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Family History Stories Paraphrased
Page 3 of 38

Buster Degraftenreid
C. D. Bonney
Captain Jason W. James
Captain Smith H. Simpson
Cattle Shipping and Trading Posts
Cecelia Richards Alvarez and stories
Charles C. Geek
Charles C. Roberts
Charles D. Mayer

Begin Family Histories:

Buster Degraftenreid
By Mrs. Belle Kilgore
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Curry
Surnames mentioned: Degraftenreid, Creed, Causey, Geronimo

I called on Mr. Degraftenreid last Monday. He was asleep. He has been feeling ill ever since the Pioneer Day Celebration at Clovis the first days of June. He came out on the porch with a smile on his face and a brown cigarette paper in his hand. I had met him several days before at Clovis, and had asked for an interview.

I do not recall very much about my family, but we have been on the move westward ever since the first of the Degraftenreids came to America from England. They went from North Carolina, to South Carolina then to Kentucky where I was born, from there to Arkansas and to Grayson, county near Carpenters Bluff, Texas. There were three brothers in my grandfather's family, John Creed, my grandfather and Solman.

We came to Texas in company with several other families a among them were Pa Rogers. My wife was a Rogers and we were sweethearts when we were children, but my father moved farther west and I did not see her for fifteen years. We came out to New Mexico about 1881, some say the year that Billy the Kid was killed, and settled near Alamogordo Creek not far from Fort Sumner.

It was about 1882 that I spent the winter with George and John Causey, who were buffalo hunters. Well, there were not many buffaloes left. For the years of 1875 to 1880 were the great years of buffalo hunting. This year, 1882, the buffaloes were scarce and did not run in great herds like they did in 1875 to 1880. But I told that to man from the Clovis paper and you get that from him.

One year I went over into the mountains beyond Roswell and coming back through them canyons I had to go up a canyon. I was away from the rest of the boys, I think I was over near the White mountains and Capitan. Anyway I was horseback and as it was getting late I had to get somewhere to stay all night. I saw a smoke and thought it would be a camp of Indians. When I came up I knew it was the Geronimo Indians. I went up to the camp the tepees were built in a circle, and in the center was a fire. There were about forty or fifty Indians and I did not know what to do. I finally screwed up enough courage to ask if I could stay all night. I could talk Spanish and they seemed to understand me. After a few minutes the chief came out and I asked him if I could stay all night. He looked me over and asked me where I had been where, was going and several other questions. I got off my horse, and the Indians standing took by gun off me and off the horse, before I knew what they were doing. I turned to the chief and said, You said I could stay all night with you and I am looking to you for protection. The old chief said some thing in his Indian language then they all became very friendly. he then said that I could sleep in his tepee. I walked up to the fire where several Indian bucks were. I noticed that my horse had been turned loose. I looked around very anxiously, but the Indians said that my horse would be there in the morning. We then stood around the fire, watching the boys cooking. They had big hunks of meat stuck on sticks and holding them over the fire, browning them. They looked good and smelt better. I was tired and hungry and anything would have tasted good to me. I stepped up behind an young Indian caught him by the shoulder, pulled him back and took his stick with the meat on it and began to eat, before he realized what had been done. He looked purty mad for a minute, but as the others were yelling and laughing, he began to laugh, too, and then got him another piece of meat and started to cook it. They had come very good coffee.

After awhile the Indian were all going off to hunt. I said that I did not know how to hunt deer, so Geronimo said that I could wait 'til tomorrow and he would show me how. We soon went to bed in the tepee. I asked about my horse but they said he would be there in the morning.

We went into the tepee and there was a big bed of coals in the center of the tent and on each side of the tent were beds of grass and skins. The chief and his two squaws slept on one side of the tepee and I on the other side of the fire. They put the flap down and when the fir went out some one would build it up. It was so hot in there that you could sleep without any thing on. We went to bed but not to sleep much and I was up by the crack of day. The others were up out around the fire.

The Indians began to go around in twos and threes and soon disappeared. I asked what they were doing, the Indian chief said that they were going to hunt elk. He asked me if I could hunt elk I told him that I could not. Well, you go with me, I show you how. I walked more than a mile and a half, and he turned to me, and said gruffly, You don't know to hunt deer.

He would walk five feet and stoop and squat and then walk seven feet and do the same thing. Not a sound of anything could be heard when he walked on his moccasins, but the would crack under my feet and the thorns would scratch on my pants and the Indian would show that he was mad. We did not get any deer and went back to the tepees.

There was great excitement in camp when we got back, The Indians were talking and were looking at me with angry faces. I did not know what to make of it. A horse had come in with his saddle on and his bridle reins upon the horse's neck. All were looking at me suspiciously. They began to ask me questions and if I had anybody with me. I knew I was in a bad fix. If some one has shot that Indian from his horse, they would think that it was some one with me. If he was found dead my life would not be worth a dime. I looked around for my horse but he was gone. Everything was getting dangerous like, and I again began to tell the truth that I had been with some of the ranchers over near the Capitan and White mountains and was going back to Roswell. After awhile the other Indians who had been out looking for the missing one, came and had him with them. They were laughing at him. He said that he got down quickly to shoot a deer and forgot to take the reins of his horse's neck an and the horse ran away from him and came back to camp. It seemed as if they could not rag him enough about it. But I was surely relieved. By gosh, my life would not been worth the snap of my finger, if that danged old buck had been found dead. They never would have believed me. Well, everything was pleasant again. I staid that day for an eagle hunt.

The Indians never kill an eagle, unless they want the beak and claws. They find a high bald rock with a crevice in it and place sticks and brush over the crevice. An Indian gets in the crack and places himself so as he cannot be seen. He holds up a stick with a rabbit or some small live animal on it and moves it up and down. An eagle will sight it away off high in the air. He will began to make large circles flying lower and lower each time making smaller circles and finally with a swift downward swoop grab the rabbit, but as quick as he is the hidden Indian is quicker and zip, the Indian's free hand grabs the eagle by the feet and it is impossible to get away from that death grip of the Indian.

They use the feathers for decoration and know just how to pull the feathers out without injuring the shafts or tearing the skins. When the Indians have all the feathers from an eagle they want, they turn him loose. He can fly away for they leave the necessary feathers for him to fly with. They keep the eagles sometimes and feed him so that his feathers are brighter than when they caught him. The Hanted Cabin Yes, there are quite a few stories about ghosts and Hants over in the Cuneva country. That country lies southwest of here and is full of rough canyons, some of them are wooded and some of the are bare and rocky. There is a story about a captain and a corporal who always took the pay roll to the soldiers stationed away over in the Indian reservation, I believe it was the Mascaleros or some other tribe, maybe. But there are so many different ones that it does not matter. These Indians were savage and nearly always on the warpath. Then there were some white men that had gone wilder.

At night the Captain and the Corporal would bury the money and one of them sleep with his eye open and take turn about watching the money. Next morning they would take up the money and go. Well, they came to where the soldiers were supposed to be, but there was neither hair nor hide of them. The Captain started back, one night they buried the money and the Indians came up on them unknown, and were prowling all round. The Indians tried to make the men tell where the money was, but the men would not. So the Indians tortured them before they killed the soldiers. It was supposed that the Indians found the money and took it to a cabin. Any way there was a change in the Indians and they seemed to have more horses and showed signs of having got possession of something.

The way these Indians tortured the men would be to cut their veins and let the blood gurgle out the Indians snarling all the time. Some man said he tried to stay in the old cabin and they said they could something water being poured out of a  jug gurgling, and the lamp would not stay lit, and when the light went out, there would be a snarling just like a dog before your face.

Now this cabin was a rock one with one door and one window and nothing could get in only by this door and window. Some of the cowboys said they were going to stay there anyway. So three of them went to stay all night. They went to bed with the light burning, and talked a long time to each one dozing off. They noticed that the light was out and each one supposed that the other one had turned or blew out the light. One of them woke the others. Did you blow out the light? he asked and they said no that they didn't. I heard something he said, I'm going to light the lamp. He lighted the lamp and soon it went our and then a gurgling noise began and the snarling of a dog right in their faces. They got up and run out of the house, but as they got in some cactus, they said, Hell, no ghost is going to keep us away.

So they went back toward the cabin and it was dark and quiet, They went in lighted the lamp and went to bed, they did not hear anything, but suddenly the light went out, the gurgling sound began again and the snarling dog was in their faces. They grabbed their clothes and one of them said, Hell, if there is a ghost, just let him have it. And the boys did not ever try to sleep in the cabin anymore. But others have been lost in that country and when they would try to stay there, they would hear that gurgling and snarling. So they say it is haunted by the spirit of the soldiers the Indians killed.

C. D. Bonney
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln, Chaves, Otero, General
Surnames mentioned: Bonney, Lea, Barnett, Scott, Cox, Penn, Garrett

When this investigator on Writers Project District 2, asked C. D. Bonney, old timer of Roswell, for a story of some early day experience, he at first looked amused and then a little reluctant. I had always heard Mr. Bonney never like to talk of his achievements or adventures and it was very apparent he did not like to appear a hero, as many stories told by others prove him to be. Mr. Bonney was one of the first settlers in the Pecos, Valley, coming to Roswell from Mississippi in 1881.

At the time of his coming to Roswell he was a young man, courteous, chivalrous, brave. He made many friends in the valley because of his bravery. He was not afraid to enter into any adventure or any business enterprise planned, during the progress and growth of the town.

In 1881, the year of his coming to Roswell, he purchased an interest in the store owned by Captain J. C. Lea, organizing the firm of Lea, Bonney and Company. This store was across the street from where the court house now stands. The goods for the store came over from Las Vegas by ox wagons. In 1884 Mr. Bonney sold his holdings in the store to Lea, Poe and Cosgrove, and bought a ranch thirty miles west of Roswell on the Hondo River. At one time he owed fifteen head of horses on this ranch.

This bunch of horses and all his ranching interests he sold to R. F. Barnett and engaged in the real estate business. He laid out a tract of 250 town lots, into Riverside Heights. Establishing a power plant on Spring River, he furnished this tract with electric light and water. He then purchased 120 acres west of Roswell which he sold off in five and ten acre tracts.

During the time of the Indian uprisings and raids in connection with all of his business enterprises, he served as Indian scout, under Captain Scott. He can tell of many thrilling experiences with the Indians, and interesting stories of the first stockmen their feuds and fights over grazing lands and the waters of the springs and rivers. Well I guess I am an old timer all right, said Mr. Bonney, when told that we wanted a story preferably of Indians,

I located a mining claim the other day, he continued, a gold mine in Cox canon, about four miles east and a little south of Cloudcroft in the Sacramento mountains. I named this mine The Fifty-five, for that day, June 4th was the anniversary of my arrival in Roswell fifty-five years ago. Mr. Bonney rose and closed the door against the hot wind of the first real warm day of this summer of 1936. When he turned to resume his seat there was a little twinkle in his eye.

So you want a story about Indians do you? Well I could tell quite a few. One of them is of the time we chased a band of Indians on just such a hot day as this some hotter it was in July, in 1882. Mr. Bonney resumed his seat. Quiet a moment, he gazed on an oil painting a splendid picture of an Indian. The painting was done by Mr. Bonney, his wife, who is an artist whose pictures would grace, and be outstanding for its life like naturalness in any art collection in New Mexico, or in the United States. Mr. Bonney was remembering, thinking of what would be interesting to tell of trails of adventure he had traveled in the beginning of his life, on the plains, when a young man, over half a century ago.

One night, about nine o'clock, he finally resumed, we were sitting out in front of the hotel, it was the first hotel built in Roswell, and it was in front of where the court house is today. It was just a four room adobe house, owned by Captain J. C. Lea. Paying guests slept in the attic upstairs. We were enjoying the cool evening breeze, when an orderly came with a message from Captain Scott, to come down to their camp. Captain Scott had just arrived with a troop of cavalry. I had known Captain Scott before that time, in Fort Stanton, said Mr. Bonney. I went down to his encampment and the first thing he said to me was Bonney have you seen any Indians around here lately? I told him I had seen some, early that very morning, at Bitter Creek, which is ten miles northeast of Roswell and Captain Scott said, Bonney, you must go with me, we just have to get those Indians! If I don't catch them I will be court marshaled. He then told me that a runner had overtaken him at Picacho that day with orders for him to go back to Colfax County and turn his command over to Lieutenant Penn.

Lieutenant Penn had just arrived from West Point. There had been and Indian uprising over in the northern part of the state. If I catch those Indians, Bonney, it will be O. K. even if I did disobey orders, by coming on here, but if I don't catch them well, I will be court marshaled. That's the way of the world, one is rarely ever given the credit for trying, for doing their level best, but achievements bring glory and one is overwhelmed with honors and praise.

Well, continued Mr. Bonney, I told Captain Scott I would go with him, but he would have to leave his buglers behind, for you could never catch Indians with a noise like they made. I told him to select five of his best tried men and to leave the rest in Roswell, and at 2 o'clock the next morning to send me one of his best horses, I had my own saddle, bridle and gun. He was to send the horse where the corner of Vain and Third Streets now is. Captain Scott's encampment was in an old corral a block north, about what is now Main and Second Street. Captain Scott did send a good horse. We left Roswell at 2 A. M. and crossed Comanche Draw at sunup, where we struck the Indians' trail. We pressed on and caught up with them, just outside of the sands, between Comanche Draw and Mescalero Springs. The Indians made a stand in the sand hills. It looked for a while like we would have to shoot it out with them. They were part Comanches and part Apaches forty-seven in all. One old Indian, the leader, threw up his gun to fire on Captain Scott. I saw him just in time to throw my gun on the Indian who then was afraid to shoot. I got down walked around, and made a quick grab and got his fine gun and the old fellow came at me with a knife. We finally got the knife away. Then there we were standing in that hot July sun, which about cooked us, when Scott walked up and said Bonney, you saved my life. but you better not put that in, said Mr. Bonney. Why not, I thought, for he deserved all credit for the capture of those marauding Indians. If Captain Scott had been killed the Indians would have make short work in taking the other six of the little detachment of soldiers, and would have gone free to raid and plunder at will.

Well, continued Mr. Bonney, we then disarmed all the Indians, who soon gave up, after we had caught their leader, and they had pretty good guns too. We went on over to Mescalero Springs and camped all night. We divided the Comanches from the Mescaleros and sent the Comanches to Fort Sill and took the Apaches back to Mescalero Reservation. Yes, we got them, and every thing was O. K. for Scott, I guess. He wasn't courtmartialed even though he didn't turn his command over to Lieutenant Penn as ordered. Lieutenant Penn was afterwards made General and was here as inspector of the New Mexico Military Institute. Captain Scott was afterwards made Major General.

We didn't have such good luck every time we went out after Indians, said Mr. Bonney, One time a band of Comanches stoke fifty horses from a corral in Capitan mountains and came out to Mescalero Springs. We got so hot on their trail, the Indians stabbed twenty-seven of the horses when they tired out. Fourteen of them died. The Indians watered at Mescalero Springs and completely disappeared. We had brought no water or provisions and had to turn back. A party headed by Pat Garrett found some of the band, and horses, and brought back moccasins and things as evidence, we asked no questions those days we knew better but we surmised a great deal. Anyway no more horses were stolen.

Just after those times of uprisings, continued Mr. Bonney, I met a young lady, Sara Lund, who was teaching the first school ever taught in Roswell, and I can tell you I pursued her, more than I did any Indians, and the money I made as Indian scout went to buy our engagement ring. We were married in 1887. Things have been peaceful and happy all the years since that time.

Captain Jason W. James
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves
Surnames mentioned: James, Lea, Henderson, Kellahin, Urton, Willson

Captain Jason W. James was born in Lexington, Missouri April 28, 1843. When he was a lad eight or nine years old his father went to California, where he died about 1852, leaving his widow and four sons: Thomas Charles, Jason W., William C., and John W. Each boy, though at an age when they should have been in school, was compelled to assume responsibilities and do a strong man's work on their farm. Jason, who afterwards was known throughout the State of Louisiana as Captain Jason W. James, one of the bravest soldiers in service of the South during the Civil War,  had only the education he could master during a half term every winter, until he was fifteen years old. He worked the rest of the time at what jobs he could secure at such an early age.

In the spring of 1858 he was employed by Shelby and Morton to go to Salt Lake Valley in Utah, with an ox wagon train bearing supplies for the government soldiers, sent to the scene of murders and troubles caused by the Mormons. General Shelby afterwards of the Confederate Army, had known Jason James all of his life, and understood the integrity and dauntless spirit of the lad, whom he knew would assume his share of the work with the strongest of the men employed by him for the outfit.

There were no railroads west of the Missouri River at that time and the government had established forts or garrisons in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Arizona and other parts of the West, as a protection against Indians. Provisions and army supplies were sent out by wagon trains from the Missouri River points, which were mostly drawn by oxen taking from four to seven months to haul one load and return. The wagon train assigned to Jason James was loaded at the outfit establishment between Leavenworth City and Fort Leavenworth. Seven months of almost unbelievable hardships passed before he returned again to his home in Missouri.

The next spring, in 1859, in spite of the hardships, danger and suffering form frozen feet and legs he had undergone on his first trip, he started with another outfit over the old trail. Gold had been discovered late in the fall of 1858, near Pike Pike's Peak. Gold seekers were on the trail everywhere, in wagons of every description, making the journey less desolate and dangerous. However, no matter how hazardous the journey would have been, Captain James would have taken the trail just as readily as he had begun the trip a year before.

On the 17th of April 1866 Captain James was married to Miss Mary Henderson of Carroll Parish Louisiana. Captain Joseph C. Lea, afterwards of Roswell, New Mexico, was best man and his brother Judge Frank Lea the second of honor in the wedding party. These three men, comrades during fierce battles of the Civil war, renewed old friendship days in Roswell when Captain James came to make that place his home in 1892, where he began the management of the Pecos Valley Improvement and Investment Company in 1893.

Besides his wife and his wife's sister, Miss Nett Henderson, the three daughters of his brother, lived with Captain James in Roswell. After the death of their father W.C. James and mother Bettie James, the three girls were raised and educated by Captain James. Lily, Mrs. Robert Kellahin of Roswell graduated at Martin College Pulaski, Tennessee before coming to make Roswell her home in 1894. Jennie, Mrs. Robert McClenny of Roswell attended Martin College one year completing her course at N.M.M.I. at Roswell. Bess who married Ben Urton of Roswell) was educated at Weatherford College Texas. Her death, from pneumonia, occurred at Roswell in 1929. The James family after coming to Roswell became leaders in the Church, and club and social life of the city.

Captain James was a brave soldier, a high ranking Mason and a friend to all in need of assistance. His death occurred at his ranch near Uvalde, Texas on September 13, 1933. He lies beside his wife and near his friends and comrades of the Civil War, Captain Joseph and Judge Frank Lea, who are buried at South Park Cemetery near Roswell.

In 1902 Captain James presented the New Mexico Military Institute with twenty 22 caliber target rifles and ammunition for the school's first target practice, and superintended the building of the targets. He was not satisfied that the training of cadets for wars was only marching and manual of arms. Colonel Willson on having medals engraved for marksmanship had then designated as the James Medals, one of these the son of the writer treasures as one of his Institute achievements for marksmanship while a cadet in 1919 A fund was set aside by Captain James for the continuation each year of presentation of the James Medals. by Captain James.

In an address delivered to the cadets by Captain James at one of the presentations of the medals, he said with great feeling that those who heard will never forget, Young men, I now present to you these rifle team medals as an evidence of your splendid work and our appreciation of you. It is for you to see to it that our flag is never dragged in the dirt, never insulted with impunity, nor lowered in defeat to any of the world powers, great or small.

On another occasion, addressing the Masonic Lodge members his words in some portions seemed prophetic of conditions of today: Eternal Vigilance is the price of Liberty; I feel that this beautiful country of ours was never intended to be the world's common property to be used as a dumping ground for the refuse of European Nations. It was reserved by our All Wise Creator, for thousands of years, as a splendid heritage of the Anglo Saxon race and in all probability as an asylum for his favored people the Jews.

In closing this same address he said, and very truthfully: I inherited an interest in this beautiful country from our Revolutionary Fathers. I could in confidence look them in the face and say, I did all that in me lay to preserve and perpetuate for future generations, unsullied and with blemish, the splendid heritage which you left me. What more could any man do for his Country, for his State and for his home City of Roswell, than was done by Captain Jason W. James.

Captain Smith H. Simpson
By James A. Burns
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Taos, General
Surnames mentioned: Simpson, Carson, Williams, Smith, Tendruac, Dusenberry, Reynolds, Bublein, Botts, Valdez, Randall, Cloutier, Martinez, Gusdorf, Glove, Dunn, Gonzales, Anderson

A Pioneer from New York
From the sidewalks of New York to the Gila monster's den
From the falls of Minnehaha to the Lakes of Ponchartrain,
He fought the savage Indian in the hills and on the plain.

To paraphrase the old Church hymn and the marching song of the leather necked U.S. Marines, such has been the range of adventure of one New York boy who finally settled in Taos , helped Kit Carson fight Indians in western New Mexico and Arizona, and helped the Territory of New Mexico and the village of Taos to struggle through the strenuous and sometime painful period of transition from the old Spanish rule and the misrule of the Mexican Republic, to the more settled conditions of the twentieth century, when the three races, Indians, Spanish American and Anglos, with their old leaders and their old prejudices and grudges both buried in the sun baked adobe soil of New Mexico, can now live in peace and amity, hardly to be ruffled by the ranting of some small calibre politicians at election times. 

One of the men who contributed to the growth of a more friendly feeling between the two dominant races by his uncompromising patriotism and personal probity was Captain Smith H. Simpson, a native of New York City who found his way to Taos and New Mexico long before the artists and the sightseeing tourists ever heard of the place.

Smith H. Simpson was born in New York City, May 8, 1836, the son of Charles Henry Simpson, a commission merchant of New York City. His paternal grandfather was a Revolutionary soldier and crossed the Delaware with Washington and took part in the Battle of Trenton. This grandfather afterwards married a Miss M. A. Williams and settled in New York City, where later they both died and were buried in one of the city cemeteries.

Young Smith lost both parents through an epidemic of cholera in 1849 when he was only thirteen years of age. In this same year he was apprenticed by relatives to James H. Chilton, a manufacturing chemist of New York City, in whose employment he remained for a year or two. Just at this time came the reports of the discovery of gold in California, that faraway and almost unknown land acquired from Mexico a few short years before.

No doubt the city bred boy, working and playing about the streets of New York and seeing men and sailing ships leaving the docks of the East River for a long arduous trip around the Horn to the new El Dorado, was fired with the same spirit of adventure that prompted his ancestors to leave England and brave the perils of the Atlantic to seek their fortunes in the American Colonies.

Leaving New York City, his first venturing during his years of his young manhood, took him to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. He worked at various employments to pay expenses and finally reached New Orleans, where he obtained employment with the Quartermaster's Department of the Navy. He remained there until 1852, where his travels in the line of duty took him from New Orleans to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, to Montana and down the Missouri and finally to Santa Fe.

While in St. Louis he met Upton D. Tendruac, Chief Clerk for Major Samuel Dusenberry, Chief Quartermaster for the Army in New Mexico. Tendruac employed young Simpson as second clerk, and they came to Santa Fe, where Smith H. worked from September, 1853, until October, 1854. This seems to have been the deciding event in the career of young Simpson.

Leaving the area for a while, he came to Taos shortly before the Civil War, and tried to settle down to the more uneventful life of a farmer and merchant. But except for short absences while in Government work, practically all the rest of his life was spent in New Mexico and after the Civil War, he made Taos his home until the time of his death. In 1855 the Ute War in northwestern New Mexico and southeastern Utah broke out and drew Simpson into active service. In the spring of that year he enlisted as a Commissary Sergeant and served until July, when the trouble was over and he was discharged.

Returning to the Quartermaster's Department of the Army, he was placed on special duty and ran a government express for the army and delivered supplies to army posts all over the eastern slope of the Rockies from Montana to New Mexico. He continued in this service for over two years until September, 1857. During the winter of 1857 to 1858 he took a vacation and spent about six months in Mexico City.

Returning to the states in the spring of 1858, he made a trip back to his old home in New York City to visit relatives and, then ran into an old army comrade, A.W. Reynolds, who persuaded him to take a trip to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, outside of St. Paul. He again reentered the service and for awhile was in command of a steamboat carrying supplies to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, now the site of the Federal penitentiary. Returning to Santa Fe, he served as second clerk under Captain Wm. Van Bublein until the fall of 1859 but remained in Santa Fe until the spring of 1860.

Just when Simpson first saw Taos is not known, though he evidently had visited the town in the course of his military duties. Deciding to leave the army and settle down, he moved to Taos in the spring of 1860, bought some land south of town and engaged in farming and stock raising until the spring of 1863. He seemed fated to get no rest. Just as he was fairly settled as a peaceful farmer at Taos and was thinking of getting married and building a home, he was again called from the plow, like the Cincinnatus of old, to command troops in his country's wars.

Prompted no doubt by the withdrawal of Federal troops from New Mexico and Arizona, to take part in the Civil War in the Southern States further east, the Navajos and Apaches in western New Mexico as well as and Simpson were called back into active service. this this time as he was a Captain of Scouts and Spies. Having , having under his command loyal Indians and veteran soldiers.

He served in this capacity from 1863 to 1866. His campaigns brought him in contact with the famous Kit Carson and carried him all over the southwestern part of the state and down the Gila River to the White River and San Carlos reservations and to the vicinity of Phoenix.

The Civil War being finally ended and the volunteer troops being replaced by regulars of the U.S. Army, the Indians finally gave up their raids for a time at least, and Captain Simpson and his troop were finally ordered back to Albuquerque, where they were mustered out in September, 1864. Captain Simpson had been wounded at various times during the three years of fighting Indians but not seriously incapacitated by any of his wounds.

He again returned to Taos, hoping that his army days were over and that he could now return to the peaceful life of a farmer. He did so, and engaged in farming until 1872 when the influx of new people and money from the East presented fresh opportunities and he went into the land real estate business, buying and selling land in the Spanish grants in the Taos Valley.

Captain Simpson first became acquainted with Kit Carson in the early 1850's on one of his trips to Taos on army business for the Quartermaster's Department and these two strong outstanding men, though of contrasting temperaments, soon became strong friends and served together in various campaigns against the hostile Indians between 1855 and 1862.

The friendship was renewed after Simpson's return to Taps in 1866, and became so strong, that when Carson lay on his death bed at Ft. Lyon, Colorado, almost his last words were Tell Simpson and Botts, Carson's clerk that I want to be buried at Taos. His trust was not misplaced and in 1869, about a year after Carson's death, Captain Simpson, through his Masonic and G.A.R. affiliations, was instrumental in having Carson's remains brought by ox team from Ft. Lyon, himself going to La Veta and guiding the caravan the remainder of the way to Taos, Carson was finally and permanently buried in the cemetery in Taos now named for him.

A year or two later, Captain Simpson was instrumental in getting Carleton Post No. 3, G.A.R. of Santa Fe, to erect a monument over Carson's grave and construct a fence around the lot. Captain Simpson continued in the farming and land business until 1900 when he gradually retired. Later he devoted his time to his patriotic activities. He erected a flag pole in the center of the Plaza of Taos and for years personally attended to the duty of raising and lowering the flag each morning and evening. He was active in promoting the observance of Memorial Day and often lectured to the school children on patriotic subjects.

After returning from his Indian campaigns In 1866, and finally hanging up his sword for good and all, Captain Simpson married Miss Josefita Valdez, daughter of a prominent Spanish American family and built the house later occupied by one of his daughters, Mrs. Ben. C. Randall. His wife died in 1907. Six children were born of this marriage, however, to carry on the traditions.

Mrs. Anna Cloutier, now married to Epemenio Martinez and now living at Wagon Mound. Henry of Wagon Mound, New Mexico. Mrs. Ben G. Randall, now living at Las Vegas, New Mexico. Mrs. Albert Gusdorf. Living in Taos. Samuel Glove, Arizona, He lived long enough to hold several of his grand children on his knees and there are now several of his great grand children living in Taos, and Las Vegas, New Mexico and Los Angeles, California.

La Reivsta Revista de Taos, Taos Review, at the time of his death, wrote a very eulogistic article on the career of Captain Simpson and testified to the esteem in which he was held by both Anglo and Spanish American people of Taos. From old timers in Taos who knew him in his later years, between 1900 and 1916. He is described as a man of medium height, and stocky build. He wore a mustache and imperial and his gray hair rather long after the fashion of Civil War times. In appearance he was a typical Civil War veteran. Not much is related of humorous incidents in his career. He was abrupt in his manner and brusque, sometimes violent and profane in his speech and very positive in his opinions. The few people remaining who knew him in his earlier and more active days testify to his rugged manliness and innate kindness of heart and ascribe any roughness in his manners or speech to his long years spent in bossing bullwhackers and freight teamsters in his old army days.

Captain Simpson died April 3, 1916, being just a month less than eighty years of age. His funeral was held three days later and conducted by Bent Lodge, No. 1, A.F. & A.M. of Taos and Carleton Post No. 3, G.A.R. of Santa Fe and by common consent all the store closed and the whole town turned out for the funeral. He is buried in Kit Carson Cemetery near his old friend and comrade of Indian fighting days.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION Factual date to 1895 compiled from Illustrated History of New Mexico. Lewis Publishing Company Chicago, 1895. Report of his funeral, names of children, from La Rivssta Revista de Taos, April 7, 1915. Personal characteristics from conversations with R. E. Anderson, John E. Dunn, Enrique Gonzales end others. The writer has been hampered in the collection of information about this subject by the lack of cooperation on the part of the family of the Captain. This accounts for the scarcity of information us to his personal characteristics for which I have had to rely on outsiders. 

Cattle Shipping and Trading Posts
By Georgia B. Redfield
Sources: J. F. Hinkle
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves, Lincoln, General
surnames mentioned: Hinkle, Curry, Brown, Stone, Chisum

From 1885, until the middle nineties Roswell was the cattle center for all the spring roundups and spring drives to shipping points.  Roundup wagons and cattle and cowboys in their high heeled boots, leather chaps and ten gallon hats, would come in from the range from as far north as Fort Sumner, and south as Pecos City Texas a distance of about two hundred and fifty miles. Some of them often had not seen a woman, or a post office or store for as long as six months or more. Roswell the blow off town with its one adobe store lighted by two kerosene lamps with tin reflectors at the back, which were hung at each end of the store, one near the post office which was run in a corner of the store, and one hotel of the town also constructed of adobe, seemed a City of Bright Lights to the carefree cowboys so long away from civilization.

The ones who had not disposed of their monthly wage from twenty-five to thirty dollars would usually engage a room at the hotel, which would be a bed in the attic which was sleeping quarters for all guests. Cowboys, doctors, lawyers and an occasional Territorial Governor, George Curry, would share the conveniences or inconveniences, with no favorites shown no matter what their social standing might be. If there were any church meetings during round up times in Roswell or Belen, it made little difference which to the cowboys, they would be there literally with bells on jingling spurs which they never removed for church service, or the dance. On one occasion, during the song service at church, when the organist Miss Mabel Brown, or John Stone's little daughter. They took turns at the organ started out in a beginning of the offertory a cowboy solemnly rose to his feet, nearly every one thought to sing but instead, much to the amusement of the congregation, he selected a clear space and began to jig, or danced the clog. Having had a little too much to drink, after seeing his dance was seemingly appreciated, it was a hard job to get him to dance, and a chance to pass the hat. Needless to say, the hat was pretty well filled by the tipsy cowboy as well as his companions, who always contributed the lion's share of the collection.

On another occasion, during a revival meeting conducted by Evangelist Abe, which the writer of this article attended, in the spring of 1894, the cowboys gave liberally toward the collection for paying expenses of the meeting, then the cowboy who had danced in church some months before, seized the largest of the ten gallon hats, and took up a collection for the church bell. It became known throughout Chaves County as, The Cowboy Bell, and may be seen today occupying a place of honor on the lawn of the Church South, on the high terraced corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Second Street.

When the roundup came to town, it was hailed so enthusiastically with shouts of joy from the young people The roundup's Coming!, as I remember shouting, when a child on the Mississippi River when a boat appeared The steamboat's Coming! for the chuck wagon dinners or suppers, if one was fortunate enough to stand in favor with the cowboys, and knew they would receive invitations to then, were looked forward to eagerly by both young and old people of Roswell.

The round up wagon, chuck, is served at the noon meal, on pioneers day at the end of the trail or parade, during the fall every year in Roswell, and the barbecued beef and mutton, son of a gun, ice cream and coffee, served to the old timers is hard to beat, but somehow it lacks something in the flavor that can not be reproduced of the old chuck wagon meals of stews, prunes, frijoles and sourdough biscuit cooked on a campfire, by a chuck wagon cook.

There was a down turn in the cattle business in 1887, and during the fall of that year the C A Bar Cattle Company, J. Hinkle being manager drove a herd of cattle to Texas and shipped them to Chicago and the didn't much more than pay the freight, and for the next few years it was almost impossible to sell cattle at any price, said James Hinkle.

One party about that time shipped a train load of steers to market and they called on him for the drive. During those years we drove one and often two herds of around fifteen to twenty hundred head to market each year and the average price was eleven and fourteen dollars for one, old steers.

Compared with the price in 1868 that John Chisum received, averaging eighteen dollars a head, it seems that the cattle business was not very promising and comparing John Chisum's average price per head with the twenty-five to thirty dollars per head paid at the present time, the cattle industry has improved and far ahead of ahead of what it ever was in the Southeastern New Mexico

Cecelia Richards Alvarez and stories
By Marie Carter
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Dona Ana, General
Surnames mentioned: Alvarez, Coleman, Miller, Jackman, Story, Scharmen

The day was Sunday. I recall it quite well. Because the neighbor's little girl woke me up to tell me that my cat had, had kittens in her barn. Just why I selected that particular day to go to La Union, in search of a former resident of Anthony, is something I cannot explain. When I knocked at the front door of the woman I sought, there was no response, so I meandered around to the back door, unaware that she was sick in bed. The maid came to the door and opened her mouth to tell me, I feel quite sure, now that I recall her expression, that the doctor did not permit her mistress to see anyone. But just as she was about to utter the fatal words, a tall elderly man shoved her aside and invited me to enter.

Having preceded me as far as the bedroom door, he stepped aside and bowed me into the presence of Cecilia Richards Alvarez, who favored me with a beautiful smile and inquired:

 What is it you wish?


 Regarding whom?



It isn't anything to be alarmed about, I assured her. I merely want to know how long you have been in the Southwest and the year in which you arrived?

 Well I can tell you that in a few words, she said.  I came here with my parents when I was sixteen years of age.


 Yes, to La Union. But in a few months we moved to Anthony, she explained.

 Oh: I see. What year was that?

 1890. I was born in fort Stockton, Texas, she added.

 Do you mind telling me the year?

 Not at all, was her gracious reply. January 25, 1874.

 Now we're going places! I exclaimed.

Her expression was quizzical as she softly murmured:

 Ah, you are young.

 Not as young as I sound, was my retort.

Mrs. Alvarez laughed and came right back at me with:  You'll do.

Would you like to know who sent me to see you? I asked.

 Very much. You see, she added, curiosity is one of my faults.

I must be afflicted the same way, I said, or I wouldn't be here today. But then, I'm drifting away from my main object. I believe I was going to tell you

Who sent you to La Union, she supplied.

Thanks. Well, it was a former neighbor of yours, Mrs. Pat Coleman.

Oh, was it? Her soft low voice throbbed with a note of pleasure.

You must have known Charley Miller, too, I observed.

Yes, I knew him very well. Mr. Miller, Mrs. Story and I were in business on the same street.

I believe that was old main street?

Yes, west of the Santa Fe tracks. The present main street was a mere wagon road. Anthony was a stopping place for travelers. Mr. Royal Jackman was the station agent. A man by the name of Scott was the first postmaster. He carried the mail on horseback. Charley Miller ran a store and a flour mill. And the Pat Coleman's had a sheep ranch.

I suppose farming was the chief occupation? Yes, but the farmers were often discouraged. The Rio Grande was muy furioso. She lapsed into Spanish; then continued in perfect English:  There was a flood almost every spring. The Mexicans were very brave though and patiently rebuilt their farms and homes over and over again. We used to ford the river or cross on crude rafts.

Didn't the people ever try to build a bridge? I asked.

Oh, yes, but the river would rise and wash them away. The year after I was married the flood damaged our ranch to the amount of five thousand dollars.

Did you marry someone in Anthony? I quizzed.

No. I married Mr. Alvarez, a rancher of La Union.

If you don't mind telling me, I should like to hear about your engagement and wedding. For I think the old Spanish engagements were very romantic. You refer to the prendorio, or engagement announcement. I think we took marriage more seriously in the old days. As, no doubt you know, there are slight variations in the old customs of every country. So it was with the prendorio. Some families discarded the letter, but my family, or to be exact, the boy's family, adopted it. The parents of my future husband wrote a letter to my parents which they presented in person, asking them for their consent to the marriage of their son to me. Fifteen days later my parents wrote a similar letter, which they presented in person, to the boy's parents in which they gave their consent.

Did you your parents give a reception?

Oh, yes, and it lasted all day. While my parents received their guests I remained hidden in another room. And, during the reception, refreshments were served. When it came time for the boy's parents to enter, they left their son outside. Finally they called me in; then they called the boy in.

Were you embarrassed?

Very much, she replied. If my face was as red as my ears felt, I am sure that it was the color of a poinsettia.

Did the boy bring you a gift?

Si, senora, la cajita bonita! she said.

A pretty little box, eh? Well, what did it contain? Now you have me curious.

No more so than I was, she laughed. Upon opening that pretty little box I fairly gasped with surprise. Of course I expected jewelry, but not as beautiful as the pieces I received; they were family heirlooms.

Accepting the gift was accepting the boy, so he placed a diamond engagement ring upon my finger. Then, after my father announced our engagement to the guests, congratulations followed. The ladies remained inside but the men went outside and celebrated by shooting off guns in our honor.

Cecilia Richards: Born in Fort Stocton, Texas, January 25, 1874; moved to Pecos with parents; moved from Pecos to La Union; moved from La Union to Anthony, New Mexico, 1890. Attended Loretto Academy, Las Cruces, New Mexico; Father was English, mother Spanish; Married Deonicio Dennis Alvarez; Husband born in La Union, which used to be called, Amoles, after the roots of the palm Plant from which the natives made soap. Mrs. Alvarez is the mother of Cruz Richards Alvarez, Attorney of Old Mesilla; Joe Richards Alvarez of La Union; Edward Richards Alvarez of La Union; Estella Richards Alvarez, who is now Mrs. P. Scharmen, Country Club in El Paso.

Amoles: roots of the Spanish palm, a fungas from which soap can be made. Can also be used for soap in its raw state, by soaking it in water for about an hour, after which time it forms a lather. Mexicans liked it better than any other kind of soap for washing wool blankets. Furioso: furious, and la cajita bonita, pretty little box. Prendorio: engagement announcement.

Charles C. Geck
By Marie Carter
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Dona Ana
Surnames mentioned: Geck, Weir, Miller, Provincio, Coleman, Alvarez, Valdez, Enriquez,  Benevides, Apadoca, Estella

In recalling the early days of Dona Ana County Charles C. Geck of Anthony, New Mexico, said, I was born in the family home where my father, W.C.P. Geck was born before me, and where my grandfather Geck lived a life time. I say a life time because he came to this country so very long ago. He came to America from Germany almost ninety year ago. Our house is one of the oldest houses in the town of Dona Ana; it is in good condition and occupied by my Aunt, Mrs. W.C. Weir.

In mentioning his grandfather Mr. Geck said: Grandfather Geck was a trader and a merchant. In the early days, when a shipment of merchandise was ordered, the merchants never know when they were going to receive it, if at all, for the Indians would ambush the pack trains and wagons, murder the drivers, rob the caravan and burn the wagons. My grandfather told me many an exciting tale of the early days. I sometimes thought that he knew everything, and that he was the wisest man in the whole world. No matter what I wished to know he could tell me something about it.

Mr. Geck's parents craved new scenes. So they piled their household goods in the old covered wagon and headed for Las Cruces, he said. That was in 1888. Las Cruces was a mere village. Then my parents left Las Cruces and went to La Union. The reason people moved up and down the valley in the old days was because the Rio Grande wouldn't let them remain in one place. It was like a mad dog at their heels. They would no sooner get settled then it would rise and flood them out. During the flood of 1905 the valley was covered with water from San Miguel to White Spur, where the El Paso Electric Light power house stands.

Mr. Geck paused then resumed: My parents, who had moved from La Union to Vinton, not far from White Spur, were forced to move to Chamberino. There, in Chamberino, it was not so good either, for as soon as they would plant their crops the Rio Grande would rise and wash their seed away. It was a common sight to see some poor rancher's adobe dwelling floating down the river; they couldn't bother about their homes when it was all they could do to save their lives. I think the Rio Grande should have been called Mad River. During the flood of 1905 the Provincio family and other ranchers had to come to town to shop on skiffs. Por Dios, it was an ocean! The Provincios are some of the very early pioneers. Louis Provincio, Nemecio's son, married my sister Alvina. In 1902 my parents moved to Anthony.

In speaking of employment Mr. Geck said: Work was scarce in the old days. I would work for fifty cents a day and sometimes had to take my wages out in trade. Farmers ploughed with a small hand plough and cut wheat with a scythe. The principal crops were wheat, corn, frijoles, (beans) and alfalfa. The old Santa Fe Office was a small adobe house west of the Santa Fe tracks. This whole valley was bosque or woodland with trees nothing but trees everywhere; we were kept pretty busy clearing the land. But in the old days neighbor helped neighbor, and to say how much do I owe you, would have been and insult, for when your time came they would all flock to your ranch and lend a helping hand.

In comparing old main street with new main street Mr. Geck observed: The old business street is very quiet and the new business street is noisy with traffic in the old days it was a wagon road. Charley Miller built and ran the first store on the old business street west of the Santa Fe tracks. And this same man gave me my first job in Anthony. His store was next to Mrs. O.C. Story's place of business.

Resuming the subject of the old business street Mr. Geck said; We were proud of the old street. Mr. and Mrs. Pat Coleman ran a boarding house until Mrs. O. C. Story bought the house they lived in. Then the Coleman's moved to Chamberino and started a sheep ranch. Mrs. Story, who had a sick husband, also ran a boarding house. But at a later date she quit keeping boarders and started a notion store, which was the foundation for the dry goods store she runs today on U.S. Highway 80, or the Broadway of America.

In speaking of the boarding house business Mr. Geck explained: Anthony was a stopping place for travelers that's the reason so many of the towns folks kept boarders. Mr. and Mrs. Alvarez ran a boarding house after they lost heavily in the flood of 1905. The Alvarez family lived in the house at the north end of the street, where Judge and Mrs. Smith live at the present time.

In the course of his conversation Mr. Geck mentioned the Valdez family of La Union, saying: Mrs. Valdes was born in La Union. Her people were among the first to colonize this valley. They are connected with my family by marriage. Before her marriage, Mrs. Valdez was an Enriquez. Her brother, Emeilia Enriquez, married one of my sisters. Por Dios! he chuckled, we are like a chain letter.

When asked about the style of houses built by the early settlers Mr. Geck replied: Since we had plenty of trees we used them to build pole houses. The poles were placed straight up and down and then plastered in between with adobe mud. We used poles for our ceilings, too. Then we whitewashed the house inside and out. The floors of our houses were plain dirt. Americans and Mexicans, we all fared alike in the old days. Gradually people began to build houses out of adobe, which were warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

They had good times in the old days. Innocent fun. Mr. Geck called it. We had picnics, barbecues, dances, chuck wagon suppers and rodeos. The last rodeo was staged about eight years ago by a group of old timers, and the last chuck wagon supper ten or eleven. The good old days when we took our guitars and sang love songs to the girl of our dreams will never return. Pretty soon the mothers will be like the girls and buy all of our native dishes in tin cans. Charles C. Geck was born in Dona Ana, New Mexico, Jan. 27, 1880; He married Romana Benevides of Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1912; Came to Anthony, New Mexico with his parents in 1902. Mr. and Mrs. Charles C. Geck have five children; Margaret, Charley, Mary Estella, Tela and Harry. Margaret is now Mrs. Mike Apadoca of San Miguel, and Charley is in the United States Navy. Mary Estella, Tela and Harry are pupils in the Anthony grade school.

Charles C. Geck's parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.C.P. Geck had seven children: Charles, Beatrice, William, Josephine, Epifanio, Louis and Alvina. Charles is a farmer of Anthony, New Mexico; Beatrice lives in Las Cruces; William is a business man of El Paso, Texas; Epifanio is a farmer in San Diego, California; Louis is a resident of Los Angeles, California; Alvina is the wife of Louis Provincio, a valley farmer.

Charles C. Geck's father, W.C.P. Geck, moved his family to Anthony in 1902, where he built a home which is still standing in the town proper, a short distance east of U.S. Highway 80. W.C.P. Geck served Anthony as Justice of the Peace for fifteen years, and his son, Charles C. Geck, held the same office for two years 1932 and 1934.

Charles C. Roberts
By Edith L. Crawford
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Roberts, Irwin, Duncan

Charles C. Roberts and I were married in Mason Texas, September 2, 1875. Mr. Roberts was a farmer when I married him. He was also a minute man, one who helped the rangers fight the Indians. In 1873 or 74 he helped in one of the last fights with the Indians. It took place on Pack Saddle Mountain, about 12 miles from Llano Texas, on the Llano River. They killed most of the Indians and got some of their bows and arrows and a lot of Indian trinkets. We left Llano Texas in May 1880, with our three children, in a covered wagon drawn by two horses. We had all of our provisions with us. There were four other families and six single man in our crowd. Each family had a covered wagon. We camped out at night and when we made camp the men always made a circle with the wagons and put our horses inside the circle and the men took turns standing guard. All the men always wore six shooters and some of then wore two guns. Each man had a rifle that always hung on the back of the wagon seat where they could reach it in a hurry if they needed to, for we were always expecting the Indians to attack us at any time. We had heard so many stories about the Indians killing the white people who were coming west, and we were scared to death all the way out here.

The women did all the cooking. We made sour dough biscuit and corn meal dodgers and baked them in Dutch ovens. We used what wood we could find but most of the time we used cow chips to cook with. The only fresh meat we had on our trip was what we killed on the way, cotton tail rabbits and antelope mostly. Once in a while we would buy a piece of fresh meat from some of the big ranchers. When we struck the Horse Head Crossing in the Pecos River the men caught some cat fish. We were almost starved for water when we sighted the Pecos River, but when we got to the bank of the river and saw the water was as red as blood, what a disappointed bunch we were. He had to let the water settle before we could drink it and then it was awful tasting and we did not like it. We had to be awful saving with our drinking water an it was a dry year and there was not many watering places. We carried our water in kegs tied to the side of the wagons. Mr. Roberts had the man who carried the mail in a buck board from Government Springs Texas to Fort Stockton Texas, to bring us a keg of drinking water each trip while we were camped on the Pecos resting up.

All the soldiers at Government Springs were Negroes. Every time we came to good water we would lay over and rest for a day or so. The women would wash and clean things all up and the men would hunt. We did not see any buffalo or Indians on our trip. We had cow hides swung under our wagons where we carried all our pots, pans, shovels and tongs. I still have one of the rawhide bottom straight chairs that I brought with me on that trip to this country in 1860.

One day while crossing the plains we could see some travelers coming behind us. When they got close enough for us to see them it was a bunch of Mexicans, driving burros to two wheeled carts with canvas tops. We were all scared to death until they stopped and some of the men folks went back to see what they wanted. They had a very sick man and they did not know what to do with or for him. My husband stepped up to the cart and saw that the man had cramp colic, so he came back to our wagon and asked me if I had any medicine that I could give this man to relieve the pain. I had a bottle of Jamaica ginger, so I fixed him up a dose of that and Mr. Roberts gave it to him and it relieved him in just a little while. They were all so grateful to us and just could not thank us enough for what we had done for their sick friend.

From our stay on the Pecos our next stop was at Roswell New Mexico. Roswell consisted of one family, a commissary blacksmith shop. There were five big cotton wood trees. It was noon when we got there and that night there was the hardest rain that I ever saw fall. The thunder and lightning was terrible and we were all scared to death. The water rose to the hubs of our wagon wheels and we thought we would be washed away at any minute. The next stop was at the Casey Ranch on the Hondo River. We bought butter and eggs from them and they gave us a lot of milk. We traveled on up the Bonito River, which was a beautiful sight to us. We passed thro Lincoln and Fort Stanton and on over to Nogal Canyon. We stayed here two months and the men prospected for gold. While we were here a baby girl was born to Mrs. Irwin, one of the women in our crowd. We fixed her a bed under a big pine tree, of pine needles. We put her feather bed and some quilts on the pine needles and she was very comfortable. She named the little girl New Mexico.

We went from Nogal Canyon to Lake Valley which was not very far from Silver City. It was a mining town but we did not do any good there so we went on to Georgetown New Mexico, which was on the Membres River. We did not stay there very long and came on back to White Oaks, New Mexico, which was a small mining town at that time. We stayed there until April 1881 and Mr. Roberts decided to send the children and me back to Llano Texas while he scouted around looking for a place to locate. An old man by the name of John Duncan, we called him Uncle Johnny, took us back to Texas in a covered wagon. We passed through Lincoln New Mexico the day Billy the Kid killed his guards and escaped. We went through there in the morning and he killed them at noon. 

We made our own candles out of beef tallow and wicks out of spun cotton thread. We had our own moulds. Our candles gave out before we reached New Mexico so we tore up old cotton rags and made what we called grease lamps by putting the rags in a tin can and pouring lard over them. They made a good light for one wagon and we depended on our camp fires for light before going to bed.

I brought my Bible along with as and at night I would read my Bible and we all would sing sacred hymns. Sometimes the men would sing cowboy songs. Mr. Roberts went back to Lake Valley New Mexico, after he sent us back to Texas and staked out a mining claim and did his assessment work on the claim and waited around for awhile to see if he could sell his claim for big money. He got homesick and sold his claim for ten dollars and started out horseback for Texas. He made the entire trip to Llano Texas by horseback. We stayed in Texas for five years. When we returned to New Mexico at the end of that time we found that the claim Mr. Roberts had sold for ten dollars, turned out to be one of the richest which was struck at Lake Valley. Narrator: Mrs. Alice Roberts.

Charles D. Mayer
By Edith L. Crawford
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Otero, Lincoln, Chaves
surnames mentioned: Mayer, Musgrave, Parker, Neighbauer, White, Wells, Octen, Curry, Zutes

I have lived in Lincoln County New Mexico for fifty-four years. I was born in New York state and grew up in the state of Ohio. I left Ohio when I was twenty one years old and came by train to Las Vegas New Mexico in the latter part of 1883. Soon after arriving in Las Vegas I heard of the White Oaks gold mines so I left Las Vegas for White Oaks. I went by rail from Las Vegas to San Antonio New Mexico and from there to White Oaks by freight wagons as there was a train of wagons freighting into White Oaks at that time. These wagons were drawn by mules and horses and it took about a week to make the trip. I arrived in White Oaks in the early part of January 1884, and it was very cold weather. There were not very many buildings in the town at that time and what few there were were built of logs. I opened up a blacksmith shop and did work for the miners and also shod horses, mules and oxen for the freighters and for the farmers in the surrounding country. I ran my blacksmith shop for twelve years, sold out in 1896 and went into the general merchandise business there in White Oaks. After the mines closed down in White Oaks I moved to Carrizozo and put in a general merchandise and grocery store which I ran until my health failed and I retired from business in 1929.

When I first came to Lincoln County it was two hundred and fifty miles from east to west and one hundred and fifty miles from north to south, making it one of the largest counties in the state. First Eddy and Chaves counties were cut off from Lincoln County, then Otero and the last one cut off was Torrance, and still Lincoln is a fair sized county.

In the year 1886 I was appointed deputy sheriff for the White Oaks district. My first man hunt as deputy was for a man named George Musgrave, who killed a fellow by the name of George Parker at a round up camp. Parker and Musgrave had been partners in the cattle business with headquarters about thirty miles east of Rockwell. They were caught with some cattle that did not belong to them and Parker went before the grand jury and had Musgrave indicted for illegally branding these cattle. In some way Musgrave was tipped off that the law was looking for him and he skipped out to Arizona. There he met a man called Black Jack and the two went into the cattle business in the Hachita mountains in Arizona. This man Black Jack would never tell where he was from or who his parents were. They told  him that he could offer up a prayer as long as his rifle, and a good prayer too, so he must have been brought up in a Christian home as a boy. After these men had worked together for a while Musgrave told Black Jack that there was a man in New Mexico that he wanted to go back and kill and asked Black Jack if he wanted to go with him and help do the job. They set out for Lincoln County and came by the stage coach road. At the head of the Mal Pais they held up and robbed the White Oaks stage coach. They went on to Lincoln and inquired if there were any round ups going on in the county. They were informed there was one going on up on the Mesa above Picacho New Mexico. The two men left at once for the round up and arrived at the chuck wagon just before dinner. Musgrave knew all the cattlemen and the country real well. When they got to the chuck wagon Musgrave asked the cook if George Parker was with the outfit. The cook replied that he was and would be in for dinner in a short while. Musgrave, Black Jack and several cowboys were eating dinner when one of the cowboys pointed to a rider coming in and said, there comes Parker now. Musgrave turned to the cowboys and said, Boys, I have traveled one thousand miles to kill that fellow and I guess I will do it now. Musgrave and Black Jack rose and picked up their rifles.

Black Jack said to the cowboys, Now this is our fight and I will kill the first man that interferes. Musgrave walked out to meet Parker and told him to get off of his horse. Just as Parker hit the ground Musgrave fired and Parker fell, mortally wounded. Parker was riding a brand new saddle and Musgrave took his old saddle off his horse and put Parker's new saddle on it and the two men, Musgrave and Black Jack, rode away toward the Diamond A ranch, near Roswell. Andy Neighbauer was foreman of the Diamond A outfit at that time and these two men stopped there at the ranch and exchanged their tired and worn out horses for two nice fat fresh horses and went on their way. They took the same route back to Arizona that they had traveled coming in to Lincoln county and again robbed the White Oaks stage coach at the head of the Mal Pais, at the very same place as before. I was in Roswell at the time and as I was the deputy sheriff I was asked by the sheriff, George Curry, to form a posse and follow these two men. I went to White Oaks and picked five good men, Sam Wells, Frank Crumb, Charlie White, Earnest Octen and a fellow by the name of Zutes. He was from Kentucky and a brave man. I never knew his first name, we always just called him Zutes. We started to follow Musgraves and Black Jack. We crossed the San Andres mountains and came out on the Jordano Flats and on to the Rio Grande river. When we got to the river it was on a rampage and running bank full of muddy water. We stopped and debated as to how we could get across without losing too much time. There were lots of whirl pools in the river and we were afraid of getting into one of these, but finally decided to take off our clothes and put them in a tow sack and tie them on our saddles. I jumped my horse off in the river and caught hold of his tail and swam across safely. I watched each man cross in the same way, then we all put on our clothes and headed due west.

We traveled for two days and when we got to within about one mile of Fairview, New Mexico, we stopped to rest our horses and decide what to do next. We decided that I should go on into Fairview and see what I could find out. I went to the post office and met the postmaster and told him my mission. He said he was also a deputy sheriff and would do anything he could to help me. He pointed to a man leaning against the hitching post and said, See that man there, he owns a ranch in the Mogollon mountains and it is headquarters for all the cattle and horse thieves and you are going into a very dangerous and rough country for these men. He advised very strongly that we turn back. I went back and talked it over with my posse and it was decided that we would not go on any farther. We came back through the Black Range by way of Magadelena, Socorro, and San Antonio New Mexico, where the Santa Fe Railroad had built a bridge across the Rio Grande river and we crossed safely on that. We arrived home tired and worn and had failed to got our man. Under the laws of New Mexico we were not entitled to any mileage or fees as we had made no arrests, but Sheriff George Curry went before the County Commissioners and asked them to allow me my actual expenses which was around $80.00, which they did.

On one of the first passenger trains run on the El Paso & Northeastern railroad, a cow boy got on the train at Corona New Mexico. When the conductor came around and said, Ticket, Please, the cowboy replied, Hell, I have no ticket, but if you will stop this train I will go back to Corona and get one. The conductor told him that he could not do that but the next stop would be Carrizozo and he could get a ticket there and asked, Where do you want to go? The cowboy replied, To Hell. The conductor smiled and said, Well Carrizozo is as near as we can get you, so the cowboy stayed in Carrizozo. Sources: Charles D. Mayer.