to White Oaks and later went to El Paso and lived with my youngest brother. She died at the age of sixty-six years, in May 1910.

Charles D. Mayer and I were married in January 14, 1888, in White Oaks, New Mexico, he was a blacksmith at the time, after disposing of his blacksmith shop, he worked for some time for his brother Paul Mayer who ran a livery stable in White Oaks in the early days. After leaving this job he went into the general merchandise business in White Oaks, we stayed there until 1921, when we moved our stock of merchandise to Carrizozo, New Mexico and continued in this business until 1930, when we had to retire on account of our health. There was two children born to this union, a girl and a boy, our girl is married and living in Modesto, California. The boy is married and lives in El Paso, Texas, in the winter time and at Ruidoso, New Mexico, during the summer months.