J. A. Bruce Eddy County, New Mexico

Among Artesia's residents is numbered J. A. Bruce, who came to the Territory in 1898, locating first at Roswell, but soon afterward he removed to his present place, two miles east of the town of Artesia. On the 1st of May, 1901, he began drilling a well and struck water on the 13th of September, 1902. This was the first deep well in the Artesia country and was a visible demonstration to people of the fact that the artesian belt crossed this locality. After this well was found people began to flock in large numbers to the district and the country became thickly settled. When the well was struck there was only one little store and a house in Artesia, but now it is a thriving and rapidly growing town. Previous to that time Air. Bruce had used the surrounding country as a range for his cattle and he killed antelopes as late as 1899 on the town site of Artesia. His wife and mother-in-law also took up eight hundred acres of land, two miles east of Artesia, and the family still own all of this property. At the time the artesian well was demonstrated to be a success Mr. Bruce ceased to engage in stock-raising and turned his attention to farming. He has seventy acres in orchards and sixty acres in alfalfa, while altogether he has two hundred acres under cultivation. It required seventeen months to drill the well, but no other element has proven so valuable a factor in the settlement and upbuilding of this district, and Air. Bruce certainly deserves the gratitude of his fellow townsmen, proving that water could be obtained here and thus making possible the irrigation and fertilization of the arid soil.

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

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