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Family History Stories Paraphrased
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A. J. Ballard and Family
Abran Miller
The Adams Diggings
Parker and Roberts Families
Nicolas Lopez of Agua Fria
Albert Zeigler
Alice J. Van Winkel
The Alma Massacre, Indian Story
Ambrosio Chavez
Begin Family Histories:  Surnames Mentioned:   Ballard, Redding, Manning, Stevens, Lea, Dow, Moreland, Smith, Chisum, Roberts, Rogers, Moreland, Lodewick.
Paraphrased By: Edwina Frazier-Hewett October, 2001
Paraphrase Source: 
Mrs. A.J. Manning  WPA Story No. 1 & 2-Combined
American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
A.J. Ballard Family
Pioneers of Pecoa Valley Given by 
A.J. Ballard, born in Tennessee and Katherine Redding Ballard, born in Texas and six of their children (Charlie, Will, Berta, Ann, James C. and Dick) moved from Griffing Texas to Fort Sumner, New Mexico in 1869. Mr. Ballard hunted buffalo between 1875 and 1876 on the Llano Estacado (Staked Plains) even going as far west as the Pecos River.  During his year of buffalo hunting, Mr. Ballard liked the area around Roswell and planned to move his family to the lower Pecos Valley.  The journey in a covered wagon was hard but uneventful and as luck would have it, they encountered no Indians. The family was "thrilled-especially my brothers Charlie, Will and Dick", who was a "baby in arms" by the site of herds of buffalo roaming on the open plains.   The family recounts the covered wagon journey as "the most interesting experience of their lives."  (Mrs. Berta Ballard-Manning was 10 years old at the time of the journey). The families first stop in New Mexico was at Portales Springs where they camped for the night enjoying fresh cold water.   The next morning, the Ballard family moved on to Fort Sumner and set up their home.   After just a few short months, the Ballard family lost their home in Fort Sumner to an explosion, rumored to have been caused by a drunk shooting at a keg of gun powder on the plaza.

The Ballard family moved again, this time to Lincoln, New Mexico.  While living in Lincoln, Mrs. Berta Ballard-Manning was befriended by Billy the Kid.  Berta remembered Billy the Kid as "being quiet and gentlemanly."  As luck would have it, the family moved right into the middle of the Lincoln County War.  Mr. Ballard did not want to raise his children in the midst of hostility and lawlessness that was abundant in Lincoln and the family moved again, this time to Roswell, New Mexico in 1881. 

Roswell offered the Ballard family the opportunity  of establishing and improving the land on which they settled.   The property, now known as the Arthur Stevens farm, was located three miles east of Roswell on East Second Street.  This location was the birth place of the first Anglo boy, Robert L. Ballard, born in the Pecos Valley.   Ella Lea Dow, daughter of Captain Joseph C. Lea was the first girl baby born in Roswell. Mrs. Berta Ballard-Manning and her family watched Roswell grow. At the time, Roswell consisted of two adobe houses, built by the partnership of Van C. Smith and Aaron Wilburn. Both of these buildings were owned by Captain Lea with one being a store and the other a four room hotel. Captain Lea lived in the hotel when the Ballards came to Roswell. The hotel featured dormer-window attic sleeping quarters for guests. Located on the north east side of the hotel and store were three "little mud and stick huts". "Of the six little trees spoken of by Sallie Chisum Roberts as "making a struggle to live" there were only three left". In 1881, the first adobe school was built near the Ballard home "on the southeast corner of school section thirty-six, three miles east of Roswell on East Second Street".  Mr. Ballard contributed financially toward costs of the school.   The Ballard children were among the first to attend this school and were taught by Asbury C. Rogers.  (Asbury C. Rogers was the first teacher in what is now known as Chaves County). Mr. Ballard wanted his children to be able to take advantage of the new schools and churches being established in Roswell so the family "sold our farm on East Second street to the Arthur Stevens family and built a home in Roswell on what is now the one hundred block South Pennsylvania avenue a little north of where Mrs. Aurie S. Moreland lives at the present time, 102 S. Pennsylvania avenue". For over half a century, Mr. & Mrs. A.J. Ballard, their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren have been "identified with the upbuilding and improving of the Pecos Valley".  The Ballard family remains active in promoting the City of Roswell. A.J. Ballard passed away in 1914 and his wife Katherine Redding Ballard joined her husband in 1926.  During their life in Roswell, they saw it become a modern city of 10,000 people.  Many of the Ballard children, grandchildren and great grandchidren still reside in the Roswell area today and are still active in their community. James C. Ballard, Robert L. Ballard and Mrs. Ann Ballard-Johnson (State Supervisor of WPA Production Projects) live in Roswell.  Richard (Dick)Ballard and his wife Laura (Gayle) Ballard live in Phoenix Arizona, their children, Robert (Bert) Ballard and Mrs. Laura Ballard-Lodewick live in Roswell.   Charlie and Will Ballard live in Artesia, New Mexico.
Surnames Mentioned:  Miller, Dolan, Carrillo, Blazer, Herrera, Dowlin, Dolan, Montoya, McSween, Tunstall, Peppin, Chavez, Murphy, Axtall, Boresolver, Romero
Paraphrased By: Edwina Frazier-Hewett October, 2001
Paraphrase Source: 
Abran Miller, Carrizozo, New Mexico, Aged [75?] years. WPA Story No. 3
American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
Abran Miller
Abran Miller was born in February, 1863 at Manzano, New Mexico and has lived in Lincoln County for sixty-four years.  His father, Holan Miller, was born in Canada but does not know the place or date of his fathers birth and his mother, Manuelite Herrera Carrillo was born in Manzano, New Mexico.   His parents lived in Manzano for about four years.  Holan Miller and Manuelite Herrera Carrillo married in Manzano, new Mexico in 1869.  Their union produced five children, three boys, Abran, Willie and Adolpho and two girls, Debbie and Eliza.  Holan Miller was a blacksmith and always had his own shop.  The family lived in Manzano, New Mexico until Abran was around six months old.  The family moved to Springer, new Mexico in the fall of 1863 where they lived for seven years.  During their time in Springer, Holan Miller set up his blacksmith shop and ran two hundred head of cattle on shares, building up the herd until he owned one hundred head.  In 1870, the family left Springer traveling in an ox drawn covered wagon taking their one hundred head of cattle with them.   During this two week journey, the group traveled at night hoping to avoid Indian attacks.  Manuelite's brother, Pat Carillo cowboyed for the family during the move and Abran remembers riding with his uncle and being strapped to his uncles waist so he wouldn't fall off.  The men in the party all carried six shooters and Winchester riffles and the trip to Fort Sumner lasted about two weeks.  While the Miller family lived in Fort Sumner, New Mexico Holan Miller opened a blacksmith shop and increased his cattle herd to around two hundred and seventy five head. In 1874, the Miller family moved again, traveling by ox drawn covered wagons to the military post of Fort Stanton.  "We crossed the Pecos River at Fort Sumner, New Mexico and had no trouble crossing the cattle". 
The family took their time so that the cattle could graze along the way and arrived at Fort Stanton in about two weeks.  The Miller's lived at Fort Stanton for a short time.  During their time at Fort Stanton, Holan Miller set up a blacksmith shop and Adolpho was born.  Adolpho passed away and is buried at Fort Stanton and the Miller family lived there only a short time. Abran was unsure of when the Miller family moved to the Mescalero Indian Reservation, but recalls his father renting land from A.N. Blazer, owner of the Blazer Mill.  The family lived in a two room log home and the cattle was pastured on Fernando Herrera's property.    During their time on the Mescalero Indian Reservation, Abrans father opened a blacksmith shop planting a garden and twenty acres of corn.  Once the crop was harvested, Holan sent for Abran to come home.  (Abran had been living with his uncle Pat Carillo). 
When Abran arrived, his father said; "Son, here is my crop and my blacksmith shop, you can sell them.  Take care of your mother, I am going away and you will not see me anymore."  Holan Miller road horseback to Dowlin's Mill and sold his cattle to Paul and Will Dowlin.  He left the country the same day on horseback taking the proceeds of the cattle sales with him. Manuelite Miller moved to Solado Flats, one mile west of the current town of Capitan, New Mexico.
Shortly after Abran's father left at the age of seventeen, Abran became a cow hand for the Murphy Dolan Company whose head quarters was located on Carrizozo Flats at what is now known as the Bar W Ranch.  "I was very small for my age and when I first went to work for the Murphy, Dolan Company. I got my clothes and board and Mr. Murphy gave forty dollars to my mother, each month. I soon made them a good cow hand and then I got sixty dollars a month." 

About four years after Holans departure, Abran received a letter from him.  In the letter, Holan said he was living on the Rio Grande river at a place called Caan, Colorado, eighteen miles south of Belen, New Mexico.   Holan ask Abran to visit him there so Abran "saddled up" his "black pony" and made the two day trek.  When Abran arrived, Holan said: "Hello son, I am glad you came. I want you to have a black stallion I have here, and you can also have this blacksmith shop. I am leaving this time and you will never see me again."   Holan Miller walked toward the river and this was the last time Abran saw his father.  Abran remembers his father as a "queer man" who "brooded a lot."

Abran recalls and encounter with Billy the Kid.  The Murphy Dolan Company sent Abran and Lucio Montoya to Elk Canyon on the Indian Reservation with a bunch of cattle.  The cattle were to be used to feed the Indians and were butchered as they were needed.  Abran and Lucio Montoya guarded the cattle to keep the Indians from stealing them and the men took turns gathering the horses each day.  While Lucio saddled a small black mule used to gather the saddle horses, Abran set out on foot searching for the horses.  Abran saw a cloud of dust and called to Lucio to hurry, worrying that some one was stealing the cattle or saddle horses. 

Lucio galloped off, and Abran waited for his return.  When Lucio did not return, Abran feared him dead.  Abran went back to the cabin and from the door saw about thirty men ride up.  "The leader was a nice looking young fellow. He said "Hello kid, do you have anything to eat?"   Abran said: "Yes, there is coffee, beans, flour and some canned goods, you are welcome to it, but you will have to cook it yourselves. I have to go and get my horses and see what has become of Lucio." Unknown to Abran, he had just met Billy the Kid and his gang who were to become a key part  of the war between the Murphy Dolan Company and McSween later known as the Lincoln County War.  Billy the Kid told Abran:  "Kid don't be afraid for not a man in the crowd will hurt you nor bother anything around here while your are in charge of it."  Billy the Kid and his gang dismounted and came into the cabin.  While they were waiting for the coffee to boil, and the food to be done, Billy the Kid ask Abran how old he was, where he lived, etc.  After Billy the Kid and his gang finished eating the road off toward Elk Canyon.  "I found out later that this gang of men were with the [McSween?] and Tunstall faction but they never bothered me at all."  Abran left on foot again to find the saddle horses.  When he found them, the black mule that Lucio had left on was with the horses, but Lucio was no where in site.  Abran noticed that Lucio's horse was gone and decided that he had become frightened and rode off.

Once while visiting his mother on the Salado, Billy the Kid came to the house looking for food.  Abran and Billy the Kid remembered each other from Elk Canyon, but Abrans mother didn't want to feed him because of Billy's association Murphy at the time. Abran related the story of Elk Canyon to his mother and she relented feeding Billy and allowing him to stay the night. 

The next morning while milking, Abran saw several men on horseback riding toward the house.  "I did not have time to warn Billy that someone was coming but he and mother saw them. Mother had a big home-made packing box she used for a trunk and it had a pad lock on it. She hid Billy in this box before the men reached the house."  The riders were a posse headed by Sheriff Peppin, and included his deputy Florencio Chaves and two other men.  The Sheriff was looking for Billy the Kid for the killing of a clerk at the Mescalero Indian Agency.   While the posse searched the house, Sheriff Peppin noticed a saddled black horse in the yard and ask who it belonged to.  Abran told Sheriff Peppin that it was his horse that he used to round up the other horses.  Sheriff Peppin didn't believe Abran stating that "Billy the Kid should be around" here "somewhere."   The posse couldn't find Billy the Kid and finally rode away.

The Kid hid out at the house until dark.   "Mother asked me to let Billy have my black horse and saddle, as she thought that he would return them to me. I did, and sure enough, in about ten days I got up one morning and found my horse, with the saddle on, in the corral. I never did know who brought him back. I was surely glad, for I thought an awful lot of this horse and I was so afraid that Billy would not get him back to me. I had traded with the Apache Indians for this horse. I had given about ten dollars worth of red flannel, beads and powder for him."

After the killing of the Indian Agency clerk, Mr. L.O. Murphy of the Murphy Dolan Company sent Abran to Santa Fe, New Mexico with a message for the governor.  Abran rode the same black horse he had loaned to Billy the Kid and before going on to Santa Fe, he had to make a stop at Fort Stanton to pick up a message from the commanding officer.  At Fort Stanton, Abran received a fresh horse along with the message and headed out for Santa Fe.  "I rode to Pinco, on the north side of the Gallina Mountains, that night. I knew a fellow there, by the name of Mario Payne, and he let me have a fresh horse, and I made it on to Santa Fe on the third day. " Abran delivered the messages to Governor Axtall.  The Govnenor was angry that Murphy has sent such a young man for the job, wanting to know why Pat Carillo hadn't sent his own son who was larger and older.  Th Governor told Abran to have Murphy to pay him three hundred dollars for making the dangerous trip.  Governor Axtall said that if Murphy wouldn't pay the three hundred dollars that he would do so himself.  Abran received the Governors stated fee from Mr. Murphy. Abran worked for the Murphy Dolan Company all through the Lincoln County War and was based at ranch headquarters on Carrizozo Flats.   During his time working for the Murphy Dolan Company, Abran saved around six hundred dollars and married Juanita Romero, (daughter of Juan Romero of Lincoln, New Mexico) on February 12, 1881.  Father Louis Boresolver, a priest from Manzano came to Lincoln to perform the ceremony for a twenty five dollar fee.  Abran and Juanito set up housekeeping in Lincoln, New Mexico and had five children, three girls, and two boys.   All of the children were born in Lincoln, New Mexico and are dead with the exception of Andres, their first born.  Andres lives in Roswell, New Mexico along with his mother Juanita, Abran and Juanita have been separated for a number of years.

Abran Miller lives in a little one room shack on the old head quarters of the Murphy Dolan Company ranch in Carrizozo, New Mexico and states "And" I " would not live any where else."
Surnames Mentioned:  Adams, Davidson, Sanborn, Jaramillo, Lewism.
Paraphrased By: Edwina Frazier-Hewett October, 2001
Paraphrase Source:
American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
The Adams Diggings Mine
November 19, 1938
Steeped in romanticism, rhetoric and longing, the tale of the lost Adams Diggins Mine and its riches grows with its every telling.  One version of the story says that Edward Adams and his expedition began a journey from Magdalena to California traveling to the northwest.   The expedition camped somewhere between Magdalena and Fort San Rafael beside a small stream.  A member of the expedition saw gold in the stream and told the rest of the party what he had seen.  Mr. Adams thought that the gold may have washed into the stream from a outcrop above the camp so he and his partner, Mr. Davidson headed up the canyon on foot approximately one mile and found the source of the gold.  After Mr. Adams and Mr. Davidson left to search for the source of the gold, a band of Apaches attacked the camp.  Hearing the gunfire, Mr. Adams and Mr. Davidson assumed Indians were attacking and hid in the bushes of a nearby hillside until the sounds of the attack stopped.  Once they were sure the attack was over, Mr. Adams and Mr. Davidson approached the encampment and their worst fears were met, all members of the expedition had been massacred and the groups horses and mules had been stolen. Mr. Adams and Mr. Davidson buried the dead, took a few samples of ore and headed out for Fort San Rafael seeking assistance to go back and find the gold.  The commanding officer of Fort San Rafael refused to aid the two men and they set off on foot for Reserve, New Mexico. 
The journey inflicted numerous hardships and suffering on Mr. Adams and Mr. Davidson but they arrived safely at their destination.  Upon arriving in Reserve, the pair showed their ore samples to several of the natives and based on the richness of the ore samples, a loan was issued to them with which they purchased horses.  Mr. Adams and Mr. Davidson rode to Pima, Arizona in the hopes that friend of Mr. Adams would lend enough money to properly outfit a return expedition to the site of the mother load. An expedition was formed and the group traveled from Pima to Alma then on to where Mr. Adams remembered to have found the gold, but alas, either by loss of direction or poor memory, the expedition could not find the source of the gold nor the place of the massacre of the first expedition.  Numerous expeditions have set out since then in hope of finding the rich source of gold as told by Edward Adams, but the Adams Digging Mine remains lost to this day. Another version of the story, or at least, a rebuttal is recounted by Bob Lewism, a man well know for his honesty and fearlessness.  Mr. Lewism had known Mr. Adams before he had left on that ill fated expedition to California. "Sure I knowed old Adams" said Mr. Lewism, "Never was a bigger old liar . . .""He'd tell a lie when the truth would fit better".  According to Mr. Lewism, Edward Adams was know to be drunk six month or sometimes even for a whole year.  In the early part of August, 1864, Edward Adams and seven others organized an early beaver trapping expedition and headed toward the northwest part of the state, hoping to set up camp before the cold set in. 
Camp was set up on a small stream close to Fort San Rafael.    Another group of travelers coming from California and heading to the Eastern States who were transporting between sixty and eighty thousand dollars in gold had stopped at Fort Wingate, confiding in the commanding officer that they were carrying sixty to eighty thousand dollars in gold.  After leaving Fort Wingate, the California group came to the stream where Adams expedition was camped and decided to share camp for the night.  "An encampment like that, in those days, usually got up an hour or two before daylight in order to make an early start" surmised Mr. Lewism, and he further stated that he thought that Mr. Adams and Mr. Davidson left camp on some rues to set up an ambush on the California travelers.  Mr. Lewism, knowing "Adams personal character", suggested that Edward Adams might have been planning to ambush the California travelers.   The ambush may or may not have taken place, but shortly after Mr. Adams and Mr. Davidson left camp, Apache Indians attacked, massacring everyone and stealing the horses and mules.  If the California travelers were still in camp, more than likely they were killed with the Adams expedition.  If that were true, more than likely, Mr. Adams and Mr. Davidson searched what was left of the camp for the California gold, found it, buried what gold they couldn't carry and pocketed the rest.  According to Edward Adams story of the massacre, he and Mr. Davidson traveled on foot to Fort San Rafael where the story of the massacre was reported and assistance was requested for locating a rich mine of gold, which the Forts commander refused. 
Mr. Lewism's skepticism regarding Edward Adams story was based on physically seeing samples of the gold; "I later saw a handful of this gold that Adams had saved when he buried the rest and it was a quality entirely foreign to that part of New Mexico and identical with some I had seen from California Diggin's.  The pellets were about the size of a pinhead, up to as big as a pinto bean, and I knew that nobody ever found that kind of gold in the parts of New Mexico I have prospected over" as well as a witnessed altercation between Edward Adams, (who was fairly intoxicated) and a retired Captain Sanborn.  Captain Sanborn was enraged to here Mr. Adams recount of the tale of his lost mine and the lack of assistance offered by the commander of Fort San Rafael as he was the commander of the camp during the time period of Mr. Adams tale. "Sir, since the latter part of your speech concerns me, and it is most damaging to my character, I now take it upon myself to refute your statements and call you a contemptible damned liar.  I happened to be the commanding officer of Fort San Rafael at the time of which you are talking.  I recall the day of which you speak very clearly and to my knowledge, you never set foot in that Fort in your life. 
It could never be said truthfully that Cap Sanborn ever refused aid to anybody within a weeks" ride "of my post who needed it." According to Mr. Lewism account of this altercation, Edward Adams made some rather inflammatory remarks which set Captain Sanborn off who grabbed a butcher knife and went after Edward Adams, chasing him down the street shouting that Mr. Adams "was the dirtiest liar that ever lived".  Mr. Lewism further testified that he had been in in Reserve when Mr. Adams and Mr. Davidson came into town flashing ore samples.   The story of the samples was told with a new twist, that he (Edward Adams) had paid an Indian whiskey for the samples and that he (Edward Adams) would get the Indian more whiskey in return for the origins of the samples.  At no time during the telling of this tale did Mr. Adams talk of the travelers from California and upon seeing the samples, Mr. Lewism felt that they were the same samples he had seen the two men with in Magdelina in 1864.  Mr. Lewism believes that Mr. Adams and Mr. Davidson knew they couldn't show the gold they carried after the massacre so the two split up with Mr. Adams traveling to Pima, Arizona to borrow money and supplies from friends so that he could go back and salvage the buried gold and Mr. Davidson traveling to Louisiana to visit relatives. Edward Adams did get an expedition financed to recover the gold and sent for Mr. Davidson to accompany him. 
This expedition netted nothing and Mr. Adams made several more trips alone in search of the gold but none was ever found. Based on the description of the location of the massacre given by Edward Adams, in 1818, Mr. Lewism found the bodies of five men buried in a common grave a few miles north of North Lake.  Mr. Lewism searched the area around the grave but found no indication of any gold and went back to town to report finding the bodies.   Mr. Lewism firmly believes that those bodies were Adams original expedition of 1864.  Mr. Lewism also told of a gentleman he knew by the name of Jose Maria Jaramillo who said that he had found twenty thousand dollars burried only a few miles from where place of the common grave.  (Mr. Jaramillo wouldn't verify if the twenty thousand dollars had been in gold dust.) According to Mr. Lewism the Adams Diggings Mine is "one of the richest mines in the world in the mind of a danged old liar like I knowed Ed Adams to be, and in the minds of a bunch of old, dream-crazy prospectors who ain't got no more sense than to believe in it."
Surnames Mentioned:  Parker, Roberts, Ellis.
Paraphrased By: Edwina Frazier-Hewett October, 2001
Paraphrase Source:
Mrs. Alice Roberts, Carrizozo New Mexico. Aged 78 years WPA Story No. 5
American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
The Parker and Roberts Family
Mar 14 1938
Mrs. Alice Parker-Roberts and her family returned to farming, raising livestock and Texas in 1881.   The Roberts family were unhappy in with life in Texas and in September of 1886, they sold their farm and all but thirty head of horses, moving in horse drawn covered wagons to New Mexico. The family camped out each night and fears of Indian attack had been greatly reduced thanks since "the Government had calmed them down".  The main worry was that the Indians would steal horses whenever the opportunity presented itself.   The traveling party consisted of Mr. Roberts, Mrs. Alice Parker-Roberts, their five children, Mrs. Roberts father, W.L. Parker and mother, a brother, two sisters and a hand named Jim Walker.  Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Parker, were both born in Texas and had lived in Rusk Texas, where Mr. Parker had worked as a freighter and raised stock.  Mr. and Mrs. Parker later moved to Llano Texas where they farmed and raised live stock until 1886 when they made the move to Nogal with the Roberts family. Water was scarce throughout the journey which inflicted great hardship on the livestock and imposed rationing of the families drinking water.  Fresh meat was just as scarce and with the exception of the occasional cotton tail rabbit the family had no meat until the restocked at the large stock ranches along the trail. The two month journey ended with the arrival at Nogal, New Mexico, near the end of November 1886.   Mr. Roberts attempt to find a rich gold mine failed so he secured a job hauling freight along a route that ran from Socorro, New Mexico to White Oaks and Nogal New Mexico.   After arriving in Nogal, Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Parker moved on to the coal mining town of San Peadro, New Mexico, and for two years operated a hotel.  Nogal, a typical mining boom town, held two stores, two saloons and a hotel.  Fall round ups signaled the end of cowboys working open range of Lincoln County and with wages in hand they would descend on Nogal to drink, dance and get into trouble.  These cowhands would get drunk and shoot up the town, occasionally shooting innocent by standers.  " I remember one night they killed Bill Ellis in one of their drunken brawls. He was the brother to Noah Ellis, who owned the I - X ranch, which was about 27 miles south of Nogal."  The Roberts family lived in Nogal for several years until they purchased land located on the Bonito River at the foot of the White Mountains; Bonito City, New Mexico.  On this rich fertile land the family raised potatoes, cabbage and other garden produce which was sold at Fort Stanton, Nogal, White Oaks and Roswell, cattle and sheep were also raised. Unhappy in San Peadro, the Parkers moved to Bonito and then went back to Texas for a short period after which they moved back to Nogal.  The final move Nogal may have been due to the death of one of their daughters while living in Texas.  Many Parker family members moved to the Nogal area with the exception of Alice Parker-Roberts brother Ben, who lived in California. Mr. and Mrs. Robert had eight children, three girls and five boys.  Seven of the children are still living, one daughter died in infancy. Alice Parker-Roberts husband passed away in 1913, her father, W.L. Parker passed away while visiting his son Ben in California and her mother, Mrs. W.L. Parker in 1909.
End Stories Edited  by Edwina Frazier-Hewett. Thank you Edwina.
Begin Stories Edited by C. W. Barnum. Thank you Charles.
Spanish language consultant: Annette Wasno. Thank you Annette.

Nicolas Lopez of Agua Fria
By Lorin W. Brown
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Colfax
Surnames Mentioned: Lopez, Lamy I had stopped for a drink of water from a well in the patio of a group of houses in lower Agua Fria. While drinking I reflected how well named the little village had been. For the water from its springs and wells is very cold and refreshing and I could visualize how grateful man and beast must have been in those days of slow travel. The magnificent grove of large cotton woods made an ideal camping spot for travelers on the way from Santa Fe to La Bajada and other points in Rio Abajo or the lower Rio Grande. While still at the well, Nicolas Lopez approached leading a pair of small horses. After greetings I helped him draw water for his thirsty team. "Que calor amiquito, if it would only rain so that we would be sure of saving our beans and corn. But the good God knows what he is doing, there is no use in worrying. He will not fail us. Let us go into my house where it in cool. Entering the cool earthen floored room I offered a chair. From Don Nicolas' conversation I gathered a picture of a much different life in Agua Fria, the life of my host's boyhood. Very meager opportunity for education was his lot. "The teacher was very good at punishing and our text book was the Cathecism and our arithmetic problems were worked on the surface of the school house door with charcoal." I was not allowed to go to school long.
My father took some cattle to herd on the shares from Bishop Lamy and the sisters of charity. That was the last of my schooling. For a month at a time I would be gone from home, taking care of the cattle, sometimes towards Las Totillas other times in the Arroyo Hondo wherever the grass was best." I will tell you the truth that when I left the school I stole a catechisms and while alone in camp I studied this book until it fell to pieces.  Before it did fall to pieces it was so greasy and dirty you would have laughed to have seen it. And you would have laughed to have seen me when I would come home after a month or more in camp. I would have a bead of hair like a buffalo and my clothes would be all torn and in a very sorry state. My father would shear me like I was a sheep. After two days at home I would go back with provisions on my burros for another month or two. A very lonely life I am telling you for a boy. I used to like to come home when the folks were boiling out syrup from the sugar cane. There used to be two mills here. Everybody would bring their cane to the presses and while the syrup was boiling or while the cane was being crushed, there would be dancing in the patio. Our musician was an Indian captive Antonio Dominguez who was very good on the violin. We had very good times then dancing nearly all night and telling tales while the syrup boiled out.
The children enjoyed it too because they were the ones who rode the cross beam which operated the pestle. There high up in the air they would rock back and forth shouting and laughing and fighting for their turn to ride. "Those were great times and I was always glad to get back at those times and I would try to stay as long as I would enjoying myself, eating too much syrup and candy because in camp I tasted no sweets except when I could find wild honey." "Why don't you raise any more cane now? Why have the times changed so. I don' t see that they raise many crops here any more?" I asked. "Oh then we had all the water we wanted." Now the water company has all the water which used to belong to us. You would not believe it but this dry river bed used to have willows growing along its banks from Santa Fe to Clenega. We had good ditches to carry water to all these lands.  We raised much corn and wheat. Oh we lived well then, from the land but now that in all past. Only if God to willing to send us raid do we raise anything now. "Tedo pasa en este mundo" Everything passes in this world. "Now we have very much work trying to find a little wood to sell in town. Soon we will have to move into town to find work and abandon our lands. My boys are all in town working now, that is why you find me here alone with my daughter-in-laws and my grand children. I am getting too old to do any work except feed our animals and see that they get water. But I do not have many years left and the good God willing I want to die here in my home where I was born." Source: Nicolas Lopez of Agua Fria

Albert Zeigler
By Edith L. Crawford
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Valencia, Lincoln, Socorro
Surnames Mentioned: Zeigler, Jaffa, Goodman, Ozanne, Smith, Weed, Sigafus, Wilson, McCourt I came to America from Germany, which is situated on the Rhine river. I sailed in September, 1884. The boat was named the Furnesia of the Anchor lines. We were thirteen days crossing the ocean. I landed in New York City and left at once by immigrant train for Albuquerque New Mexico, where my brother Jake Zeigler was clerking in the store of Jaffa Brothers. Soon after my arrival there they sent me to San Francisco California where we had some relatives living. They got me a job clerking in a store and I went to night school and learned to speak, read and write English, as I could not speak a word of English when I landed in America. The ways of the people and the country seemed very strange to me. After staying in California a year I came back to Socorro New Mexico, which was then in Lincoln County. I clerked for Price Brothers during the year of 1885 and part of 1886. While I was living in Socorro I visited my brother Jake, who was then living in Manzano, New Mexico. He and a man named Herman Goodman ran a small store there, selling dry goods, groceries and liquor. The town of Manzano was a Spanish American town. My brother, Mr. Goodman and a fellow by the name of Kountas were the only white men living there at the time.
This fellow Kountas ran a newspaper which was called the "Gringo and Greaser". He did not like the Spanish Americans and was always making dirty remarks about them in his paper. One night while he was eating supper some one shot through a window and killed him instantly. That ended the "Gringo and Greaser" newspaper. Another incident happened while I was visiting my brother there. A bunch of Spanish American men were in the store drinking and a couple of them got drunk. Jake refused to sell them any more whiskey so the bunch left the store. Later in that evening twelve men came back to the store armed with forty-five Winchester rifles, looking for Jake. He had been tipped off and was hiding in the hay loft. When they could not find him they left, but the next day they got out a warrant for him and had him arrested and taken before a Justice of the Peace who was a Spanish American. He fined Jake and made him pay the costs of the court, all just because he would not sell the two drunk men more whiskey. That was the kind of law and justice we had in those days. I left Socorro, New Mexico in December 1886, for White Oaks New Mexico. I went by stage coach, which was a buck board drawn by two little Spanish mules. We left Socorro about ten o'clock in the morning and got to Ozanne's ranch, which was about half way between Socorro and White Oaks, about six o'clock in the evening.
We had our supper there at the ranch and changed the team and started on the last half of the journey. It was a bitter cold night and we arrived at White Oaks about four o'clock in the morning. There were lots of sandy places on the road and at times the mules could only make about two miles an hour. It was a very cold and tiresome trip. My brother Jake and Herman Goodman had moved to White Oaks from Mansano, after Jake had the trouble with the Spanish Americans at Mansano, and put in a dry goods store in a small log cabin. After I got to White Oaks I went into the business with them and the store was called Goodman, Zeigler Company. The business was small and in order to increase it my brother Jake often made trips into the surrounding country and peddled dry goods. We had a wagon and a good pair of horses and Jake could take quite a load of goods with him on each trip.
The country in those days was not any too safe and he usually took a man with him to do the driving," as they [?] out at night most of the time. He had a man named Ike Smith who was an old timer and knew the country well who went with him. Once when they were returning from a trip into the Penasco country, they were coming down Nogal Hill when a masked bandit stepped up to the wagon and drew a gun on them and said, "turn over your money and be quick about it." Jake and Smith were so surprised that they were rather slow in turning over the money and the bandit shot at them. The bullet grazed Ike Smith's forehead. About a year after this hold up Ike Smith died from the effects of this wound. This happened at the foot of Nogal Hill, near Nogal New Mexico, which is twelve miles southeast of Carrizozo New Mexico. After that experience my brother did not make vary many more trips selling merchandise. We freighted all of our merchandise from San Antonio New Mexico by teams and mostly ox teams. It took them a week to make the trip from San Antonio to White Oats. In one of the shipments of merchandise, I ordered ten gallons of very fine wine. When the keg came we were all so anxious to get a good drink, but when we opened the keg you can imagine our great disappointment to find it filled with water.
Some one had taken the wine out and filled the keg up with water. There was a man by the name of W.H. Weed, who settled in White Oaks in 1881. He had a general merchandise business and also sold liquor. His store was a log cabin with a lean to shed on the back, with a side door entrance. He kept a barrel of whiskey on tap all the time and when the millers quit work for the day they would go by Weed's place and go in the side door and get a drink of whiskey, or on many drinks as they wished. Old man Weed would charge them with up with one drink no matter how many they had. He thought in this way he would get all the trade of the miners. White Oaks was a booming town in those days, there were about two hundred miners at work in the mines. I remember one evening while I was boarding at the Brothers Hotel, a man by the name of John E. Wilson came in to supper with a fine specimen of gold. He showed it to a man by the name of Sigafus, who was operating the North Home stake mine at that time. Wilson asked him what he thought of this kind of ore. I remember very well that Sigafus told him, "just one ton of this kind of ore and you will never have to work anymore". Mr. Wilson located the South Homestake mine which later proved to be very rich in gold. The North Homestake mine was located in 1880, by Jack Winters. This mine was also very rich in gold. The Old Abe mine was first located in 1881 by prospectors but none found the rich vein and they let their leases lapse. In the fall of 1890 the rich vein was located by a man named William Watson. The Old Abe mine is about thirteen hundred feet deep and is considered the driest mine in the world. It has produced around one and one half million dollars in gold.
The population of White Oaks was about five hundred people when the rich strike was made at the Old Abe mine and it jumped up to fifteen hundred people, with two hundred miners working in the mines. Although a hundred miles from the nearest railroad, the social life compared favorably with cities such larger. On March 9th, 1895, came the most drastic of all the Old Abe mine fires, in which eight miners lost their lives. The town people worked day and night to recover the bodies, the faithful women of the town staying on the job all the time, serving hot coffee and sandwiches to the rescuers, many of whom would be brought to the top overcome by gas fumes. When the El Paso, Northeastern Railroad was built from El Paso Texas to Tucumcari, New Mexico, we had great hopes of it building through White Oaks, but it left White Oaks about twelve miles to the east, and now it is just a ghost town, but we still have great hopes of the mines opening up again. Several funny things happened while I was living in White Oaks. Mrs. Zeigler and I were invited to a dinner party at Mrs. John McCourt's, a neighbor of ours. Her little son, Ben, about five years old enjoyed the meat course very much. The little fellow heard us talking about the kind of meat that we had and it happened to be kid. He asked us, "What did they kill the poor little fellow for?" During the Cleveland administration we had quite a few light gray stove pipe hats in the store. A bunch of Apache Indians came over from the Reservation to buy some dry goods. My brother Jake sold each buck one of these stove pipe hats. With their blankets and moccasins and high hats they were sights to behold. Everyone in the town was out watching these Indians parade the streets. I have lived in Lincoln County fifty years and have been in the general merchandise business all these years. Source: Albert Zeigler.  

Mrs. Alice J. Van Winkel
By Edith L. Crawford
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves, Otero, Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Van Winkel, Collins, Whitney, Jackson, Shears, Purcella I was born in Carlinville, Illinois, August 26, 1857, in a three room log cabin, on my grandfather Bill Whitney's farm. My mother was Mary Whitney. She was married to my father, John Collins, about the year 1855, in Carlinville Illinois. My maiden name was Alice J. Collins. I was married to John H. Shears in Carlinville, Illinois, in 1876. We went to housekeeping in a two roomed log cabin on my grandfather's farm. My grandfather Whitney, on whose place we lived, raised corn, wheat and hogs. My husband worked on the farm while we lived there. He took the corn and wheat to Litchfield Illinois, and had it ground into corn meal and flour. We killed our own hogs and cured all of our own meat, hams, shoulders and side meat. We had a garden and raised all of our vegetables. About the only things we bought were sugar and coffee. We made our own candles in those days. I made mine out of mutton tallow and twisted twine string, and shaped them myself. I had my own moulds. Nobody had kerosene lamps in those days.
My grandfather Whitney had some sheep on the farm and my grandmother Whitney washed the wool from the sheep, card and spun it, and would weave it into cloth to make our clothes. I never saw a calico dress until I was ten years old. My husband and I lived on this farm for about two years. We then took a notion to go to Texas, so in September 1878, we left Carlinville, Illinois, in two covered wagons, drawn by two horses to each wagon. We had five head of horses and led the extra horse. My husband drove one wagon and I drove one. We had our chuck box in the back of one of the wagons and kept our dishes and supplies in it. We had our own flour, corn meal and meat and bought the rest of our supplies. I did the cooking. I used a Dutch oven for baking and made hot biscuit and corn bread. We used Mesquite roots for fuel until we got on the plains in Texas and then we had to use buffalo chips. We slept in one of the wagons. We had a pair of bed springs in the bottom of the wagon with our beds on that. We burned candles that I had made on the farm before we left. We had our drinking water in water kegs tied on the side of one of the wagons.
We always tried to drive to water each day for the horses. We enjoyed camping out. We saw lots of antelope and coyotes. We did not have any trouble at all on the trip. I do not remember the names of any of the towns we passed through. We had good weather and the country was beautiful all the way. We were on the road just two months when we reached Weatherford, Texas, the last of October, 1878. We rented a two roomed lumber house in Weatherford, and my husband got a job plowing up prairie land. He used three horses to a fourteen inch plow. He made good money plowing for other people. While we were living in Weatherford our first child, Minnie Irene, was born on June 6, 1879. We continued to live on in Weatherford Texas, until about the first of February, 1881.  We left Texas then for New Mexico, with our two covered wagons, drawn by two horses to each wagon, the baby and I in one wagon and my husband in the other.
We started out with enough provisions to last us on the trip, except for fresh meat. My husband would kill a nice fat antelope and we would have plenty of meat for awhile. It was cold weather and the meat would keep for several days. We had lovely weather and no trouble on our trip. At Midland, Texas, we picked up a young fellow by the name of Frank Jackson, who wanted to come to New Mexico, so we brought him along with us. At that time all there was to the town of Midland, was a pump and a tank for the Texas and Pacific Railroad Company. There was a man there who took care of the pump. He lived in a ten foot lumber shack. We left Midland and drove out about ten miles west, to a beautiful natural lake, with the prettiest clear water, and cotton wood trees all around the lake. We got there about noon and I began to cook dinner. My husband and Frank Jackson took their guns and said that they would go out to see if they could kill an antelope, as we needed fresh meat. I finished dinner and waited and waited for them to return, but they did not come. Just before it began to get dark I saw a string of horseback riders but they were too for away for me to see whether they were white men or Indians. I was just scared to death but they did not come by where we were camped. I rounded up the three remaining horses and put ropes on their necks and led them up to the back of the wagon that we slept in, and tied them. I put my baby to bed and got a six shooter that my husband had in the wagon and I sat in the back of the wagon with the six shooter in my lap and the ropes that held the horses in my hands. I sat there all night. I was so afraid some one would slip up and steal the horses and I would be afoot with my baby. I just could not imagine what had become of my husband and the young man, but just at daybreak they came riding in. They had gone farther away from camp than they realized and when they started back they got lost and dark overtook them and they just wandered around all night long.
When day light came they were about three hundred yards away from our camp. I was so glad to see them that I cried with joy. The rest of the trip to Pecos City was very pleasant considering it was in winter time. We saw some live buffalo and lots of buffalo carcasses and hides that had been staked down to dry. While crossing the plains we had to burn buffalo and cow chips altogether for fuel. When we came to a place where there were lots of chips we would gather them up, several toe sacks full, and put them in the wagons, so that if we came to a place where there was no fuel, we would have something to burn. When we got to the Pecos River, at Pecos City Texas, we had to cross on the railroad bridge, as the river was up too high for us to cross any other way. We traveled almost due north, up the Pecos Valley and passed through what is now Carlsbad. It was nothing but a cow ranch then.  We arrived in Roswell, New Mexico, about the last of February, 1881, after having been on the road for six weeks. All there was of Roswell at that time were three adobe houses and a blacksmith shop, run by Fred Gayle. Captain J. C. Lea owned the three houses, and he and his family lived in the largest and used part of it as a hotel. We stayed in Roswell for about three days and then my husband got a job a ranch hand on the Phelps White ranch, on the Bosque Grande, about forty miles east of Roswell.
We stayed on this ranch about two months. We moved from this White ranch to Las Vegas, New Mexico, where we heard there was a big sawmill. My husband bought six head of oxen and started hauling logs for the sawmill. We did not like this country as well as we did Lincoln County, so about August 1, 1881, we sold out our oxen and moved book to Roswell, New Mexico, and stayed there until the next spring. In the spring of 1882 my husband rented a small place in the Sacramento mountains, where we farmed and raised a few cattle. We lived in a two roomed log cabin. The nearest town was La Luz, New Mexico, where we got our mail. We did real well while we lived on this place. It was a beautiful country. We had no close neighbors and I was awfully scared of the Indians and my husband was away a good bit looking after the place. In November, 1884, I went to Roswell for a few weeks and on the 22nd of November, 1884, our second child was born.
He was a boy and we named him William Milan. One night while I was alone with my two children, I heard the dogs barking about midnight. I got up and got the six shooter and looked out the window and could see three dark objects prowling around the house. I went to the doors and windows to make sure they were all fastened tight. My husband had fixed our doors with two by four bars across them, when we first moved to this place because I was afraid to stay at night by myself. Pretty soon I heard somebody knock at the door, but I kept quiet and just let them knock. When I did not answer who ever it was tried to break down the door. That frightened me so badly that I asked what they wanted. A voice asked for some person that I had never heard of and I said there was nobody of that name there. Instead of going away they kept on trying to get in. I told them that the first person that came through the door would certainly get shot. After finding that they could not get in they finally went away. I was very much frightened.
My husband thought that it was some one trying to rob us as he had sold some cattle just a few days before and as there were no banks we kept the money in the house and we thought they were after this money. When they rode awry I could see that they were three men but whether they were Mexican, Indian or Americans we never knew. We had a pet deer while living on this place and one morning the deer and the children were playing out in the yard. All at once the deer came bounding into the house and jumped up on the bed. I knew at once that the deer was scared by something unusual so I stepped to the door to see where the children were. To my horror I saw five Indians all dressed up in their blankets and war paint, coming towards the house. I stepped out in the yard to meet them for the children and I were all alone. The Indians knew that I was afraid of them for one of the Indians said to me: "Indians no hurt white squaw she give Indians something to eat." I was baking light bread that day so I went into the kitchen and got two loaves of bread and gave to them but they still wanted something.
We had a half of mutton hanging up out in the shed, and I decided I would give them a piece of it so they would leave. I went and got the butcher knife and went to the shed room to cut a piece of the mutton and when the Buck saw that I was going to give them just a piece of the meat, he grabbed the knife and if I had not turned it loose he would have pulled it through my hand and cut my hand open. He laid the knife down and picked up the whole piece of meat and walked away. I did not say anything for I was only too glad to get rid of them. In 1886 I went to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and our third child was born on June 9, 1886. We named her Carrie. We lived on the place in the Sacramento mountains until the year 1890, and then moved back to Roswell. We did not stay there very long and then we moved to the Hondo River Valley, about twenty miles southeast of Lincoln, New Mexico.
My husband worked at odd jobs on farms, plowing and planting for the farmers. We lived in the Hondo Valley until the late nineties, but I do not remember the exact date. We moved to Arizona for my husband's health after we left the Hondo Valley. He was not able to work very much but did such odd jobs as he could. We lived in Douglas, Arizona, and my husband, John H. Shears, died there on April 28, 1902. My oldest daughter, Minnie, had been married before we went to Arizona, and after my husband died I came back to Tinnie, New Mexico, to stay with my daughter, Minnie, and her husband, West Purcella, who lived at Tinnie in Lincoln County on a ranch. My son William Marlin Shears, married and he and his wife and little girl lived near there. One morning my son left home and we have never seen or heard of him since. That was in 1908, about thirty years ago. After he went away I took his little girl and raised her as my own. In August, 1912, I was married to Jess Van Winkel. He owned a ranch on the east side of the Capitan Mountains where we lived until he died in February 1920.
After Mr. Van Winkel's death I went to live with the granddaughter whom I raised. Her name was Minnie Shears and she had married a man named Ernest Purcella. I have lived with them for all these years as I am too old to live alone. They live on the old Torres place, about six miles northwest of Lincoln, New Mexico. My daughter Minnie, who married West Purcella, had fifteen children, eleven of whom are still living. They still live at Tinnie in Lincoln County. My youngest daughter, Carrie, married Sanford Backus, and they live at Roswell, New Mexico. I do not remember dates very well and I can't remember when they married. Source: Mrs. Alice J. Van Winkel.

The Alma Massacre
By Frances E. Totty
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Socorro, Luna
Surnames mentioned: Cooney, Taylor, Roberts, Motsiner, Colter, Meader, Wilcox, Murry, Madder, Foster, Whitehill Our family left Sherman, Texas Sep. 22, 1879 for Arizona, where one of my uncles was supposed to be living. We came by Deming where we were warned that the Indians were out and we had better not go by Cooke's Peak one of the Indians favorite places of attack. My father never having had any dealing with any Indians was not afraid of the Indians and came on by the Peak. Luck was apparently with us for a big snow storm came up and we never saw an Indian. When we got to Silver City the weather was so disagreeable that father got a place for us to stay. While in Silver City we heard that my uncle was in the Frisco Valley, area up in the hills mining. Father took us to the Frisco Valley and settled. We made the third family in the valley.
Up in the hills Mexican sheep men became angry because the settlers were coming into the valley they told the Apaches that the White settlers would be easily taken as they were new to this country and as the Apaches were always ready to attack an easy victim they were ready to raid the new settlers at once. In the later part of April 1880 the Indians under their chief, Victoria, at the Cooney mine up in the hills. The attack was made just as the men were quitting work for the day. Three of the men were killed, another, Mr. Taylor was shot in the leg the shot breaking his leg Mr. Taylor hid out in a near by cave. The rest of the men scattered into the hills. Mother and we children slept in the wagon; as the only house that we had was a lean-to. When I went out to the wagon to go to bed I head a strange noise up in the hills. I ran into the house and said, "There is something up in the hills". The entire family came out to listen, when they didn't hear anything they tried to make me believe that it was the frogs town in the swamp, I had been raised in town and any unusual noise attracted my attention, and I knew the noise I heard was up in the hills, and wasn't a sound usually heard at night. After the family had gone to bed I could not sleep because I kept thinking about the noise in the hills. I got up and sit sat on a big trunk in the front of the wagon.
I heard some loud talking, and soon decided that it was over at the Roberts house. I thought that probably that some of the family was sick and needing help. I was just ready to wake up mother when I heard a horse coming. Thinking that it was some of the Roberts family I waited to see what the party wanted. The horse came up on the far side of the lean-to. I called "We are on this side of the house." A man rode around the house and asked "Where is your father." I replied: "In the house asleep." "Go" wake him and tell him that the Apaches hare are out, that he had better get all of his stock in the corral at once and get ready for an attack. I haven't time to awake awaken him as I must go warn others." I thanked the man and ran to the house to awake awaken father. The family soon w s was busy, father put the stock in the corral and went after my brother and uncle that slept in the store across the creek. When the men came back my uncle and oldest brother stayed at the corral to guard the stock. Mother and I started to making bullets for our old 44 Winchester. Mr. Cooney and another man called Chick came down from the hills, and told us that they had been hiding in the hills after the attack at the mine. When night came they began to bellow so the dogs would bark and they could get their bearing, thereby explaining the noise that I had heard.
Mr. Cooney had been an Indian scout for five years, and said that we need not worry that the Indians would raid their cabins and not bother the settlers we did not worry as we thought that Mr. Cooney knew what the Indians were likely to do. We laughed and poured hot lead bullets the rest of the night. When morning came Chick kept wanting to return to the mine, Mr. Cooney said the Indians will just raid the cabins, but it is not safe to go up there now as the Indians are still in in the country. Chick insisted that he was going. Finally rather than let him go alone Mr. Cooney consented to go if they could barrow some horses to ride. My father did not have any horses as we drove mules from Sherman, and he was using them to make his crop. The men went over to the Roberts Ranch and obtained horses to make the trip. After several hours the horses returned without riders with blood on them Mr. Potter and Mr. Motsiner jumped on the horses and took off up the mine as it was feared that the men had run into trouble and needed help. The men were ambushed by the Indians. Potter Potter's gun was shot from his hand the jar of from the shot injuring his arm, but he drew his six shooter and fought his way out of the ambush, and rode back to the ranch before the Indians were able to attack the ranch. The Indians had always feared Capt. Cooney, and when they saw that they killed him they rejoiced. They thought that if they could surprised Cooney the settlers were not expecting an attack. The warriors left the squaws to mutilate the bodies of Cooney and Chick.
 When the horses returned without riders the Roberts family decided to send out an alarm A man rode over to our house and told us to hurry to the Roberts house. My father thought that we should fortify our places of defense as our house was on a plain and the Roberts house was at the foot a hill, and the Indians could shoot down the hill. Mother insisted that we go on over to the Roberts Ranch My brother said that he would stay with the stock at the corral. We finally got the two white mules to the wagon and started for the ranch.  We saw some cattle standing on a hill, the cattle were watching something. Mother said "Paw drive faster because the Indians are coming the cattle are watching them." "Oh mother, there is plenty of time those cattle are watching us the Indians aren't near yet." Paw just would not hurry, and mother would urge him to drive faster. Paw would just tease her and never drive any faster. We were leisurely driving  along when we came to the top of the hill, and the cattle started to run, and to our right hit a bullet. The Indians were coming toward us. I grabbed the Winchester .44 model, but Paw called: "It isn't loaded. The shells are in my belt."
The belt was a new belt and very stiff. I tugged it, but could not get any of the shells out: Paw was driving very fast. And I was pointing the gun at the Indians in hopes that they would stay back if they saw a gun. If I had been able to load the gun I could never hit the Indians as the gun was bouncing around so much because father was really making a race for the Roberts ranch. I screamed for the family to lie down in the wagon so the Indians couldn't hit them easily. Bullets were whizzing all around us. The Indians were getting nearer all the time.  My brother was standing at the corral watching the attack, but could not help us as his gun was not a long barrel. The men at the Roberts Ranch saw the trouble that we were in and six of the men rode out to help us, thereby risking their lives. The part of men rode between us and the Indians. The Indians began to shoot at the men on the horses. Thereby giving us a chance to get to the ranch. We were traveling at quite a speed by the time we reached the ranch. We had to pass the house, and pulled up behind a old log shed. Just as we halted one of the lead mules fell dead. The first shot of the Apaches to take effect for they were sure shooting wild. We got out of the wagon down by the wall. My sister said " I haven't seen any Indians." She had been lying down in the wagon. She decided to peep around the corner to see an Indian. shot missed her head about to get to the house we were going to have to leap a ditch, the men told us as soon as there was a slack in the firing to make for the house.
The firing ceased, and we knew the Indians were surrounding the place. We made a dash for the house, the children made it across alright, but we were afraid mother would be unable to make the leap across the ditch as she was short and weighed about one hundred and sixty-five pounds. When mother came to the ditch she leaped across that ditch as spry as a deer. She said it was time to get in a hurry. The house was a long house made of logs with a door at each end. The beds were placed around the wall of the room, and the women and children put in the center of the room for protection. There were thirty one men in the house besides the six members of the Colter family, five in the Roberts family and six in the Meader family. My brother couldn't stand the suspense of not knowing what happened to us, made a ride for the ranch, and arrived with out a scratch. Luck was surely with us for bullet had hit all around us, and not a one was injured. The Indians were able to keep up a constant fire as fifteen warriors would drive up and fire. Then they dropped back to reload their guns and another fifteen would take their place thereby keep up a constant shooting.
They were always moving in a circle. There were two hundred and thirteen warriors counted. The Indians surrounded the house some shooting down the hill many of the shots lodged on the dirt roof. others knocked holes in the wall making it unsafe to move about as the Indians could see any movement in the house through the cracks. Late in the afternoon one of the small children was crying for some thing to eat, and the fool was all across the room in the cupboard. My brother was standing on one side of the cupboard, and I wished to take his place as I knew that he was tired. I asked Mrs. Roberts if the milk was in the cupboard when she said it was I had an excuse to go after the milk as the children hadn't had any thing to eat all day. I made a dart across the room safely. I asked, "Brother do you want me to take your place for awhile?" "No, it is to to too dangerous as the Indians have nearly hit me several times through the cracks in the wall." The girls in those days were taught to shoot as the same as the boys. I have spent many hours at target practice with my brothers and father. Mr. Wilcox was standing on the other side of the cupboard spoke up and said "Agnes, when you start back across the room you go as fast as possible. Those Indians are shooting at every thing they see move." Before I started back Mr. Wilcox saw his partner out in the yard trying to get to the house. Mr. Wilcox stepped to the door to aid his partner in getting to the house by exposing himself.
I darted across the room and as I handed the child the glass of milk Mr. Wilcox cried! "My God, boys I'm shot." He stood his gun down by the door facing and walked over to the rock fireplace and laid down. Before anyone could reach him he was dead. Early in the fight an apache had been shot, the warrior rolled down the ditch that we had to jump, into the water. We thought that he was dead, which he probably was, but he disappeared when Mr. Murry tried to get to the house. Mr. Murry had gone into the hills early in the morning to round up some cattle, when he heard the firing he knew the Indians had attacked and hid out in the hills. Late in the afternoon, he decided that it was time to try to make it to the house, but he tried to come in to too early. The boys sure did have to do some real shooting to make the Indians stay back; in order for Mr. Murry to get to the house. While the boys were making every effort to get Mr. Murry to the house the Indian in the ditch disappeared. Whether the Indian was injured, and saw a chance to get away or one of the other warriors slipped down, and carried him away or what happened to him was never known.
Mr. Foster understood the Apache language and signs. He told the boys that Victoria was trying to get his warriors to rush down the hill on the house, as our ammunition was low he cautioned the boys to never shoot unless the they were sure of the shot. For if the apaches ever did get to the house it would be all off with the settlers. As the warriors could soon capture the place as they had plenty ammunition. The Indians always had ammunition, a Indian scout would always go out with a lot of ammunition, when he returned he never had any, he would tell his commanding officer that he shot at rabbits and birds, but he was storing it away for future use as he knew he would probably be back with the tribe the next year, many times he sent his ammunition to his tribe. The warriors made several rushes for the house, but the boys made it to too hot to get to too close. The apaches are superstitious about fighting, after night, and when dark came the Indians made camp at the present site of Alma. The the yelling and whooping really came off. They danced and made merry for they had the white settlers penned.
Then Our men soon became tired of their fun making, and sent a few shots over in their direction. The Indians moved a little father farther away and no more was heard of them, so close to the ranch. We figured that we were in for a siege, and had better fill everything with water. If the Indians were to cut the ditch we would probably have to give up the fight from thirst. Two men volunteered to try to get through to Silver City for help and ammunition. To go to Silver they must go by the Indian camp. The men came around and told us all goodbye, they never expected to come back, and I don't suppose anyone in the room ever expected to see them again, but God was merciful for they went by the camp safely. At the ranches along the road they were able to secure fresh mounts. The men arrived in Silver City early the next day and gave the alarm. Then they rushed over to the fort. Captain Madden had been out on an Indian scouting trip and was just returning to the post with thirty-five of his troops and scouts he ordered his men to turn and march to the Farisco Valley. The men marched by Silver City where seventy-five citizens joined the troops. The men were tired but they never let this hinder them in their rush to the settlers. The morning after the battle we were surprised that we weren't fired on, but Mr. Indian had decided that the white settlers weren't to be taken so easily, and had sent a runner over to the San Carlos Reservation for more warriors. The men decided as the Indians weren't bothering to try to bury Mr. Wilcox.
They constructed a crude coffin and decided to bury him on the hill behind the house. If the Indians were seen coming and a shot was to be fired from a pistol. The men were carrying the coffin up the hill when a shot was heard. The men hastily placed the body under a tree and made a run for the house. When the men had gathered at the house it was discovered that one of the men had accidentally dropped his gun, and made it go off. Many days later we were able to laugh about the incident, but it sure wasn't funny then. There was seventeen head of stock in the Robert corral where the fight started, but they were all killed. Our old white mule stood by the old log house and was never hit. The day after the fight Captain Madden came in sight of the ranch. As soon as he could see the ranch with his field glasses; he tried to see the condition of things at the ranch. He told the boys "We are to late for I see a red flag. When he was a little closer to the ranch he cried, "We are early enough for I see a white man." The cry of rejoicing that went up from that group could be heard for many miles. The Indians had early in the morning moved into the hills for they apparently heard the soldiers were coming. They went by the places where the Mexican sheepherders were and killed thirty-five men. The Indians were angry because the sheep men had told them that the new settlers would be easily taken, and they hadn't been able to accomplish their victory. A Mexican taken prisoner by the Indians told us that the Indians had nine dead warriors with them.
After the soldiers arrived and found us safe they decided that it would be foolish to try to follow the Indians, as the men were all tired as well as their mounts. Also many of the men from Silver City were afoot. When we returned home we didn't have a thing left. Sheriff Whitehill was in the valley at the tine of the attack and came on to the ranch, and father sent us back to Silver with him. Sometime after the fight an apache scout came into the mining camp with Chicks vest on, the one he had on the day he was killed. The boys at once took The Scout prisoner, and took possession of his horse. The Indian scouts always helped his tribe against the white people. One morning the boys told the Indians that he was to follow them The Indian asked "Where are you takings me?" One of the boys answered, "Going to show you the trail'" "Yes I know the trail that you will show me, and it will be a long one."
The boys took the scout out and hung him. My father bargained with the boys, for the scouts horse, for thirty-five dollars. We had to have another horse or mule to make the crop. Sometime after the hanging of the Indian, a government man came by, and demanded the horse from the boys. They told him that the horse had been sold and paid for, and they guessed that he couldn't have him. The government agent came to father and demanded the horse. Father told him, "I don't intend to let you have the horse. The Indians took everything I had, And I have bought and paid for this horse, And I intend to keep it. The agent told father the government couldn't be responsible for their scouts and father said, "Turn your dam Indians loose and we will take care of them." When father told him this the man went on about his business and was never heard of again. The families that were in the valley never did receive any thing for their loss, as the government agent said that the Indians weren't at war with the government. A Negro detachment was sent into the valley but they were not useful. Father was talking to one of them one once and he said, "We dare not shoot at an Indian. We are just out here to bury the dead."

Ambrosio Chavez
By Edith L. Crawford
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Valencia, Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Chavez, Stevens, Ollinger, Bell, Farmer, Martin, Titsworth, Serna I was born in 1866, in Valencia County, at Manzano, New Mexico. In 1879 my mother and father moved from Manzano to Lincoln, Lincoln County, New Mexico. I was thirteen years old then and I remember that we moved in two wagons drawn by oxen. We had no trouble with the Indians on the trip. Once when we camped for the night a dog came around the camp and was trying to get into things and I took my father's gun and shot the dog. I thought I was a very big boy to shoot my father's gun. My father farmed at Lincoln and drove freight wagons from Lincoln and Fort Stanton to Las Vegas and return. He used oxen to haul with. It took over twenty days to make the round trip and if the weather was bad it took longer. The wagons came and went by way of White Oaks and Nogal. Once when my father was hauling freight we started from Lincoln going across the Patos Mountains and by way of White Oaks, on our way to Las Vegas. My father was riding horseback and I was driving one of the freight wagons drawn by oxen. A man named Stevens was going to Las Vegas for freight too and left Lincoln about the same time that we did. He was driving mules to his freight wagons wagon and traveled faster than we did. On account of the Indians the freight wagons camped together at night when they could. Mr. Stevens told my father that he would wait for us at a lake that was just across the Patos Mountains on the flats, and about eight or nine miles from White Oaks. We had planned to camp there the first night. Late in the afternoon my father rode on ahead of our wagons to the lake. When he got there he found that the Indians had killed Stevens and robbed and burned his wagons and run off all his mules. Father hurried back to us and told us not to go to the lake and told us what had happened to Mr. Stevens.
We had to make a dry camp that night and keep a sharp lookout far the Indians but none of them came around our camp. I remember how scared I was when we passed the lake the next day and saw the remains of the burned wagon and Mr. Stevens grave. In all of our freighting my father never had any trouble with the Indians.  We were living in Lincoln when Billy the Kid was there but I did not know him very well. When he killed Ollinger and Bell and made his escape I was working on the Henry Farmer ranch near Lincoln. I can remember something that happened once when I was on a visit to my cousin, Martin Chavez in Picacho. Billy the Kid knew Martin well and often stayed with him at his house. Some Texas people were traveling through the country in covered wagons and were camped near Picacho. They had a fast horse that they wanted to race against a mare that my cousin Martin had. The Texas people bet three fat beeves that their horse could out run Martin's mare. They had the race between the two horses and Martin's mare won the race so far ahead of the horse that the Texas people had that they got awful mad about it and would not pay the bet. Soon after the race was run Billy the Kid came by and stopped at Martins place. Martin told him about the race and that the Texas people would not pay their bet. Billy asked Martin if he wanted those beeves, and of course Martin said that he did. Billy said that he would collect the bet for him then. The women at Martin's ranch just begged Billy not to go to collect the bet as they were afraid that there would be trouble over it and that Billy might get killed, but Billy just laughed at them. He wore two guns and had on two belts of cartridges. He went out to the camp of the Texans and rode into the herd of cattle that they had with them and shot and killed three of their best beeves and told Martin to send after his beef. The Texans were so scared when they found out that he was Billy the Kid that they broke camp and left right away.  I lived at Lincoln until 1905 and then I moved to Capitan and worked for the Titsworth Company for twenty-five years. I was married to Cecelia Serna about 1888. We never had any children of our own but we adopted and raised three children, all of whom live here in Carrizozo. My wife and I live here with our children and have for the past five years. I have lived in Lincoln County for fifty-nine years. Source: Ambrosio Chavez. 2005