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Family History Stories Paraphrased
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May Lee Queen
Quemado, New Mexico
Boy Captured by Apache Band
Morris Coates
Mollie Grove Smith

Begin Family Histories:

May Lee Queen
By Edith L. Crawford
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Queen, Lee, Purcell (probably Purcella), Afa, McBee, Hudepeth, Lemon

My father, Captain John Lee, was born November 27, 1835 in Edinburgh Scotland. His parents came to the United States when he was eighteen months old and lived in Modus, Connecticut. When he was fourteen years old, he ran away to sea. He followed the sea for many years and came to own his own sailing vessel. He traded extensively in the South Seas and dealt mostly in copra. He went around the world three times in a sailing vessel, and discovered a small island that was called Lee's Island. When I was a small girl in school at White Oaks, New Mexico this island was shown on the maps of my geography.

My father married Mary Purcell, who was a daughter of an English missionary of the Church of England, and a graduate of Oxford. My mother was the granddaughter of King Mata Afa, who was king of the island of Samoa. My father and mother were married at Apia Samoa. They owned a plantation near Apia and lived there for several years. They had nine children born on this island.

Father decided that he wanted his children educated in the United States, so they left Apia, Samoa on a sailing vessel for the States. They were six months on the sea. They ran into calms and were delayed for days and weeks. Their water and food supplies ran short and they were put on short rations. Just before the food was entirely gone they made the port of Honolulu and the vessel was restocked. They landed at San Francisco about the year 1879.

After visiting my father's family in Connecticut and traveling around a good bit they decided to settle in Richmond, Virginia. Father bought a farm near Richmond and lived there for about a year and a half. Mother and the children had chills and fever and were sick so much that they decided to move.

Father had always wanted a cattle ranch, so they moved down to southwest Texas and bought a cattle ranch about twenty miles from Brackettsville, Texas. The family came by train from Virginia to Texas and had been there only a short time when I was born on June 1st, 1882. About two years later my mother had another baby girl, and she and I were the only children born in the United States. While we were living there Father met a man named McBee who had a ranch at White Oaks, New Mexico. He was always telling Father what a great country New Mexico was, so in 1886 my father sold out his place near Brackettsville and started for New Mexico.

Our family consisted of Father, Mother and the eleven children. My two oldest brothers and my oldest sister were married, so they and their families came with us to New Mexico. We were in five covered wagons drawn by horses. Father had about 200 head of cattle and about 60 horses. The boys drove the stock and the ladies did the cooking. I was about four years old at the time but one or two incidents stand out very clearly in my memory. We were very much afraid of the Indians as we had heard of the terrible things that they had done to wagon trains. We were not molested by them at all, though we saw them on several occasions.

I remember waking up one morning and hearing my mother crying. I looked out and it seemed to we that I saw piles and piles of dead stock all around us. The cattle and horses had died from drinking the alkali water. This happened where Seven Rivers emptied into the Pecos River. My father was very much discouraged and took what was left of the cattle and horses and went up on the Penasco ranch in New Mexico. He bought a farm and we lived there for about a year. We raised lots of potatoes that year and the boys sold them. Father decided to go on to White Oaks, New Mexico, to where the McBee's lived so he sold out the farm and what cattle he had left and we moved to White Oaks. My married brothers and my married sister and their families moved back to Texas. We went to the MeBee ranch which was about two miles from White Oaks. We lived on this ranch a year and Father ran a dairy and sold the milk in White Oaks. At the end of the year Father got us a house nearer town, just above the Old Abe Mine pump station. He opened up a meat shop in town. We children went to school and I remember one teacher especially, named Wharton. The geography that we studied showed Lee's Island on the map and the teacher often told the class that it was our father who had discovered this island.

My brother Bob married and worked in the South Homestake Mine. He drilled into a dud, a percussions cap that had not been exploded and it blew up and killed him. This was about 1892. There was such a big family of us and all the married ones settled around my father and they called our place Leesville. There were about five families of us. Father used to drive the stage to Socorro. I remember once that he did not get home when the stage was due and my mother got very uneasy. The stage was often held up and we were afraid it had been held up and my father killed. He was a night and day late and just about the time my brothers and some friends got their horses saddled to go look for him we saw the stage coming over the hill into White Oaks. They had run into a terrible snow storm and the horses could not pull the stage through the storm. It was very cold and my father and the passengers were almost frozen. He stopped the stage at our house and the passengers came in and got warmed up and drank some coffee before Father took the stage an into the town. Father wore a beard and I remember that it was all covered with ice and snow and you could only see his eyes. I grew up with Edward L. Queen in White Oaks and we were married in the Methodist Church there on January 1st, 1902, by the Reverend Sam Allison, who now lives in El Paso, Texas.

We have three children, two boys and one girl, all married, and one grandson and one granddaughter, who all now live in California. Of my father's family there are only three left, myself, one brother, Jim Lee, who lives in Douglas, Arizona and one sister Mrs. Ray Lemon, who lives in Carrizozo. My father died in Douglas, Arizona in 1920, at the age of eighty-five years. My mother died in Carrizozo at eighty-one years, in 1925.

Mr. Queen and I leave White Oaks some times for years at a time but we always come back. We have our home here. Judge Andrew R. Hudepeth, who owned the property in White Oaks known as Leesville, made me a gift of a deed to this property in 1936. I am very glad to own our old home. Source: May Lee Queen.

Quemado, New Mexico
By Clay W. Vaden
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Catron, Santa Fe, Sierra
Surnames mentioned: Vaden, Hall, Lincoln, Weik, Herndon

Hillsboro's Woman's Father Was President's Partner In the picturesque little village of Hillsboro, New Mexico, there lived until a few years ago Mrs. Elizabeth Herndon Hall, daughter of William H. Herndon, Abraham Lincoln's law partner. She and a brother were identified with that locality since the formation of Sierra County, more than forty years ago.

When in a reminiscent mood Mrs. Hall with her earliest recollections gave a vivid, realistic picture of the historic law offices of Lincoln and Herndon, for she remembered having gone there often as a child. It was a large back room on the second floor of a brick building opposite the courthouse in Springfield, Illinois; the windows looked out onto shed roofs and back yards.

Usually, there were half a dozen men present smoking, with their feet on the table. At one side stood an old sofa with some of its broken springs protruding thru the black horsehair cover: there were bookcases to hold the much used books and an old fashioned secretary. Someone has remarked, The furniture wasn't much, but the room was well equipped with brains.

It was there the Great Emancipator conceived and nourished the ideas which bore fruit when he became president and it was there Herndon, the enthusiastic, radical Abolitionist, planned the speeches and formulated the arguments which caused him to be recognized as the most useful adherent to the cause in the West.

The partnership between my father and Mr. Lincoln, according to Mrs. Hall, was never formally dissolved. When the President left Springfield for the White House he told her father: Leave the old sign, Billy, and when I come back from Washington, we'll go on with the law business.

Herndon worked with Lincoln when he was a member of the firm of Lincoln and Logan and when Lincoln dissolved his partnership with Logan he invited young Herndon to become his partner. The two men, also, had roomed together in the early thirties in New Salem.

Herndon was an ardent abolitionist and followed closely the actions of his partner. After Lincoln's death he was one of the few men to possess a complete chronological file of Lincoln's speeches with the dates and places of their deliveries. He worked diligently and traveled extensively to collect material on his former partner and in the early eighties, collaborating with Jesse W. Weik, wrote Herndon's Lincoln, and in 1892 prepared a revised edition.
Mrs. Hall's brother, Beverly Herndon, of Kelvin, Arizona, also remembers Lincoln. He was 15 years old when he heard Lincoln deliver his farewell address on the day he left for the White House. Source: Mrs. Hall, now deceased.

Spainsh Boy Captured by Apache Band
By Clay W. Vaden
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Sierra
Surnames mentioned: Vaden, Padilla, Victorio, Salis, Ortis (Ortiz?), Sanchez, Madrid, Caroin

Today there lives up a picturesque canyon six miles southeast of Quamndo one of our most reliable pioneer Mexican citizens, Dr. Felipe Padilla, who was born May 22, 1866, and who lived for many years at the original trading post of Quamndo, now a sheep ranch, five miles east of the present location of the town. At that time the place was called El Rito Quamndo. The town was established in 1870, and Mr. Padilla has lived in Catron county 65 years. In a person interview, he says: In 1880, sometime in May, some Apache Indians under Chief Victorio captured me, a muchacho, about 14 year of age, while I was herding sheep on the hills in the Rito lake canyon.

When the Indians surrounded and captured me, they took me on horseback around the mountains for several miles going north. On the mesa they saw a large herd of wild horses and were so anxious to capture some of them that they left me in care of a squaw. When the Indians returned from running the horses they told me to go on in front of them. After traveling 200 or 300 yards, one of the braves struck me across the face with a quirt. Then the Indians, thinking perhaps they had killed me, ran their horses at full speed westward.

In 1881 a band of Apaches killed three Mexicans near Tree Legumas and stole several teams of oxen, burned two wagons loaded with wool, which belong to my grandfather, Jesus Padilla. Then they passed thru Quamndo and killed three men, August 7th of that year from Old Mexico, Juan Salis, and Jose Ortis. These men were buried in the old cemetery at the ranch, now called Foothill Cemetery. The same day they captured two young muchachos, about ten years of age, Militon Madrid and Teloafor Sanchez, and kept them with their tribe for three years. After capturing these two boys, they made their way to Las Cebollas, Onions rancho, owned by Tiburasio Caroin, north of Quamndo. There the Indians murdered two more men and captured a young woman, Plasida, August 10, 1881.

Morris Coates
By Frances E. Totty
Mogollons of the Early Days
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Catron, Grants
Surnames mentioned: Coates, Flores, Roberts, Stubblefield, Keller, Beaver, Smith, Conney, Williams, Vingo, Brown, McAllister, Doyle, Lambert, McLaughlin McDeer, Williams, Click, Lambert, Meader, Snyder, Keller, Allen, Mottsinger,  Mottsinger, Potter, Carpenter, Williams, Thompson, Stubblefield, Wilcox, Foster, Roberts, Sipes, Coulter, Meader, Synder

Mogollon is a proper noun and and a common noun also, the mountains received their name from the early Jesuit Fathers from the parasitical growth of mistletoe upon the oaks, cottonwood and other tree of the forest for the word mogollon means a hanger-on, a parasite. The Jesuit Fathers were in the district in 1675 and this is really the source from which the place received the name of Mogollon, but nearly a century later, October 5, 1712, the Spanish government appointed Juan Ignacio Flores, Mogollon Governor and Captain General of all the vast empire embraced within the limits of the States of Texas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, and New Mexico. In 1878 Jim Keller, Maurice Coates, John Roberts, W. H. Beavers, Robert Stubblefield and Morris Smith and family left Prescott Arizona for the Frisco Valley, and settled there.

Late in May of 1879 we were out in the field plowing when a roving band of Apaches, five in number, fired upon us, we made a rush for the house and after getting our guns we crossed the Frisco river up into the Cedars, we were at the present site of Glenwood when we saw the Indians coming. Deming was going on down the valley to warn the settlers and Houston, Beaver, Keller and I hid, after staking out a horse an a decoy. We fired on the Indians when they came insight for they had made for the horse as they were all a foot. Deming came back as he was afraid that the Indians were heavily armed and he was taking to much of an risk to continue on down the valley. We fired too low and broke three of the warriors legs, one of the warriors had been left on the hill to watch, and the other when we fired ran up the hill to escape. We camped for the night and the next morning took the trail of the Indian that we had injured that went over the hill we saw an Indian up in the hill covered with a blanket Mr. Foster thinking that the warrior was dead lifted up the blanket and was surprised to find that the man had been asleep. Mr. Foster raise his gun to shoot the Indian began to beg for his life, but Father was so disgusted with the raids of the Indians that he pulled the trigger and blew the Indians head off. Terrible was a son-in-law of Victorio and was killed by us during the fight, we soon heard that Victorio was on the war path to revenge the death of his son-in-law.

During the month of April, 1880, there were many humors that Victorio was out. Steve, a lower chief of the Apaches, was up in the hills was up in the White Rocks country camping for Indians on the warpath. Steve was on a hunting trip when Victorio arrived on the scene and tried to get him to throw in with him to attack the settlers in the territory Victorio became angry with Steve because he wouldn't attack the whites, and attacked the lower chief. Three of Victorio's warriors were killed and Steve left the region.

On April the 28th Victorio made his presence known by appearing at the location of the Conney mine worked by G.C. Williams, Fran Vingo, J. Brown, Henry McAllister, George Doyle, John Lambert, Alex McLaughlin and Sergeant Cooney killing two men. The rest of the party hid out Eli McDeer and George Williams brought the news into the camp that the Indians had attacked and killed two of their group. Jim Cooney and Jack Click went to spread the news while group went to Clairmont to give the alarm. George Doyle and John Lambert remained on the grounds. The tribe soon took over the camp and burned the cabins around noon one of the braves took a mirror and tied around his neck. The squaws were soon fighting for a chance to get a glimpse of their dirty features in the mirror. When Chick and Conney arrived at town with the news that Bright man and one other had been killed, we began at once to get out and round up the live stock. We spent the entire night on the range hunting the stock.

Conney and Chick went to the Meader ranch to carry the news and Mr. Meader made the remark that well we have the garden planted and I  didn't think the Indians are going to bother us. Mrs. Meader remarked that she believed the report and started at once to build bullets. Cooney desired to return to camp, and Mrs. Meader begged him to not leave, but he insisted that he was going and it was not long until the horses of Chick and Cooney returned without riders. When the horses were seen without their riders the alarm was sent out at once Mr. Elloit rushed over to the Meader ranch and gave the alarm. The Meader family started at once for the Roberts Ranch. On the way over the Indians fired upon the family and as the wagon was between the house and he the Indians there wasn't much that the people in the cabin could do to help the family of Agnae Meader Snyder, living had an arrow shot through her bonnet was as near as the Indians came to hitting any of the members of the family. Mrs. Meader had the people to fill of the barrels and tubs with water before the water was cut off and it was only a short time after the vessels were filled that the ditch was cut.

Five of we men decided to go behind the house and shoot at the Indians they were out there only a short time when they were fired upon. We made a run for the house. I lost my band of cartridges and my pistol. There was a horse picketed some forty feet from the house. An Indian to get the horse when he raised up to cut the rope he was surprised with a shot from Jim Keller's gun. Some time later when it was decided safe to go out to where the Indian was it was found that he had on the gun that was lost earlier in the day. The body of the Indian was removed during the night from where it was laying.

Wilcox raised up to look over the barricade an was shot through the heart. The only member of the party to be killed after the fight started. The name of these in the fight were James Allen, John Mottsinger, Harrison Mottsinger, Al Potter, Pete Carpenter, Skelt Williams, Jep. Thompson, B. J., Robert Stubblefield, Bill Wilcox, Jim Keller, John Foster, Joe Roberts, Sarah Roberts George Roberts, Grant Roberts, John Roberts, and wife, Robert Sipes, James Coulter, John Meader. Meader and his wife and Agnes Meader Synder. A rescue party was sent from Silver City to the aid of the besieged, but as the Indians left the morning after the fight and were not to be found. Maurice Coates. 

Mollie Grove Smith
By Edith L. Crawford
Source: Mollie Grove Smith
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Smith, Grove, Willis, Castleberry, Evans, Growley, Holden, Edgington

I have lived in the State of New Mexico for about forty-five years and in Lincoln County about twenty-five years. I was born September 15, 1878, near Memphis Tennessee. My father was J. O. Grove. He was born July 25, 1854 on a farm near Memphis Tennessee. My mother was Mattie Hill and was born September 18, 1856, in Mississippi. I do not remember the place. My mother and father were married in Middleton, Tennessee, October 26, 1873. They moved from Middleton, Tennessee, to Brown County, Texas, in 1878. I was about six weeks old when they moved and had an older sister and brother. My father farmed in Brown County Texas, but they did not like it very well there so in the summer of 1884 they moved to New Mexico.

There were six of us children then. We moved in a covered wagon and had all of our household goods and a coop or chickens, besides the family. A family by the name of Willis left Texas with us for New Mexico. They also had a covered wagon. I do not remember much about them, they left us when we got to Pecos, Texas. I was six years old at that time. I remember that my father and my oldest brother, Herbert, slept on the ground and Mother and the rest of us slept in the wagon. Mother cooked on a camp fire. I remember gathering fuel. After we got on the plains we had to gather cow chips to cook with. We had three horses. I do not know how long it took us to make the trip.

When we got to Pecos, Texas in August 1891, my father joined two other families who were on their way to New Mexico. One man was named F. M. Evans. He had a wife and ten children and about a hundred head of cattle. The other man was named George Castleberry. He had a wife and seven children. Both traveled in covered wagons. My father and brother, Herbert, helped Mr. Evans to drive his cattle.

We traveled slowly and grazed the cattle along. We came to the Lower Penasco and to the Upper Penasco and on to James Canyon where we camped for quite a while. At that time this was in Lincoln County, New Mexico. This was a lovely place to camp with lots of grass and water. My mother told my father that she had found the place where she wanted to live, right there in James Canyon. All three families decided to locate there so each man filed on one hundred and sixty acres. My father homesteaded his one hundred sixty acres to include the spring where we had camped. Mr. Evans located about a mile above us and the Castleberry family about a half mile from Mr. Evans.

Each family got a tent and we lived in these tents for several months until the men got houses built for their families. The houses were built of hand hewn logs with the roof made of boards rived by hand. At first the houses were just one big room with a large fireplace. I remember that my mother cooked on this fireplace and we depended mostly on the fireplace for light as well as warmth. Each man cleared a field and fenced it with split rails. My father cleared about twenty-five acres at first and enlarged his field each year. My father planted oats, Irish potatoes and all kinds of garden stuff. The grass was about waist high then and my father cut grass hay with a hand scythe, to feed his horses through the winter months. I remember that we used to thrash out our seed oats with a pole or flail, as we called it. My mother and we children did most of the work on the farm. Father had good horses and he decided that he could make good money freighting. At first he had only one wagon, but before very long he got another wagon and team and my oldest brother Herbert helped him and drove one of the wagons.

One winter a man by the name of Growley came through by our place looking for a place to winter some cattle. My father had a lot of hay out so he decided to winter these cattle on halves. I do not remember how many of the cattle there were at first but my father got thirty-five head for his share in the spring. We were so proud of those cattle. I have a latter dated December 23, 1913, from Edward W. Grove to my father in which he sent my father a check for $100.00 for a Christmas gift. This Edward W. Grove was president of the Paris Medicine Company of Saint Louis, Missouri, and was a very wealthy man. He was my father's first cousin and visited in our home once in a while. I do not know just how many checks he sent to my father at different times but the total amount was rather large.

After we had been on our homestead for about three years three other families located not far from us, two families named Hunter and one named Holden. That gave us quite a settlement. We had a post office then called Pine Springs and the first postmistress was Mrs. Holden. I remember that an Indian carried the mail on horseback. I was just dreadfully afraid of him and he often stopped at our house to warm and sat. I always hid behind Mother's big quilt box until he left. Mother used to knit soaks and mittens and sold them to him for fifty cents a pair.

The men of the settlement built a log school house. I do not remember the name of the first teacher that I went to school to, but he was fat and bald headed. I remember at one time that at one time the Hunter, Holden and Grove family, ours had a governess by the name of Elvira Kinney. There were sixteen of us that she taught and each family boarded this governess for a week at a time and she would go from one family to the other. Her salary was ten dollars a month and her board. She taught us for two summers.

There was a Baptist preacher in the community that we all called Parson John Hunter. I have often heard my father tell this tale on Parson John. Once just before Christmas when my father had gone to Roswell with his freight wagons to haul our Christmas supplies, Parson John joined him with his wagon on the home trip. They had heard that there was a case of smallpox on the road at a store run by a man named Kennedy. Parson John had one of his children along who was sick and the Parson was just sure the child had smallpox. As the wagons neared this store Parson John stood up in his wagon and yelled: Everybody strike a lope! Everybody lope your teams by this store! Hurry, everybody hurry! My father thought that was so funny.

There was no doctor in the settlement. I remember once that my brother Luther got very sick and we did not know what was the matter with him. My mother and a neighbor woman took Luther and went to the Mescalero Indian Reservation to a doctor. When they got there they found that the doctor was a Negro. My mother was horrified but the baby was so sick that she decided to let the doctor prescribe. The doctor said that Luther had bone cancer and that the bones would work out of his foot. Sure enough they did and my brother is crippled in that foot to this day. My mother was the mid-wife in our community and often was called on to doctor the minor ailments in the settlement.

As we children got older my mother worried about not having better school advantages for us so she decided to move to Las Cruces and send us to school. We lived there for three years. When my father was freighting I used to go with him once in a while on his trips. I remember once that my oldest sister Olga and I went with father to White Oaks. Father had oats, potatoes, garden stuffs, butter and eggs, to trade for groceries and clothes. One of the merchants where Father traded gave Olga and me each a little breast pin. We thought they were the grandest things and were very proud of them indeed. We thought that White Oaks was the biggest city in the world. Another time I went with my father to El Paso. I saw my first street cars there. We went into a restaurant to sat and I went with my father into a small room to wash up. I saw a big fat chinaman standing behind a door pulling a rope. I could not imagine what he was doing and was very frightened. Afterwards I found out that the rope that he was pulling operated some fans over the tables in the restaurant.

There were ten of us children, Olga, Herbert and Mollie, born in Tennessee, Sissala, Jimmie and Willie, born in Brown County, Texas, John, Howard and Luther, born in James Canyon, New Mexico, and Eppie Jean, born in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Seven of us are still living. In 1895 my father sold his place in James Canyon to Colonel J. E. Edgington, who was head of the New Mexico Military Institute at Roswell, New Mexico. We moved back to Texas and lived at Sipe Springs, in Texas. I was married in January, 1898, to William Lee Smith. We have two sons, Leo and Orris, both born in Sipe Springs, Texas.

In 1900 my husband and I left Sipe Springs, Texas, and moved back to New Mexico. We lived in James Canyon, in the same house that my father had built on his homestead and had lived in for eleven years. We rented the place from Colonel Edgington and farmed it for five years. In 1905 my husband went to work for the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad Company and we moved to Alamogordo, New Mexico. My husband ran on the mountain division from Alamogordo to Cloudcroft, New Mexico. On March 19, 1924, a log rolled off a flat car and hurt him very badly, injuring his back. He had to give up working on the railroad and was sent by the railroad company to Carrizozo, New Mexico, as caretaker for the railroad club house at Carrizozo. We lived in Carrizozo for eighteen months, but Mr. Smith was very dissatisfied so we leased a ranch about eight miles from White Oaks, New Mexico, and lived there for five years. In 1932 we moved into the village of White Oaks and are still living there.

Edward W. Grove, who was president of the Paris Medicine Company of Saint Louis, Missouri, and who put out Grove's Chill Tonic and Grove's Laxative Bromo-quinine, on the market, is a first cousin of my father. I have a letter dated December 23, 1913, from Edward W. Grove to my father in which he sent a check to my father for $100.00, an a Christmas gift.

My father and mother moved from Sipe Springs, Texas, to German, Texas, in 1910 and they were living at Gorman when they died. Father died on March 3, 1936, and Mother died September 3, 1938. Of the seven children left, I am the only one who lives in New Mexico. The others all live in Texas. Source: Mollie Grove Smith.