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Tag Archives: New Mexico

there’s something about a cowboy

Why, in history books of old
have tales of heroes thus been told,
of  Wyatt, Doc, Bat Masterson,
men who lived life by the gun?

Are they recorded true to fact
or will the honesty come back,
to haunt them in their shallow grave,
or prove them gallant, strong, and brave?

Sometimes the heroes of the west
were polished criminals at best,
exaggerated in dime-store books,
but little more than common crooks.

Maybe those heroes of the past
had reputations meant to last,
no matter whether right or wrong,
strummed on guitars in a song.

But as for me, I’d rather dwell
on cowboys God won’t send to hell,
of men who earned love and devotion,
helped out more than on a notion,

Who cared more for their fellow man
than drifting cross an untamed land,
cared about the golden rule,
and never acted like a fool.

I’ll worship men of their kind,
for I am of another mind,
to honor cowboys who fought for me,
and made this country proud and free.

– Ronald Reagan

newspaper folks – Tucumcari, New Mexico

The Tucumcari Daily News Staff

probably about 1944

Earl Grau and Richard Hindley owned the newspaper at this time (I *think*)

Again – I *think* the Tucumcari Daily News was established in 1933.


dancing up a storm

Russell Lee photograph

Pie Town, New Mexico

Buck Dancers

Russell Lee wrote:

One of the most interesting events that I photographed was an evening of square dancing at Bill Stagg’s.  In one corner the orchestra, consisting of a fiddle and two guitars, was tuning up.  Square dances, Paul Jones, broom dances, round dances, individual exhibitions by the women and the men followed in rapid succession.  The children slept in the other wing of the house.

At midnight there was an intermission for food, cakes, cookies, pies, coffee.  Somebody produced two cases of beer–it was rapidly consumed.  The party went back to the dance.  Bill Staggs forgot his game leg, Adams forgot that he hadn’t danced for three years, Les Thomas let himself go.  The orchestra played with more pep and zip.  The jigging started–it became an informal contest.  They were still whooping it up at 4 a.m. when I had to back to town to change film.

[Lee, “Life on the American Frontier,” 107 –  Pie Town Woman by Joan Meyers]

Doris Caudill:

One night we were all at a dance, and the end came for the poor old pants.  Toy and Billie were there, and they still laugh today about Faro’s pants being split wide open.  Every time he moved a certain way his seat flared open like a morning glory, and the cheek of his backside shown like a new dollar.  We didn’t know it, however, so we danced right on . . . having a good time.

snippets from books

For many who came during the Dust Bowl years, Pie Town was intended only as a stopover on the way to California.  Mrs. Lewis West with her father and mother headed west on U.S. 60 in 1935.  Five of their chickens suffocated in the Texas dust the morning they left.  On their first night in Pie Town, ten more chickens died of mountain cold.  her father was ill with heart trouble, so he and his wife and five children settled into a half-dugout and began to raise pinto beans and maize for cornmeal.

For hopeful immigrants from the choking Dust Bowl areas of Texas and Oklahoma, the reality of homesteading on the Zuni Plateau failed to live up to their drams.  The Pie Town area was unpromising for farming.  The mountains were wooded, and the rolling valleys were covered with thick rabbitbrush, or chamisa, that made hand-clearing the land a tedious and back-breaking job.  The growing season was usually too short with light frosts in early June and again in mid-September.  Moisture was unreliable.  Some years, when there was enough rain and snow, homesteaders might grow fine vegetable gardens and enough pinto beans or corn to sell for the necessities they could not grow themselves.  Other years, the moisture was inadequate, and the rabbits, elk, or grasshoppers ate most of what was planted.  Many homesteaders gave up and moved on to the cities where they joined the unemployment lines.  By the 1940s, when Russell Lee arrived to take his photographs for the FSA, the community had already declined from its 1935 peak to about two hundred families.

Savoring Russell Lee’s Pie Town Photographs

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Whinery and their five children in their dugout. Pie Town, New Mexico. Mr. Whinery had worked on farms in Texas for wages until homesteading one year ago. He arrived in Pie Town with thirty cents which he spent for nails to build his dugout. He donates his services as a preacher to the church.  [Library of Congress photographs]

basketball in the 1950s

Click on photo to see entire picture.

football in the 1920s

Click on the photo to see the entire picture.

“The worth of a paper”

Local History - 1932

My father worked for the Roy Record as a young man and later did print work for the Hustler Press in Farmington, New Mexico.

In 1932, he was a printer’s devil,  learning the newspaper business first-hand at the Roy High School for the school newspaper.

Printers ink in the blood.

Dad in the Roy Record print shop - printers apron - somber expression

RICHARD C. DILLON was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 24, 1877. His early education was attained in the common schools of his native state. He later attended the public schools in Springer, New Mexico, where his family moved in 1889. Before entering politics, Dillon worked as a railroad laborer and a merchant. In 1924, he won election to the New Mexico State Senate, a position he held two years. Dillon next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by popular vote on November 2, 1926. He was reelected to a second term in 1928. During his tenure, the Carlsbad Caverns were declared a national monument by the federal government; and the state government was managed in an efficient, business-like method. After leaving the governorship, Dillon retired from political life. He stayed active in his business career, and eventually established the R.C. Dillon Company. Governor Richard C. Dillon passed away on January 5, 1966, and was buried in Encino, New Mexico.

Source: National Governors Association

Karl Guthmann is the new devil at the printing office.  Karl was the chief printer when J.H. Roy was the editor several years.  He is getting the rust rubbed off and will soon be a full fledged devil.”

Springer, Colfax County, New Mexico – 1914

She reigns!

Miss National Guard - Farmington, New Mexico


1950 - Tucumcari Rattler Basketball Squad

If you can identify any of these basketball players, give a holler!
Even if I once knew –
I no longer know.

My Brown Heritage

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Thanks to a Brown cousin, Lily Brown Taylor, I didn’t start from Zero when researching my Brown lineage.

Lily researched, compiled, and shared a great deal of Brown information with her family.  We (speaking of folks like me who are amateur researchers) owe a great deal to those who came before us and I am most grateful for the generosity of folks such as Lily (Brown research); Fran Laird (Williams research) and so many others.  Bless them!

Alex Haley said that “every time you see a little frog on top of a fence post, you know he had some help.”

This old photograph is of my great-grandparents: James Martin “Bud” Caldwell and Martha Letitia Brown Caldwell.  This is obviously a very early photograph of them; they are so young.

I’ve written in earlier posts about my Caldwell lineage.

I did not know my great-grandfather James Martin “Bud” Caldwell; he died before I was born (before my parents were even married).

However, I vaguely remember my great-grandmother, Martha Letitia Brown Caldwell.  In fact, after my birth, my parents and I lived in a small house behind her larger home on the Caldwell  property in Springer, New Mexico.

As a child, I remember visiting Martha Caldwell when we would come to Springer in the summers.  She always wore long dresses and generally had an apron covering her dress.  There were lovely items in her home (which were not to be touched by little fingers, of course).

She raised a family of three daughters (one daughter died as an infant) and six boys.  She had stamina (or grit), intelligence, a stern beauty, and endurance.  I wish I had known her better.  She died when I was thirteen years old and since we didn’t live near her, there were few visits.

Martha Letitia Brown Caldwell died in 1951 at age 91 and was still intellectually sharp and walking each day to retrieve her mail at the post office in Springer, New Mexico.

I came across a short article in the Colfax County Stockman, June 13, 1903 – Hall’s Peak Item – which indicates Martha was her Own Person.

Mrs. J. M. Caldwell and Miss Nichols, teacher at the Vanderitas school, were recently seen drinking in the beauties of Canada Bonita.  It is stated that to sustain them on their homeward journey they also partook of a draught of that ambrosia brewed by cook Woodruff at the mill camp.

Martha Brown Caldwell was the daughter of Alfred (or Alford as was sometimes written) Brown and Louisa Jane Centers.  Her father was born in 1826 in North Carolina and died in 1865 at the end of the Civil War.  He had returned home to see his wife and newborn son, Remington, when he was “waylaid by Union soldiers, fourteen of them, at a ford in a little creek.”  His family heard the fighting from their home.  Alfred never saw his son Remington.

Alfred/Alford Brown was the son of Alfred Brown, Sr. and Narcissus Belk and the grandson of Amos Brown and Elizabeth Brown (who was perhaps a cousin of Amos; I’ve not been able to trace her lineage).

Amos Brown served in the Revolutionary War:

Certificate No. 12625 in N.C. agency
Amos Brown, Macon County, N.C. agency
Private, Capt. Whitners County, Gen. Morgans Regt. in the Georgia Line for 7 1/2 months
paid at rate “25 per annum” to commence 4 March 1831
Certificate issued 15 May 18 (illegible) and sent to L. P. Casson, Pleasant Gardens, Georgia

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future. ~ Alex Haley

cowboys . . . and a mountain . . . and beautiful New Mexico sky

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Snap of the day

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Catchin’ some winks . . .

cemetery – Cimarron, New Mexico

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snap of the day

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abandoned churches – New Mexico

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i am a little church (no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
-i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april

my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth’s own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying) children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness

around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope, and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains

i am a little church (far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish) at peace with nature
-i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing

winter by spring, i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)

~ e e cummings

Easter 1965

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New Mexico Cowboys

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Wordless Wednesday

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Roy, New Mexico

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