Return to Main Page

Return to Family History Index

Family History Stories Paraphrased
Page 19 of 38

Mrs. William C. Heacock
Mrs. William C. Heacock II
Mr. O. W. McCuistion
Mr. O. W. McCuistion
Mr. J. H. Deam

Begin Family Histories: 

Mrs. William C. Heacock
By Janet Smith
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Bernalillo
Surnames mentioned: Heacock, Crichton, Baca

Mrs. Heacock laughed when I said I had heard that her husband had been a famous judge in the old days in Albuquerque . Notorious had been the word that first occurred to me but I had of course rejected it. She didn't think that she could tell me stories about her husband's career so well because she had never paid much attention to his business. She had been busy raising her family. She remembered well enough the shack she had lived in, you couldn't call it a house, and lucky to get that for there weren't any real houses in Albuquerque in those days. The shack had been on South Second Street where the Crystal Beer Garden now stands. It was a dusty spot and she wanted her husband to buy a little land near Robinson Park where there were a few trees and a pump. She would have been satisfied with a one room house and a tent there, she said, but her husband said a house built on that spot would sink into the quick sand in no time. He had no eye for business,  she said. He knew just one thing, that was the law.

She remembered too the board sidewalks and how the planks would bob up first on one end and then on the other seesaw like as she pushed her baby carriage over them. There were half a dozen saloons to every block and the cowboys would loll in the doorways and against the walls competitively spitting amber juice. When I think of it now,  she said, but it seemed natural enough to me then.

One night, about 1890 she thought, she was just clearing away the supper table when she heard shots outside. She ran to the door to see what was happening, when her husband called her back. The safest thing to do at such times was to lie down on the floor. The drunken cowboys generally had no desire to kill anyone, but it was safer to keep out of the way of their bullets. On one occasion a cowboy had killed a child. He was drunk and looking for black cats to shoot at. He was horrified when he realized what he had done, but they hung him. They had to make an example of someone in order to make Albuquerque safe for their children. Mr. Heacock had prosecuted the case, and was so upset when the man was hung that he refused thereafter to serve except as a defense lawyer.

Another time Billy the Kid had come to the door to get her husband to help him out of some kind of a scrape. Mrs. Heacock had answered the door. She said he looked like any nice young lad to her. Afterward everyone was talking about him, and she was glad she'd seen him, but she didn't ever believe any of that talk about his being a bad character. They were after him, and he had to protect himself, didn't he?

I asked Mrs. Heacock if the story about her husband's fining the dead man for carrying concealed weapons were true. She laughed and said it was true all right, but she couldn't remember just how it went. This is the story as it was told to me, somewhat embellished with time perhaps, but a good story, and according to Mrs. Heacock based on fact.

Judge William C. Heacock and his cronies were playing three card monte in the back room of a saloon. The cards were against the Judge that evening and along about one in the morning he found himself without funds to continue his game. As was customary with the Judge in such critical situations, he called in his deputies who were drinking at the bar in the next room. Get me a drunk, he ordered a drunk with money in his pockets who is guilty of disorderly conduct. The deputies departed on their familiar mission, and the Judge retired to the Court Room on the upper floor, where he prepared to hold a session of night court. A town like Albuquerque needed a night court to keep it in order.

Before long the deputies returned, carrying a limp man between them. What the Hell? said the Judge. What's that you got? Your Honor, replied one of the deputies, as be straightened up from placing his burden on the floor, we found him in the back room of The Blue Indigo. Can he stand trial or is he dead drunk? asked the Judge. He's not drunk, but he's dead all right. He croaked himself over there in the Blue Indigo. The proprietor insisted that we get him out of there.

The Judge was annoyed. Didn't the fools ever hear of an inquest? he asked. He had sent for a lucrative drunk, not a drooling suicide. He turned solemnly to his deputies. This court is a court of justice, he said. The right of habeas corpus must not be ignored. The prisoner must be given a speedy and fair trial. This court is ready to hear evidence. What is the charge? Your Honor, spoke one of the deputies. The charge has not yet been determined.

This court will hear no case without a charge. Did you search the prisoner? There was a letter to some dame, began the deputy. Any money? The deputy counted $27.32. Any weapons? They took a gun from the hip pocket. Has the prisoner anything to say before sentence is imposed upon him? Judge Heacock cooked his ear expectantly toward the prone prisoner. In view of the unresponsiveness of the prisoner which this court interpret as contempt, and in view of the unlawful possession of a lethal weapon this court imposes a fine of $20.00 and court costs, pronounced the Judge.

You might as well leave him there till morning, said the Judge as he pocketed the money. The money game continued on the floor below. Mr. Heacock says they used to do funny things in Albuquerque in those days. And many of them were done in the name of justice. She remembers the time when a well dressed stranger arrived on the train from the East. He took a hack to the hotel on First Street and was just paying the hack driver, when two big deputies arrested him and took him to court for being a suspicious character. Because he was too well dressed and they needed money for the city that day, she added.

And then there is the story of how Judge Heacock sent Elfego Baca to his own jail for a month. Mrs. Heacock laughed about that one too. The story is told in Kyle Crichton's book Law and Order Ltd. Judge Heacock's deputies were out searching for a drunk for the night court. When they tried to arrest Jesus Romero, who was a friend of Elfego Baca's, Mr. Baca objected to the extent of whacking one of the policemen over the head with his huge silver watch. The injured man was one of Albuquerque's favorite policeman, and when the crowd saw him lying unconscious, they assisted the other deputy in escorting Mr. Baca to the night court. Romero was completely forgotten.

Disorderly conduct was the charge which Mr. Baca denied with some heat. But the night sergeant had discovered $18.19 in his pocket. Thirty days or ten dollars and costs, said the Judge. But they couldn't pull that stuff on Mr. Baca. He took the thirty days, and a deputy accompanied him to the jail in Old Town where unbeknown to the Judge, Mr. Baca had recently been  appointed jailer. The name of E. Baca was signed in the record, and the jailer, Mr. Elfigo Baca, received the regular seventy-five cents a day for the feeding of the prisoner. At the end of the month Mr. Baca was $22.50 the richer for his encounter with the Albuquerque night court.

Perhaps it is only fair to add a bit concerning the more serious side of Judge Heacock's career. He graduated from Annapolis in the days when graduating classes were very small, studied law in Philadelphia, and at one time surveyed the harbor at Rio de Janiero. Mrs. Heacock said that he had many offers to leave Albuquerque for positions in all parts of the country. But life as he was able to live it in New Mexico evidently suited him best. 

Mrs. William C. Heacock
By Janet Smith
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Bernalillo
Surnames mentioned: Heacock, Klock, Chaves, Hiodges, 

The other day Mr. Heacock told me a story of a trip to Jemez that had all the elements of a good western story of the old days, covered wagons and Indians, quick sand and a wall of water. She and Judge Heacock started out with their two babies for Jemez Springs which was a three day trip by wagon. They traveled in a big covered wagon, called an ambulance, from the Spanish ambulanza. They had six horses, two to pull the wagon, and four extra in case of trouble. They took what furniture they would need in Jemez, two boys to drive and care for the horses, and a girl to care for the babies, although Mrs. Heacock said she never did because she was always talking to the boys.

I never wanted to go in the first place, Mrs. Heacock said, but the Judge wouldn't have it that way. We had to sleep on the ground, right on the ground with my two babies I was so particular about. We would coil the big ropes used for the horses around us to protect us from the snakes, but I was always scared to death, though I was so tired at night I couldn't help sleeping some. The coyotes would howl, and my it was a fright, but that man of mine would go in spite of anything. The second day out they got lost on a mountain. The men went to look for someone who could help them to find the right road again.

I didn't like that at all, Mrs. Heacock said, being left there alone with only that helpless girl and my two babies, and heaven knew what wild animals and Indians were about. Suddenly they heard a whoop, and an Indian came riding over the hill. I gabbed the gun, Mrs. Heacock said, though goodness knows I didn't know how to shoot one. And there were my two babies lying in the bottom of the wagon, and that Indian riding right for us for all he was worth. I decided to wait till he got almost to us, before I tried to shoot. Then he yelled, Pretty soon, pretty soon, now, and I put the gun down. He meant they were going to get us out of there pretty soon.

That night they spent in an Indian settlement called Zia, Mrs. Heacock thought it was. They had a whole one room house to themselves with a big bed for Mrs. Heacock and the girl and the babies. She thought that was considerably better than sleeping on the ground, until the men began to pile the furniture in front of the door. Then she realized that they were afraid of the Indians, and she couldn't sleep a bit all night. I just lay there and expected those babies to be scalped before morning, she told me.

But morning came, and the babies cried safely. The men got up from the floor and stretched and moved the furniture away from the door. Mrs. Heacock went out to the wagon to get some things for the babies, and every single thing that could be moved was gone. That made the rest of the trip even worse for her.

As if we hadn't had hard enough of a time already that day we were right in the middle of a river when the wagon began to sink. Quick sand. It had been a good fording place the year before, but the sands shift. The men took off their shoes and socks and rolled up their trousers and carried me and my two babies and the girl to the bank. Then they hitched up the other four horses and after a lot of splashing and heaving and swearing they pulled out of there. I sure was exhausted when we finally got to Jemez with my two babies. But the flies there were such a sight, I made up my mind to go right back. They offered me every inducement they could think of to stay, but I had my mind all made up, and the next day I started back with my two babies on the stage.

The first day I ate a lunch at a woman's house and every bit of it was bad. The egg was bad and the meat was bad. I got very sick and the baby I was nursing got sick too. That baby just yelled and screamed continually and the people on the stage were so mad they wouldn't speak to me. Finally I got so sick I made the driver stop and let me lie on the ground. The passengers were all wanting to put me back in the stage and get on our way for they wanted to get home. I never saw such selfish people. But the driver did what I told him. Finally I became absolutely rigid, and then two women did get out and rub me until I was better and could climb back into the wagon. They said afterwards I had a fit. But I never had a fit in my life. I was just plain sick and no wonder.

We had stopped on one side of an arroyo, and we no more than got over that arroyo and a little way on the other side, when a wall of water as high as a three story house swept down. It was a pretty sight to see, but it sure would have dashed us and the wagon to bits had we been in the middle of the arroyo a minute sooner. That gave us all a turn, and the people were more friendly to me the rest of the journey. I declare I thought I'd never go on a trip like that again, but the next summer we started off just the same. Mrs. Heacock sat rocking and thinking on her front porch. Suddenly she turned to me. One thing I want to tell you though, she said, and I want to impress it upon you, men were a lot more considerate of their women folks in those days than they are today a lot more considerate. It seems to me from all I see that they aren't at all considerate these days.

How do you account for it? I asked. I think its because women have taken to working and earning their own money, she answered. They had to I suppose. There were plenty of men in those days that used to gamble and drink up their pay check before they ever got home with it. I guess that's why the girls went to work. They saw what their mothers had to put up with. Well, t guess it about evens up, but in little ways, the men were lots more considerate then. Some people walked by and Mrs. Heacock asked if I knew them. I don't, she said. It seems funny too. There was a time when I knew everybody. When I went out wheeling my two babies, everybody spoke to me and helped me over the rough places. Now I hardly know the people who walk past my house. Why, I can remember the time when the people here would carry Mr. Heacock through the streets on their shoulders after he had won a case.

Mr. Heacock was always loyal to his clients and they liked him. Though lots of people censured him for things he did. I guess I told you that story about the time he fined the dead man? Another time I remember, they were gambling and needed some money, and they brought in ten Chinamen to the night court. Two o'clock in the morning it was and the deputies went out and rounded up those ten Chinamen. They hadn't done anything, I suppose, but the night sergeant counted what money they had in their pockets, and then Judge Heacock fined them almost that much for disorderly conduct. He always left his victims enough for breakfast. Cruel and inhuman, I told him, but the Chinamen never said a word. The Judge knew the first one they brought in. I'm sorry, John, he said, but it's the mandate of the law hanging over your head. And after he had fined that one, he said, Bring on the next one.

Mrs. Heacock laughed. I used to get mad at him when he came home and told me those things he'd done, and people did censure him. Still, she went on, he was better than some of those that censured him. His clients thought a lot of him. He defended thirty-eight or forty accused murderers and never lost but two of those cases. I remembered what Mr. George Klock, who had opposed Mr. Heacock in many cases said to me about him: He was a bit irregular. But he never broke his word, and he was a brilliant man. If he had cared a little more for his health and his morals, he would have made his mark high. As it was, he had a following that was as loyal to him as subjects to their king.

The first story related by Mrs. Heacock took place between Albuquerque and Jemez about 1895. The Indians concerned were from the Zia Pueblo, and it was there that Mrs. Heacock and her family spent the night. The river mentioned was probably the Jemez Creek, although Mrs. Heacock was not sure. The story concerning Judge Heacock's Night Court might have occurred any time during the90's. Mrs. Heacock could not tell exactly. It, of course, happened in Albuquerque. Mrs. William C. Heacock lives in Albuquerque.
Mr. George Klock in Albuquerque. Following are the names and addresses of informants of previous pioneer stories: Ella May Chavez, Elfego Baca, Carrie L. Hodges.

Mr. O. W. McCuistion
By Janet Smith
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Bernalillo
Surnames mentioned: McCuistion, 

Many was the time, so relates Mr. O. W. McCuistion, one of northeastern New Mexico's earliest settlers, that I found myself just around a bunch of bushes from the hostile Comanche Indians, they not seeing me and I only seeing them in time to save my scalp. This tribe of Indians ravaged the herds of horses, and drove off all they could acquire, but left the cattle unmolested. They also found horse flesh more palatable than beef, and in the rides across the country cow hunting Mr. McCuistion relates. It was a usual sight to see the carcass of a horse that this tribe of Indians had killed and taken the flesh away with them for meat.

He tells of a time he was hunting his stray cattle on the Cimarron River about where the town of Kenton, Oklahoma is now located, that, after he had rounded up a bunch, he hobbled his horse for the night, and cooked all the food left in his pack, leaving a small amount of coffee for breakfast. After eating, he retired for the night, and the next morning all he had for breakfast was his coffee, then on again he rode in quest of wandering cows when he came to where Indians had camped the night before, and near the smoldering camp-fire lay the carcass of a colt that had been killed by the Commanche's and robbed of its flesh.

Going on toward his ranch with the cattle that had been rounded up, he passed a ranch home, A woman came running out, calling to him that a band of some seventy-five Indians had just ridden past the ranch, shooting at a man who was herding a bunch of horses. Mr. McCuistion being alone, could do nothing, so went on his way, searching for more cattle, but on his return trip past this ranch, was told that word had been sent to the soldiers at Fort Union, and they were on their way to give chase to the Indians. However, the soldiers only came as far as the highway near Raton where they learned the Indians were too far in advance of them to be overtaken, driving the herd of horses off with them. The herder of the horses, by some miracle, escaped and Mr. McCuistion said, this was one of the many times he was near Indians without their discovering him.

Mr. McCuistion relates an interesting incident of the early 1860's when he was a member of a freighting crew of some thirty wagons going from the Missouri River west, to Salt Lake City, Utah, with a cargo of eatables, composed mostly of bacon and flour. This wagon train followed the U.S. Stage Line from the Missouri River to California, and was the route formerly used by the Pony Express.

Every twelve miles along this line, stage stands were stationed, with relief men, horses and all needed supplies for this express purpose. The stage was drawn with from four to six horses, two men on the drivers seat, with sometimes two U.S. Soldiers riding the top of the vehicle for extra protection of the Government's mail and Express, And always, there were from eight to ten men mounted on horseback, following the stage.

The horses were driven on a dead run between stations, therefore necessitated the best animals obtainable, thereby, also running the risk of greater danger of being molested by Indians, as they are great lovers of good horses, and to raid one of these trains in transit, would result in a cache of from twelve to sixteen very desirable animals.

When the stage would drive into a stand, other men and horses were quickly substituted, in almost unbelievable time, and on they rushed in a mad run, for another twelve miles to another stand, where the exchange was repeated, and likewise, until the end of the line, which was California to those going west, and the Missouri River to those traveling eastward, there being a stage going in either direction daily. A grand and exciting sight, Mr. McCuistion reminisced, as these stages rushed madly by his slowly moving caravan.

It was while his wagon train was on their way, near Julesburg, Nebraska, that his men came on-to the body of a dead Indian. The body had been stripped of clothing and the head was missing. On arriving at the town and upon inquiry, it was learned a band of Indians had raided a stage stand with the view of driving off the horses. The soldiers had given chase and this dead Indian was the result of the fray, the soldiers taking his head back to camp with them.

Horrified at such a deed, I asked, But why did they cut off his head, that was dreadful, at which Mr. McCuistion smilingly replied, They wanted to be sure the Indian wouldn't carry it off on his shoulders again. At that remark I was reminded of hearing that an Indian resorted to playing dead when surrounded by enemies, thinking thereby, to plan his escape.

He relates another episode when he, together with two other men had been down south on Carrizo Creek hunting cattle and were returning home to the ranch at Ranch at Kiowa Springs, when they met a band of Ute's tribe out hunting for a Mexican who had killed an Indian boy of their tribe. They were infuriated, and were giving the country a thorough search, hoping to find the Mexican. The men had seen nothing of the killer, so went their way. That night, the Indians also, arrived at Mr. McCuistion's ranch still in search of the Mexican. The band stopped some distance from the house and the Chief went alone to the house to talk to Mr. McCuistion, who gave them a beef which they butchered and ate.

The Indians built a large bonfire and held a war dance over the body of the boy killed by the Mexican. This dance took place in front of Mr. McCuistion's house and lasted all night. When daylight came, the dancing ceased and the Indians went on their way, the slayer of their boy still roaming at large. Mr. McCuistion delights in telling of these past experiences and the Ute Tribe of Indians always found in him, a friend.

 J. C. Brock
By Frances E. Totty
Related by J. C. Brock
Early Days in the Southwest.
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Dona Ana, General
Surnames mentioned: Brock, Whitehill, McGomas, Geronimo

My people came to the Mesilla Valley in the early days. They lived at Fort Seldon when they first came to the valley. They had a meat market and run the ferry across the river. We stayed at the Fort a short time then moved to Mesilla or the present Old Mesilla. In 1977 the worst cold spell came to the Mesilla Valley that was ever known in history; there has never been such a spell since in the valley. The stock froze, grape vines that had been in the valley for more than a hundred years were killed. My father didn't sell any meat for days and days as he couldn't cut it as after a beef was killed it froze so hard a knife was of no use what ever.

Many of the families decided to leave the Mesilla Valley and go to Las Mimbres. Some twelve families left Old Mesilla in their caritos, which were two wheeled carts, the only mode of travel that the people had at that time. The party settled on the Mimbres River at the present site of Old Town thirty-five miles northeast of Silver City beyond Faywood Hotsprings. The families cleared off plots of ground for cultivation. They were making a success of farming and rejoicing that they had come to The Mimbres Rio. The Apaches were waiting for the time to get some good horses and to slaughter their unsuspecting victims. Victoria deciding that his tribe needed some new mounts raided the colony drove off all the cattle and horses and killed every member of the settlement. Old Town for some time was vacant, but later other settlers came into town.

News soon reached the small town of Mesilla of the disaster that had befallen their relatives and friends. There were many who had planned on going to the Mimbres, still in Mesilla that were rejoicing that they were still alive, and many were sorrowing for those that were gone. My father in 1975 decided to come to this district of the southwest he settled at Bras Springs, the present Burro Springs, so called by the Spanish people because the black tail deer came to the springs for water.

When we came here there wasn't any Lordsburg or Deming. Silver City was a small village of around two hundred people, and Ralston, the present Shakespeare, was a stopping place. Burro Springs was the only water in the immediate territory, and was a stopping place for man, beast, and the devil himself on his way to Mogollons. We sold water, food supplies, mining supplies, and kept rooms for the travelers.

We looked on the desperado type as protection in those days. Curly Bill and other such characters were always welcome to such outlaying places as when these men were staying at the place we never expected any trouble and we felt that we were safe from the Indians, for the Indians respected these supposed to be gunmen. Curly Bill was a handsome man his reputation might have been bad, but he had his good points as well. The bad man of the yesterday was not bad by nature as a rule. They were victims of circumstances. In most cases they were men that were mistreated and abused by some party until they were cornered, and forced to kill to save their life or property. Rather than let the law be their judge they would hide out, and sooner or later be forced to kill again, then it wouldn't be long until they would be an outcast from society, and a desperado.

Curly Bill as we knew him was quiet and when he came to the Springs stayed off to himself. He was called Curly from the fact that he wore long hair. He never did us any harm, but always seemed to be our friend. As to whether he was connected with the San Simon Gang I very seriously have my doubts, but I do know that he worked for Harvey Whitehill, and was loyal to the man.

Curly Bill was at our place one time just after we had returned from Apache Tejo with some of our cattle that had been stolen. We had recovered all of our stock, but five cows, Curley sit listening to our misfortune shaking and nodding his head. The next mornings Curly left the Springs and five days later came in with our five cows, and that is the way the supposed to be bad man did his friend a favor, there wasn't any talking to be done they believed in action and talking later. When Curly left this part of the southwest in 1885 he was supposed to have gone into Arizona and gotten into trouble and killed, but this is false for I sold cattle to him after the World War. After the war we couldn't find buyers for our stock and buyers were begged to buy, and were enticed in every way possible to look at our stock. A group of buyers were over at the corrals, by the McGomas Tree, looking at our cattle, I noticed one of the buyers from California looked familiar to me. We eyed one another for some time. Finally the fellow came over to me and said: Did you know Harvey Whitehill?

I quickly replied I did and I know you. He smiled and nodded his head. He had been able to start life over after he was reported killed, and he wasn't the only bad man that was killed to become leaders of the country. The country was so sparsely settled that they could go into a new place and start a new life. Russian Bill and King that were hung at Ralston were not desperados, and the bullies they would go into town and get drunk and shoot up the town. One time while shooting up the town King was shot through the back of the neck. Russian Bill used the old Indian method of putting salt on the wound and pouring whiskey on over the salt. The first application burned like the devil, but later the whiskey deadened the pain. King finally came to after Bill had kept hot rock all around him for several days, and kept up the use of salt and whiskey. After King completely recovered the two men decided to give the town of Ralston a day to remember. The two men went to town and got drunk Sandy King picked a quarrel with Harry Mess, a clerk in the Carol Brothers store and shot his finger off. King was arrested and guarded by Jack Rutland behind the saloon. Russian Bill stole a horse and went to Deming here he was arrested and returned to Ralston. Both these bullies were now prisoners for Jack to guard. One night Russian Bill was singing Climbing Those Golden Stairs, and the men decided that when Jack brought his prisoners in with their blankets they would give the men a chance to see Saint Peter, and sing Climbing Those Golden Stairs to him for they were tired of their pranks.

The men took the blankets that the two men slept on and threw them over the heads of Russian Bill and Sandy King. They took the two men down to the old hotel and hung them. These men weren't men that were respected as outlaws, but men that tried to run over people. The weren't rustlers or killers as so many of the men that made the frontier a safe place, but a modern bully. When we settled at Burro Springs the road that you just came over in Gold Gulch was between twenty and thirty feet deeper than it is today. We travel now down the bed of the creek in an hours time. Fifty years ago the bed was made up of willows and cottonwood trees. It took a day to travel down the bank as one never could get in the bed as it was deep with vertical banks. Gold was plentiful in nugget form. There is some gold today but it is a starvation for a living now, as the nuggets are all small. The gold here from all probability is meter gold and a mother lobe will never be found. The country has been prospected in for over one hundred years and a vein has never been found yet. People still come to the valley to placer mine and pan the gold in the creek bed. You can see their cave dwellings along the bank of the gulch.

Since I have come to Grant County I have had to learn to speak the English language. In the old town of Mesilla there were only three white children, and the rest were of a Spanish and Indian descent. Spanish was spoken altogether. Donna who was the pottery maker of the town, was our nearest neighbor. She didn't have any children and she was my teacher until we left the valley. I spoke the language as a native and English was difficult to learn. Today, I use some Spanish phrases as I can't find an English phrase to express my meaning.

Geronimo and I have had a few friendly exchange of shots. I was never in a real battle with him, but one time as he came across our pasture he took a few shots at me and I returned the volley. In 1972 the soldiers found an Indian baby left to die beside the trail. The Indians had been in a combat with a wagon train and the party had all been killed. The baby was the only one of the group that escaped. The soldiers picked up the Indian child and took him in with them to the Mimbres. There the John Miller family took the child to raise. The boy proved to be an intelligent child, but cruel. When he was twelve years he was caught in the act of dashing the brains in of one of the Miller children with a hatchet. The child was at once returned to the San Carlos reservation, after having been with an American family for eleven years. There were many things happened in the early days, life was uncertain, but they were good old days. People had much respect for others and were ready to help those in need.

  J. H. Deam
By C. J. Brock
Genevieve Chapin
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Union
Surnames mentioned: Deam, Lorrwine, Bailey, Howell

Rather than let the law be their judge they would hide out, and sooner or later be forced to kill someone else, then it wouldn't be long until they would be an outcast from society and a desperado. Bowie County, Texas, was the birthplace of J. H. Deam, now of Clayton , New Mexico. His father, A. D. Deam, was born in Bavaria, and his mother in Alsace Lorrwine. This couple came to the United States, marrying later in Indiana. From Indiana the young immigrants went by wagon and ox team via Kentucky, later moving by the same means of conveyance to Bowie County, Texas.

The first night the A. D. Deams camped on Texas soil, J. H. Deam, the subject of this sketch, was born to them in the big covered wagon. The family located in Bowie County, where the father, A. D. Deam worked as a wagon maker. Here J. H. Deam grew up, and got his schooling, not as much as he should have got, and would have got, he says, if he had realized how useful it would have been to him later.

During his residence in Texas, J. H. Deam served a three years apprenticeship in the saddle making business under L. B. Howell, from Texas. Since then he has since make saddle making his trade, dealing also in harness. In 1889 he made the first saddle that was ever make in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Then, after sever months spent in different parts of Oklahoma, in 1896 Mr. Deam came to Union County, where he bought the relinquishment to a homestead a few miles out of Clayton, New Mexico.

At the end of three years spent in Union County, Mr. Deam returned to Bowie County on important business and that was his marriage to Miss Rebecca Jane Bailey, of Bowie County. This occurred on October 9th, 1899.  Then, with his bride, he returned to Union County, New Mexico, which has been his home the past forty years. Two children were born to them, a little girl, who died at the age of three, and a son, Arthur Deam, now of Stinett, Texas. After working for others for awhile, Mr. Deam went into business for himself in Clayton in 1928, first in Azar building, but after one or two years later moves, finally into his present location the second door west of First Street, on the South side of the Main Street of Clayton. Here we find him making saddles and selling harness, although there is not much demand for the latter in this age of tractors.

Mr. Deam remembers with a smile the old sidesaddle days. At present his saddles are of the Western Stock Saddle type which, with the hand decorating he does on them, are real works of art. Most of his trade is from out of the state, his prices ranging from $55.00 to $100.00 each. He states that the saddle business is better right at the present time than he ever knew it to be in peace times. Having been for years a dealer in harness, he has made himself familiar with the manufacturing and of the harness business, through frequent visits to the harness factories. But, he states, only twice in his experience has he seen horse collars made, as the fire hazard is so great in connection with this part of the work, on account of the material used for stuffing. This necessitates the reorganization to make a part of the factory entirely separate and apart from the rest of the work. Mr. Deam has watched Clayton grow from a small village of two or three hundred people, to its present size, with a population of about 2,500 people. He states that only about two American women now remain in Clayton who were here when he came.