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Family History Stories Paraphrased
Page 28 of 38

Mrs. J.P. Church
Mrs. Juan Valdes
Mrs. Lena K. Maxwell

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Mrs. J. P. Church
By Georgia B. Redfield
Mrs. Ella Davidson
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Church, Davidson, Bolton

Mrs. J.P. Church and her sister Mrs. Davidson daughters of John Bolton and Ella Bolton were born in Waxford Ireland. In 1871 when small children, Mrs. Church, Mrs. Davidson and a brother came from Ireland with their mother. After landing in New York they left immediately for Fort Stanton New Mexico to join their father, John Robert Bolton who had preceded his family to the United States and was head of the Government Commissary Department of the Military camp at Fort Stanton. Covered wagons and a military escort to protest Mrs. Bolton and her children from Indians was sent to meet and act as guide for them over the old Santa Fe Trail in the journey to Fort Stanton.

In 1873 the family moved to Lincoln New Mexico. Mrs. Church and Mrs. Davidson have lived in Roswell since 1891, and have been leaders in the social and club life of that city and active in the advancement of the arts and cultural interests of New Mexico. Mrs. Church was the instigator, and with the assistance of the Chaves County Archaeological and Historical Society was active in the work of restoration of El Terreon, The Tower at Lincoln which was built by Mexican settlers in the 1850s as a protection from the Indians.

Mrs. Juan Valdes
By Marie Carter
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Dona Ana
Surnames mentioned: Valdes, Valdez, Enriquez, Ames

Juliana Valdez, or Mrs. Juan Valdez, smiled as she informed me with a slight accent. I was born in La Union, senora, my childhood, girlhood and womanhood, have been spent at the old Mission, La Union. You see, senora, that is what they called it in the old days when the first settlers colonized this valley. La Union is the foundation if the Refugio Grant.  Juan Valdez affirmed Juliana's statement with a nod, and smiled as she resumed: I was born in 1879 on the 9th day of January. That is a long time, senora. My father was Jesus Enriquez, my mother was Luz Noreigo de Enriquez. The immigrated to the United States from Juarez, Chihuahue, Mexico, then up the Rio Grande Valley to La Union. They, my parents, were very fine people. She volunteered with pride.

In speaking of her husband Juliana said: Juan was born in Mason, Texas, 1880 on the 5th day of February. Then, senora, he came to La Union to fall in love, and has been here ever since. You see how he sits and watches me? Well, he did that before we were married. One day I said Jaun why do you watch me all the time? Juliana, he said, I can't help it. I want to marry you, 'Bueno!' I said, 'let's get married. Maybe you will stop watching me. But it didn't work, senora. All these years he has done nothing else. 

Including the whole country with a wave of her hand, Juliana continued, When my parents came here that was all bosque, or woodland. Many people left Chihuahua when they learned that they could got plenty of free land in New Mexico. My father was one of the commissioners for the Refugio Corporation. Some of the Americans called their grants terrenas but the correct name is Terreno. Instead of a terreno being fifty-four acres, as some of them thought, it was between thirty-six or thirty-seven acres. And a vara, by which the colonists measured the land, was not a yard of thirty-six inches, but thirty-three inches. 

Juliana didn't have any more respect for the ruthless Rio Grande of the past than her neighbors, for she referred to it as: The big fussy river. Senora, she said, it was never still, for there was nothing to hold it back. Sometimes it would suddenly dry up, then our crops would dry up. Then we would worry and pray for water, and bah, a flood would come and almost destroy us. Ah, senora, I know this country well. I am part of it. I have spent the beet part of my life helping to make it what it is today. Fighting the wind, turning the soil, hating and loving the river, planting the seed, watching it grow. Si, senora. I, like the rest, have suffered, but I think it is a pretty fine country.

Juliana, or Mrs. Juan Valdez, was born in La Union, New Mexico, Dona Ana County: January 9, 1878, Juan Valdez Sr. was born in Mason, Texas, Mason County: February 5, 1880, and went to La Union, New Mexico in 1900. Jesus Enriquez, who immigrated from Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico to La Union, New Mexico in 1877, was the father of Mrs. Juan Valdez Sr. Mrs. Luz Noreigo de Enriquez, wife of Jesus Enriquez, who immigrated from Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico in 1877, was the mother of Mrs. Juan Valdez Sr. 

Mr. and Mrs. Juan Valdez are the parents of: Robert, Juan Jr., Magadelena and David Valdez. Robert Valdez, who was a teacher and principal of the La Union School for several years, is now the States Corporation Commissioner for New Mexico. He was recently appointed Chairman of the New Mexico State Corporation Commission by Governor Clyde Tingley, to represent New Mexico at the Juarez-Chihuahua Road meet to boost for the Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico City Highway, May 14, 1937. Robert Valdez married Nellie Nevarez of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Valdez live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

Juan Valdez Jr., second son of Mr. and Mrs. Juan Valdez Sr., is a farmer of La Union, New Mexico. Juan married Katy Medena of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Magadelena Valdez is at home with her parents. David Valdez, who was graduated from the La Union Valley High School in the class of 1935, and attended the L N State College of New Mexico in 1936, married Annie Marie Ames of Las Cruces. David is associated with his father in farming at the home ranch in La Union, New Mexico.

Mrs. Lena K. Maxwell
School Teacher Museum Manager
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Curry
Surnames mentioned: Maxwell, Kempf, Oliveria, Simms

Mrs. Lena Kempf Maxwell was born in Adamsville, Logan County Kentucky. She came with her father C. J. Kempf in 1908 to New Mexico and took up land according to the fourteen month plan at that time. They could take up only 160 acres. They filed four miles north of Grady, New Mexico, west of state highway No. 18. Yes, I have had sorrow and privations mixed with the pleasant things that come to the life of a pioneer. I had been a bride, a mother, and a widow all within the space of one year. I came with my father, C. J. Kempf, and settled near Grady, in 1908.

I had been prepared for a teacher and had taught four years when we came to New Mexico. I was a high school graduate, had training in the teacher schools in Kentucky and attended an all female college and held a sixteen year state certificate from Kentucky, but I had to begin again to prepare for teaching New Mexico, for nothing but work from accredited colleges from other state will be recognized in this state. I entered the college at Las Vegas and continued my work until I acquired a college degree and thereby a life time certificate. I have taught sixteen years in New Mexico and have been principal of some of the best rural schools in New Mexico and incidentally in the United States. The equipment for these schools was purchased by money made from pie suppers, tacky parties and festivals common in this state. There were also some private donations.

Yes, we have had hard times, cold weather, hot weather, storms snows and fires and other inconveniences common to people on the frontier. These have been years when peopled were compelled to use a great deal of ingenuity to be able to stick to their claims. One story is told of a family after years of dry weather. Fresh ground maize in a coffee mill because there was not enough of the maize to pay the toll, if it was taken to the mill to be ground. At one time there was no fuel so the mother soaked her beans several days in water and then they ate them without seasoning or salt. But these were rare instances, for the homesteaders were thrifty people and even instances like the above were caused by circumstances and not because the people were thriftless.

I remember about the prairies fire that swept everything from the face of the earth reaching from the south west of  and Belleview to the north west and as far as Clayton New Mexico. One boy was caught out with his mules. The child's face was burned so badly and only his teeth on one side was left. The mules were so badly burned that they had to be killed. Storms, bad electric storm where we lived, four miles south south of Grady and six miles directly south of the edge of the edge of the cap rock. It was early in August, a big cloud stretched from east to west which was the blackest and angriest that I have ever seen. The horses had come up and waited across the road. I knew that something had to be done to get them away from the wire fence The cows were against the fence too. My little girl daughter and I got buckets of grain maize heads and went across to where the horses were. 

After flashes of lightning we crawled under the wire and ran down to the other end of the pasture and scattered the heads of grain. After the horses began to eat we went back to the house, leaving the bars of a lot down. When we went into the house and closed the doors, there were little sparks of electricity all through the room just like sassafras wood sparks from an open fire place popping from the fire. The lightning got continually worse. We took the metal hairpins out of our hair and I took off my corset which had steel staves in it, put on our night dress and settled into a fifty pound feather bed. My daughter put her arms around me. I said, do not do that dear, if I am struck and killed it will kill you too. She cried, Mama if you are killed I do not want to live. So we lay clasped in each other arms until the bad electrical display had passed over, which seemed at least an hour. That is the most terrible experience that I have ever gone through with. That was perhaps in 1914 or 1915.

I think that it was in 1910 that we had a very severe snow storm. It was necessary for my father to send some money to the bank. He saw a man who was going to Clovis from Grady so he gave the money to him. That night after he had given the money to the man he heard of some of his dishonest dealings, so he awoke me about twelve o'clock, and told me to get a horse from the stable and lead him to my brother-in-laws about three quarters of a mile and tell my brother to go to Grady and get the money and take it himself.

The snow had been on the ground for seven weeks, and the reason I had to lead the horse, the ice was so slippery that my father was afraid for me to ride. I had to go across the pasture and open the gates. I was nearly frozen when I arrived. I woke the family and my brother-in-law set out for Grady at once. My sister begged me to stay until morning, but I knew that my father would be uneasy, so after resting a half hour, and drinking some coffee, I started home. Just outside the yard gate, I heard the wolves, but I went on. I found a stick and waved them back, but they came to within fifteen feet of me. I waved the stick and flung my bonnet around my head several times and yelled at them. I was at the pasture gate and I thought that they would get me, but as I went through, I yelled at them and threw the stick and ran with all my might to the house. The wolves were famished for they could find nothing to eat in the the two or three feet snow. They had eaten several young calves and colts in the pastures and human flesh would taste just as good to them. They attacked some school children at San Jon a small school not far away, but the older children fought them off.

During the same time my sister and I climbed a snow bank fifteen feet high to reach a feed stack on the other side. At one end of the stack the snow was not very deep. We would tie a rope around the bundle of feed and lift  it up. I would hold the feed and she would climb a little farther up. During the snow storm, a ferocious  Jersey bull that was chained in a pen was covered up in about five feet of snow except just a breathing hole. We had to dig down and get the chain, and turn him loose. We shoveled the snow from around him  and by the time we got him out of the snow some of the fight was taken out of him. Stock suffered  greatly that year and several different times we have had some severe snows. I taught school several miles from home and often I have had to shovel two or three feet from out of the schoolroom before I could even get a fire built.

My brother-in-law, W. I Simms, was offered some lambs from the De Oliveria ranch near Grady. There was not much feed for the sheep and the snow was so deep that the sheep could not graze, so if the owners kept the lamb they run the risk of loosing both ewes and lambs. So they gave the lambs to Mr. Simms if he wanted them. He took a number home with him. He had five good cows, and letting these lambs milk the cows was easier than to milk them himself or to try to feed the lambs. So he built two platforms far enough for the cows to walk between and just right for the lambs to stand on and he would drive the cows between the opening and then turn the orphan lambs in on the platform. I have always been sorry that I did  not have a camera. Each lamb knew its place at the table. In this way the cows got a milking about three times a day. I am not sure, but the wagging of the lamb's tails would have frustrated the camera man. He had a flock of twenty of these lambs that spring.

Yes, I enjoy the work in the museum. There is a great deal to do, but it is interesting and I am classifying the different sections, and have a great deal of information written about the different archaeological find especially those of recent discovery in New Mexico. Some of the out of state visitors say that it is the best one, museum they have seen in a town of this kind. Mrs. Maxwell is a very interesting person and is glad to give any information that she has concerning the Clovis Museum. Mrs. Maxwell is a very interesting person and is glad to give any information that she has concerning the Clovis Museum.