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Family History Stories Paraphrased
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Trial of Oliver Lee
Unusual Industries
Volney Potter
Wetherell's Death
William Cooley Urton
William E. Kimbrell
William G. Urton

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The Trial of Oliver Lee
By Frances E. Totty
Source: H. F. Chaves
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Lee, Railey, Fountaine, Gillon, May, Lumin, Chavez, Bernard, Falls, Barela

In 1901 a jury was selected in Hillsboro, Sierra County, New Mexico to hear the case of Oliver Lee, Bob Railey, and Jim Gillon for the murder of Colonel Fountaine who was murdered February 1896 by three unknown men, the above three were tried on circumstantial evidence. The members of the jury that I remember were: Martin Lumin, President Johnie May, Secretary, H.F. Chavez, interpreter, and Sam Bernard, I do not remember the names of the others on the jury.

The case was changed from Las Cruces, Dona Ana County, New Mexico as the feeling ran very much against the men who was being tried as Colonel Fountaine was a man that was highly respected in Las Cruces. The case as I heard was as following: Colonel Fountaine in January of 1896 was called to Lincoln County as Prosecuting Attorney, to the case of trying some cattle rustlers, who had been jailed at that place. Before Col. Fountaine left Las Cruces, he was warned to not take the case as it seemed that such men as Oliver Lee, an important cattle man of New Mexico, A.B. Falls a mine operator and cattle man, did not wish the case to be tried. Why? We were never able to uncover this fact. Oliver Lee served in later as representative from Lincoln county and is still considered a leading cattle man in New Mexico.

When Colonel Fountaine started for Lincoln, County his wife, Morales Fountaine, who was raised as far as I know in Old Mesilla, Done Ana County, requested the Colonel to take their son, Henry, age nine with him to Lincoln in hopes that whoever was threading the Colonel would not bother him if he had the child with him. On the return trip from Lincoln, Colonel Fountaine met Satterona Barela, mail carrier, from Tulsaessa, that he was being followed that he was being followed, but he didn't have an idea who it was, and after Sattarona Barela went on his route he saw several men, who appeared to be cow boys coming, but they turned out of the road before they met the carrier and went around him coming back into the road a mile or so farther on down the road to there by providing that they did not wish to be recognized.

Colonel Fountaine was killed between San Augustine and Agua Blanca, at least that was where his buckboard was found by a posse When the Colonel did not return at the time that was set for his return, his wife became worried and sent out an alarm that the Attorney had not returned. The buckboard was found, and the foot prints of men around it where the horses had been unhitched, the bodies tied on the horses and these horses were followed by three other mounted horses. These horses went toward the Sacramento Mountains, but they could not be trained successfully so the bodies were never found.

Soon after the death of the Colonel a warrant was made out for the arrest of Oliver Lee, who disappeared and was not heard of for over a year. In 1895 Oliver Lee came to Las Cruces and gave himself up. As there were not anything but circumstantial evidence we could not find the men guilty even though the Grand Jury indicted the above mentioned men. It was known that there was hard feelings between the parties, but there was not enough evidence to make a real cage. A. B. Falls was drawn into the case many believing that Mr. Falls had the murder done, but this was another thing that was only belief. Nash said that Mr. Falls committed the deed, but this was impossible as Mr. Falls proved that he left Gold Dust, thirty-five miles from Las Cruces and went Las Cruces on the day that Colonel Fountaine was killed, therefore it would have been impossible for him to be on the other side of San Augustine in the Organ Mountains.

It has always been hard for me to believe that Oliver Lee could have had anything to have done with the murder, but for the other men were the type. Men that were gun men that lived the life of outlaws. Colonel Fountaine was from Texas, and I understand he was at one time a political leader in the state. He was recognized as a brilliant man and a leader in Las Cruces. H. F. Chavez, age 60 was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico His father Manuel Chavez came to Santa Fe, N.M. from Louisiana, the family having settled in the Louisiana Territory many years ago. When H.F. Chavez was a young boy his parents moved to Las Cruces.

Unusual Industries
By Genevieve Chapin
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Union
Surnames mentioned: Chapin, Dunn, Swaggerty, Spinelli, Potter, Carroll, Beebe, Deam

How often it happens that we have become so accustomed to our surroundings that we lose sight of their unusual value, through familiarity. Few people in Union County, New Mexico, stop to reflect any more, on the fact that we have several industries in our midst that many larger towns do not have, and that few, indeed, of the towns the size of Clayton can boast of. Most of these industries have been in operation amongst us for several years, and we have taken them very much for granted like the air and the sunshine and taxes. But should we go to a neighboring county, and, in the course of conversation reveal the fact that our boots were made at Spinellis in Clayton, we can imagine being asked, Do you have a real boot maker at Clayton?

Let us imagine a visitor on one of our Union County ranches holding the following conversation with his host: Say, Bob that's a swell pair of boots you're wearing. Where did you pick them up? These boots? Spinelli, in Clayton, made them for me.

Sure 'nuff? Mighty fine piece o' work. And I like your saddle, too: stroking it with appreciative fingers. Yes, it's a good one, all right. Deam in Clayton, make it. Another Clayton product, eh?

Yes, why, come to think of it, this buckskin shirt is a Union County product, and this belt, too, they came from Dunns a few miles out from Clayton. And, gosh, I didn't realize I was such a home affair this ring was made in Clayton. And so it goes. Following are given more detailed descriptions of some of the unusual industries found in Union County. Cecil Swaggerty is primarily in architect by training, being at present with his father in the lumber business at the west end of Court street in Clayton, New Mexico. In addition to this the younger Swaggerty manufactures Spanish style furniture, and two very interesting machines. One of them is called by the Spanish people the malacate, and is used to make wool into yarn. The other is a sort of loom on which can be woven blankets or rugs, in the Navajo style.

Tony Spinelli:
Located on the south side of Main Street, well toward the west end of the block between Front and First street, we find the Clayton Boot and Shoe Hospital, whose proprietor is Tony Spinelli. As at all hospitals, here not only the aged and infirm are repaired and made as good as new, but absolutely new specimens re sent forth to their place in the world to battle into a good old age.

Mr. Spinelli's is proud of anything that can be made in leather gear, as his trade presents is in the form of boots and shoes for man. He learned his trade in Italy, serving an apprenticeship under Frank Gate in St. Ageta. He began this training at the age of 8 years, and finished it at the age of fourteen years, attending school during all this period of training. He began making footwear in 1909, and in 1916 established a business of his own in Walton, New York. Since that time he has been continuously in business for himself except during his period of service in the World War.

Since 1927, Mr. Spinelli has been in business in Clayton, Union County, New Mexico. His work has become known in different places, from coast to coast, his customers sometimes ordering by mail, sometimes making personal visits for orders. One recently came from Cooper, Texas, purposely to get his feet comfortably. Much of Mr. Spinelli's work consist in making to order expensive boots of the cowboy type for these his prices range from $20.00 to $35.00. Men's dress shoes, made to order, are priced from $17.50 to $22.50 per pair. One of his most particular jobs, he states, is the making of boots for a man with an artificial foot.

The material Mr. Spinelli uses is imported French Calf and Australian Kangaroo, which he buys from reliable wholesalers anywhere he can get it. J. H. Deam. At the second door west of First Street, on the south side of Main Street, in Clayton, New Mexico, we find the sign Harness and Saddles. Here is the place of business of J.H. Deam, veteran harness and saddle maker, whose manufacturing interests are now confined chiefly to saddle making. Mr. Deam has been in the business over a long period of years, serving a three year's apprenticeship under A.B. Howell, at Lancaster Texas. Later, he made the first saddle that was ever made in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. he was making saddles in the old side saddle days at present his saddles are the Western Stock Saddle type.

Mr. Deam has been in business for himself in Clayton since 1928 most of his trade, however, is from out of the state. His prices range from $95.00 and $100.00 per saddle. He states that the saddle business is better right at this time than he ever knew it to be in peace times before. Mr. Deam made another statement quite interesting to the uninitiated. Veteran leather man he is in the harness business, he states that only twice in his experience has he ever seen horse collars made. This, he says, is due to the fact that the fire is so great in this part or the harness making business that it is always conducted clear away from the rest of the harness making.

The Dunn's:
Still another interesting industry in leather is that being carried on by Mr. Dunn and his wife, at their home about 6 miles south and 3 miles west of Clayton, New Mexico. These people are taxidermists too and some truly beautiful pieces of work are being sent out from their place of business. Mr. Dunn has been in this work as a profession only the last three years but previous to that time it had been a lifetime hobby with him. He is what might be called a self trained artist side from his own study and experimenting the only training he received was through watching the Jones Brothers, taxidermists in Denver.

Since about four years old, Mr. Dunn has studied animal life, either domestic animals or their wild, caught on the trap line, and it is his greatest aim and care now, in his chosen work, to get his a figure true to life. Just a fraction of an inch's difference in structure, just a fleeting chance of expression, is all it takes, to spell the difference between success and failure in taxidermy.

Included in their taxidermy work is the work of whole specimens of the following animals: porcupine, coyote, prairie dog, squirrel, white rabbit, and the very rare ring tailed cat. Still more rare, is the statue of the two horned deer which was found by the Dunns. They have many antelope, deer and buffalo heads, as well as the head of a Chinese leopard. In addition to this, they have also made rugs from the skins of bear, lions, one of the latter measuring 8ft.2in. from nose to tip of tail, and from coyote, bobcats, and from one black Abyssinian leopard, from Ethiopia.

They also mount all sorts of birds, each year shipping in several dozen pheasants from Michigan and Iowa. Mrs. Dunn does all the bird work. To a lover of animal life, even the utterly ignorant of the art of taxidermy, it is a fascinating subject. Very briefly reviewed, the process is about as follows, for the larger animals. After the measurements are secured, a clay duplicate is made of the subject to be worked on. And here it might be interesting to the uninitiated to add that Mr. Dunn states that if the distance from the end of the nose to the eyes is know, all the other measurements may be secured from that, so uniformly so the animals adhere to the laws of taxidermy in their physical setup.

After the clay model is completed, true to the original in muscular development and joints, a cast is made in plaster of Paris. This is in three sections, one for each side and one for the under body. Then this plaster cast is removed in sections, and each section filled with strips of wet red building paper and paste, laid in, layers upon top of layers. When dry, they are trimmed until they fit exactly, then they are pasted together, and the specially prepared and tanned skin is put on the form. The eyes are all artificial, imported from Germany.

Oil painting is used to restore the natural colors, and to provide background for the mounted specimens, this being also Mrs. Dunn's work. Besides the mounting and rug work, the Dunns also make all sorts of fur pieces most of their work in this line at present being neck pieces. They buy their furs mostly from Missouri and Iowa. In addition to these lines of work, they also make to order many varieties of leather articles, such as purses, belts and bill folds, and buckskin shirts, jackets, gloves and coats. They use as decorations the almost lost art of Mexican hand carving, brought over from Spain. In this work, the pattern is applied to the leather then, with a sharp instrument the surface is cut, following the outline of the pattern. Then the background is hammered down with some sharp pointed tool, about like the point of a nail. Sometimes the background is then stained, leaving the raised pattern standing out very clearly and making a beautiful piece of work.

The Dunns have all the work they can do, having customers from some seven customers at this time. John Beebe. Another artists in his line is the proprietor of Beebe's Jewelry Store, which is on the Main Street of Clayton, just two doors east of First Street, on the south side. Mr. Beebe served a four years apprenticeship under different jewelers, beginning his actual jeweler work in 1908, in Little Rock, Arkansas, for twelve years he has conducted his own business, having been in Clayton the past three and a half years. Besides being an expert and conscientious repair man, Mr. Beebe makes jewelry to order, working in platinum, gold and silver. He makes rings, pins, bracelets and necklaces, even to ornamental leg bands.

Mr. Beebe is an outstanding artist in his particular line, and his conscientious work and cheery courtesy have won him many friends wherever he is known. Most towns have their jewelry repairmen, but comparatively few are fortunate enough to be able to have their jewelry manufactured right before their eyes, as the Clayton people do. 

Mrs. Fannie Potter:
Working is still different fabric, we find another artist, in the person of Mrs. Fannie Potter, who lives two doors east of First, on the south side of Walnut Street, in Clayton, New Mexico. Mrs. Potter, who is a native of Old Mexico, specializes in fine Spanish needlework, and has worked at her chosen art since early childhood. She received most of her training from her mother, later perfecting her work during five years spent in the Convent School at Agus Calientes, in Old Mexico. Now, she in turn, is passing on her skill to her young daughter Susie, who works with her and acts as her interpreter.

The skillful fingers of these two Spanish women have many beautiful work to their credit, mostly in Mexican drawn work, Italian cut work and embroidery. One can scarcely realize the infinite patience an exactitude that has directed these women in the setting of these beautiful painstaking stitches. Besides the pieces she has made herself, Mrs. Potter has given private lessons for some fifteen years, and during the past three years has had a teaching project for needlework in Clayton during this teaching work numerous films for educational purposes have been made of her work. She sells to many out of the state points, and has donated several valuable pieces to different churches.

The Lawton Carroll Diary:
We do not present this goat dairy exactly as a work of art, but it is at least rather an unusual feature. It is located on the south side of Cherry Street, about midway of the block east of 3rd street, in Clayton, New Mexico. Here we find the family of Lawton Carroll, who is the owner of the goats, although the work of the dairy is done by the two children, Billie, age 11 years, and Fred, aged 12 years.

They have six dairy goats and three young ones, and during the past two or three years that the dairy has operated, have served from three to seven customers at a time, selling up to six or seven quarts per day. Some of it is sold for the use of invalids or undernourished children. Billie states that the six goats, which he fed ordinary cow feed, and not hay, as generally reported, are kept for just about the cost of the upkeep of one cow, and that the Carroll Goat Dairy. Their goats give her 2 1/2 quarts per day. Sources: Aneil Swaggerty, Tony Spinelli J.H. Deam, Arch and Julia Dunn,  John Beebe, Fannie and Susie Potter, Billie Carroll.

Volney Potter
By Marie Carter
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Dona Ana
Surnames mentioned: Potter, Jackman, Bailey, Davis, Millery, Moreno,

When I called on Volney Potter at La Mesa he told me some interesting facts about his family and the old house in which they live. La Mesa, like the adjoins town of San Miguel, he said, has not undergone any great change since I was a boy. With the exception of a few modern houses and stores it looks about the same. My parents moved here from Weir, Kansas. I shall never forget the day our family of five got off the train at Anthony. My cousin, R.C. Bailey, met us, and the kindly station agent, Royal Jackman, was amused because I stuck so close to my dad. He never dreamed that beneath my jacket my heart was racing madly with expectation. I am sure that sister Ana, who is now Mrs. Charley Davis of Anthony, guessed what was passing through my youthful mind, for she smiled as she gave my hand a reassuring squeeze.

My father, who was a great reader, had told me many a thrilling story about the Southwest, hence the moment I landed I was prepared keyed up and waiting for the startling events he had narrated to start popping around me with the snap of a cap pistol. Every moment I expected yet feared to see the cruel face of an Indian slowly rise above some of the mesquite bushes at the side of the road, suddenly brandish a tomahawk, send forth a wild yell and leap upon us. To this day I am unable to define my feelings when the expected Indian failed to materialize. But on a whole I believe I was both disappointed and relieved.

Then unexpectedly I received a genuine thrill. The Rio Grande as I remember it got pretty rough in the old days. It was wider than it is now and the current was strong and swift. But, then, that was prior to the building of the Elephant Butte Dam. On this particular day, the day we arrived in Anthony, I overheard the station agent remark that the river was unusually high. When we entered R.C. Bailey's skiff it began to rock from side to side, and when he took the ores oars and began to tow us across my sensation of fear was almost unbearable. No one, not even Anna, guessed that it was all I could do to keep from leaping overboard.

We first went to Chamberino where we remained for awhile and then moved to La Mesa. I was real happy when father bought a ranch for I was at the age when boys have visions of themselves costumed as cowboys with nothing to do but ride horses, but my boyish dreams were quickly shattered for my first experience with horses was limited to the work team hitched to the plow which I followed. We all worked hard that first year, but father had been a mining man all his life and knew very little about farming. At the end of the year we were in debt and forced to turn over everything we had raised to Charley Millery at Anthony, and yet, we lacked eight hundred dollars of having made a living.

This old house is one of the show places of the valley. It is two hundred years old. I bought it from Holiaro Moreno, whose father was one of our early day sheriffs. Holiaro was over eighty when he sold me this house. His father and grandfather live here before him, died and were buried in the back yard. Incidentally the largest and most beautiful roses we poses possess are the ones growing above their graves.

We have tried to preserve every bit of the architecture in its original form. Look at these doors and these window frames the joints are connected with wooden pegs, not a nail anywhere. The doors are heavy oak and hand carved. For a long time there were only three buildings in La Mesa, of course that was before my time, the Catholic Mission down the street, the Dusseler house on the other side of town and this one.

Observe the ceiling in this house they are rare and seldom found in the so called pioneer homes. Most of the old Spanish and Indian houses have, the brush ceilings but very few have the genuine La Tillas like this one. They are made from trees a bout three inches in diameter, peeled and hand polished. Then they are fitted close together in a herring-bone design. The large beams crossing the la tilias are vigas.

There was no lack of timber in the early days. The fact of the matter is this whole valley was bosque or woodland. Perhaps that accounts for the building of a fire place in every room. They are small but must have been built by an expert for they draw perfectly. I have been told that some of our furniture, which is over a hundred years old, was made in Zacatecas and brought through Mesilla by ox team over the Santa Fe Chihuahua Trail. We have preserved the original water spouts on the roof of this house and quite a number of vigas on the roof of the shed in the patio. That old ox yoke above the gate was given to my wife's father by Geronimo the Apache Chief.

La Mesa was once a favorite camping place for the roving tribes of Indians. That is the reason the old timers built such substantial houses. These walls, as you can see, are three times the thickness of an ordinary adobe wall. In the early days the front part of this house didn't have any doors or windows and the only entrance was a trap door on the roof. Hence it made an excellent fort for protection against the Indians.

Holiaro's grandfather Moreno was a man who believed in being prepared so he had portholes made in his private fort and stocked it with plenty of food, firearms and ammunition. The rope ladder leading to the roof could be used by the inmates of the house then pulled up and concealed. After getting the members of his household safely inside the camp, the old Spaniard would follow them and lock the trap door, which was a clever arrangement running the full length of the roof, defying detection by the keenest eyed Indian on the warpath.

One evening, it was just about sunset, so Holiaro told me. Moreno was warned that the Indians were going to make a raid on his place. Moreno immediately called his family and servants, telling them to make haste and enter the fort for the Indians would soon be upon them. Finally the moon cane up. Some of the servants stationed at the portholes reported that they saw shadowy forms skulking behind the trees across the road. Presently another outlook reported that the skulking forms were Indians, of that he was quite positive, for they had built a fire and as was their custom formed a circle around it. He then reported that they seemed to be holding a council.

The council held by the Indians must have been of short duration for following the servant's report the Indians sent forth a blood-curdling whoop and charged Moreno's fort. Six rifles in the hands of six Spaniards exploded through the portholes, and six braves hit the dust. The remaining Indians looked at their dead brothers in amazement and returned to the fire. Moreno figured that their next move would be the hurdling of fire bands to set the house on fire and burn the inmates. And all the time more Indians kept coming and increasing the circle around the fire, Moreno knew that the Indians were so superstitious that the least thing with a supernatural trend would have more power to drive them away than a thousand armed men. 

Along about midnight the Indians piled more mesquite on the fire and started to dance around it singing the weird uncanny notes of the death song working themselves into that frenzy which I have been told preceded the massacre. Suddenly some of them slowed down in the dance to stare at something in the roof of the fort, others followed suit, then pandemonium broke loose. With screams of terror they fled in a body, and not wonder. The cause of their fright was a ghost so tall that it seemed to meet the sky, with eyes as black as coal and as big as saucers. After the Indians left old Moreno, who had been lying on the flat of his back juggling a ten foot viga wrapped in a sheet, let it fail to the roof of the fort with a thud.

Wetherell's Death
By L. Raines
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Valencia
Surnames mentioned: Wetrherell, Fallon, Finn, Hanassi, Tallard

This story was published once. I don't know what the name of the magazine was that carried it but I know it was not a true account. I was there when it happened and I also attended court afterward. The story as I tell it is true to the last detail and you can write it as I tell it. This is the introduction that Tom Fallon gave me to this story. He was reared on the mountain and has taken an active part in the development of the cattle and lumbering industries of this section. He is the typical old cowboy of the West whose type is rapidly being replaced by the rancher who uses the automobile more than the horse.

Me and this boy went to look for a stolen horse. It was the 22nd of June, 1910. I was herding down near Chaco Pueblo Bonita. The horse belonged to Dick Wetherell. An Indian stole the horse. It was a frame up. Me and Mill Finn found the horse in the flat and caught him. We rode up to the hogan and called. A squaw came out and said that the old man was not there. I was sitting on my horse and could look into the door of the hogan. It was dark in there but I could see the old man lying on a blanket. I told Finn. Bill Finn could talk Navajo and he called him out. Dick Hanassi, the Indian, came out. They talked. The Indian grabbed him by the throat and Bill hit him over the head with his six shooter. We sat there a few minutes and I got off my horse and turned the Indian over to see if he was dead. He was not dead but was stunned by the blow. I was not armed. Bill had only one round of cartridges for his gun. We rode away driving the stolen horse with us. Soon an Indian, riding very rapidly, passed us.

Mr. Tom Fallon told this tale. Wetherell as he spelled it appears in other books as Wetherill. Morgan, Elizabeth, Brief Sketches of Regional Tales of Western New Mexico, A. M. Thesis, New Mexico Normal University, 1955.
Another Indian rode up behind us and told me that three or four hundred Indians were coming and that they were going to kill some one to avenge the blow that had been struck. I was riding for T.P. Tallard, who was camped on the Escavada, and I had to ride back over the trail we had just used. As I went back through, the Indians stopped me. They were going to tie me up, but when they found I had no gun I was able to talk them out of it. I rode on and saw Dick Wetherell and Tallard riding down a hill. I turned so as to meet them. Tallard told me to go on and cut certain horses out of the herd that was being held until we got the horses we wanted out. Tallard and me rode over to the herd and cut out the horses he wanted. Wetherell left us and went on. As we started back with the horses we met an Indian coming up the dug way. He told us that there had been a fight and Wetherell had been killed. He would not tell us where the body was. We began to look for him as we went on down the road. We found him lying on the right hand side of the road. Both thumbs had been shot off. He was shot over the left eye and through the chest. It appeared that he had fallen from his horse when he was shot through the chest and that an Indian had then walked up and shot him in the head, leaving the powder burns on his face. Tallard rode over to Fort Wingate after the soldiers and I went to the settlement, if it could be called that, to protect three Mexican women, a widow and a school teacher until the soldiers could arrive. I took the horses on to the ranch and later went down to Los Lunas for the trial. Finn was fined and the Indian who shot Wetherell was given ten years. I think he received a suspended sentence.

William Cooley Urton
By Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves
Surnames mentioned: Urton, Cox, Cooley, Skipwith, Jack, Ketchem, Easley, Spencer

I was born in Cass County, Missouri, and am the son of W. C. Urton and Maria Worrell Urton, who were married in Missouri in 1875. When six years of age, in 1884, my brother and I, Benjamin Worrell Urton, left Missouri and came to New Mexico with our parents, and established a ranch home, in the Cedar Canyon country sixty miles northeast of Roswell. T The outfit, a part of the Cass Land and Cattle Company holdings my father W. G. Urton a stockholder became widely known as the seven H. L. Ranch.

The branded cattle, ranged from the Texas line South, almost to Las Vegas on the north. There was no railroad, closer than 150 miles, until ten years after our coming to that part of New Mexico. In 1894 a part of the Santa Fe Railroad system was completed from Eddy, now Carlsbad, to Roswell. I have often wished to express in writing all the different excitements we experienced in this new country of southeastern New Mexico, with its Indian hostilities, cattle thieving, and land and water feuds. All these proved only thrills and joys for us, little lads, but must have been hardships and anxieties for our parents.

When the men bought in a herd of cattle from Fort Griffin, Texas, and turned loose on the grazing lands 3,000 head of two year old heifers, we little fellows joined in the celebration and fun of the cowboys who immediately, on arriving safely with the cattle started a contest to see who could brand the first calf of those born on the trail from Ft. Griffin. All of us on the ranch, known as the Missourians, had pretty hard sledding the first few years, though we were blessed with plenty of water and good grazing for the stock, except during long drought periods.

I remember once very soon after arriving at the ranch we were without supplies. Some one told us there was a wagon load of cured buffalo meat, on a trail near by. We bought and ate some, by candlelight. The next morning we found the entire lot of meat alive with hide bugs. We got our groceries by ox wagon from Las Vegas, 150 miles. Once supplies ordered by mother for Thanksgiving arrived the following April. The post office was at Fort Sumner. When we could go for mail it was usually old when we received news from back home. Father's mother, sick in Missouri, had been d dead three weeks, before we received the letter saying she was sick.

One time mother was bitten by a mad dog and was taken by buckboard, 60 miles to Roswell, and was sent from there Once on A Friday a messenger was sent to Roswell for Dr. E. H. Skipwith, to attend Brother Ben who had measles. Dr. Skipwith, arriving the following Sunday noon, said he knew the boy would be well or dead so he had taken his time. Mother must have often been very lonely. Sometimes six months would pass in which she would not see a white woman. She would lose count of time. One time she worked hard all Sunday preparing for the Sabbath which she thought would be the next day and observed the Sabbath on Monday.

Some members of our family were once stricken with ptomaine poisoning, a cowboy happened in and gave his special emergency treatment without which, some of us might have died. For schooling, a district school and teacher were established on the ranch. The teachers and expenses were paid for only three months of school. For the rest of the term it became a private school paid for by my parents, a and parents of children on our ranch and neighboring ranches.

My brother and I one day saw the first Indian we had ever seen. He was standing stately and silent on a big rock, in the place now known as Romeroville. We got away from there as quickly as we possibly could, and when we had reached a safe distance, brother Ben said, Let's go back and shoot that old Indian!

A thrilling sight, one day after Indian uprisings, was 500 Indians with sixteen soldier guards, passing the ranch, the Indians were being changed from one reservation to another. In 1889 J. J. Cox on the adjoining ranch died. His ranch and the ranch holdings of some others who grew discouraged were bought and the Cass Land and Cattle Company became the largest and most important cattle owners on the Pecos River in New Mexico. The stockholders were J. D. Cooley, Lee Easley and my father, W. G. Urton. The name of the ranch was changed from Seven Bar V.

There were always a number of cowboys working at the ranch, who were called by new names, selected by them, when they came to the new clean country, where they wished to start with a slate wiped clean. According to the well known tradition of the west, no questions were ever asked at the Bar V Ranch. Some criminals, who came never reformed. For two years Black Jack, Tom Ketchem, and his brother Sam who were two notorious desperadoes worked on our ranch.

They stole and were riding Bar V horses when they robbed a train at Folsom in 1900 or 1901. That was the last train robbed in New Mexico. Sam was shot in an arm and died later of blood poison from the wound. Black Jack Tom had one arm shot off, but was captured, tried, and hanged, his head jerked entirely from his body by a clumsy hangman. About forty cowboys were employed at times, and five hundred saddle horses were used by the outfit.

My father would not keep a dangerous horse. He protected the men in every way he could. In all the time  twenty-seven years, he was in the cattle business, there was never an accident, nor a death among his men. We moved to our present home three miles northeast of Roswell in 1900. Mother died there in 1909 and his father in 1928.

I, W. C. Urton, was married in 1915 to Miss Mamie Spencer. We have one daughter, Frances, born in Roswell in 1920. My brother, Benjamin Worrell, was married in 1909 to Miss Bess James. One son was born to them, whom they named Jason James. Bess James Urton died in 1929. Ben's second marriage to Mrs. Underwood took place in Altus, Oklahoma in 1932. Sources: William Cooley Urton, three miles northeast of Roswell Some dates checked form First Ranches New Mexico Magazine, June, 1936. 

William E. Kimbrell
By Edith L. Crawford
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Kimbrell, Peppin, Bradey, Garrett

I was born at Picacho, Lincoln County, New Mexico, on July 16, 1877, and have lived all of my life in Lincoln County. I attended the public schools near home and for one term of nine months I went to the New Mexico Military Institute, at Roswell New Mexico. I was the youngest son of George and Paulita Romero Kimbrell. My father was born in Huntsville Arkansas, March 31, 1842. He went to Colorado with the Pike's Peak Crowd in 1859, with two of his friends. They traveled by freight wagons, and paid for their board and transportation by doing odd jobs for the freighters. He got sick while working in Colorado and in 1860 he left there to come to New Mexico. He came on an ox train and landed in Las Vegas New Mexico. He did any kind of work he was able to do there until he regained his health. He left there in 1863 and came to Fort Stanton, New Mexico, and worked there for awhile as a government scout. In 1864 he squatted on a place on the Chaves Flats, about twelve miles east of Lincoln, New Mexico, where he farmed and raised cattle. He raised lots of corn and freighted it to Fort Stanton by ox team and sold it for ten dollars a fanega, which was one hundred and fifty pounds. The Indians stole all his cattle but his oxen and he had to do all of his farm work and plowing with his oxen. He married my mother in 1864. My mother's people came from Manzano New Mexico to Lincoln, but I do not remember the date. My father and mother lived on the Chaves Flats until 1877 when they moved to Picacho, New Mexico, and homesteaded on one hundred and sixty acres. 

He lived on this place until he died on March 25, 1924. He had lived in Lincoln County sixty-one years, at the time of his death. He served as Justice of the Peace in his precinct for a great many years. He was elected sheriff of Lincoln county and took oath of office on January 1, 1879 and served until December 31, 1880. He succeeded George W. Peppin, who was appointed by the County Commissioners in 1878 to fill out the remaining term of William Brady, who was killed by Billy the Kid. The Lincoln County War was just about over when Father went in office, but it was during his term that Billy the Kid came in and surrendered. Father never took sides with either faction during the war. 

He ran against Pat Garrett for sheriff in November 1880 and Pat Garrett defeated him by one hundred and forty votes. There were only five hundred votes cast in this election. I was married to Virginia Romero on January 1, 1904. We have nine children, six girls and three boys, all living in Lincoln County at this time. I have been County Clerk of Lincoln County, serving for two terms, eight years, from January 1, 1905 to December 31, 1908. I was Probate Judge for two terms, from January 1, 1915 to December 31, 1919, and was County Assessor for two terms, from January 1, 1931 to December 31, 1934. I have served as Deputy County Assessor for the past four years. I still own the old homestead at Picacho that my father filed on in 1877, and call it home, as I live there when I am not working in the county seat of Lincoln County. 

William G. Urton
By G. B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves
Surnames mentioned: Urton, Craig, Cooley, Easley, Duncan, Russell, Worrell, Skipwith, James, Underwood

William G. Urton, a stockholder in the Cass Land and Cattle Company, came to New Mexico in 1884, with the first heard of cattle for the company, which was the beginning of the cattle industry, in the Cedar Canyon country sixty miles Northeast of Roswell. The Seven H. L. Ranch headquarters for the cattle became widely known as one of the largest and most successful cattle ranches of Southeast New Mexico.

The organizers and stockholders of the cattle company which was organized at Pleasant Hill Cass County Missouri were: J. D. Cooloy, Lee Easley, Ben Duncan, Perry Craig, Harvey Russell, William Meyers, John C. Knorp and William G. and W. C. Urton, Senior. William G. Urton and J. D. Cooley drove the first cattle over from Fort Griffin Texas where they had been gathered by Lee Easley.

In 1900 Mr. Urton moved to Roswell where he built a spacious modern hose on a farm three miles northeast of the town, where he was engaged in farming for over twenty-eight years until the time of his death in 1929. Mr. Urton was born in Tyler County West Virginia January 27, 1843. He was married in Cass County Missouri, November 16, 1875 to Miss Maria Worrell, who was born November 3, 1840, in Carroll County Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Urton were the parents of two sons William Cooley and Benjamin Worrell Urton, who were six and four years old respectively, when they came with their parents to New Mexico.

The first three thousand two year old heifers brought across the Staked Plains from Fort Griffin were branded at the Seven K. L. Ranch and turned loose on grazing lands extending from the Texas line on the South almost to Las Vegas on the North. There was no railroad closer than 150 miles until ten years after Mr. Urton brought his family to that section of the Territory. In 1894 a part of the Santa Fe Railroad system was completed from Eddy now Carlsbad to Roswell. The first few years on the ranch all members of the Urton family who were known as the Missourians, experienced all of hardships of the new rough country, where there were no schools, churches or home comforts.

While there was plenty of water, except during long drought periods, there were constant troubles and feuds over land and water rights, and there were losses by cattle thieving and Indian raids. All of the dangers especially from Indians furnished exciting thrills for the little Urton boys but were not enjoyed by their parents. Groceries were brought by ox wagons from Las Vegas, 150 miles distance. On one occasion supplies ordered by Mr. Urton for Thanksgiving, arrived the following April. Another time when supplies had given out, a wagon load of cured buffalo meat was reported to be in camp on a wagon trail near. Mr. Urton bought some which was eaten and enjoyed by candle light. The next morning the entire lot of meat was found to be alive with hide bugs.

News that came by mail from Fort Stanton was always old When received. A letter to Mr. Urton telling of the illness of his mother in Missouri was delivered three weeks after her death.

One could die or get well before a physician could attend any sickness on the ranch. A messenger was once sent to Roswell for Dr. E. A. Skipwith to attend Benjamin Urton, who sick with measles was almost recovered when the doctor arrived at the ranch three days later. Mr. Urton's wife when bitten by a mad dog was driven by buckboard sixty miles to Roswell, and was taken from there to Abilene, Texas for madstone treatment. The wound had almost healed before she could have the treatment. But for the timely arrival and prompt treatment by a cowboy visitor at the ranch, on another memorable occasion, it is very likely members of Mr. Urton's family would have died from ptomaine poisoning.

Mr. Urton often regretted the lonely lift his wife was compelled to lead an the ranch. Six months would some times pass during which time she would not even see a white woman. Without newspapers or convenient calendars to mark the passage of time, she once worked all day Sunday preparing for the Sabbath dinner which she thought would be the next day.

The children attended a district school on the ranch in which the teacher and expenses were paid for, only three months. The rest of the term it was conducted as a private school, paid for by Mr. Urton and other parents of children on the ranch and neighboring ranches. After an Indian raid in Southeast New Mexico, Mr. Urton and his family saw five hundred Indians, conducted by sixteen soldier guards, pass the ranch that were being changed from one reservation to another.

In 1889 J. J. Cox on the adjoining ranch to the Seven H. L. Ranch was taken sick and died. His ranch and ranch lands of others who had grown discouraged were bought by the Cass Land and Cattle Company which then became the largest and most important cattle owners on the Pecos River in New Mexico, and the Seven K. L. name was changed to Bar V. Ranch.

About forty cowboys were employed on the ranch at times and five hundred saddle horses were used by the cattle outfit. Mr. Urton would never keep a dangerous horse. He was known throughout the ranching country as a cattleman who protected his men in every way possible. During the many years he was engaged in the cattle business, there was never an accident nor a death of any of his cow hands.

Mr. Urton's wife Maria Urton died in Los Angeles California March 21, 1909. Mr. Urton's second marriage to Mrs. Anna Betts was solemnized at Brownsville Texas in March 1915. Their deaths from phenomena, occurred during the same year in 1929 Mr. Urton on February 27, and Mrs. Urton's a week later on March 4. William Cooley Urton, the oldest son of William G. Urton and Mamie Urton, to whom he was married in 1915, have one daughter, Francis, born in Roswell in 1920. They live on the fine Urton farm three miles Northeast of Roswell.

Benjamin Vorrell Urton, the younger son of William G. Urton, lives in Oklahoma. He was married in 1909 to Miss Bess James of Roswell. A son was born to this union, whom they named Jason James. Bess James died at her home in Roswell in 1929. Benjamin Urton's second marriage to Mrs. William Underwood occurred in Oklahoma in 1932. Members of the William G. Urton family have been loyal members of the Methodist Church, South, at Roswell for nearly forty years, during which time they have been liberal contributors to the building fund of two beautiful church homes and to all church organizations and interests.

Mr. Cooley Urton and the old roundup wagon of the Bar V Ranch, in the Old Timers parade every year are interesting reminders of his father, William G. Urton who was known, and will always be remembered as one of the finest pioneer cattlemen, who assisted in establishing the great cattle industry of Southeast New Mexico.