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Family History Stories Paraphrased
Page 31 of 38

Mrs. Lorencita Miranda
Pioneer Women
Andrew Nieman
Mrs. Mabel Luke Madison
Mrs. Mary Burleson

Begin Family Histories:

The Navajos
By Dr. Lester Raines
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: General
Surnames mentioned: Garcia

My great grandfather's house was a low adobe structure with a wide veranda on three sides of the inner court and a still broader one across the entire front, which faced the south. These verandas, especially those on the inner court, were supplementary rooms to the house and in them a greater part of the family life went on. There the women said their prayers, took their siestas, and wove their laces. There the herdsman and shepherds smoked and trained their dogs. All the family life centered around the verandas, with no fear of the Navajos, as the house was well protected by a high adobe wall.

One starry night every one was seated on the veranda. My great grandmother was telling her children about her childhood days in Spain. Suddenly there came the shouts of a band of Indians, their fiendish yells coming nearer and nearer. My great grandfather was a brave old man. He ordered his children not to move, confident that the high adobe wall would keep out invaders. My grandfather, who was the youngest of the family, gave a loud cry and pointed to the wall. His mother looked up and saw about fifty Indian warriors clambering over the wall. She sprung from her chair and called for help. She seized the younger children and ran to a neighbor's house to ask for help. Her husband and the older boys stayed to fight.

When help came, it was too late, for the Indians had already left taking with then everything they could. The house, before comfortable and beautiful, was now a ruin, and, worst of all, two of the Garcia boys had been killed in the struggle. Mr. Garcia thought he would take revenge by going into the Indian village and attempting to lay it waste. A month afterwards, he and some friends departed for the Indian camp. There Mr. Garcia lost another of his sons, whom the Indians took prisoner.

Unable to rescue the boy, Mr. Garcia returned home. Before the party left however, they seized a little Navajo girl, whom they brought home with them. The girl grew to be a great help to the family. Later she married a Spanish youth. She died only a few years ago, leaving to survive her a daughter, whom we love as if she were of our own blood.

Nellie Branum (incorrectly spelled Barnum on some pages)
By Edith L. Crawford
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Branum, Henley, Brady, Garrett, Dowlin, Barrett, Cree, Finley

I was born on a farm in Delta County, Texas, in 1877 and I have lived in Lincoln County, New Mexico for fifty eight years. I was four years old when my father, Thomas W. Henley, my mother, one half sister, two brothers and myself left Delta County, Texas in October, 1880 for Roswell, New Mexico. We traveled in a covered wagon with a chuck box in the back, a cow hide stretched under the wagon for our cooking utensils and two kegs tied on the sides of the wagon for our water. We carried all of our provisions and bedding and the six of us all rode in the one wagon which was drawn by two small mules. We slept on the ground at night and mother did all the cooking over a camp fire. She made sour dough bread and baked it in a Dutch oven. We children gathered buffalo and cow chips for our fuel. When we made camp at night we kids would get our two sacks and start to gather up the chips. We had a tin can with a spout on it. Mother put an old rag in the can and pulled part of it through the spout and poured grease in the can and that gave us our light.

We were always on the look out for Indians but we didn't see any until we reached Lincoln County, New Mexico. We brought all of our own smoked meat with us. We saw Buffalo and Antelope but they were too far away for father to kill one. The plains were awfully dry and hot when we crossed them. But we had no trouble in finding watering places. We crossed the Trinity River on a ferry boat driving the wagon on the boat we were drawn across by hand with a large rope. As we came to the small streams we camped on them for the night and washed what clothes we had dirty and would be on our way as father was in very poor health and wanted to get to his father's home in Roswell, New Mexico as quickly as possible. Father's ill health was the cause of our leaving Texas and moving to New Mexico. My grandfather and grandmother moved to New Mexico in 1879 for grandfather's health. They owned a farm where the town of Boswell now stands. 

Their houses on the farm were called Chosas which means dug-outs, in those days. They dug down in the ground about three feet and built it up with posts to about four feet above the ground and filled in between the posts with mud. They had dirt floors and dirt roofs. We arrived at my grandfather's late in November, 1880, and lived in their home that winter. In the spring of 1881 mother and father left us children with our grandparents and they came on up to Fort Stanton, New Mexico, which was a military post in those days, father took up a homestead five miles west of Fort Stanton on the Rio Bonito. Father was a school teacher and practiced medicine in Texas. He was not a licensed doctor but he had gone to a medical school in St. Louis, Missouri, but on account of finances he had to quit before he graduated. He practiced with an older doctor while in Texas and he always did all that he could for the sick is long as he lived. In those days there were very few doctors and most of the farmers that lived around close to us always sent for father. They paid him whatever they felt like giving him as he never set a price.

There was a lot of stealing and killings going on in Lincoln County at that time. Billy the Kid had been captured and was on trial in Las Cruces for the killing of Sheriff Brady. He was convicted and brought back to Lincoln, New Mexico in April where he killed his two guards and escaped, to be killed by Pat Garrett in July 1881.

Father and mother came back to my grandfather's and loaded up their few belongings and us four children and started for their homestead in Lincoln County. Father, mother and the two older children built a one room log cabin, with a fire place for heating and cooking, for us to live in. I was too small to help with the building of the cabin but I had to look after the baby while mother helped. We had plenty of nice wood as father was clearing his land and cut down lots of nice big pine trees. In the spring of 1882 we planted a crop and raised lots of nice vegetables and feed for our stock. 

The second year we were on the farm, father got a job at Fort Stanton as blacksmith, shoeing the horses and mules. Mother would take him down to work on Monday morning and bring the wagon and team back as she had to have them during the week to work the crops. Father had a yoke of oxen and my mother and sister used them to do the plowing in the crops. That spring father started a four room adobe house. Mother and my oldest sister would make the adobes during the week and let them dry and when father came home to spend Sunday he would lay the adobes in the wall and the next week they would do the same thing until we had the walls up. We had to haul our lumber from the Dowlin Mill which was located on the Ruidoso. We had to go to Alto and then down Gavalan Canyon to the Ruidoso river and then about three miles up the river to the saw mill. 

It was a good two days trip. Father used the wagon and team of mules to haul the lumber. We had a fire place in the front room and one in the kitchen for cooking. We had dirt floors and dirt roof. Father cut small logs and laid them very close together and put dirt on them for a roof. Father picked up a second had stove at Fort Stanton and it was the first cook stove that I ever saw. Mother and Sister built a rock fence around our place. They went up on the hill side and threw the rocks down so they could carry them and put them in the fence. Mother and Sister did a lot of hard work to have a place to live in and in time we had a very nice farm and house. We raised all of our own hogs and father bought a few head of cattle as he was able. We raised our own wheat and took it to Dowlin's Mill and had it ground into flour and had our corn ground into corn meal. We bought our coffee in the green bean and roasted it and ground it in an old fashioned coffee mill. The first winter that we lived in the log cabin we had our grease pot and the fire place for lights.

We got our mail at Fort Stanton. Father taught us reading, writing and arithmetic the first two years that we lived on the Bonito and when we got enough neighbors they got up a three month subscription school. It was in a one room log cabin and about a mile from our house. We three older children walked to school. Later on the community got together and built a nice one room school house at Angus , New Mexico. The men put up the building and the women folks would go along each day and cook dinner for the men folks.

After father left Fort Stanton he got a job at the V Ranch as blacksmith for the Crees. Mr. and Mrs. Pat Garrett lived on a ranch adjoining the V Ranch Mrs. Garrett gave birth to a baby girl and my father attended her at this birth. This baby girl is the same Elizabeth Garrett who wrote our state song, O Fair New Mexico. While we lived on the Bonito father would make a trip every fall to Las Vegas, New Mexico and buy the calico for our dresses, shoes stockings coffee, sugar and salt as that is all we had to buy. We raised every thing else that we ate. We lived here eleven years. Father sold this place to George Barrett and we moved to Nogal, New Mexico where we had better school advantages. Father hauled freight from Socorro and Las Vagas, New Mexico with mule teams. Mother died in 1915 and Father died in 1921 in Nogal, New Mexico. My father was born on a farm near Jefferson City, Missouri in 1840 and was a confederate soldier during the Civil War. He fought in the battle of Bunker Hill. My mother's maiden name was Nancy Williams and she was born in Arkansas in 1855.

While we were living at Nogal, New Mexico I met Linza Branum and we were married June 6th, 1894. There were six children born to us, three girls and three boys. Mr. Branum came to New Mexico from Putman, Texas and located at Three Rivers, New Mexico. He had forty one head of cattle and the first year he was here he branded two calves, the cattle rustlers got the rest. After we were married we lived at Three Rivers for three years. Then we bought a ranching Coyote Canyon, about five miles northwest of White Oaks, New Mexico, from J.P.C. Langston who was deputy sheriff of Lincoln County at that time. We moved all of our cattle from Three Rivers to this rnach and lived there twenty nine years. In 1916 we sold this ranch and cattle to the Warden Brothers and bought the I-X Ranch, near Oscuro, New Mexico and lived there one year. We sold the I-X Ranch to E.O. Finley in 1917. We moved to Carrizozo and built us a large modern home. Five of my children graduated from the Carrizozo, High School. Mr. Branum died May 3, 1925, at Carrizozo, New Mexico.

By Georgia B. Redfield
Nellie Leahy Thornton
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln, Chaves
Surnames mentioned: Thornton, Fenton, Curry, Barrett, Dowlin, Goss, Lea, Fritz, Brookshire, Raynes (Raines?), Hinkle, Robertson

Nellie Leahy, who is Mrs. J. Y. Thornton, daughter of James and Johana Fenton Leahy, was born and educated in Monroe, Wisconsin. Suffering from after affects of pneumonia, which necessitated a change of climate, she came with friends to Lincoln, New Mexico in 1884, and remained to become the wife of James Y. Thornton to whom she was married on February 15, 1886. Mr. and Mrs. Thornton are the parents of four children, all girls namely: Mabel, Eva, Kitty, and Dola.

The young couple, after their marriage, lived in the hotel at Lincoln which was owned by Mr. Thornton and Mr. George Curry. This hotel, still standing, is a few yards east of the Lincoln County jail and court house from which Billy the Kid made his sensational jail break and escape in 1880, thereby, preventing carrying out his sentence of hanging for murder, which was to have taken place May 13, 1880. However, the end of his death dealing career came a year later at Fort Sumner, when he was shot by Pat Garrett, in execution of his duty as a sheriff, on July 15, 1881.

Lincoln had become a comparatively safe place to live before the coming of Nellie Leahy. The death of Billy the Kid had practically ended the bitter fighting and bloodshed of the Lincoln County War, and the peace abiding people had returned to their neglected duties in stores, in the court room, and on farms and cattle ranches.

Nellie Leahy, who is remembered by old timers as being a lovely blue eyed girl, met Mr. Thornton at the old Dowling Mill on the Ruidoso, and the romance that ended in their marriage was begun at the time of their meeting. The death from scarlet fever in September, 1892 of their two older children, Mabel and Eva, was their greatest sorrow during the eight years of their residence together in Lincoln. The two little girls were buried side by side in the old Fritz Burying Ground, at historic old Spring Ranch eighteen miles south of Fort Stanton.

In 1895 Mr. and Mrs. Thornton moved to Roswell, which had grown considerably larger since Mr. Thornton and Mr. White had visited there two or three years earlier to organize the Knights of Pythias Lodge. Artisan wells had been put down and thousands of acres, watered by the underground water source, had been put into cultivation. The Goss Military Institute had been established by Robert S. Goss, who was brought to Roswell by influence of Captain Joseph C. Lea, a bill had been passed in 1893 for the creation of the New Mexico Military Institute, the Gaullieur Block, the first large modern store and office building, had been completed in 1894, and the Roswell Club had been organized, and this club and the Knights of Pythias Lodge occupied rooms in the new office building. The long talked of Pecos Valley Railroad had had been completed into Roswell, which brought regular trains with home seekers and had established a means of transportation for cattle and agricultural produce raised in the valley for outside markets. Roswell had indeed become the most important town and the center of ranching and agricultural interests of Southeastern New Mexico.

Mr. and Mrs. Thornton in 1897 moved to their own home built by them at what is now 209 North Pennsylvania Avenue, where Mr. Thornton lived continuously from that date until his death in 1919, and Mrs. Thornton lives at the present time. Her daughter, Kitty, who married Raynes V. West, lives in Long Beach, California. Mr. and Mrs. West have two sons, Raynes Thornton, and Donald V. The younger daughter, Dola, married Orville B. Brookshire and lives in Roswell. Mr. and Mrs. Brookshire have five children, Orville Jr., Jack, Beverly Nell, Kitty Lou, and Tommy. Mrs. Thornton has been a member of the Catholic Church at Roswell since it was first organized, and a member of St. Peter's Altar Society, a member of Chaves County Archaeological and Historical Society, and has belonged to the Woman's Club since 1911.

She is known as one of the most lovable and motherly characters that has ever lived in Roswell. Many girls and women have made their homes with this big hearted Christian woman and have shared the attentions and love she has showered on her own children and grandchildren. Will Robinson well known writer and columnist who knows of her helpfulness, especially to young girls, once wrote: Mrs. Thornton and Mrs. J. F. Hinkle are the two outstanding women who are the main reasons for rejoicing and celebration of Mother's Day in Roswell. Mrs. Kitty Thornton West, Will Robinson. Former Governor James F. Hinkle.

Nemecio Provincio
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Rio Arriba
Surnames mentioned: Provencio, Miller, Brooks, Story, Pool, Lopez, Tellez, Snow, Ochoa, Enriques, Perea

The outstanding feature of the Provincio family is their innate refinement and courtesy. Then I called at their Spanish Mission ranch home, two miles northwest of Anthony, Mr. Provincio said: I have lived in New Mexico all my life. I was born in the town of Old Mesilla, October 31, 1872. My parents moved their family to Chamberino in 1882. But the Rio Grande, which was more powerful then man, forced them to higher ground, so they built their home a short distance above the town, at Ojito, or little spring. They continued to plant their crops on the lower land, but they didn't take chances of living there, for they never knew when the river was going to rise and flood them out.

The Provincio boys were brought up fighting the river. It was the big bad wolf of our lives, Nemecio said. The Elephant Butte Dam was God sent, senora. Before the dam came there was no way to control it, was never still, always rushing, rising and overflowing. Finally, in the year of 1892, we pulled up stakes and moved to the Anthony district. Mr. Provincio, his brother Victor, and his father Agapito, all settled on adjoining Terrenas. A terrena, Nemecio explained is 36 acres. Each settler was permitted to have a solar or building site in town if he wished it, and an ortaliza in back, or an extra piece of land thrown in. We were the first to settle on this land. It was all bosque or woodland, and no ditches of any kind. We worked from early morning till dark, days weeks and months, cutting down trees, clearing the ground, building our homes, plowing, planting and fighting the Rio Grande. 

It seems that the Rio Grande had a habit of taking toll at the most unexpected times. Sometimes we would go to beg hoping to rest after a hard day's work, Nemecio said, only to be wakened by the lap, lap, of water at our doors, sometimes around our beds. It had a voice, senora, that we grew to hate, a voice that struck terror to our hearts and souls, it was there in the rising river, increasing in volume as the water rose, submerging our land, stealing our seed, quite often our homes, leaving us nothing, nothing. The newcomers can't begin to realize the hardships of the early pioneers. 

Mr. Provincio paused a moment then resumed: The greatest surprise of the early days was the morning we awoke and found our land an Island in the center of an ocean of water. The river had come up in the night and submerged the whole country. For several days we went to town in row boats. We made the first request for an irrigation ditch, and when we received it, more people began to settle on the land near us. Very often I had to assist people across the Rio Grande, by swimming and leading their horses or teams. I used to breed horses and kept a herd up in the Franklin mountains east of Anthony. Sometimes I would try to bring several in to the ranch and when I was ready to ford the Rio Grande, I would link them with a rope and swim across leading the whole group. I was forced to do this to keep from losing them, for sometimes the current was so strong that it would take a single horse two or three miles down stream before I could rescue him. 

Charley Miller was a good friend to the early settlers, he was also a good business man. Charley never lost anything in a trade, Mr. Provincio said. If we borrowed one pound of seed from him he got two in return. He built the first store on the old business street west of the Santa Fe tracks. Savina Lopez, who built the little white chapel northeast of Anthony, in honor of San Jose, traded quite a bit of her land at Charley's store for groceries. At one time she owned a hundred and sixty acres in Anthony.

In speaking of schools Mr. Provincio said: We didn't have any schools. Somebody started a private school, which I attended for awhile. That is, until it closed, for money was scarce. I used to hire out to other farmers and work all day for fifty cents. Once I was paid as much as a dollar and fifty cents, laying railroad track for the Southern Pacific, and I thought I was pretty rich.

In referring to the Pool ranch west of Anthony, Mr. Provincio observed: Mr. Pool has some very fine land, but in the early days it sold at a very low price. William Snow bought it for three dollars an acre, then Mr. Snow transferred it to his wife, who sold it to S. P. Miller, brother-in-law of Mrs. O. C. Story, for forty dollars an acre, S. P. Miller sold it to J. W. Brooks for eighty dollars an acre, J. W. Brooks sold it to Mr. J. Pool for a hundred dollars an acre, and today it is worth three hundred dollars an acre.

In speaking of the original land owners in his vicinity Mr. Provincio said: I am the only one left, Guerra, Arias, Gomez, Tellez and Marquez, all had the same amount of land I have today, but they sold it for almost nothing. Many people have offered to buy my land. Always they tell me, it is very beautiful. And I feel like telling them that they can't realize how hard I worked to make it beautiful. Every time I cut down a tree I have made it a rule to put the date on it. There is one outside dated 1884. 

Mr. Provincio's ranch is in that strip of land known as the Refugio Grant, which borders the Rio Grande. This grant, he said originated at the Mission La Union. When we came here there was a corporation in charge with a change of commissioners every two years. The commissioners at that time were Jesus Ochoa, Jesus Enriques, and Jacinto Perea. These men were authorized to divide the land into terrenas, or thirty-six acres to a settler. 

Farming was a tedious task in the old days. The farmers, Mr. Provincia said, had very few implements. We ploughed with a small hand plough, and we cut our wheat with a scythe. We planted wheat, corn, frijoles and alfalfa to feed our horses. Sometimes I would take a load of alfalfa to El Paso to sell. The trip usually took three days. Now, with a good truck, I can make it in three hours. In the course of his conversation Mr. Provincio said: My distant cousin, Eulogio Provincio, used to like to go camping. He usually went to the Robledos, the mountains northwest of us. One day when he returned from one of these trips I noticed that he looked very odd, others noticed it too. I guess I was more curious than anyone else, for I kept urging Eulogio to tell me why he acted so mysterious. But he tightened his lips and would tell me nothing.

Mr. Provincio paused then resumed: Finally Eulogio took a man into his confidence, and they both went to the Robledos. When they returned I noticed that their faces wore a look of disappointment. Senora, I am telling the truth when I say, I wanted to know their secret so much that I almost burned to a cinder. But Eulogio was that way, you could burn and be damn, but he wouldn't tell what he thought was nobody's business. 

Suddenly Eulogio decided to enlighten Nemocio, who, confided: I didn't know whether to believe him or not when he told me that he had found a treasure chest in the Robleros. I was so surprised I hardly knew what to say. My lips went dry and I had to moisten them with my tongue before I could speak, but finally managed to ask him how he knew it was a treasure chest? He stared at me a moment then exclaimed: Valgame Dios! Don't you think I know a treasure chest when I see it?

This chest was heavy, so heavy I couldn't move it. Some day, I kept telling myself, I will take tools to the Robleros and open it. But I kept putting it off and keeping my secret. The I thought, maybe I will tell somebody about it and just as quick as I though I would, I changed my mind and kept still. I think I was poco loco. Then I got so I couldn't sleep thinking about that treasure chest. As you know, at last I couldn't keep the secret any longer, so I took Ramon to the Bobleros with me telling him only that I wished to show him something. 

Yes, I know about that, I said, impatient to hear more about the chest. Then what did you do? Well, we kept on going, leaking our pack burros up the mountain path. I guess Ramon was a little afraid of me for I kept talking to myself about gold and how rich I was going to be, and I know that he was very glad when I told him that we had come to the place where I had left the chest. Then I told him to leave the burros and follow me, for you see, I had to climb a little higher, where the chest was concealed behind a clump of mesquite, which 1 grabbed hold of to pull myself up. When Ramon followed my example and reached my side, he found me standing but shaking like a sick man with chills, and staring at the imprint of my coins in the wet sand. What and nothing more. My treasure chest was gone.

Nemecio Provincio was born in Old Mesilla, New Mexico: October 31, 1872. He moved with his parents from Old Mesilla to Chamberino, New Mexico in 1882 Moved from Chamberino to Anthony New Mexico, in 1892, where, with his brother Victor and father Agapito, he settled on a terrena, or thirty-six acres adjoining the land of his brother and father, two miles northwest of Anthony, in the strip of land that borders the Rio Grande and which is known as the Refugio Grant.

The Provincios were the first land owners to ask for an irrigation ditch, which, when granted, was the means of bringing other settlers to this district. They cleared the land, which was all bosque, felled the trees and built their own homes. In 1896 Nemecio Provincio married Jeasusita Lopez of Chamberino, New Mexico, who was the daughter of a Civil war veteran of the Union army. By this marriage there was one son, Fidel Provincio, who is a farmer. Mrs. Provincio died in 1899. 

In 1901 Nemecio Provincio married Anita Martinez of El Paso, Texas, who bore him five boys and two girls. The children are: Louis, Raymundo, Emilio, Otellio, Anita, Ramiro and Henry. Raymundo was dragged and killed by his own horses while working on his father's ranch in 1930, an accident which shocked and grieved the whole community.

Otellio has been a teacher in the Anthony Grade school for the past eight years, and Anita, who is a very fine dancer, has been teaching in the Alta Vista School for two years. Louis Provincio, who is a farmer, owns his own ranch. His wife was the former Alvino Geck, who taught in the Anthony Grade School prior to her marriage. Emilio is also a farmer who owns his own ranch, and is serving his second term as County Commissioner. Emilio married ray Dutchover, who prior to her marriage, was private Secretary to Charles O'Hara of Anthony. Ramiro and Henry Provincio are pupils in the Valley High School. And Mrs. Nemecio Provincio, the mother of this commendable family, is a housewife who finds time, in addition to her other duties, to grow and cultivate some of the most beautiful flowers in the valley.

Noted Personalities
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: General
Surnames mentioned: Blakely, Tixier, Herzstein, Toombs, Easterwood, Leighton, Ratcliffe

Here, in the beginning of this article, we wish to pay tribute to those self styled common-place lives which lie as the foundation of our national well being. Not all of us are called upon to occupy places in the limelight of stirring events, in every of our history there have been those quiet, sometimes seemingly monotonous lives which, nevertheless, furnished foundation timbers for the structures of county state and nation.

And so, we sing the glory of the plodder, those men and women whose lot it has been to keep up the grind of day after day, month after month, and year after year tasks that make up the round of the average settler in the west.

How many times in the past week have we met with something like this, Oh, I didn't do anything worth writing up, just stayed out on the place and raised a few chickens, in some cattle, in frijoles. Well, some one had to raise the chickens, and cattle, and frijoles, so why was that not just as important as killing a few Indians and chasing a few buffalo?

So we are recording a few of those more recent, perhaps more commonplace biographies, with a full sense of what we owe to much lives. 

Mrs. Mary E. Blakely
In March of 1911 came the family of Mrs. Mary E. Blakely, of Clayton, New Mexico, from Oklahoma. The family at that time consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Blakely, Francis Blakely, Hazel Blakely and Donald Blakely, who was at that time just a small baby.

The Blakely's came directly to Clayton, in Union County, which at that time was considerably smaller that at the present. Mrs. Blakely recalls that of the firms still doing business in Clayton, only a few of the original number remain. The  Hotel, Issac's Hardware Company, the Big Jo Lumber Company and Herzstein's Store were among those here when she came, also the Tixier store. Among the professional men, lawyers Toombs and Easterwood remain, of the early number.

The only church building now standing that was in use as such at that time is the Masonic Lodge Hall on 2nd and Maple Walnut streets, while the oldest portion of the North building of the East Ward school, on the square between 1st and 2nd, and Oak and Pine streets was the only school building. Part of the present Depot was in use then, and there were only a few sections of old board sidewalks, here and there about town.

After about a year's residence in Clayton, the Blakely's fixed on a claim [6?] miles west and 2 miles South on what is now the Springer Highway, and Mrs. Blakely and the children moved onto it. Mr. Blakely remaining in town at such work as might be had.

And for the next thirteen years ensued for Mrs. Blakely the round of raising chickens, and frijoles, schooling the children, and the mixture of hardships, simple pleasures and monotony that go to the making of the average pioneer farm family's life.

When asked concerning the spectacular side of it, any dangers encountered, for instance, Mrs. Blakely only recalled the time when Donald, then aged five, was knocked flat in the garden by a Union County Jack rabbit, fleeing for life from the dogs that pursued it!

During these years on the farm, the Blakely twins, Clyde and Clarence, were born. Later, in order to have better school advantages, Mrs. Blakely and her family moved back into Clayton, where by means of the help of one grown son, she managed to school the younger members of the family, graduating them all from High School, and being rewarded by seeing them all making useful citizens of themselves.

Mrs. Blakely, during this time, operated one restaurant for seven years, first, for Mrs. Blanche Jenkins, who sold it to Mrs. Clara Johnson. Then Mrs. Blakely later bought it herself. Concurrently with her restaurant work, Mrs. Blakely has been caretaker at the Wade Hall the past eight years, and, in spite of these many calls upon her time and strength, has always, as now, found time to extend a helping hand and a lift to the other fellow.

Mrs. and Mrs. E. L. Leighton
Another worthwhile family is that of Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Leighton of 411 Walnut St. Clayton, New Mexico. These substantial citizens recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with appropriate festivities and the good wishes of their many friends, and, despite their years, which have dealt kindly with them. Mrs. Leighton at the steering wheel, or Mr. Leighton in the saddle, is no uncommon sight in our midst.

The Leighton family came here from Woodward, Oklahoma, locating in Union County 4 miles South East of Clayton, on the Perico Creek. Here, in 1914, Mr. Leighton bought from A. L. Ratcliffe some 1320 acres of land, which he used as a nucleus for his holdings adding to it from time to time till at the present he controls 9000 acres, deeded land, besides the 2000 acres which he has leased.

He drove his cattle through from Woodward, a herd of 200 range cows, making the trip in 21 days and arriving at his place on November 15th, 1934. Mr. Leighton and his family are primarily cattle men, having at present only some 140 acres in cultivation.

Careful and conservative methods and hard work have helped them hold their own better, perhaps, than many of the old time ranchers. Shall we say fortune smiled on them, or call it luck, or the reward of watchfulness and hard work, but it is a significant fact that the blizzard of 1918, which dealt many of the cattlemen so much grief, meant to the Leighton herd the loss of only one yearling, although the cattle walked out over the snow which covered the tops of the five-board fences and drifted, blinded and lost, with the storm.

During the recent drought years, the range became so depleted that for two seasons they shipped their cattle outside the state for pasture. In the spring of 1934, the Leightons shipped 400 head to Pawhuska, Oklahoma, and it took the proceeds from the sale of 100 of these cows, at $15 per head, to pay the expenses on this move. In 1928, Mr. and Mrs. Leighton moved into Clayton, which has been their home ever since except for one summer spent on the ranch near Clapham. From this point Mr. Leighton still keeps up an active interest in his cattle business, in connection with his sons and sons-in-law.

Kingston Mine
By Clay W. Vaden
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Sierrra
Surnames mentioned: Kingston, Goins

Ox teams were not so fast as the trucks used now to haul ore from the mines, observed Cobe Goins, ninety year-old pioneer freighter, but they got the ore out. Goins drove ten yokes of oxen to freight wagons of seven tons capacity and with tires four inches wide. He later replaced the oxen with twelve teams of mules to each wagon. Goins hauled ore from the paying mines in Kingston district, among them the Brush Heap, Gypsy, Blackie, Lady Franklin, Buillon, U.S., Cumberland, Calamity Jane, Keystone, and numbers of others.

When a $1,500 nugget was picked up at Blackie mine, seven miles north of Kingston, a rush to that district followed. The Bridal Chamber mine at Lake Valley was one of the beat paying in this section of the State. Blocks one yard square of almost pure native silver were often taken from this mine, and it has been roughly estimated that it produced ore worth between five and seven millions of dollars.

There was danger in freighting such rich shipments, said Goins, and I always had a guard armed with a double barreled shotgun and two six shooters on my wagons, until the ore was placed on the cars in Lake Valley. Goins recalls how the knowledge of ores was responsible for the amassing of a small fortune by Dennis Finley, now a resident of Denver.


Old Man Saunderson
By Mrs. R. T. P. Simpson
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: McKinley
Surnames mentioned: Saunderson, Nelson, Burnham

When Newcomb's Trading Post was one small building and a dugout under the hillside, operated by Charley Nelson, during the early years of this century, it was the scene of a weird incident, when two young freighters, named Roy and Clinton Burnham, cousins, drove up to the store with a dead man as a part of their load of freight. They had left Farmington, the morning before for Gallup, with freight and one passenger, an old prospector named Saunderson, who had come down from the mountains to go to Arizona for the winter months, and whom they had agreed to take as far as Gallup. They had not made Nelson's Post the first night, so had camped by the roadside when dusk overtook them. Drawing the two wagons close together, they had a bite to eat, then made their three beds on the ground between the two wagons, throwing a big canvass across both wagons and tying the four corners to the wheels, thus making a shelter and giving then some protection from the cold of the December night. In the morning, the two younger men were up as soon as it began to get light, not disturbing the older man till breakfast was cooked. Then Roy called him a couple of times, but without response, so he went nearer and laid his hand on the old man's shoulder to awaken him, but he found the old man was cold and dead, deader than a door nail.

After the first shock was over, the problem confronting them was what to do with the body. The law required certain observances, none of which were possible out there in the middle of the great American desert. The law required that the body be untouched till the arrival of an officer. As this could not be complied with, they decided to move on to Nelson's Post, and send an Indian runner back to Farmington with a note to the Justice of the Peace.

It was a well known fact that the Navajo Indians immediately leave the vicinity of a dead body, and the young men were not inclined to thus ruin the Indian business of Nelson's Post. So, to keep the fact that they had a dead body on the wagon, a secret, from the Indians at least, they, accordingly, before leaving camp, wrapped the body in the big canvass, and strapped it, in a careless fashion, to the top of the covered wagon, thus hiding it in the most conspicuous place, on the very top of the wagon. Their arrival at the store was without incident, and as far as known the Indians never learned of anything unusual about it.

After telling the trader their experience, he gave then permission to lock the body in the dugout after dark, and to leave it there till the Indian runner came back with directions from the Justice of the Peace, which they supposed would be to take the body back to Farmington. So that night they stealthily put the body under the hillside in the dug-out, and locked the door, and next went on their way to Gallup.

Returning from Gallup with a load of turkeys and trimmings for the Christmas trade in Farmington, they stopped at the Nelson Trading Post to make sure the Justice of the Peace had taken the body and attended to it. They were most astonished that the note brought in by the Indian runner had instructed them to bury the body there.

This was a very hard task, as it also involved concealing the death from the Navajos. However, instead of sleeping that night, they went down to the flats and with axes they chopped a hole in the ground, a very long one it seemed to them - for the man was tall, the ground was frozen, it was dark and gruesome and they thought the task would never be finished. But they made better time when they got below the frozen crust, and could work with shovels, and they finally completed the task. They had dug a grave in the darkness of the night. Unlocking the door to the dugout, they stumbled out, bearing the body of the old man, laid him on his own pillow, and his own bed, wrapped him in his own bedding, slowly and with much difficulty, carried him to the newly made grave, and slowly and reverently placed him in his last resting place down in the flats, where today the drifting sands leveled the lonely grave, and left not a sign to tell where lies the body of Old Man Saunderson. Source: Ray Burnham.

Old Timer's Tales
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: General
Surnames mentioned: Stanfield

There were more families on the territory in 1907 than there is today, but these families did not stay here throughout the year. In the early fall they would pick cotton under the east cap rock. After cotton picking time, however, they would return to their homesteads. In the winter the chief employment of the settlers was the securing of wood and posts from the brakes. Wood was very essential to withstand the severe blizzards to which this country is subjected.

All groceries and merchandise were secured from Texico, for this was long before Clovia was begun. Three days were required to make the trip, one day to go, one day for the team to rest and purchases to be made and one day to return.

Mr. Stanfield was engaged in the freighting business for seven years, and he had many interesting experiences on the road. The way in which water was secured is an interesting story in itself. The only windmill for miles around was the 3T mill, situated in what is now known as the Pettigrew lake, and owned by a syndicate whose headquarters was at Prairie View. Prairie View was the first post office near here and was located northwest of Grady.

Each day twenty or thirty wagons came to the well for water. Some of them drove many miles and sometimes had to stay all day to fill their containers. The method of getting water was this, the men lined up with their twelve quart buckets, and took their turns at the windmill.

One day there were about thirty wagons waiting for water at the mill. All the men except one had twelve quart pails and this one had a bucket that would hold a half a bushel. The other men became angry because he was getting more than his share of water, which had to be caught from the pipe. The mill was pumping very slowly and each man was jealous lest another should get more than he. The anger of these men finally resulted in a fight. The man possessing the large bucket was hurt quite badly, and was forced to give up his big pail and used a twelve quart pail thereafter.

By Marie Carter
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: General
Surnames mentioned: Scott

In the early days of our community the old timers found many difficulties to overcome. Unaccustomed, to the easy going life of their Mexican neighbors, they were not contented to farm a little, eat a frugal mean of frijoles, chili and tortillas, and finish with a cigarette. They craved more luxuries and more entertainment than this primitive little border town afforded. Hence, life in Anthony, soon became a lonely, monotonous grind. When I asked one old-timer what he thought when he first saw out town, his reply was slow, but to the point.

Whew! I'd hate to tell you, he said.


Because the only house that reminded me of home was a brand new frame. And, lady, he drawled, there wasn't another one like it in town.

Where was it located?

Right over there on the highway where the Mesilla Valley Electric building stands.

Did you like the food the natives cooked?

Not at first, he said, with a twisted smile, but it didn't take me long to learn, and in a short time I was taking my frijoles, tortillas and chili straight.

Frijoles are beans, but not white beans. The Mexicans buy the mottled pinto beans. Tortillas are the wafer like corn cakes made from hand ground corn flour. The Mexican housewife scorns the tortillas flour sold by grocers. When making chili, they use the large, dark red, chili pods. First they steam, or roast the pods, then peel them, and use the thick rich pulp to make chili sauce. 

Old Timer, I said. You seem to know a great deal about this Great Southwest.

A little, was the modest reply.

In what year did you come to this town?

1884. I came over the Anthony Gap.

The Anthony Gap is east of Anthony, and cuts through the Franklin mountain range. St. Anthony's Peak, or Anthony's nose, is part of the Franklin range. It has the appearance of a man with a huge nose.

The little town of Anthony, New Mexico, is located in the upper part of the Rio Grande Valley, twenty miles north of El Paso, Texas, and twenty-three miles south of Las Cruces. The main street is on the Highway of America. That historical road traversed by the early Spanish Explorers, and today by thousands of motoring tourists.

Parallel with this famous highway is the Santa Fe Railroad. West of the railroad is the ever changing Rio Grande, a river, that gave the old-timers considerable worry. For, prior to tie building of the Elephant Butte Dam, they were at it's mercy. Almost every spring, from 1884 to 1904, it would rise, overflow, and spoil their crops. One old-timer told me that he quit planting seed in the spring, and went to building dams to protect his ranch.

(Note: the following is to silly to edit.)
Yep, I war right here at the time, chirped another old timer, and old cowboy. We sure did help our neighbors in them days. We had a flood in 1883 that was purty bad, but in 1912 we com' purty nigh bein' swiped in t' a dryer world. The old cowpuncher paused to pick his teeth with the end of a match.

Why the whole Rio Grande Valley must have been inundated, I said.

Wall, he drawled. I don't know th' meanin of thet word, mum, but we sartinly hed oceans of water. That war so darn much of et, that we hed t' use a skive t' fetch some of th' ranch folks t' town.

Some day I want you to tell me about your cowpuncher days, I said.

Wall, he drawled, blowing the match out of his mouth, and favoring me with a free shower, of hits yarns ye want, ahm right thar. But ah don't tucker much t' stories, cas ah ain't got no book larnin! Ye seen mum, aha sorta innocent.

Oh, I said, Really?

Yes, mum, is all he said. 

Shortly after talking to the old cowpuncher I met Judge Thompson.

Judge, I began. I'm curious about that little Catholic church northeast of town. Was it the first one built in this community?

No, indeed, he answered. The first Catholic church was a very small chapel. It stood on the other side of the road. I should judge about a hundred feet northwest of the present church.

Who built it?

A Mexican woman, he said, That is, she had it built. Her name was Sabina Lopez d Gil. You, see, she didn't like the irrigation system, so she erected a chapel in honor of San Jose in the belief that he would furnish her water. At that time the Three Saints irrigation ditch headed at Mesquite, twelve miles north of Anthony. From Anthony it continued its course south, behind the present Bennett Drug Store, southwest of the Santa Fe Tracks.

What did they call the Broadway of America in the old days? I asked.

Camino Real:
E.B. Scott of Anthony, ran a stage route, which began at El Paso del Norte, through El Paso Texas, up the Rio Grande Valley to Anthony, north to Las Cruces, and Dona Ane. A short distance from Dona Ana it left the valley, and continued east of the Rio Grande to San Marcial. North of Dona Ana, on the road to San Marcial, was the famous Jornado del Muerto, or the Journey of Death.

But why? I inquired, Didn't they follow the route up the valley from San Marcial through Rincon, Hatch, Berry, Arrey, Palomas, Hot Springs, and on up to the Elephant Butte Dam?

Because it was unsafe. They were afraid.

Afraid? Afraid of what?

Apache Indians. Those blood-thirsty devils who concealed themselves behind the heavy timber, ambushed travelers and killed them for the sake of killing. So they established a road across the open country, or Jornado del Muerto. 

Camino Real, means, The King's Highway. El Paso del Norte, means the North Pass, but it is now called, Juarez, Old Mexico. In the early days the present El Paso was called, Franklin. The route traveled by the stage out through the Black Range and Caballo Range mountains, across 85 miles of waterless country. In the summer, Jornado del Muerto, is a hot-bed of unrelenting heat, and many a poor traveler has perished while trying to cross it. There was also another stage route called the Butterfield Stage Route, which turned west then it reached Mesille, Park, twenty miles north of Anthony. Mesilla means Seat.