Obadiah J. Niles Colfax County, New Mexico

Obadiah J. Niles, deceased, was one of the pioneers of Elizabethtown, New Mexico. He came to this Territory from his native state, Illinois, in 1868 or 1869, and settled at Elizabethtown, where he opened a shop and worked at his trade, that of wagon maker. Also he was interested in the cattle business and had a dairy. He continued an active life here until well advanced in years, when he moved to Springer and retired. There he died at the ripe age of eighty-three years. He was a Democrat, prominent and active in public affairs. For twelve years he served as a justice of the peace at Elizabethtown, this being during the most unsettled and disorderly times in the history of the town, and he did much toward bringing about a change for the better in conditions here. He was a charter member of the Masonic lodge at Elizabethtown. Mr. Niles' widow died in Springer, in 1903. They had an only son, George Johnson Niles.

George Johnson Niles was born in Iowa. About 1871 he went to Ecuador, South America, in the employ of the Arroyo Railroad Company, where he remained a few years, and from whence, about 1875 or 1876, he went to California. After spending a year or more in the Golden state he came, in 1877, to New Mexico, joining his parents in Elizabethtown. Here he mined for a time in the employ of Matthew Lynch. Afterward he turned his attention to the cattle business and to dairying on Moreno creek, where he remained until his death. His wife, nee Mary O'Connell, died in Ecuador.

O. Jay Niles, only son of George Johnson and Mary (O'Connell) Niles, was born in Wyandotte, Kansas, September 20, 1860; accompanied his parents to South America and after his mother's death went with his father to California and thence came to New Mexico in 1877, as stated. He attended for a short time an industrial school in San Francisco and afterward went to public school in Elizabethtown. He was on the ranch with his father until his father's death, and has since been more or less interested in the cattle business. For several years he has been engaged in surveying, doing government work on the subdivisions of Colfax and Mora counties. He sold his ranch, eighteen miles west of Springer, in the fall of 1904, and has since lived in Elizabethtown. He is proprietor of the Maxwell House, so named because title to the property came from L. B. Maxwell in 1869. Like his grandfather and father before him, O. Jay Niles is a Democrat. In local politics, however, he gives his support to the man rather than the party. From 1892 to 1898 he served as deputy sheriff of Colfax County. He is a member of the Fraternal Brotherhood at Springer.

Mr. Niles has a wife and three children: Edith Adeline, George Maurice and Stanley J. Mrs. Niles, formerly Miss Mary E. Gallagher, is a daughter of Maurice Gallagher, a miner and early settler of Elizabethtown. George E. Beebe, until recently postmaster of Elizabethtown, Colfax County, was born in Liverpool, Medina County, Ohio, November 27, 1845, son of Warner and Jane (Gilchrist) Beebe. His father was a farmer.

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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

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