Patrick Higgins Socorro County, New Mexico

Patrick Higgins, owning and operating a ranch at Reserve, New Mexico, has been a resident of the Territory since 1862. He came to this section of the country as a member of Company B, First California Infantry, having enlisted for service in the Union army from Los Angeles, California, on the 9th of October, 1861. He was a native of Minister, in County Limerick, Ireland, born March 17, 1835, and his education was acquired in the national schools of that country. For four years he was a sailor on board the Jessie, visiting all ports of Europe, after which he went to Quebec, Canada, to visit his uncle. While there he secured his release from the ship, and soon afterward, leaving his uncle's home, he began rafting on Canadian waters, being thus engaged until 1852, when he went to California, attracted by the discovery of gold on the Pacific coast. He was engaged in mining in that state until 1861, when he enlisted in Los Angeles on the 9th of October for service in the Union army during the Civil war. He re-enlisted at Fort Cummings as a member of Company B, First Veteran Infantry of Colorado, becoming first sergeant. The regiment was constantly in active service in suppressing the Indian uprisings in the southwest. Mr. Higgins was wounded by an arrow in the right leg and by a bullet in the left leg, and he afterward lost the use of his left hand and arm when engaged in trouble with horse thieves in 1877. He was at that time serving as deputy sheriff of Socorro county, a position which he filled for fourteen years. Both the thief and Mr. Higgins shot at the same time, and the former was killed, while the latter was shot in the arm.

On being discharged from the United States service at Santa Fe on account of his wounds, having been in the hospital for some time, Mr. Higgins located in Socorro, where he established a blacksmith and carpenter shop, continuing in the business from 1872 until 1874. He then removed to Water Canyon, where for eight months he was engaged in the cattle business. He removed to Tularosa, where he secured a ranch of one hundred and sixty acres on the old Apache reservation, from which the Indians had been recently removed. He then engaged in the cattle business, which he conducted for a number of years, and in 1897 he bought a ranch on the Frisco River. He has sold his cattle and is now giving his attention to farming. He resides in Socorro.

Mr. Higgins was married in 1863 to Miss Perfeta Sanchez, and they have twelve living children and three who are deceased. Mr. Higgins is a member of Slough Post No. 7, G. A. R. Thoroughly familiar with the experiences of military service and pioneer life in the southwest, he has contributed to the work of subduing the red race and reclaiming this region for the purposes of civilization, and has now settled down to the quiet life of a farmer, his labors adding to the agricultural development and prosperity of his county.


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

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