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Family History Stories Paraphrased
Page 15 of 38

Harry R. Hannum
Henry Clark's Windy Tale
Henry Clark
Simeon Tejada
Chihuahua District Roswell

Begin Family Histories: 

Harry R. Hannum
By Marie Carter
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Dona Ana
Surnames mentioned: Hannum, Herrin, Shepard, White, Mead, Engle, Potter, 

I was in poor health, Harry R. Hannum of La Mesa said, When my doctor told me to go west young man. That was in 1903 and the only white people living here at the time were the Herrin's, Shepard's, White's and Mead's. The Meads ran a broom factory. This house I occupy is their old homestead. I bought it from them in 1906. Edward and Frank Harrin were farmers, also Forest White and Willard Shepard. At a later date Mr. and Mrs. V. Potter, who lived at Chamberino, moved to La Mesa.

I came here from Pennsylvania, born in Bucks County, April 10, 1873. We've had a Norris A. Hannum in the family for four generations. My grandfather was Norris the first. My father was Norris the second. My son is Norris the third, and his son is Norris the fourth. I don't know how they happened to stray from the beaten path and give me the name of Harry, he chuckled.

Mr. Hannum, who was having his home remodeled, paused to speak to one of the workmen, then resumed: My grandfather and father were farmers so when I came west I adopted the same occupation. In the latter years of my father's life, however, he became manager of a branch of the wall paper concern, Jane Way Incorporated. Eventually, though, he followed me to New Mexico, spending his last days in La Mesa where he died at the age of sixty-seven, on October 9, 1909. My mother was Lucy C. Engle, born at Chester, Pennsylvania. She was a grand old lady, lived to be eighty-two and died February, 1922. My mother's father, Isaac E. Engle, who was a sea captain and vessel owner, was engaged in commerce from New York to China and is buried at Shanghai, China. I am the youngest of four children and the only having my own descendants. I grew up in Pennsylvania County near Doylestown, Pennsylvania. When I was seven my parents moved to Camden, New Jersey. I had a public school education then left home to learn to be an electrician at Philadelphia. I followed the electric business for fourteen years. Part of that time I was employed by the General Electric Company in the construction plant.

Funny, too, Mr. Hannum smiled reminiscently, all the time I was working my feet were itching to be on the road. I wanted adventure, to see the world, and South Africa was my goal. I got tired waiting for old man opportunity to come around, and once I had made up my mind that's all there was to it. I just packed up and left. In 1895 my dream was realized. I landed at Cape Town and found employment at Johnnesburg in electrical work. I arrived there about the time of the Jamison Raid which was the primary cause of the South African War, ending in the subjugation of the four States of England.

Some of my employment in South Africa took me to the different mines and the gold hills. I left there in 1897, sailing from Laurenco Marques and returning to Philadelphia. Then I became a traveling salesman for the Jersey and Pennsylvania. I was doing a very good business when my health failed and I was ordered to the Southwest.

When I first came to New Mexico I was a tenant farmer, growing alfalfa, but in 1906 I bought two hundred acres of the Moreno property. I also engaged in the real estate business. For several years I was a director of the Butte Water Users Association and am a member of the Dona Ana Farm Bureau and Alfalfa Growers Association. When I first came to La Mesa there were no bridges across the Rio Grande. Jean Moreno ran a ferry and there was always someone around to ferry us across. This same man was a Deputy Sheriff and two gun man. Jean was a born dictator among his own people and his word was law. The Mexicans never crossed him because he was quick on the draw.

He never gave us whites any trouble, Mr. Hannum said, and we all considered him a pretty good friend. As a rule, when Jean went after a bad hombre, there was a gun fight, but he usually got his man. He killed four pretty bad ones in succession and every one of them bore the name of Tomas. The last mozo he trailed was a horse thief, who had been stealing horses, taking them across the border, and selling them. Jean was told that he could find the horse thief at Anthony, but when he got there the Mexican had gone on up to hatch. Jean caught up with him and they had a gun battle to the death, and when their dead bodies were found, the horse thief was clutching Jean's hair.

My son, Norris H. Hannum III is a World War veteran, Mr. Hannum said, He was born at Delran, New Jersey on March 16, 1899. He attended State College at Mesilla Park, New Mexico, and at the age of eighteen was a volunteer. He entered the regular service at Fort Bliss, El Paso, was attached to the first Aero Squadron, received his early training at Columbus, New Mexico and was with that part of the American Air Forces that went over seas. He saw duty on five fronts during the war, including the Marne and the Argonne and subsequently was with the Army of occupation stationed at Weisenthurn, Germany, returning to the United States in 1919. He received his honorable discharge at San Antonio, Texas. Within thirty days after his discharge from the army he became associated with my merchandise business.

Harry R. Hannum was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, April 10, 1873. His father was Norris H. Hannum II. Mr. Hannum's mother was Lucy C. Engle, who was born At Chester, Pennsylvania. Mr. Hannum came to New Mexico and located at La Mesa In 1903. For several years Mr. Hannum was director of the Butte Water Users Association and is a member of the Dona Ana County Farm Bureau and Alfalfa Growers Association. Mr. Hannum married at Dalair, New Jersey, June 1, 1898, Miss Maud. Allen. Mrs. Hannum was born near Washington Court House, Ohio, but was reared at Burlington, Iowa. One of her teachers was Governor Lowden, former governor of Illinois and a prominent candidate for the presidential nomination in 1920.

Norris Hannum III, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry R. Hannum was born at Delair, New Jersey, March 16, 1899. He is associated with his father and is considered to be one of the active younger business men of La Mesa. He is married. His wife was the former Miss Rena Lewis daughter of John F. Lewis. They have two sons: Robert Ray and Norris H. Hannum.

Henry Clark's Windy Tale
By Katherine Ragsdeal
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Eddy, Chaves
Surnames mentioned: Clark, Jones, Bretz, 

Henry Clark, an old timer living in Carlsbad, is known and has the name of being the windiest man in New Mexico. He has always been that way. One day, while on his way home an old rancher named Pap Jones saw a man on horse back coming toward him. The horse was running very fast, but as the rider drew nearer, the pace was somewhat slowed. Pap saw it was Henry so he called out, Say Henry, get off your horse and tell me one of your windy tales. Sorry, I can't. your wife just fell off the porch and broke her arm and I'm on the way to get the doctor. Pap spurred his horse and practically flew home, when he reached his home, much to his surprise, he saw his wife sitting out on the front porch knitting. Why, said Pap. I thought you had fallen off the porch and broke your arm, Henry told me you had, that dang liar!

In a few days Pap saw Henry and asked him why he had told him his wife had broken her arm. Well, said Henry, I'll tell you, you asked me to get off my horse and tell you a windy and I didn't have time to get off my horse and tell it so I just told one while I rode past you. Mr. Bretz.

Henry Clark
By Katherine Ragsdale
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: General
Surnames mentioned: Clark, Joe, Victorio(Victoria?), 

Coming by ox cart from San Antonio, Texas, on their way to San Francisco, California, Henry Clark's parents decided to stop in New Mexico for awhile. Their guide Yaqui Joe and his wife known to Henry as Aunt Anna wanted to go to Mexico. Henry's parents told them that they could go. When they left Aunt Marti Anna took Henry, aged four, with them.

After crossing the Rio Grande they met a group of Mexicans and Indians going to the interior of Mexico for mahogany. Yaqui Joe decided to go with them, so Henry, Aunt Marta Anna and Yaqui Joe started on this long journey. They had traveled several days when bandits over took them. These bandits made the younger men and women their prisoners and left the old men, women and small children, called drags, to die of starvation and thirst. Aunt Marti Anna took it upon herself to lead these drags back to where there was food and shelter.

After traveling all day they were captured by two men, a train of burros carrying fruit. The drags captured these two men and tied them up, then the old men, women, and children started eating, after having eaten their fill they untied the two men and demanded that they guide them to a village. After several days traveling they reached a small village where they remained for quite some time.

During this time Aunt Marti Anna taught Henry the ways of the Indians, he learned to graft certain cacti to make blue, black and red paint. He learned the signs the Indians use in pointing out trails, he learned how to hunt. Many things were taught him by this old Indian woman.

At an early age of about sixteen, Henry met the Marauding Victorio, and joined his band of outlaws. This band consisted of 700 white men and three hundred Indians. Every man was needed by Victorio because he had a contract with a Cuban in the South of Leon to bring from 10,000 to 20,000 head of cattle a month to him. These men would scatter from California to Texas and New Mexico stealing cattle.

I have camped on top of Sitting Bull Falls twenty miles south west of Lakewood awaiting nightfall, so I might go into the Seven Rivers country to steal cattle. One time after we had gotten several hundred head of cattle, we drove them as far as Sitting Bull Falls and here we camped on the top. About dawn we saw camping down below us a few cowboys, Big Bill, two Indian bucks and I gave a wild Whoop and I don't believe those boys feet touched the ground good before they got on their horses and left out. No sir, those men weren't looking for Indians then. Henry Clark.

Simeon Tejada
Translated by Lorin W. Brown
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Taos
Surnames mentioned: Tejeda, Romero, Policarpio, Fresquez, Vasques, Policarpio, Ortega, Purissima

History of a Buffalo Hunter: I was 40 years old before I ever saw my mother, and I saw her for the first time in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Don Manuel Jesus Vasques was born in the settlement of Chamisal, Taos County on the 31st day of January of the year 1856. He himself does not know how he came to live at the home of Don Juan Policarpio Romero of the village of Penasco but at the age of eight he was herd boy for a flock of goats belonging to Don Juan Policarpio Romero and continued as such until he married Rosario Fresquez of Penasco.

After he was married he practiced carpentry, making coffins for the dead, during the great smallpox plague of the year 1875. There were days in which four or five deaths occurred and Don Manuel could not make coffins enough to supply the demand and there was no other carpenter in Penasco. Some of the dead were placed on poles and dragged to the cemetery by burros. While the epidemic raged Don Manuel continued making coffins and when it had subsided in Penasco, Don Juan Policarpio sent him to Ocate, Chacon and Santa Clara, now known as Wagon Mound, to make coffins at those places.

In the year 1877 Don Policarpio sent Don Manuel Jesus Vasques in company with other men to the plains on a buffalo hunt. He left Penasco with a Navajo Indian called Juan Jesus Romero, whom Don Policarpio Romero had raised. Alvino Ortega and Jesus Maria Ortega of the settlement of El Llano de San Juan, Plains of Saint John, as well as some thirty other men went with them on the buffalo hunt. They took with them fifteen ox drawn carts, the oxen's horns were tied securely to the yokes with straps of ox hide. This group of men met in Penasco on the 15th of November, 1877 before setting out on the hunt. They set the same day for Mora, there they were joined by more men and more carts, from there they went to Ocate and there also, they were joined by more men and more carts. From this place they traveled as far as the Colorado river which they crossed below what is now the town of Springer in Colfax County. At that time there was not a single house there, or at least they saw none, nor did they see any footprints and there was no trail of any kind. They were traveling towards the state of Oklahoma and reached Chico, also in Colfax County. At this place they camped for a few days in order to rest their oxen. A meeting was called with the object of placing some one of them at the head of the expedition, votes were cast and Don Alvino Ortega of the Llano de San Juan received a majority of votes and was given the title of Comandante, or Commander.

From this time on nothing was done except at the express command of Don Alvino Ortega, he ordered the oxen to be yoked, he gave the order to make camp, to water the animals, he also ordered mounted men to ride ahead to scout for signs of Indians who might cause them trouble, and to reconnoiter ahead for water for since there was no road over the prairies it was quite possible and dangerous that at any moment they might suddenly come upon a deep canon or swollen stream which they would not be able to cross. These scouts would ride ahead of the caravan, returning to the cam each night.

They passed close to the site of the city of Clayton by way of a spring called El Ojo del Cibolo, or Buffalo Spring, and continued across Texas to enter Oklahoma at a point called Punta de Agua meaning waterhole. It took them a month to reach buffalo country. At a point called Pilares a buffalo bull was killed which furnished them meat for a few days.

From Pilares the expedition traveled for three or four days more until it reached a river called Rio de las Nutrias, Beaver River. They camped a short ways down the stream and began hunting buffaloes.

The hunt continued until they had killed enough buffaloes to fill fifty carts with the meat. Only the meat which could be cut into large strips was used, that is, the hind quarters the hump. The buffalo fat was saved also.

The hunt was conducted on horseback and lances were the weapons used. The commander would order the men to form a line placing the hunters mounted on the swifter horses at each end so that when they advanced on a herd of buffalo the ends of the line would lead the rest in an encircling movement of the beasts.

When the men were formed in line and before they launched themselves on the buffalo the Commander would ask that they all pray together and ask the Almighty God for strength in the impending hunt. When the Commander was heard to say, Ave Maria Purissima, Hail Holy Mary, the line would move forward as one man the end men on their swifter horses outdistancing the rest so as to encircle the herd which was to be attacked. Some of the men designated as skinners followed the hunt driving burros before them. These men skinned the fat cows only for the dead animals were so plentiful that they would ignore the bulls and lean cows.

They would pack the buffalo meat into camp where they would cut it into convenient sized strips after which they would slice it very t thin and hang it up to dry on poles. The cecina or jerked meat was prepared in the following manner; long strips were cut from the carcasses, for this, men expert at the job were selected. After the meat had cooled it was spread on hides and tramped on until it was drained of blood and then as we have already stated the cecinas were hung on poles to dry in the sun. After it had dried they would stack it up like cordwood, each pile containing enough meat to load three or four carts.

As soon as the Commander thought that sufficient meat had been prepared to fill all of the ox-carts he would give orders to cease killing buffaloes. He then would assign three or four carts to each pile of meat and he himself would divide the meat according to the different kinds, larger pieces, meat from the hump and the tallow, the smaller pieces were anybodies property in any quantity desired.

In loading the meat the same method was used as in loading fodder, some would load the meat on the cart while the owner of the cart would trample it down so as to get as much of a load on the cart as he possibly could and all that the oxen would be able to haul home.

After the carts were loaded a party of ten plains Indians of the Kiowa tribe suddenly rode into camp. The Indians asked for something to eat and their request was complied with, after they had eaten some of the party thought it would be a good idea to kill the Indians arguing that they were only ten in number and could be safely dispatched whereas if they were allowed to leave they might apprise others of their tribe and return in larger numbers to kill the members of the hunting party and steal the meat. Don Manuel Jesus Vasques opposed this plan: The Indians were ordered out of camp. They retired a short distance but followed the homeward bound caravan for a long distance. The following morning on orders of the Commander the long trek home was begun in earnest.

At the crossing of the Nutrias river the oxcart belonging to the only American in the party, became stuck in midstream. This American lived in Ocate. After all the rest of the oxcarts had safely crossed the river, all of the party helped in extricating the American's cart from the river and onto dry land. The actual hunting of the buffaloes lasted one month, the trip to and from the hunting grounds required a month's travel each so that the whole trip lasted three months. It took three months of that winter for the entire trip.

This expedition was free of any dispute or fight of any kind, whatever Don Manuel ordered was executed and the whole expedition got along very agreeably. When Don Manual Jesus Vanquez returned to Penasco preparations were being made for another expedition to the country of the Comanches and Cayguas, Kiowas, towards Kansas. Don Manual Jesus Vasques went on this trip also. The object of this trip was the buying of horses from the Apaches and Kiowas. On this trip burros loaded with bread were taken along. The bread was a certain kind of bread called Comanche bread. This bread was made of wheat flour but without yeast so that the bread was as hard or harder than a rock and was traded to the Indians for horses. The Indians were Kiowas and Comanches. A trinca of bread was given for each horse. A trinca was half a sack of bread or in other words a sack of bread for a pair of horses. At this time the Indians already were receiving some aid from the government and they would feed those who went to trade with them, they had plenty of coffee and sugar. Twenty men went on this trading expedition and they brought fifteen horses back to Penasco with them.

The most of the men who went on this expedition worked for wages, small wages however, no one of them ever made more than fifty a day. Yet Don Juan Policarpio Romero never paid Don Manuel Jesus Vasques a single cent for his labors, as shepherd for his flock of goats nor for the making of coffins, nor for his services as a buffalo hunter or horse trader with the Indians, but he did keep Don Manuel and his family. While his patron lived Don Manuel never held one single penny in his hand. Don Manuel Jesus Vasques who is alive today at the age of 83 says that he never recollects having seen the inside of a school house, but that his patron taught him how to sign his name. Don Juan Policarpio left or designated Don Manuel as one of his heirs and the sons of Don Juan Policarpio Romero gave him four goats and asked him to sign a paper which attested that he had received his share of the inheritance, and he not knowing how to read signed. The Probate Judge at Taos called him before him and asked Don Manuel if he was content and satisfied and upon his answering that he was, he signed the paper or document. End. My informant is the same Don Manuel Jesus Vasques who is 83 years old. Penasco N.M.

Chihuahua District Roswell
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves, Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Fowler, Chisum, McKenzie, Anderson, Geronimo

The Hot Tamale Man
Many picturesque characters, of the Spanish American people, live in the district called Chihuahua, located in the southeast portion of Roswell. Charlie Fowler, known as Old Hot Tamale, lives in one of the many little adobe houses, of the Chihuahua district, which make this section of the city different with their clean swept dirt floors, white washed walls, and tiny fireplace tucked in a cozy corner, little homes typical of the New Spain, which were built in New Mexico after the coming of Coronado in 1540.

Old Hot Tamale insists that if there were a drop of Spanish or Mexican blood in his veins, he would let it out. He was married in his early years to a Mexican woman, who made her departure from his home leaving behind mysteries, lies and many unpleasant situations, for the man to battle with alone, until a woman with a heart came into his life, married him and mothered him, and was a real companion for many years. Now, I’m eighty years old and need her, said old Charlie, and she has gone from me forever. Since she died I am helpless like a little child without her.

After she was took from me I just went to sleep and didn't know anything for a long, long time. Now I can’t pull my wagon of hot tamales, like I used to do, and the Roswell people miss the ole' tamale man they say. They like me. Friends come to my door often to sit and pass the time of day. Some men took my picture just yesterday, and the finest painters come from away off and paint me and my tamale wagon, and they want to write stories about me. I haven't told any of them what I am going to tell you, and you must get it all down good, for it's history, and they want to keep it here in Roswell, always.

They are stories of things that happened, and things I saw, and heard in these parts long before you was born, when there wasn't nothing, anywhere around here closer than Fort Stanton. I guess now you must bear with me some, for my recollection gets to dodging round and round when I try hard to remember important places and times.

I been burnt out here two times by a low Mexican, for revenge when he got mad at me. You're right mister, I don't talk like Mexicans talk, for I ain’t Mexican, thank Gawd! I'm Indian mostly. My mother was a full blood Choctaw Indian. Don’t make no difference what other blood I has. I am just a man of honor and of my word. The first man I ever worked for in my life, besides my folks, was John Chisum when he lived in Denton County, Texas.

I was a leader and pack outfitter on horses for him in 1887 and we would be gone five or six days at a time, working cattle. I had seven pack leading horses and five other packers had six.

We would lead some and drive some, when we came to New Mexico by way of Castle Gap east of pontoon bridge on the Pecos River, where the old T X ranch used to be at Horse Road Crossing. We came up from there on the west side of the river, to Bosque Grande, about thirty five miles north east of where Roswell is now, but it was all wide dry prairie then, and lots of coyotes and prairie dogs and nothing else living until you got to six mile hill west and found antelope. The Pecos River was the deadline for buffalo. I never saw one west of the river in my life.

I was with General McKenzie's outfit in 1872. He was a great Indian fighter, even before the time of Geronimo commenced his murdering and stealing. Geronimo was a terrible hard Indian and all New Mexico dreaded and feared him. But they say there's honor even among thieves, and I never heard of him harming a woman or child.

He was a bitter old man after he was in captivity at Fort Hill. He would stand for hours facing his old hunting ground, with his arms hanging helpless never saying a word. It ain’t because I have Indian blood in me I say it, but the whites crushed the Indian people who were here in this country first. Do you know what become of the Lost Tribe which came up missing when Moses was leading them through the wilderness? Well they swung around that mountain it was Mt. Ebo I believe and they wandered round and round and finally crossed the narrow channel in the Canada course. They was the beginning of the Indian people Columbus found when he came. Once a lawyer asked an Indian, where he got some of his Masonary. The Indian said, we always had it, and I believe they did have it before the whites.

In 1874 I was with General Davison in U. S. 10th Cavalry trying to capture Lone Wolf a bad Indian who raided with the Comanches. He and eleven companies of soldiers, several pieces of artillery seventy-eight head of cattle, and nine cowboys. We pulled in and fixed up for a camp at White Fish where we were going to cross McClelland Creek, and here come a stampede of buffalo. We fought buffalo from nine to eleven at night. We had to block the charging buffalo with the dead ones as we shot them to keep them from running through our camp outfit. We had been short on supplies, eating only one hard tack for a meal. After that we had plenty of meat.

What with Indians and buffalo you had to travel with your eyes open those days. I was manager of the bull ox train, for L. H. Anderson, buffalo hunter on the naked plains in 1875. I was one of the fifteen skinners in camp. We worked over three and four hundred buffalo some days. In September the general course of buffalo traveling was southwest and in summer it was northeast.

I have skinned buffalo, herded sheep, cooked, drove bull ox wagons, and barbered here in Roswell. The last three years have doubled up on me for I've had it so hard since my wife died. I am all tired now. Some day I will tell you more. We will write a book of all the things I new and did, before I was the old hot tamale man.