Demas Provencher Valencia County, New Mexico

Demas Provencher, or Provencer, a native of France, was one of the early inhabitants of Valencia (now a part of McKinley) county. He established a general merchandising business, and erected a mill at El Gallo, three miles southwest of Grant's station, adjoin ing the present San Rafael, and upon the site of old Fort Wingate. He became widely known throughout that section of the Territory, and by reason of his generous disposition, his public spirit and inclination to be of practical use to the community at large, was highly respected. He married a sister of Father Bran, a French Catholic priest stationed at El Gallo. In 1892, while engaged in canvassing the votes cast in his precinct at an election, in company with another official, he was killed by a shot fired through the window near which he sat. As he had no known enemies, it was generally believed that the shot was intended for his companion, and that it was fired by Jose el Coyote, a Mexican desperado who had been the author of numerous criminal disturbances.

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Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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