John R. Hodges Eddy County, New Mexico

John R. Hodges, secretary and treasurer of the Artesia Improvement Company, has been an important factor in the work of general improvement and in Artesia and various localities are seen tangible evidences of his life of activity and the results of his business discernment and enterprise. In the fall of 1897 he came from Texas to New Mexico, settling at Roswell, where he entered the employ of R. L. Moss, a druggist, with whom he continued for a year as a clerk, when he purchased the store and there developed a good business, which lie conducted until 1903, when he sold to Daniel Brothers.

He was graduated from the University of Texas in the pharmaceutical department in 1896, and was thus well qualified for his mercantile operations. On selling his store he became connected with the Artesia Improvement Company, which was organized July 25, 1903, and incorporated under the laws of the Territory. This company purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, constituting the former homestead of John F. Boyle, lying west of Ross Avenue. After securing this land the company laid it off as a town site in conjunction with the similar work of the Artesia Town Site Company. They first subdivided forty acres into town lots, called the Clayton and Stegman addition, but the rapid growth of the town caused them soon to lay off the one hundred and twenty acres as the Artesia Improvement Company addition.

The officers of this company are: J. A. Cottingham, president; S. P. Denning, vice-president; John R. Hodges, secretary and treasurer; and E. A. Clayton, manager. They were all Roswell people, who came to Artesia when they saw the advantages of the country and recognized its possibilities for development. The two land companies in Artesia organized a company known as the Artesia Water, Power and Light Company and put down the town well, which was the second well put down in this part of the valley, which was a great boon to the entire countryside. There was little promise for rapid or substantial development in the town before water was struck, but this gave great impetus to its growth. People flocked in here in great numbers and the town has enjoyed a rapid and substantial advancement. At the present time Mr. Hodges is engaged in developing Lake Arthur, a town nine miles north of Artesia.

He went to that locality in the fall of 1904 and was one of the organizers of the town. The Lake Arthur Town Site Company was formed by Mr. Hodges, C. L. Higday, E. C. Cook, J. S. Venable, J. R. Blair and H. H. Sigman; the present members of the company are H. H. Sigman, Elizabeth Hodges and John R. Hodges. The work has been carried on at Lake Arthur in the same manner as it was in Artesia in the early days of this town. The company first put down a town well, going down ten hundred and twenty-four feet for water. The town site was the original desert entry of Tillman Furr, Mr. Hodges is now successfully engaged in disposing of town lots in Lake Arthur, and as a promoter has done effective and far-reaching work for the Territory. He is also the secretary, treasurer and manager of the Artesia Water, Power and Light Company, of which J. Mack Smith is president and S. P. Denning vice-president. Mr. Hodges has made a close study of town building, has thoroughly acquainted himself with the natural resources of the country and its possibilities and his efforts have been directed along practical lines, producing excellent results.

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

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Created 1996 by Charles Barnum & 2016 by Judy White