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Family History Stories Paraphrased
Page 6 of 38

Charles L. Ballard Part I,
Charles L. Ballard Part II,
Berta Ballard Manning,
Clara Coleman, and
Petition of Refugio Colony Grant

Begin Stories:

Charles L. Ballard Part I
by Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln, Eddy, Chaves, De Baca
Surnames mentioned: Ballard, Estacado, Bonny, Lea, Ditch, Rogers, Wood, Roosevelt, Goodrich, Greenway, Sayre, Corn

Charles L. Ballard was born in Texas in 1867. He came to New Mexico with his father J. L. Ballard and settled at Fort Sumner in 1878. He was eleven years old at the time of his interesting journey across the plains in a covered wagon. He and the other older ones of his six brothers and sisters were excited over the anticipation of seeing thousands of buffalo that had roamed the plains east of the Pecos River during the years 1875 / 1876 when his father had been a buffalo hunter on the Llano Estacado. Staked Plains, near Roswell. While they did not see as large bunches as they expected, for the buffalo were fast being exterminated, they were thrilled over the sight of herds in which there were several hundreds.

The travelers suffered for lack of water during the last days of their journey across hot, sun baked treeless plains. While raveling in those days was hazardous because of hostile Indians, many lost their teams and stock, the Ballard family was not molested. On the last night of their journey, on seeing smoke and dim forms, they thought might be Indians, around a camp fire, they were filled with dread and were afraid to stop to make camp, until Charlie Ballard and his father walking quietly ahead of the wagons were delighted to find friendly Mexican people who shared their camp at what is Portales Spring, which furnished fine cold water for the teams and all the travel worn campers.

The next day, on arriving at Fort Sumner, Mr. A. J. Ballard, the father decided to establish a home at that place for his family. Here they remained a few months, until their home was demolished by an explosion caused by a drunk shooting into a keg of gunpowder which was kept in a store on the plaza around which the houses were built. After the loss of their home Mr. Ballard moved his family to the town of Lincoln where there was a school for his children to attend. During their residence at Fort Sumner Charlie Ballard had boarded at Anton Chico in order to attend the only school in that part of the country.

At Lincoln Charlie Ballard knew William Bonny, known as Billy the Kid, who was making history as both an admired and feared outlaw leader of the feudal battles of what was called the Lincoln county War. Billy the Kid's grave in at Fort Sumner New Mexico, De Baca County. Mr. Ballard remembers The Kid as not being an outlaw in manners. He speaks of the youthful desperado, as being quiet, but always active and doing something interesting. He was a leader in sports and games. That is the reason for his having had more friends than enemies in those turbulent days. This was the secret of the popularity of the outlaw, who was loved as well as feared, by many.

He was small for a youth of his age, said Mr. Ballard, about nineteen he weighed only about a hundred and twenty-five or thirty pounds, and was quick and active as a cat. He was a very fine rider. We often rode and raced our ponies together. He was credited with more killings than he ever did. However there are plenty that could be justly counted against him. I am one of the many who appreciated his good qualities in spite of his career as a gunman and killer. This is Charlie Ballard's only criticism of the once notorious outlaw he was not ashamed to call, my friend.

In 1880 Mr. Ballard moved to Roswell where he worked as a cowboy for Captain Joseph C. Lea. Later he launched into stock raising for himself, continuing in ranching and the cattle business for twenty years or more. In 1881 his father moved the rest of the family from Lincoln to Roswell and Charlie Ballard assisted them in opening up a farm home, three miles out east, on East Second Street. While attending the first school, in or near Roswell, taught by Asbury C. Rogers, Charlie Ballard drove eight head of oxen to a plow, or scraper, on work of the pioneer irrigation ditch, known to the early settlers as the Ballard Cunningham Ditch.

In 1893, while serving as sheriff, he made a record for himself for bravery by capturing the Cook brothers who were members of the Dalton gang of murderers and desperadoes operating in the Pecos Valley. In 1898, Governor Otero, Territorial Governor of New Mexico wired Charlie Ballard asking if he would accept a commission in the regiment to be mobilized at San Antonio, Texas to serve in the Spanish American War. On accepting Mr. Ballard was made Second Lieutenant of the Second Squadron of the famous Rough Riders with Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt in command, under Colonel Leonard Wood, commander.

Mr. Ballard, after hostilities were suspended, was invited with four of his military companions to visit the Roosevelt family at Oyster Bay, where they were entertained at dances, fishing parties, and dinners given in their honor. The five entertained by Teddy Roosevelt were John C. Greenway whose wife, Isabelle Greenway, served as Congresswoman of Arizona two terms; David Goodrich, chairman of the board of the Goodrich Rubber Company, Hal Sayre, Robert Ferguson and Charles L. Ballard. Mr. Ballard was one of the forty of the Rough Riders who formed the Guard of Honor at the Presidential Inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt.

Charles Ballard has been twice married and bereaved by death of both wives. Three girls and three boys, Syble, Mable, Willie, deceased, Theodore, Jack, and Katherine are the children born to Mr. Ballard and the wife of his first marriage, to Minty (Corn) Ballard, daughter of Martin V. Corn who, with his family lived as neighbors and friend of the Ballard family during the early days of settlement of the farming section of the country near Roswell.

Mr. Ballard is the only one of the Rough Riders of the Spanish American War from around Roswell, who is known to be living at the present time. He has many friends in Artesia where he now lives, and at Roswell his former home, who appreciate his friendship, and his important contributions to the building, progress and improvement of Roswell, and his efforts in maintaining law and order during the early days of settlement of the Pecos Valley, in New Mexico.

Charles L. Ballard Part II
by Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lea, Lincoln, Roosevelt, De Baca
Surnames mentioned: Ballard, Redding, Griffin, Ditch, Wood, Alger, Roosevelt, Otero, Sawyer, 

I was eleven years old when my parents A. J. Ballard and Katherine Redding Ballard and my brothers and sisters and I left Fort Griffin, Texas during the winter of 1878 and came to New Mexico to live. While on the trip we saw and did many things that have been lasting memories. Lots of water has run under the bridge since that time, and I have seen history made, in several places in New Mexico. Father had hunted buffalo on the plains as far west as the Pecos River in 1875 / 1876. He liked the Lower Pecos Valley country and decided to return to live. Traveled in covered Wagons.

We traveled in covered wagons and it wasn't an easy journey across the plains. The country was different from that around Fort Griffin so there was plenty to keep us interested every day. Saw Herds Of Buffalo. While we did not see stampeding herds of thousands of buffalo, that we heard would run over campers on the plains we did see hundreds, but they caused no trouble.

We expected Indian attacks every day and night, especially around watering places, but we were not molested by Indians either. I remember we had one especially hard drive all one day without water. Along about dark we saw what we thought was an Indian campfire. Father said for us to slip up and see what kind of people were camped there. You may be sure we went very quietly and were happy to find a friendly Mexican camp and a spring of fine water. It was Portales Spring.

From Portales Spring we went to Fort Sumner and remained, though when we left Fort Griffin we had not decided to locate in that place. There was no school at Fort Sumner so I boarded in Anton Ohio and went to school. Moved To Lincoln. After our home was demolished in Fort Sumner, we moved to Lincoln. The destruction of several of the houses built around a plaza or patio in Fort Sumner was caused by an explosion from a drunk shooting into a keg of gunpowder, in a store. In Lincoln we found ourselves in the excitement of feuds and Billy the Kid's escapades.

Raced With Billy the Kid. I remember good times I had with Billy the Kid. He was not an outlaw in manners, he was quiet, and good company always doing something interesting. That was why he had so many friends. We often raced horses together. He was not very large and weighed a hundred and twenty five or thirty pounds. He was a fine rider. Billy was credited with more killings than he ever did. However, there were plenty that could be counted against him. It was reported he was the one who killed Chapman when Chapman refused to dance when ordered, but Billy had nothing at all to do with that shooting. We moved to Roswell in 1881, or three miles out on East Second Street. I went to school to Judge Asbury C. Rogers who was the first person to teach school in or near Roswell. He taught in the first school house built in 1881 which was a one room adobe with a dirt roof and which was built on the southwest corner of school section thirty-six, three miles out on East Second Street.

I helped make the pioneer Irrigation ditch, called the Ballard Cunningham Ditch and used eight yoke of oxen to the plow and scraper in the work. Governor Otero was Territorial Governor when war was commenced against Spain. He wired me and asked if I would accept a regiment. I did accept and took about thirty men from around Roswell to Santa Fe. From there we went to San Antonio and Teddy Roosevelt who had first conceived of the idea of the Rough Riders met us there. There was a squadron from Oklahoma, Arizona and our state New Mexico.

At the request of Roosevelt, Dr. Leonard Wood a physician of the Secretary of War, Russell Alexander Alger, was made Colonel in command of the Rough Riders. Theodore Roosevelt resigned his place as assistant Secretary of the Navy and was made Lieut. Colonel. On the 29th of May 1898 we left San Antonio, Texas for Tampa, Florida where we embarked for Cuba. Colonel Roosevelt after seeing that his men had been made as comfortable as possible for the journey, waited for the last and poorest train. He never spared himself at all. He gave his sleeping car berth to a sick soldier. It has been truthfully said that rank, money, and occupation meant little to him. Cowboys, ambassadors, prize fighters and clergymen were afterwards entertained and sat together as guests of the Roosevelt family at the White House table.

When hostilities were suspended and we were mustered out of service in Long Island, August 12, 1898, Colonel Roosevelt invited five of us to go to his home at Oyster Bay for a visit. The five were John C. Greenway whose wife Isabelle Greenway was Congresswoman from Arizona for two terms, David Goodrich, who is now chairman of the board of Goodrich Rubber Company, Hal Sawyre, Robert Ferguson, and I, Charles L. Ballard. While I can't say we were considered heroes as Dewey and Hobson were, we were royally entertained, by the Roosevelt’s and others, with dances, fishing, parties, and dinners. Forty of us Rough Riders formed the Guard Of Honor from the White House to the Capitol Building when Teddy Roosevelt was inaugurated. There are very few left of those men I don't know of any here in Roswell.

Child Friend of Billy The Kid
Berta Ballard Manning
by Georgia B. Redfield
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lea, De Baca
Surnames mentioned: Ballard, Redding, Bonny, Ollinger, Bell, Garrett

I was a child, age ten years, when we came from Griffin Texas in 1879 with our parents, A. J. Ballard and Katherine Redding Ballard and settled in Fort Sumner New Mexico. The homes of all the families at the fort were built around the patio, and there was a store where liquor was sold, which contained kegs of gunpowder. One day there was a set of drunken man who proceeded to shoot up the place, because the proprietor of the store refused to sell them more whiskey. A keg of powder was lit by a shot, exploded and the store and our home were demolished.

We then moved to Lincoln and were living there when Billy the Kid killed Ollinger and Bell and made his escape. However I did not see the shooting. I don't see how my mother ever stood the excitement and anxiety of those wild lawless days. Of course we children didn't realize the danger of the outlaws shootings and escapades, that kept the old town of Lincoln in a constant turmoil.

Yes, I remember Billy the Kid real well. He was not rough looking and was very quiet, polite and friendly. I never saw anything ugly about him or in his manners. I was a very special child friend for Billy, He put me on his lap and petted me when he came frequently to our home. He was kind and could be a good friend, but I am sure we should not make a hero of Billy, for after all he was a bandit and a killer.

Billy was killed July 14, 1881 at Fort Sumner by Pat Garret in execution of his duty as sheriff the following year after we moved to Lincoln. We had moved to Roswell when Billie was killed. Pat Garret was a brave man, he knew it was Billy’s life or his, for the boy could never have been taken alive. So to Pat Garrett we owe the accomplishment of freeing New Mexico of a dangerous outlaw and killer.

Clara Coleman
By Marie Carter
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Dona Ana, Grant
Surnames mentioned: Coleman, Ortiz, or Ortez

Where, I asked Mrs. Coleman, Did the Refugio Grant Colony originate? In the pueblo, or Mission of La Union, she replied. In 1852, Ramon Ortiz, who was the curate and general Commissioner of El Paso Del Norte, now Juarez, Mexico, was appointed by the high government mission La Union to found and establish Civil Colonies of one thousand people or more in the State of Chihuahua, now New Mexico.

Was the Refugio Colony already established? I asked. Yes, but Ortez had no power to distribute the land until the Federal Government of Chihuahua gave him permission, which they finally did, and a grant of fifteen thousand acres for the settlers. This was a reward for the work they had already accomplished. They called it Refugio in honor of their patron saint. Nuestro Senora del Refugio, or Our Lady of Refuge.

How much land did each settler receive? I inquired. A very old Mexican once told me that each one received a little over fifty acres for a ranch, and enough ground to build a residence in town. After the Commissioner had designated a certain amount of land for towns, houses and churches, he gave the colony enough for an edigo, or commons, the land lying on the suburbs of cities, towns and places; not cultivated nor planted.

At the time the Rufugio Colony Grant was made, the settlers were given to understand that it was against the law to transfer their land to anyone else. The Refugio Colony Grant, which had its beginning at the pueblo of La Union, is a strip of land that runs through Anthony but on the west side of the Rio Grande. The Grant is a thing of the past, but in making out deeds and abstracts, the title is still used to locate certain ranches and places of present day owners, Mrs. Coleman Said.

It is claimed by some of the old timers that the Chihuahua Santa Fe Trail runs over the same route followed by State Highway 28, known also as Westside Highway. It runs on to La Union, past the Post Office, thence it turns west to the old La Union Pueblo, and thence south over the La Union Anapra Highway along the foothills past the Anapra bridge across the Rio Grande to connect with U.S. Highway 85.

Mrs. Clara Coleman, wife of Pat Coleman, was born: 1864 in Uvalde, Texas, came to Anthony, New Mexico in 1900 lived on old business street west of the Santa Fe tracks, where she kept boarders; moved from old business street to the town of Chamberino, where she and her husband went into the sheep raising business; moved from Chamberino to Anthony and bought a ranch two miles west of town where she has lived ever since. Mrs. Coleman is proud of the fact that she nursed and paid for the ranch herself. Mr. Coleman was a helpless cripple. Mrs. Coleman is a grand old lady, who is dearly loved by all of her friends, and whom they consider one of the most courageous women of our community.

Ramon Ortiz
Petition of Refugio Colony Grant
by Marie Carter
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Grant, Dona Ana, USA
Surnames mentioned: Ortiz, Ortez, Garcia, Jacques

Petition: Ramon Ortiz, Mexican Commissioner, Refugio Colony Grant. Filed: December 17th, 1867. Recorded in Deed book 4, Government of State of Chihuahua, Office of State. Upon the petition which you have directed to this government as being that the lands therein indicated be distributed to you, the following decree has this day been made.

This petition will be referred to Senate Ramon Ortez, Commissioner for the new settlement of the District Bravos, to the end that be realized the laudable purposes of those who signed the same and equitably reward the labors they have commenced, according to the regulations of the 24th of May last, published in No. 51 El Carreo as far as it is permitted by the law enacted by the Hon. Congress of the State on the 13th of March last, that on the same subject of the 11th April 1850 and the provision dictated to provide provisionally commons for the town of El Paso and adjoining towns.

Let this decree be communicated to the parties interested and I communicate the same to you for your information. God and Liberty, Chihuahua, June 4th, 1851. Amada de la Bega Jose Maria Garcia, and other citizens who signed the said petition.

In the Civil Colony of Refugio on the 20th day of the month of February 1852, I, Citizen Ramon Ortez permanent Curate of Paso del Norte, appertaining to the Republic of Mexico, general Commissioner appointed by the high government of the Mission Union to found and establish Civil Colonies in the State of Chihuahua according to legal regulations issued for that purpose and those in force in our legislative codes; in view of the powers with which I am vested in premises by the general organic law dated Aug. 19th 1848, and the derivative regulation of May 22, 1851 this colony being already established and greatly increased and also the distributions of sureties of land and residence lots among the settlers.

Having been affected after the designation of localities for towns, houses, churches, etc., and the granting of eight sureties of land for corporation funds should proceed and did proceed in fact to execute the assignment of commons to which said settlement is entitled, and as according as to what is set forth in the 24th and 25th articles of the decree of Nov. 16, 1786, the egido, commons, is the ground lying on the suburbs of cities, towns, and places, which is not cultivated nor planted.

I therefore, designate to the aforesaid Colony Refugio, one league and a quarter for its commons, the measurement of which being that prescribed by the 23rd article of the State law of December 23, 1851, for the benefit of settlements containing over 1000 souls was then commenced and assigned from the exterior of the outer limits of the property or possessions already distributed observing the character and the quadrilateral configurations of the lands distributed in as much as could be mad into a perfect square, it must be borne in mind that the arable land of the said colony of Refuguo has in length 6250 yards from north to south and 2,475 yards east to west, and consequently an area 17,087,500 square yards.

The figure and the limits of the track being known and taking into consideration that towards the river side, there is not sufficient public land to mark out the commons on that side, the 3125 yards that ought to have been measured on that side, are added to a like number on the northern side.

That is to say, measuring 6,250 yards from the lands of Jose de la Luz Jacques, or more plainly from the point corresponding on a direct line of this land running from east to west, thence following the side of the river, will make the 6,250 yards, at which final point the proper land marks will be raised, after which from the limits of Jose  which is situated at the edge of the hills toward the west there will be measured 3125 yards and as many more on the south side from the limits of the land of Jose Maria Garcia where the said land marks will also be raised.

Lastly, for woodland and common pasturage, of which mention is made in the decree of 14 May 1804, and the regulation herein before cited of the 22 of May 1851, I designate the entire bosque and strips of land lying between the arable land and the river from the commencement and end of the arable land embracing the whole length, I, likewise designate for public pasture and grounds the adjacent brows and slopes of the hills situated on the west in a longitudinal extension following the course of the summit equal to the commons pasture grounds designated on the side of the river, the right of pasture and other concessions which I hereby stipulate in favor of the new settlement.

In the name of the Federal Government of the State of Chihuahua is perpetual and founded upon the consent of the supreme authorities and on the letter of ancient and modern legislation. In view of all which from this day forward the aforesaid settlement of Refugio remains in the most ample possession of the tract to which it is entitled by law, under the restriction that it cannot alienate the same in any manner, to any church, monastery, ecclesiastical person, community, as this is prohibited by law.

And for due testimony and validity and authenticity I issue this title which remains recorded in the book of records of the municipality authorizing the free use and benefit of the lands which have been granted to it. In testimony of which I sign the same at the town and on the date aforesaid. Ramon Ortez, A faithful and legitimate copy, taken from its original, to which I refer, Colony of Refugio, August 19, 1852 Ramon Ortez.

Refugio Civil Colony of the Mission Union, Dona Ana County, was granted 15,000 acres 1852. The grant was confirmed by the Congress of the United States, 1901. Mexico adopted the metric system in measuring the land for her colonies, a system used by pain, and which varies more or less in the different provinces of the Kingdom. It is a measure the Spanish have used since 1871. Suerte referred to a measure but in what respect is hard to determine. For suerte means, good luck, chance, lot, kind, fortune; haphazard, sort, species and manner, de suerte means the game of bullfight, and la suerte means the trick practiced by the matador, or bullfighter with his mantle to tantalize the bull. La suerte also means stroke. Vara (yard) is also a measure. Primarily it means pole, but then, a pole, or square pole, is 30 square yards. One acre is 160 square poles. Hence, vara, also has many meanings; it means yard, rod, sway, high handed person, and shafts of a coach. Vara, however, is a square measure. Vara means go a different way too, and change. Pie means foot. Also 1/3 vara which is one third of a yard. And pie, which means one foot, also means: leg, basis, foundation, occasion and trunk of trees. Pulgada means inch.