William Morgan Reily
Return to Main Page or History Index
See individual Counties for more history

William Morgan Reily. Many years before New Mexico was admitted to the Union as a state, William M. Reily of Tunica, Louisiana, came to the territory of New Mexico to establish his ranch headquarters where the present town of Capitan in Lincoln County now stands. He came to Lincoln County in 1892 at the recommendation of his cousin Governor George Curry, who had spoken and written to him many times relative to the great possibilities of the livestock industry in the territory. The Reily ranch comprised thousands of acres in Lincoln County with ranch headquarters in Capitan.
The Reily brand was one of the early registrations in old Lincoln County. Running more than 3,000 sheep and 800 head of cattle, Reily made a great success in the ranch business in New Mexico. He lived in Lincoln County from 1892 until his death in March of 1931, and during that time did much to develop the country and civic improvements in the county. He served as County Tax Assessor when the town of Lincoln was the county seat. He served as President of the Board of Regents of the New Mexico Institution for the Blind in Alamogordo for more than twenty years prior to his death. He also served on the committee that proposed moving the county seat from Lincoln to Carrizozo.
Shortly after arriving in New Mexico he married Miss Nellie Gray, who came to the state in a covered wagon with her father, S. T. Gray, from Grapevine, Texas. Two of their daughters continued in the ranching business, Jack, Mrs. Will Ed Harris, and Kitty, Mrs. Truman A. Spencer, Sr. In 1907, he and his father-in-law, Seaborn Gray, sold their ranching interests to the Eddy Brothers, who were going to build a railroad to Capitan. The Reily's went to Picacho after their marriage, where they bought a store. He became Postmaster and took care of the stage horses. They then sold and moved to Roswell, where he worked in the land office. They later moved to Alamogordo where Reily became territorial land commissioner. In 1907 they moved to Carrizozo and lived until his death in 1931. Submitted by B. J. Branum