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Family History Stories Paraphrased
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Sadie Orchard
Sam Farmer
Sam Jones
Samantha Brimhall Foley

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Sadie Orchard
By Clay W. Vaden
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Sierra
Surnames mentioned: Orchard, Russell, Rhodes

There weren't many careers for women in the good old days, but Sadie Orchard carved out a rather unusual career for herself back in the eighties. Mrs. Orchard was one of New Mexico's few women stage drivers and today is owner of the Orchard Hotel in Hillsboro, New Mexico. In a personal interview, Mrs. Orchard told the colorful story: I came to Kingston, famous mining town in Black Range District in Sierra County in 1886, Mrs. Orchard said.

At that time Kingston was a mining town of about 5,000 population with a big silver boom going full sway. Dance halls and saloons did a rushing business almost day and night. Fortunes were made, and in some cases, lost over night. Mr. Orchard and I drove the stage line for 14 years. We had two Concord coaches and an express wagon.

Drove Horses:
I drove four and six horses every day from Kingston to Lake Valley and sometimes as far as Mutt station. In those days we did not have the roads we can justly boast of in New Mexico today, and my trips were surely trying  especially through picturesque Box Canyon between Kingston and Hillsboro.

Many times I had for passengers some very famous people. Lillian Russell, stage star, as far as I know was never in Kingston, but members of her troupe were, and I had occasion to meet the actress. She was a guest at one time on a ranch West of Hillsboro, The Horseshoe ranch, I believe.

Having been told that Mrs. Orchard had some very rare old pictures of some of the pioneers of Kingston, I asked if I might see them, but was told that old timers had taken them all, one by one, leaving none for Sadie as old timers all over the state call her.

Getting Older:
Sadie, the daring stage driver of those good old days which Gene Rhodes delighted to write about so realistically, is getting older as the years slip by, but she is still the big hearted, resourceful woman of frontier days who saw her job, tackled it willingly and did it manfully with a twinkle in her eyes.

I'm a product of the Old West laughed Mrs. Orchard, and you know in those days we didn't have much chance to practice the refinements and niceties of high society. However, the writer of this sketch knows scores of pioneers who can vouch for her charity to her fellowmen. The Santa Fe branch line cutoff to Nutt and Lake Valley replaced the stage coach line, but now the railroad to those points is to be abandoned. The famous Bridal Chamber mine with its millions of high grade ore has been shut down. Time marches on bringing many changes.

Sam Farmer
By Edith L. Crawford
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Farmer, Aguilar,  Murphy, Dolan, McSween, Tunstall,  Laney, Bell, Olinger, Garrett

I have lived in Lincoln County sixty-eight years, which is all my life. I was born two miles west of Lincoln New Mexico, on a ranch called Henry's Ranch, named after my father, Henry Farmer. He filed on this place in 1865 and raised a few cattle and sheep and did some farming. He was married to Cavina Aguilar in 1865. Ten children were born to this union, seven boys and three girls. My oldest brother, Teodoro and myself are the only ones left of the Farmer family. Father was born in Missouri in 1842. His parents moved to Little Rock Arkansas when he was very small. He left home at the beginning of the Civil War at the age of eighteen. he roamed around for awhile and then came to New Mexico. After staying there for a short while he came to Lincoln County in 1862 and lived on the Hughes place, which is located about one and one half miles below what is now the town of Tinnie, New Mexico.

He worked for Mr. Hughes for quite some time and then he filed on a homestead two miles west of Lincoln New Mexico. His place was on the Rio Bonito and he used the water for irrigating a small farm. He used to freight some and during the years that Murphy and Dolan and McSween and Tunstall and their stores in Lincoln he hauled freight for them and also for J.C. De Laney of Fort Stanton New Mexico. He had two teams of oxen, six to a team and two big freight wagons. He hauled from Las Vegas to Lincoln and Fort Stanton. He was never bothered by the Indians but once. He was coming from Picacho to Lincoln New Mexico, driving two mules and a band of Indians attacked him. He was shot three times with arrows. Once in the upper left arm, in the left shoulder and leg. The mules got frightened and ran away and Father always said that is the only thing that saved his life. Father always used the oxen in freighting and took them from twenty-eight to thirty-five days to make a round trip from Lincoln to Las Vegas and return and that depended on the weather.

We were living on our ranch during the Lincoln county war but our family took no part in it. We all liked Billy the Kid and would do anything that we could for him. Once my father took myself and my two older brothers to one of the trials of Billy the Kid. He wanted to impress upon our young minds that no one can break the laws as he did and not pay the penalty.

The day that Billy the Kid killed Bell and Olinger, my father, two brothers and myself were irrigating our wheat field when Billy came riding by on a black horse. He stopped and hollered, Hello Henry, Father looked up and said Hello Billy, what are you doing here? Billy replied, I am going, I don't think you will see me any more. I killed two men at the Courthouse and I am on my way, goodbye. He kicked his horse and went off up the road as fast as he could go. I remember distinctly seeing the shackles on his legs. That was the last time we ever saw Billy the Kid so much for he always took time to talk and play with us when we saw him. Billy was killed at Fort Sumner about six weeks later by Pat Garrett.

My father lived in Lincoln county until his death in 1898, and was buried in Lincoln. My mother was born in Manzano mountains at a place called Chato in 1848. She died in 1893 and was buried in Lincoln. Father was a very quiet unassuming man and a good law abiding citizen.

Sam Jones
By R. Katherine
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Eddy
Surnames mentioned: Jones, Eddy

Located about thirty five miles southwest of Artesia is a large ranch owned by Sam Jones, second white child born in Seven Rivers. On this ranch is one of the nicest natural swimming holes to be found on Rocky. One Sunday some friends of mine and I visited Sam Jones swimming hole, and while there Sam came down and talked with us. After some urging we got him to tell us some pioneer stories: We cowboys enjoyed our fun, yes we surely did, and you know it usually got us into a heap of trouble too. I remember one time, now let me see, yes it was when I was working for Mr. Eddy. He had a large ranch located near where Carlsbad now stands, well, some of us boys from the ranch decided to go down where they were constructing a dam and see what deviltry we could get into, we had had several drinks and were feeling pretty good. Well sir, we managed to get into this devilment too and in a pretty short time.

The construction crew were living in tents, so we decided to see how many of these tents we could rope and pull down. We pulled every last one of the tents down before we were seen by any of the crew. But when they did see us!!! Well all of the boys were caught but me. You see that mountain over yonder, he said pointing to a mountain just behind his home. Well sir, I rode up Rocky Arroyo and stayed three days and nights on that mountain, yes sir, and didn't have a thing to eat. Every night or about dark

Samantha Brimhall Foley
By Mrs. Simpson
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: McKinley
Surnames mentioned: Foley, Lake, Brimhall, Brice

The author of this little record arrived on the 22nd day of March, 1858. When she was but two weeks old, word came that Bailey W. Lake had been killed by Indians while in the performance of his duty as a missionary among the Indians on Salmon River, Idaho. These were exciting times, and Johnson's Army was sent to take care of the situation. Feeling he should do so, Noah Brimhall husband of Samantha Lake Brimhall, took his wife and two small children to the larger settlement at Spanish Fork and left them with friends while he went to Baho Canyon and engaged in that military affair so familiar to every one.

The six weeks old baby was so ill her life was despaired of. The young mother was to alarmed, she called from her door for help, and a passing veteran, hearing her call, trudged across the way with aid of his cane, and together they worked over the child, which was restored to health by their efforts and their prayers.

When peace had been restored and Noah Brimhall returned to Spanish Forks, the young widow of Bailey W. Lake became a member of the family of her sister-in-law They all returned to the north and settled in Hiram, Cache County, Idaho. In the year of 1864 the family moved still farther north some forty miles away, where there were no families within miles of them. It was a wild, lonely spot. The native landscape had grown in undisturbed splendor since the morning of creation it seemed to these two women so far from human habitation, where everything was so wild it was appalling. The all pervading silence of the valley was unbroken except for rushing mountain streams by day and the roaring wild animals by night and these two women, who felt this isolation so keenly, set up a wail to be forgotten. But this did not last long for there was a family of four children to be cared for.

They were soon playing in the tall grass while I would come down to this stream and water my horse and get water for myself, and then go back to my hiding place. On the fourth day one of the boys from the ranch decided that I was hiding here so he rode out and found me. He told me that Ciciro Stewart had been hunting me to arrest me but Mr. Eddy had paid my fine of $100. and he wanted me to come back to work. Never in my life have I been so glad to get back to work, I guess the biggest reason was that I was so gosh darned hungry. Their father made a trench in which to stand upright poles, and fashion a temporary shelter to shield them from the weather. When this was done, hay was gathered for the roof, the floor and the cattle and horses.

An ample stone fireplace soon filled one corner of the somewhat spacious room. Two wagon boxes arranged at opposite sides outside the living room, served as sleeping quarters for the time being. Surplus sideboards from the wagon were fashioned into a long bench with rockers at each end, and soon a group of happy children were crooning merry songs before a glowing fire.

The next thing of importance was the sheltering of domestic animals against the cold of a threatening Idaho winter, which was accomplished before the very cold weather came upon them. During the months of January and February the snows seemed to fall instantly. Their roads was blocked, and they were indeed alone. To drink, they had to chop ice in the streams. The weather was below zero each day. Much to their surprise and pleasure they saw two friends approaching over the mounds of snow one day that winter. After they had satisfied themselves that these, their faraway neighbors were all in good condition, they started on their homeward way, but they encountered a severe storm and were frozen to death before they could complete the trip to their homes.

It was a hard winter, but at length Spring appeared, and when the deep snows were melted, people from the settlements below came to look over our location, which resulted in several families settling near us. This gave the two lonely the human companionship which they craved. The new settlement was located near a widened part of the mountain stream where it was shallow enough for the oxen to ford it easily. And they named the settlement just that, Oxford or Oxford. A small school was started that summer, by Mrs. Mary Anna Brice, under the willow porch of her home. She had no school books, but among other things, she taught them that there were seven days in a week, twenty hours in a day, and sixty minutes in an hour. Also demanded that each child learn the day of his or her birth.

It was Spring and all the sheep of the settlement were sheared. The wool was washed, dyed, carded and when the longer process of spinning was over the women undertook to weave the wool into cloth. In this art Samantha Lake Brimhall was expert and she did much of the weaving for the settlement, in order to help out in a financial way, and to procure the necessary things of life. She wove many different kinds of cloth. She also became an efficient gardener, and her beautiful rows of cabbage and other well cultivated vegetables were the marvel o of the village. This she could do without leaving her home. She was strictly a home woman and seldom left her doorstep. She created her own enjoyment and employment within her home, all in service to her family.

The men of the settlement were always hard at work, building houses, digging ditches, making roads, plowing the fields and harvesting the crops. Money was scarce, and their only hope of revenue was the possible sale of a little wheat or other grain or vegetables. Samantha Lake Brimhall was not slow in realizing this situation, and came to the rescue of her husband in many ways. At harvest time she stored away an abundance of fine wheat straw, and this she wove, during the long winter months, into hats for men, women and children. And she found ready sale for the products of her industry.

The neighboring tribes of Indians came to the new settlement to find a market for their furs and buckskins. These they were pleased to exchange for vegetables, hats, and other articles manufactured by Samantha. She took advantage of the situation and she laid in a goodly store of furs and buckskins. She then went to Salt Lake City and she learned the glove and the fur trade. From this time on, so long as she lived, she received same revenue from her many branches of industry, for the benefit of her numerous and growing family.

In the spring she made her hats, in the summer she made her garden and spun and wove cloth. And the winters found her in the corner near the fireplace where a small window had been made for her benefit, working almost incessantly on gloves or fur coats, often filling orders from a distance. She had one daughter in New Mexico who wrote her of the mild climate there, and she determined to go to the south where she would find life less difficult than in the cold winters of the state of Idaho. So in the year of 1876 finding herself a widow, Samantha Lake Brimhall with her five children, Norm and Willard Journeyed to New Mexico, over the open country where there were few if any roads, No bridges at all having only a map to follow, finding but few settlements with white people in them, meeting many Indians, wild and unknown on the way but ever keeping in her mind the land of promise.

In about three months time, she arrived in the tiny settlement of Fruitland, New Mexico, where she tarried but a few weeks, for the daughter lived in Rama, N.M., farther south. Her mother love was indeed great, almost sublime, for it was to be a comfort to the daughter, who was sadly in need of her assistance, that was the real reason of this long, hard trip. At her journeys end she encountered conditions that could not be overcome, even by this resolute and gifted woman, and she fell to that dread disease, smallpox. It took her on a journey from which no man or woman has ever returned. The little cemetery was by spring, was thickly populated with victims of smallpox that a new one had to be selected.

Her son, Norman Andrew, laid her to rest beneath the tall pine trees, where, her sons Clayborn and James Allen raised a tribute to the memory of Mother, Samantha Lake Brimhall, a Pioneer Woman of wonderful courage, endurance and resolution. Source of information Record written by Mrs. Samantha T. Brimhall Foley, Daughter of Samantha Lake Brimhall, the subject of this sketch.

By Marie Carter
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Dona Ana
Surnames mentioned: Calhoun, Doniphan, Kearny, Gilipan, Jackson, de Leon

A short time ago I stood on US Highway 54 talking to some friends, at a point, where tourists cross the boundary line from La Tuna, Texas to Anthony, New Mexico. Just watch those cars whiz from one state to another, said an old timer. I bet they don't know when they cross the line. Well, if they don't, spoke up an old lady, the Port of Entry officials will make them pause long enough to take notice.

Is it true, I asked a man called Bob, that the desert east of Anthony was once covered with grass? It sure was lady. The cattlemen around these parts used to graze their cattle on it. And Anthony was known as the Refugio Grant. It was filed as the Refugio Grant Colony, December 17, 1869. There wasn't any bridge across the Rio Grande in them days. Me and my old horse forded that stream many a time.

I still believe there's gold in the Franklin mountains, said another old timer, pointing at the mountain range east of town. Some of the old mining men around here claim that Mt. Franklin conceals many a lost treasure. Now there's that legend about some Indians, want to hear it? Yes, I answered, and that one about Anthony's Peak, too. Oh, you mean Anthony's nose. The only thing I know is that the mountain was named in honor of St. Anthony, the patron Saint of youth, he said.

Thanks, I replied, that's more than anyone else has told me. I guess I'd better get started on that legend, he said. You see, lady, I got this story from one of the early settlers, and he got it from a very old Mexican. Along about 1851, when James S. Calhoun the first Governor of New Mexico was in office, Indians were as thick as ants. One bright day six Indians on horses and carrying several boxes of gold were seen up there in the mountains near the Anthony gap. That was the last seen of them till several years later, than they were dead.

Were they the same Indians? I inquired. They must have been, for there were exactly six human skeletons and six horse skeletons. Whether they were robbed then murdered, or murdered after they hid the gold, nobody knows. And they weren't certain just how they were murdered, but it wasn't hard to guess. For not far away, but scattered in different directions, they found several arrows, which were identified as belonging to the fierce apaches. Well, he said, glancing over his shoulder and starting down the highway, I'm in an awful hurry. My wife sent me to the grocery two hours ago, and there she comes.

There are several versions of the legend of the six Indians. Some of the old timers say there were five Indians, and that they carried sacks of gold. James S. Calhoun: First Governor of New Mexico was appointed under the regular territorial government. He was inaugurated as governor on March 5, 1851, and during his term of office had a great deal of trouble with Indian uprisings. At an earlier date, 1849, he was Indian agent for New Mexico. He died in the month of May, 1852, en route to Washington.

I wonder if any of you know the story of Cimarron Kate? Yep. The man we call Bob took it upon himself to answer. I've been in her cave and dug around considerable, but I did not find a cache. She was a woman bandit and the leader of a gang of outlaws. I've been told that she hung around here about 1854. One day she got wind that the Wells Fargo Express was bringing a big shipment of gold bullion through the valley. Well, her and her gang hid out in the mesquite, and suddenly, swooped down on the express, shot the driver, and took all the gold their broncos could carry.

Where did they take it? I asked. Well, they were aiming to get to her cave and had just about reached it when a posse, hot on their heels, opened fire. The bandits returned the fire and kept the posse busy till Kate hid the gold and made her escape. They fought a hot battle and every darn outlaw was killed. The cave is close to the spot where the battle took place, that's why they call it the Cimarron Bat cave. he said.

Judge, I said, turning to a tall man who had just joined us, I wish you'd give me your version of Doniphan's expedition, and the battle of Brasito, near old Fort Fillmore. Is that all? His eyes twinkling, for I had called on him before. No, I confessed. First I should like to have you tell us what you think of New Mexico and our highway, or U.S. Highway 54.

Very well. As far as climate is concerned, I don't know of another state in the Union that equals New Mexico. It is without doubt a land of enchantment, and they couldn't have given this road a more fitting name than the Broadway of America. For it is a route over which savage tribes and civilized nations have traveled for ages. Loot at that. He pointed at the Organ mountains northeast of us.

Oh, how beautiful! I exclaimed. Perfect coloring, the judge agreed. Now you know why the western writer, Jean Manlove Rhodes, called the Organs, Rainbow Mountains. That's where the Hermit of the Hills spent part of his life, said the old Lady. In fact he died in the Organs. I forget how the story goes, but it's worth hearing. Don't fail to have someone tell it to you.

Thanks, I replied. A lady in Old Mesilla has promised to tell me about the Hermit. He used to visit with her parents. Have I ever told you that one about the engineer and the Organs? asked Bob.

I don't believe you have, I answered. Well, he began, this engineer was one of them big guys from the East. One day he stared at the Organs and said: There's a great piece of engineering work waiting up there for some man. If holes were drilled in them pipes at the correct angle, this valley would be flooded with soft, sweet, music, every time the wind blew.

Well, Bob continued, I thought that engineer was poco loco, little crazy. So I said: Mister the job's yours, cause I don't know anybody around here with enough energy to turn the trick. And I recon you don't know how much wind we've got here. I'm afraid we'd get too much pipe music.

Now, Judge, it's your turn, I said. Oh, yes. He wrinkled his brows in thought a moment then proceeded to tell his story. The battle of Brasito, or Little Arm, took place December 22, 1846. In the same year, but, prior to the battle, General Kearny took possession of Santa Fe, and set up an American government. Kearny was Colonel Alexander W. Doniphan's superior officer. Then Kearny went to California, and two months later, Col. Doniphan started south to meet General Wood at Chihuahua, Old Mexico.

Col. Doniphan and his Missourians had suffered many privations on their march across the desert. Footsore and hungry, they stopped at the town of Dona Ana, where they found not only food and water, but also Lieut. Colonel Jackson and Major Gilipin with their detachments.

On Christmas eve morning the whole command, baggage and all, were headed for El Paso. Doniphan's men had endured hardships and their clothes were in pretty bad condition, but they were happy and sang and joked all the way. Some of them voiced a wish that they would have a battle on Christmas day.

Finally they sighted the beautiful Organ mountains, and after eighteen miles of hard travel, called a halt at Brazito, where on the east side of the Rio Grande, the Colonel pitched his camp. His men were soon scattered in all directions, looking for wood, water, and fresh grass for their horses. Suddenly some of the soldiers saw an unusually large formation of dust in the direction of El Paso. In less than a quarter of an hour the whole camp was one hum of excitement.

Several of the advance guard, galloping their horses at full speed, dashed up to the Colonel shouting at the top of their voices: The enemy is advancing upon us! Following this announcement, the officers began to snap out commands and orders, the bugler blew assembly, the soldiers sent up a shout of joy discarded their wood, grass, and water and grabbing their rifles fell into line. Those boys were so thrilled at the prospect of a battle on Christmas day that they began to sing, filling the valley with the stirring tune of Yankee Doodle Went to Town. In modern language, they went to town all right, and how!

The Missourians were no sooner in line, when General Ponce de Leon with thirteen hundred strong, flanked Colonel Doniphan's men on the left and right. The Mexican General had about five hundred regular Dragoons and eight hundred volunteers. The peacock's feathers were dull by comparison to the Dragoons' uniforms of scarlet trimmed green coats, tall caps with brass ornaments and stately plumes. Their trousers were a vivid blue, and the bright afternoon sun made their highly polished lances and swords fairly sparkle.

Just before the battle took place General Ponce De Leon sent a messenger, bearing a black flag, up to the American lines. And Colonel Doniphan sent an interpreter to meet the messenger. The messenger told the interpreter that General Ponce De Leon wished the American Commander to appear before him. Looking the messenger straight in the eye the interpreter replied:

If your General wants to talk peace, tell him to advance to the American lines. Then the messenger got hot, too, and retorted likewise, telling the interpreter that the Mexican soldiers would break the American lines and take their Commander by force. Take him! challenged the interpreter.

With a vile oath, sending the Americans to perdition, the messenger jerked his horse around and was gone like a flash. At this point Colonel Doniphan used a bit of strategy that worked like a charm. He acted uncertain about the next move and held his men back. Thinking that the Americans were afraid the Mexicans charged the American lines in full force. The battle waxed hot and furious, for about thirty minutes, but the Mexicans were soon routed and retreating toward El Paso.

At the battle of Brazito, which took place near old Fort Fillmore, seventy-one Mexicans were killed and fifty wounded. The Americans had eight wounded, but none killed. The chief object of the Mexican advance was to prevent the Americans from marching on to Chihuahua to enforce the American troops under General Wood. Following the battle the American soldiers tossed their hats above their heads with a victorious shout, crying: On to Chihuahua!

The Missourians made quite a contrast to the gay Dragoons. Some of them were not even mounted, and their nondescript clothes could hardly be called uniforms. Their beards, hair, and mustaches had not been touched by a barber for months. And the majority of them wore coonskin caps at a rakish angle.

Alexander W. Doniphan: Born in Mason County, Kentucky, July 8, 1808. First Regiment, Col. Missouri Mounted Volunteers. Commanded the American forces at battle of Sacramento. One of the greatest American lawyers. Idol of Western Missouri. Died at Richmond, Missouri, August 8, 1888.

The Battle of Brazito was told to the writer. Battle at Temascalito so called by Col. Doniphan Battle of Brazito. Fort Fillmore. Taken from George Griggs History of Mesilla Valley. Fort Fillmore, named after President Fillmore, was situated at Brazito, 40 miles above El Paso. When the military posts at Dona Ana and El Paso were abandoned, Fort Fillmore was established September 23, 1851, having been chosen as a better defense position than the two abandoned forts.

The post was occupied by Company H of the 1st Dragoons and Companies E and K of the 3rd Infantry. Fort Fillmore was abandoned by Union troops July 26, 1861, and fell into the hands of the Confederates. It was reoccupied by a Union force August 11, 1862, and held until November 13, 1862, when it was again abandoned.