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Family History Stories Paraphrased
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Early Questa, Garcia Raines
Elizabeth Garrett
Comanche Indians On Chisum Trail
Edward A. Cahoon
Elerdo Chavez

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Early Questa, Garcia Raines
By Dr. Lester Raines
By Frank V. Garcia
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Taos
Surnames mentioned: Raines, Benito, Martinez, 

I can still see grandmother sitting in her chair at the fireplace, her wrinkled face shining in its fitful light, as she told me stories of her early life. I settled myself more comfortably on my warm sheep-skin and she proceeded. Questa was settled by five pioneers in 1830. The most prominent of the group was Don Benito, who at that time had thirty Indian servants. The Indian slaves seemed to enjoy the hard work under their master, performing their daily tasks as faithfully as they could and hoping some day to be highly rewarded by their master. This valley at that time was covered by a dense forest so that the clearing of land was an important occupation for the Indian slaves.

After enough land was cleared the planting of crops was begun. The plowing was done by means of a sharp pointed piece of iron inserted in a piece of wood to which were attached rude handles. The plow was drawn by oxen. By the end of 1856 more than fifty settlers, besides their Indian servants, had settled in Questa. As each new settler arrived he was assigned a section of land to clear and till. Farms were started, roads built, irrigation ditches dug. Even now the community was not safe from Indian attack. A working man in the fields had his gun and powder handy, for no one knew when the bad Indians would come. Occasionally a watch was put over the field so that the workers could work in peace.

In 1836 Don Benito called a meeting of all the inhabitants to discuss plans for building a church. It was agreed that Saturday of each week all men should work on the new building, which was to have a double wall. Each wall was to be eighteen inches in thickness. Between the walls was a space a foot wide, to be filled with brush and cedar posts. Consequently the completed walls would be four feet thick. They were about fourteen feet high.

The heavy beams which you enjoy looking at so such when you should be praying are about eighteen inches through and not less than twenty-five feet long. They were lifted in place with only thick strips of hide to aid the men in their work. The building was, I think, completed in 1840. It was decided to dedicate it to the holy name of San Antonio, patron of all farmers. A messenger was sent to Taos to bring father Martinez to direct the ceremony of the Mass.

The thirteenth day of June was to be the great day for the fiesta . On that day all the men mounted their horses and wheeled them into two lines. The last eight men in each file carried guns in case of Indian surprise. Four women carried the image of San Antonio which had been donated by Dona Maria, Don Benito's wife; all the other women and the children followed. The women chanted the hymn Misterios de San Antonio and all the men joined in the chorus. The procession went to the four corners of the valley so that San Antonio might see the conditions of the crops. During the month of Mary, May, as we call it now, all the men, women and children attended the ceremony of the Rosario dedicated to Mary, which took place every afternoon at four o'clock.

Elizabeth Garrett
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: De Baca
Surnames mentioned: Garrett, Gutiernez, Bear 

As an old timer, as you say, I will be glad to tell you anything you would like to hear of my life in our Sunshine State-New Mexico, said Elizabeth Garrett in an appreciated interview graciously granted this writer. Appreciated because undue publicity of her splendid achievements and of her private life, is avoided by this famous but unspoiled musician and composer.

My father, Pat Garrett came to Fort Sumner New Mexico in 1878. He and my mother, who was Polinari Gutiernez , were married in Fort Sumner. I was born at Eagle Creek, up above the Ruidoso in the White Mountain country. We moved to Roswell, about five miles east, while I was yet an infant. I have never been back to my birthplace but believe a lodge has been built on our old mountain home site.

You ask what I think of the Elizabeth Garrett bill presented at this session of the legislature? To grant me a monthly payment during my lifetime for what I have accomplished of the State Song, I think it was a beautiful thought. I owe appreciation and thanks to New Mexico people and particularly to Grace T. Bear and to the Club O' Ten as the originators of the idea. If this bill is passed New Mexico will be the first state that has given such evidence of appreciation in such a distinctive way to a composer author of a State Song.

Even if never passed the thought alone will be an inspiration to me to work harder. If it is granted, then I will give up my music classes and devote all my time in the future in producing more things that I hope will be classed along with my State Song, O Fair New Mexico. My childhood days on the ranch near Roswell were happy, neither constricted nor restricted. I led an active outdoor life, rode horseback, and doing did all things any child loves to do.

One of my earliest recollections of composing, was when swinging on a limb of an old apple tree. I made up a song about the apple blossoms and the bees that were buzzing around the trees. I never catch the odor, of apple blossoms that I don't feel again the leafy shadows, under the trees and the bright sun, and hear the songs of the birds as they called to each other from tree to tree in the orchard. Quite frequently, said Elizabeth Garrett, my father had to bring harmony with a gun. I try to do so by carrying a tune.

Elizabeth Garrett spoke in praise and affection of her brave father, who had accomplished much as a peace officer, who is honored to day above all men for freeing New Mexico from the outlaw and murderer, Billy the Kid.

In writing of Elizabeth Garrett her friend Mildred Marshall wrote: At the age of six Elizabeth was placed in a school for the blind in Austin Texas. Here her musical education was begun. As a very small child she showed extraordinary musical talent. This she inherited from her mother who descended from the Spanish. Graduating with honors she continues her musical education under the best teachers in Chicago and New York, making her way by her compositions and teaching. Her voice is a dramatic soprano.

When you hear Elizabeth Garrett sing the State Song, O Fair New Mexico, with her own people joining in the chorus you are completely carried away. Then to listen to her as she sings the great music of the Old Masters on the birth death and resurrection of the Savior is like a benediction.

Appearing is all the large cities in the United States Elizabeth Garrett has been enthusiastically received. She has been much feted. No matter how much they fate her they can not keep her beyond a certain time, for daughter of the West that she is, she always returns to her beloved New Mexico.

New Mexico is proud of Elizabeth Garrett and Roswell people feel she belongs to them for here she has built her Dream House and here she will live her life, and write in song and music stories of her people and the land she loves. Elizabeth Garrett, Roswell New Mexico, And the book Women Who Man Our Clubs by Mildred Marshall

Comanche Indians On Chisum Cattle Trail
By George B. Redfield
Checked by Lucius Dills, Roswell Historian
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves, Eddy, Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Chisum, Dills, Bob, Gilbert, Wilburn, Smith, Roberts

In own words of Sallie Chisum Roberts and Lucius Dills, a Roswell Historian. In 1867 John S. Chisum brought his first herd of Jingle Bob cattle across the plains and through the buffalo hunting territory of the hostile nomadic Comanche Indians.

Scout riders, were sent ahead by the trail blazers to protect the herd from the Indians who were numerous in the lower Pecos Valley until after the extermination of the buffalo during the years 1877 and 1778. The Jingle Bobs were brought over safely and placed on grazing lands around headquarters established at Bosque Grande thirty-five miles northeast of Roswell, on the Pecos River. A younger brother Pitser M. Chisum was placed in charge. In 1932 the writer of this article was one of the Old Timers who rode in the Old Timers parade in Roswell. Mrs. Sallie Chisum Roberts riding a side-saddle and wearing her long old fashioned riding habit was an interesting and outstanding figure of that parade.

On this day, at the end of The Trail Mrs. Roberts told again the story, we all loved to hear, of her experiences on the journey and after arrival in the Pecos Valley, and the first night spent on the Chisum Ranch. It was fifty-five years ago, this next December 24th. 1932, since I arrived in the Pecos Valley, said Mrs. Roberts. We went to Uncle John's Chisum ranch five miles south of here. Uncle John was known as the Cattle King of the west but that had no effect on our equilibrium.

My Uncle John never married. My father, James Chisum, my two brothers, Walter and William, and I left home in Texas and traveled through the open country expecting Indians attacks at any time. We had three wagons, a hack and our saddle horses. We spent one month on the road. We had packed all the fruit trees, flowers and shrubbery we could in the wagons, and they were the beginning of the first Pecos Valley orchards and flowers. Some of the plants from those old fashioned roses brought over the plains by Sallie Chisum still flourish and bloom on the Redfield place in Roswell.

Our last night on the trail we spent at the R. M. Gilbert ranch on the Ponasco River, said Mrs. Roberts. Six cow boys had been sent by Uncle John to meet us at Horsehead Crossing to act as bodyguards, and protect our stock from Indian attack, at night. The first night we spent at the Chisum ranch, we were all tired out. We put our stock in the fenced in lot, locked the gate and all hands went to bed and slept soundly. The next morning we were amazed to find the stock all gone, and the gate still locked. The Indians, Comanches, had lifted the gate from it's iron pivots removed all our stock replaced the gate very carefully and had completely disappeared, leaving only their tracks to tell the tale. We could not tell how many Indians were in the raiding. They got twenty-five horses and mules. I was heartsick for we had left our home at Denton Texas to get away from Indians. Cheer up Sallie, the worst is yet to come, said my father.

I know he was right when I first saw Roswell. There was only one residence called a hotel and one store which contained the Post Office. These two buildings had been built in 1869 by Van C. Smith and Aaron O. Wilburn on the block west of where the Court House stands at the present time. In the post office was stationed here with Van Smith appointed as postmaster. He named the town Roswell for his father Roswell Smith of Omaha Nebraska. There were six little trees trying to grow on the west side of the main road. On the east side there were a few houses some made of adobe and some of just mud, sticks, and gunny sacks. It was a cheerless looking place, and I said to Brother Walter, This is the Jumping off place I want to go back home. The request of his sister to return to her home in Denton Texas was repeated in the writer in 1905 by Walter Chisum as we walked through his beautiful orchard near the old Chisum Ranch at South Spring. It is needless to say the Chisums stayed in the Pecos Valley, and they are responsible for many of the beauty spots in and around Roswell which have caused this district to be called, The Oasis In The Desert.

Edward A. Cahoon
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves
Surnames mentioned: Cahoon, Godair, Pruitt, Chase, Dawson, Maulding, Stanhardt, Twitchell

The equipment for the first bank established in Roswell was brought two hundred miles overland by wagon in 1890, by Edward A. Cahoon, who came to the Territory of New Mexico in 1884, and removed to Roswell from Albuquerque where he had been employed as teller in the Albuquerque National Bank, arriving in Roswell during the month of July 1890.

There were not more than five hundred people in the entire area of Chaves County at the time of the opening of the Bank of Roswell, and the county was larger then than at the present time, for large portions have been taken away for the forming of new counties during the past years.

In September 1899 the bank became a member of the National Bank system functioning under the title of The First National Bank of Roswell with W. H. Godair of Chicago an President, A. Pruit of Roswell, Vice President and E. A. Cahoon continuing as Cashier and Manager. The deposits at that time were two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Seven years after having become a National institution the deposits had increased three-hundred percent to seven-hundred fifty thousand dollars, and is at the present time one of the strongest banking institutions in the State of New Mexico, and the bank building on the corner of Main and Third Streets is modern in every way and is one of the finest in the State.

The many successful years of the bank's operations is attributed, up to the time of his death, to the ability of Mr. Cahoon's service, who was forty-four years in active management, a longer time continuously, as manager, than any banker in New Mexico and is believed than any other in the United States.

Mr. Cahoon, as one of the financial heads, was a leader in all important early development of building, and business enterprises during the building, and growth of Roswell, and Chaves County. He was actively interested in the establishment and building of the New Mexico Military Institution, created by Act of the Territorial Legislature and approved in 1893, the buildings, for which were completed in March, and the school opened for students the following September, 1898. The Armory, one of the most beautiful buildings on the campus, was named Cahoon Armory in recognition and appreciation of Mr. Cahoon's valuable services to this splendid educational institution.

He was active in all interests of Roswell Lodge No. 18, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons instituted in June and chartered in January 1889, during the many years of his affiliation with this Ancient Fraternal Order. It was learned through an interview with Mrs. Laura Hedgecoxe Cahoon that it was by chance, as well as for the integrity and force of character of the organizer, that the first bank of Roswell was established by E. A. Cahoon.

It was during the year 1884 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after Mr. Cahoon's graduation from Amherst College Massachusetts, in 1883, that S. M. Folsom while on a visit to Minneapolis saw Mr. Cahoon, and told him of the wonderful Sunshine Country of New Mexico, where he had been for the benefit of his health, and had organized stock ranches. One of the finest of these in the most beautiful location was the ranch established in the Cimarron country 150 miles southeast of Cimarron, another was 35 miles southeast. An uncle of Mr. Cahoon's, W. C. Chase, and his son M. M. Chase were stock owners and managers of some of the ranches. M. M. Chase was manager of the Maxwell Land and Cattle Company, a company formed for the purpose of stocking all the land in the Maxwell Grant, about 1,700,000 acres. In 1867 M. M. Chase had a residence three miles from Cimarron in a rich canyon, a half mile to a mile wide. There were 1,000 acres of land on which he kept forty horses and three hundred head of cattle. The horses were for his individual and family use, and the cattle belonged to his children who had them branded with their own marks.

Fifteen miles to the north, he and two partners, Dawson and Maulding, had a ranch of 50,000 acres, all enclosed twenty miles having wire fence, and fifteen miles were walls of mountains. Mr. Cahoon knew of the beauty and interesting history of this country from his relatives, before meeting Mr. Folsom in Minneapolis, and had been interested in the stories of this ranching and stock raising country. I want a job on one of those ranches, said Mr. Cahoon.

There is a place for you, said Mr. Folsom. Come as soon as you like. So he came to New Mexico in November, 1884, and worked as a cowboy on the ranches in Colfax and San Miguel counties, until 1887. During that year he secured a place as collector, and later as teller, in the Albuquerque National Bank. He remained with this institution until 1890, when he came to Roswell.

It was through the efforts of Jaffa Prager Company, early day merchants of this city that plans were matured for a bank in Roswell. The man who was to be in charge changed his mind. Mr. Cahoon's records were examined. He was found to be of keen business discernment, and was asked to fill the place. He accepted the responsibility. It was in this way by a lucky chance the bank of Roswell was organized and has stood strong, and sound the entire time under Mr. Cahoon's management, through the Hard Times of the early years of its organization, and the years of depression, until his death December 23, 1934. The success of the bank was largely due to the business judgment of Mr. Cahoon and his through understanding of the business conditions, and industries, of New Mexico and to his early training, and experience in the banking business.

Mr. Cahoon was born August 20, 1862 in Lyndon, Caledonia county, Vermont. He was the son of Dr. Charles S. and Charlotte Chase Cahoon. His ancestors were the owners and builders of the town of Lyndon, and were descendants of Roger Williams. They were among the first settlers of Providence, Rhode Island before locating in Lyndon prior to the Revolutionary war.

Mr. Cahoon before his death was president of the New Mexico Bankers Association, president of the Board of Regents of the New Mexico Military Institute, President of the Roswell Building and Loan Association, and was director in numerous business corporations. He was charitable, generous to a fault, giving much of his worldly goods to the needy during the early years of the depression, and the last years of his life. He was the helpful friend of the deserving youth, and young men of the state and assisted many of these financially in securing college education. The beautiful Memorial gates and park building of Cahoon Memorial Park named for Mr. Cahoon, in the northwestern part of the town of Roswell were designed by Frank M. Stanhardt, young architect, whom Mr. Cahoon had assisted through college. Four years after the coming of Mr. Cahoon to Roswell he was married, in April, 1894, to Miss Mabel Howell, who died in October, 1902, leaving three daughters, Katherine, Louise and Mabel.

The wife and companion of the last twenty-five years of Mr. Cahoon's life was Mrs. Laura Hedgecoxe Cahoon, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Hedgecoxe who moved to Roswell in 1897 when Mrs. Cahoon was a child. She and Mr. Cahoon were married August 15, 1908. One child, a son, was born of this marriage, who was named Daniel, for an ancestor who three hundred years ago cleared the land and established the town of Lyndon, Vermont where Mr. Cahoon was born.

Dan Cahoon is a graduate of New Mexico Military Institute and of Stanford University, California. He is at present preparing himself to be a physician, as was his grandfather, Dr. Charles Cahoon. One of the highly valued treasures of Mrs. Cahoon, and her son Daniel is a silver water pitcher presented to Dr. Charles Cahoon, Grandfather of Dan, as an award for performing a very delicate and serious operation, in the early years of surgery, 1862.

The success and achievement of Mr. E. A. Cahoon were accomplished through his strong minded level headed sense, inherited from a good old New England ancestry, as well as for his unusual business ability.
Dates checked from Twitchell's History of New Mexico Vol. 1 - 1907.
Editors Run By C. M. Chase, Lyndon, Vermont 1882.

Elerdo Chavez
By Edith L. Crawford
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Chavez, Neblett, Ruiz, Blazer, McSween, Miranda, Warner, Gillman, Martinez

I was born in 1880 at Las Chozos New Mexico, which is located seven miles southeast of the town of Lincoln and have lived all my life in Lincoln County. My father Cleto Chavez was born April 26, 1845, in Socorro Texas which was just below Franklin Texas which is now known as El Paso Texas. His father died when he was six months old and his mother when he was twelve years old. He was left to make his own way early in life. He went to Franklin Texas and earned his living as best he could doing odd jobs. One day he met a man by the name of George Neblett who owned and operated a saw mill on the Mescalero Indian Reservation. He had freighted some lumber to Franklin by ox teams. He offered Father a job to work around the mill at ten dollars per month and his keep. He also taught him to speak English. This was in 1870. Father went back to Mescalero with Mr. Neblett, traveling by ox team. They were always on the lookout for Indians in those days as they were always going on the war path. At night when they stopped to camp they formed a circle with the wagons and put the oxen inside the circle. The men folks slept inside the circle and one or more of the men kept watch during the night. Father said that they did not see an Indian on the whole trip beck to Mescalero. One day after arriving at the mill Mr. Neblett put Father on a horse and told him to ride just as fast as he could to Tularosa New Mexico and warn the settlers that the Indians had gone on the war path and were headed for Tularosa.

Father said that he rode as fast as the horse could go all the way. Just before he got to Tularosa he met Marino Ruiz riding horseback. He was going up on the mountain side to cut some wood. Father told him that the Indians were coming and to turn back. He paid no attention to him but went on up the road. About the time Father reached Tularosa he beard the Indians giving their war whoop and he knew that they had killed Marino Ruiz and sure enough they found his body the next day. On this same trip Father saw Benito Montoya coming on horseback but he was too far away to be warned. Benito heard the Indians coming tho' and he rode into some Tule grass which grew awfully rank and was tall enough to hide him and his horse and the Indians passed him by. Benito told me this some story years after it happened and he remembered seeing my father on his way to Tularosa. This same Benito Montoya was one of the jurors when Billy the Kid was tried at Mesilla New Mexico for the killing of Sheriff Brady. The people of Tularosa had built barricades to protect themselves from the Indians. They dug deep trenches and would fight from these trenches. They fought the Indians off on this occasion without much loss. When the Indians went on the war path they always left the reservation. Mr. Neblett was a fine upright man and never has had any trouble with the Indians. He sold his saw mill to A. N. Blazer in 1873 and it was later called Blazer's Mill.

Mr. Neblett, his wife and son were killed on the east side of the Organ Mountains. They were on their way to Old Mesilla to locate. They all three had been shot and their bodies left where they fell. The only thing missing was the team and until this day no one has ever known who murdered the Neblett family. Father had left the employ of Mr. Neblett in March 1872 and moved to Picacho, New Mexico where he worked on the farm of William Casey and tended the horses and cattle. In October 1872 he left Casey and went to work for Jack Price who owned a farm at Picacho. In October 1874 Father married Prudencia Miranda and they moved to Las Chozos, where Father took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres. He farmed and raised cattle and horses. He was living at Las Chozos during the Lincoln County war but he took no part in it. He and Jose Miranda his father in law used to laugh and say that when they were with Murphy and Dolan they were for them and when they were with McSween they were for McSween but they never were involved in any way in the war. My Mother was born May 10, 1855 in a small town called Acacio in Socorro County and came to Lincoln County with her parents in 1862. They come in a wagon drawn by oxen by way of the Gallinas Mountains and while crossing the mountains they met a band of Indians. It was just about night and at this time there were about fifteen wagons in the train, as each day other wagons met and traveled on with the Mirandas. When they sighted the Indians the wagon train stopped and made camp for the night. 

They formed a circle with the wagons and put the families and all the stock inside the circle, and prepared to give the Indians a battle. The Indians had stopped on the mountain side and were watching the people in the wagons. They did not attack at once and there was a fellow in the crowd by the name of Juan Lucero who could understand and speak some Indian, so he went out to within hollering distance of the Indians and asked them if they were ready to fight and the Indian chief replied that they did not went to fight then but would be back the next day at noon to fight. The wagon train laid over in this camp for four days waiting for the Indians to come back but they never did show up, so the wagon train went on their way to Lincoln New Mexico.

They traveled very slowly and some of the men folks rode ahead of the wagons and some behind, to protect the train from the Indians in case they were in the mountains waiting for them. They never saw any more Indians and arrived safe and sound in Lincoln. It took about two weeks to make this trip by ox team from Socorro to Lincoln New Mexico. Jose Miranda and his family went on to Las Chozos, seven miles east of Lincoln and took up a homestead. He went to farming and raised horses and cattle, but during 1865 the Indians got so bad they would come into the fields where Jose was plowing with oxen and unyoke the oxen and drive them away, and they stole all of his horses and cattle. After the Indians were quieted down the Government paid Jose Miranda my grandfather, for all of the horses and cattle that the Indians had stolen from him. These incidents were told to me by my father and mother. I was a very small boy at the time.

Jack Gillman and David Warner were drinking and they went to a house of ill fame and were raising a rough house. Some one went to Juan Martinez who was the constable at that time, and told him to go to this house and stop the rough stuff. He walked up to the door and called Jack Gillman who came to the door. Juan told him he was under arrest for disturbing the peace. Gillman said, All right Juan, any thing you say is all right with me. About this time David Warner came up and said to Gillman, Don't you surrender to him, you don't have to obey any orders from him. Juan Martinez reached for his gun and so did David Warner. Both fired at the same time and both fell to the floor mortally wounded and died in a few minutes. Gillman was so scared at the out come that he made a dash for the river and hid in some brush. The people of the town were so mad about the killing of the two men that they formed a posse and went to hunt for Gillman and when they found him some one in the posse shot him on sight. Later they found that Martinez had shot Warner and Warner had shot Martinez and that they had killed an innocent man when they shot Gillman but it was too late then. My father died in Carrizozo New Mexico, November 1, 1932 at the age of eighty seven years. My mother is eighty three years old and is living with one of her grand daughters in San Francisco California.
I served as Probate judge in Lincoln County for eight years and have been Justice of the Peace in Carrizozo for four years. Narrator: Elerdo Chavez, Carrizozo, New Mexico, Aged 58 years.