First Families of Lincoln County
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First Families of Lincoln County
To list your family, submit evidence that your ancestors arrived in Lincoln
County during or before 1912. Submit information in narrative form to our
Research Specialist Janelle Foster or Charles Barnum. Limit your application
to about three thousand words. Clearly state the name of your ancestor who
arrived in Lincoln County, the date, and the proof upon which you based
your assertion, such as census records, birth records, death/cemetery records,
and land/legal records. Thereafter, your name and your ancestor's name will
be added to the file with a short statement of the facts. Remember that
it must be in narrative form and include all the facts. Otherwise, your
application will not be considered. Please don't include names of living
persons without their consent.
First Family: Thomas Alfred BRAGG.
Jesse Bragg married Nancy WANEY in Alabama in 1807. They had ten children
one of who was Alfred Colum Bragg. Colum married Susan Emiline Harris, nee
Boggs. Colum served in the Texas C.S.A and moved to White Oaks, New Mexico
in a family wagon train from Albany, Texas in 1887. Several other and related
families traveled in the wagon train. Colum’s young grandson, Alfred Thomas
Bragg, was a muleskinner who took care of the mules that pulled his father’s
wagon. Thomas Alfred settled along Rio Bonito and made his living training
mules and herding. He came to be known as Muloamo or mule trainer.
Thomas Alfred’s parents were Ben Bragg and Anna D. Stanphill. Ben was murdered
in 1896 on the Eagle Creek trail as he brought supplies to Thomas who was
herding sheep beside the creek. Thomas was later pursued by Sheriff Emil
Fritz for taking revenge, but was never brought to trial. Ben had nine other
children who grew up near White Oaks.
Thomas Alfred Bragg married Molly Delphora Goats, a Texas lady with German
ancestry, 2 April 1898 in Nogal. They had three children, Charley Lee and
Emzy Everett Bragg, and Bertha Fanny Bragg. Charley and Emzy were known
as fist fighters, and Bertha once won a wood-chopping contest.
Several landmarks are named after Ben Bragg’s family near White Oaks such
as Benado—Ben sin mas ni mas, meaning it’s Ben’s place, and Canon Del Bragg,
and Canon Del Bragg Del Pequeno and Benado Gap and Bragg Canyon and Little
Bragg Canyon. A Veterans Civil War headstone in the historical Cedarvale
Cemetery of White Oaks was erected in honor of Alfred Colum Bragg. Ben Bragg
was buried in Nogal Cemetery. Thomas Bragg was buried in Angus Cemetery
Sources: Texas and New Mexico marriage records; censuses Texas 1830 through
1880, & New Mexico 1900, 1910 & 1920. Bragg Family Bible; Oral history by
E. L. Greer; the Ancestral File; book titled Cousins of Thomas Alfred Bragg,
A Little Family Book; book titled The Saga of the Sierra Blanca and book titled
The Bear’s Den both by H. L. Traylor. First Family contributed by Rianna
First Families: BROWN, DALTON,
HAMPTON, HUST, MAY: It's inaccurate to say everyone in Lincoln County
is related, but many close families arrived in the 1880's from Missouri.
One wagon train contained twenty-one wagons, said George S. Brown recalling
he was six at the time. Mary Margaret Pfingsten, nee May, who was nine when
the train left Missouri, said there were eighteen wagons. Others said forty
wagons headed westward. Several wagons left the train and headed for Colorado
after several weeks.
On 14 July 1890, Dea Richmond Hust said he lived south of Springfield, Missouri
after the Civil War and went to Jefferson and Park Counties in Colorado
and lived there from 1878 through part of 1880. Miles May, who had seen
the area around Reserve, New Mexico returned home to Cedar Valley Missouri.
He urged his family and others to move.
Miles thought the area around Reserve was so fine that he returned to his
home in Cedar Valley, Missouri urging his family and the Browns to move.
Abe May, a brother of Miles May, was Maggie's father. David and Almary May
were the parents of Miles and Abe. Maggie's mother was Cynthia Ann May,
nee Hust. They were part of the party that left the main group and went
to Colorado when Dea Richmond Hust had lived earlier. Hannah Hust, a daughter
of Dea Richmond Hust and Hannah Harriet Hust was also in the wagon train.
Cynthia's parents were Dea Richmond and Hannah Harriet Hust, nee Hampton.
Dea and Hannah moved briefly from Colorado to Missouri. Hannah Hust was
another daughter of Dea Richmond and Hannah Harriet. She later married Jeremiah
Dalton. All of them--aunts, uncles, cousins, sons, and daughters, started
West in June of 1883.
In later years, Maggie said, "Some of the party dropped out along the way
and...my parents and my grandparents (Hust) went on to Colorado. The Browns
and the Mays settled in Tortilito Canyon. It took us three months to get
to Horseshoe, a little mining town near Leadville.... The next fall we left
Colorado to come to Lincoln County. My grandfather (Dea Richmond Hust) and
grandmother (Hannah) were with us and two of their young boys, George and
Dea Richmond wrote in 1890, "...in the fall of 1885, I moved to Nogal..."
Soon Abe May ran a blacksmith shop in Angus. A couple of years earlier he
had homesteaded 160 acres. The family later moved to Nogal where Maggie
married Fred Pfingsten on 1 November 1894. Fred, a son of Henry Pfingsten,
called himself a freighter but went to work at the Vera Cruz mine in 1907.
George Brown wrote of his trip from Missouri to New Mexico in 1937, "My
mother's father, David and Almary May, drove one wagon drawn by two white
oxen. The rest of the crowd in the train were all uncles and aunts and cousins.
They had their own covered wagons drawn by mules."
He also said at times there would be as many as fifty wagons in our train.
"We would overtake some of them and some would overtake us, and we would
all go along together for awhile and then those other wagons would drift
off on their own way."
Originally, according to Brown, the intention was to go to Mesa, Arizona.
But it took the group he was with six months to get to New Mexico. So, they
went to White Oaks and camped at the Manchester Rock House, about three
miles from town. The Browns lived there for two months, then moved in October
1884 to Tortolito Canyon, ten miles southeast of Carrizozo. These folks
are gone now and many are buried in the Angus Cemetery and in the Nogal
US Archives, Washington, DC; 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 Missouri Censuses, 1885
NM Agricultural Census, 1900, 1910 NM Census; Civil War records and pension
files, Carrizozo Newspaper and the May Family Bible. First Family contributed
by Hal Taylor.
First Family: Lin Branum
was born on a farm near Dallas on 9 August 1861 to Lindsey and Margaret
Miller Branum. He died in Carrizozo, New Mexico 3 May 1925. Lin and Nellie
Anne Henley--daughter of Thomas W. Henley and Nancy Melvina Williams Henley,
were married in Nogal, New Mexico 6 June 1894. To this union were born five
children, Alice May, Nancy Margaret, Rufus, Linza and Clinton. Lin was for
many years were an outstanding figure in ranching and cattle circles of
New Mexico with large holding in various counties of the state.
Lin started his career in west Texas where he worked on a cattle ranch in
Eastland County. He then came to New Mexico around 1877 and was employed
on the VV Ranch in Lincoln County, owned by James Cree. Lin, in the meantime,
accumulated some cattle of his own and located on the Three Rivers. He worked
for a year for the Goodwin interests. W. C. McDonald, first Governor of
New Mexico after statehood, also employed him for several years. In 1897
he moved his cattle to the foothills of the Jicarilla Mountains at Coyote
Canyon near White Oaks and established the Steeple M ranch. The Branum family
remained at the Steeple M ranch for 24 years. He sold this ranch to the
Warden brothers and bought the I-X Ranch near Carrizozo. He continued ranching
until his failing health required him to sell his holding and retire.
First Family: Lewis W. BOURNE came to Lincoln County, New Mexico territory
in 1880. He was the son of William and Mary Johnson Bourne in Knob Fork,
Grayson County, Virginia. He married Julia Ann Fulton on March 13, 1857
in Grayson County as shown on Virginia marriage records. Their children
were Pinkie Alice, born 1859; Cleveland was born in 1861; an infant was
born and died in 1866; Robert was born in 1867; William Stephen was born
in 1873 and Chloe was born in 1877. Documentation by the Lincoln County
and Grayson County Census records. Lewis served as a Captain in the CSA,
Co B, 37th Battalion VA Cavalry in Jackson's Brigade, Lomas's Division,
Second Corp, Army Valley District. The Union Army near Lynchburg captured
him on June 17, 1864. He was imprisoned at Camp Chase, Ohio and Point Lookout
MD. He was wounded in the war and lost some of the bones in his arm, having
to wear a splint wrapped in cloth. He called it his "corset". Records are
from National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Lewis and Julia arrived at Bonita City after brief stops in Louisiana and
Erath County, Texas. They quickly became involved in village life. Lewis
became known as Grampa Bourne and was famous for his tall tales with his
Virginia drawl. Julia became the area midwife and delivered more than 100
babies in the county. The Bourne family moved to Parsons, and Lewis became
the Postmaster. After the death of his wife, he spent his remaining years
with his daughter Pinkie Alice and her husband, John Henry Skinner, in Carrizozo.
He died there at the age of 94, never losing his Southern courtliness of
manner nor his zest for living. Both are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in
Carrizozo. First Family contributed by Janelle Foster.
First Family: Seaborn GRAY.
It was because of none other than Pat Garrett that Nellie Gray Reily became
a pioneer in Lincoln County. Pat Garrett and Nellie Gray's father, Seaborn
GRAY, were first cousins. The Gray family lived in Grapevine, Texas having
originally come from Alabama by way of Louisiana. In 1855 Seaborn Gray was
suffering from tuberculosis. Pat Garrett had been out west and thought it
was a good climate for him to come to. He persuaded Seaborn to come to New
Mexico. It was good advice because in a couple of years he was perfectly
well. He lived to quite an old man.
The trip took about four months on the road from Texas to Little Creek.
They drove 500 head of cattle and when they got to Ft. Sumner they had to
lay over for ten days because the water in the Pecos was too high to ford.
They had no drinking water, so the cowboys got an old barrel and dipped
some water and got some prickly pears, beat them up and put them in the
water to make it settle and be good enough to drink. The family went to
Little Creek where Seaborn Gay filed on what is now the town site of Capitan.
A Post Office naming the town Gray was established in 1894. Seaborn served
as Postmaster until 11 October 1900 when the town was renamed Capitan. He
also served as County School Superintendent and was a deputy sheriff. Seaborn
Gray and William Reily sold their land to W. H. Eddy for the railroad into
Capitan around 1907. Sources: WPA Interview 1935, newspaper clippings, History
of Capitan. First Family contributed Barbara Branum.
First Family: Green Berry GREER
was the son of George W. Greer. He married Julia Ann Wheatly in Johnson
County Missouri. He was born 3 October 1852 and was married 28 December
1873. He moved to Pecos, Texas before 1900. From History of Johnson County
Missouri, 1881; marriage records of same; family and Bible records of E.
L. Greer; Texas Census records.
Green Berry Greer moved to Lincoln County after an expedition to find good
land, about 1899. He settled in Bonito Canyon about 1902. From New Mexico
Census 1910. His family consisted of these children: Arthur C.; Ella; John
Franklin; Ethel Olive; Elmer; Ira Aten; William Randall; James Ralph; Lola
B.; and Lester. From GREER family Bible. First Family Contributed by Janet
First Family: HENLEY:
Health brought the Henley family to New Mexico from Missouri in 1879. Allen
and Lucy Henley came to the Roswell area for health reasons, from a plantation
near Jefferson City, and established a farm. Soon after they moved to New
Mexico their son, Thomas, born in Missouri in 1841, developed asthma, and
he and his family moved to New Mexico from Texas where he had been teaching
school and practicing medicine with an older Doctor. Tom and his wife, Nancy
Melvina Williams, born in Arkansas in 1855, and their children landed on
the Bonito on the first day of November 1880. They filed on 160 acres five
miles above Ft. Stanton.
The second year on the farm Tom got a job at Ft. Stanton as a blacksmith.
After he left Ft. Stanton he got a job at the "V" ranch as a blacksmith
for the Crees. Tom was a schoolteacher and practiced medicine. He wasn't
a licensed doctor, but he had gone to medical school in St. Louis, Missouri,
but because of finances, he was unable to finish school.
He also served in the Confederate Army during the War Between the States.
In those days there were very few doctors, and most of the farmers in the
area sent for "Uncle Tom." They paid him whatever they felt they could give.
He never set a price. Mr. & Mrs. Pat Garrett lived on a ranch adjoining
the "V" ranch and Mrs. Garrett gave birth to a baby girl and Tom attended
her at birth. This baby girl was Elizabeth Garrett who wrote our state song,
"O Fair New Mexico." After eleven years on their farm they sold it and moved
to Nogal, where Allen and Tom had a store. There, Tom was the Preacher,
Teacher, Post Master and had a saloon. By Barbara Branum
First Family HOFMAN: My
great-grandparents were M. S. Hofman and Pherabe Wilson. They were the parents
of my Grandfather, John Jacob Hoffman, whose son, John Henry Hoffman, was
my father. Our great-grandfather, M. S. Hoffman, and his family may have
came to the United States in 1809 from Germany and settled in Fredricksburg,
Texas. M. S. Hoffman was born 6 March 1807 and married Pherabe Wilson, who
was born 15 May 1818. They had twelve children. My grandfather was the seventh
child born on 11 October 1848.
My grandfather, John Jacob Hoffman, married Mildred Rosella Shelton on 13
December 1891. They had four children: Guy, born 14 September 1892 died
20 November 1893; John Henry, my father, born 22 April 1894 died 19 August
1965; James Arthur, born 16 February 1897 died in Perris, California in
1979; Mary Ethel was born 17 May 1899 and died 21 December 1918.
John Jacob’s obituary stated: Mr. Hoffman was born at Tyler, Texas October
11, 1848, moved with his parents to Johnson County, Texas in 1855, where
he made his home until 1893. He joined the Texas Rangers and served in Western
Texas in the years of 1873 and 1874, where he rendered distinguished service
as an Indian fighter.
On December 13, 1891 he married Miss Ella Shelton at Cleburne, Texas. To
this union four children were born, three boys and one girl. The oldest
son, Guy, died when fourteen months old. The daughter, Ethel, died when
nineteen. He moved with his family to New Mexico, from Cleburne, Texas in
1907 settling near Carrizozo where they have continuously resided.
John Henry and his family came to New Mexico ca. 1904 and settled in the
Hondo Valley. He made his living as a carpenter. Our dad told us that his
father helped construct the large water wheel in Ruidoso. They stayed around
Hondo for three years and moved to Carrizozo where they homesteaded the
ranch. I remember as a child riding into town from the ranch in my grandparent’s
buggy. Grandpa died when I was five years old, but my mother often told
us stories about him. After he died my brother spent a lot of time at the
ranch staying with daddy's mother and doing chores while daddy was on the
road. My brother rode his horse into town to go to school. When I was young,
I helped work at the ranch. After both his parents had passed away, my Dad
keep the ranch, because he had purchased land himself adjoining the original
parcel that had been homesteaded by grandpa. Daddy raised Black Angus cattle
using the brand H LAZY H. After my dad's passing in 1965, my mother sold
the ranch to Brack and Catherine Cornett of Carrizozo.
The following was taken from a Southern Pacific Railroad bulletin in 1959:
Mr. J. H. Hoffman, engineer, holds assignment on the Golden State run between
El Paso and Carrizozo, New Mexico. Mr. Hoffman started his railroading career
working during school vacation in 1909 and 1910. His first job was assisting
in laying the Bonita pipeline between Nogal Lake and Coyote Pump Station.
In 1911 he was given a regular assignment as boilermaker helper in Carrizozo
Roundhouse, promoted to locomotive engineer in June 1925.
Prior to my parents marrying, my mother ran a small boarding house in El
Paso. She rented a room to dad and fellow railroader, Ernest Dingwall. They
married 1 January 1931 in El Paso, Texas. They moved to Carrizozo, New Mexico
in 1932. In 1948 they moved back to El Paso and stayed until Daddy retired
from the S. P. Railroad Company in 1962. Daddy passed away in August of
The following was taken from my dad's obituary:
Henry Hoffman, age 71, passed away early Thursday morning in the local hospital
after a brief illness. Mr. Hoffman has been a resident of Lincoln County
since 1907. He joined the Navy in 1918 and served through World War I and
was discharged September 30, 1921, returning to Carrizozo where he went
to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Mr. Hoffman was a retired railroad
engineer with the SP Co. He is survived
by his wife, Mrs. May Margaret Hoffman, Carrizozo; three daughters, Mrs.
Mildred Hust, Alamogordo, Mrs. Anna Belle Burrow, Roswell, Mrs. Dorothy
Van Deren, El Paso and one son Harold Hoffman of Dayton, Ohio; one brother,
Arthur Hoffman from Modesto, Calif. and several grandchildren.
Mr. Hoffman was a member of the Carrizozo Masonic Lodge No. 41. Funderal
services were held August 21 at 3 p.m. in the First Baptist Church with
Rev. Milford Misener and Rev. Harold Ely officiating. Masonic Lodge No.
41 held services at the graveside. Interment was made in the family plot
in Evergreen Cemetery, Carrizozo. Casket bearers were: Elmer Hust, Roy Harman,
Brack Cornett, Elmer Eaker, Roley Ward and Don Means. Honorary bearers:
Frank English, Albert Snow, Elvin Harkey, Byrl Lindsay, Bob Ashmore, Tom
O'Rear, Otho Lowe, Cliff Zumwalt, Vernon Petty, W. H. Rickerson, Lewis Huffman,
Roy Shafer, Troy Sadler, Pat Withers, John McCollum, Johnson Stearns, Frank
McBride, Mark Sloan, Joe West. Services under the direction of Chapel of
Roses. First Family Submitted by Millie Hust.
First Family: Henry Richard HUDSON
came to Lincoln County in 1878 from Kerr County, Texas, possibly the son
of Henry Randolph Hudson. He was born 27 February 1823 in Monroe or Montgomery
County Alabama. He married Hulda Joy--daughter of Wiley Joy and Hulda Elizabeth
Frazier, at Little Rock, Arkansas on 7 September 1853 according to LDS records.
Daughter, Alice Alabama, was born 24 November 1854 at Ft. Smith, Arkansas.
H. R. Hudson was on the Sebastian County, Arkansas 1855 Tax list. His son,
Columbus Bradley, was born 23 September 1856 at Kerrville. Wiley Steven
was born 12 October 1858, and George Bellmore on 3 July 1860. The HUDSON’s
were listed on 1860 Gillespie County, Texas census. Last child, Edward Felix
Lincoln Hudson, was born 6 April in Kerrville. Henry Richard Hudson was
a 5th Sgt. for the Third Frontier District of the Texas State Troops of
the Confederate States of America at age thirty-nine. Hulda Hudson's mother,
Hulda Elizabeth Joy, and sister, Alwilda McDonald, were killed by Indians
in 1865 near Harper, Texas.
In 1878, The Hudson family and a small band of wagons made its way to New
Mexico. It took three weeks to reach the Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos
River. From there they went to Seven Rivers, New Mexico. While camped at
Seven Rivers, Ike Teeters tried to rob the wagon train but was killed by
Bell Hudson. Later, Bell Hudson raced a stranger on horseback for the stranger's
bridle. Bell lost the race and after the stranger departed, Bell was told
he was Billy the Kid. Ed & Bell worked for John Chisholm and Bell was part
of Pat Garrett's posse. Ed and Bell played instruments, sang and called
for square dances. H. R. Hudson died 2 April 1901. His wife, Hulda, died
11 November at Alma, New Mexico. H. R. and sons Wiley Steven, Columbus Bradley
and Ed Hudson were buried at Reserve, in Catron County, New Mexico. First
Family contributed by Janet Hudson Samuels.
First Family: Martin Benevides
LUCERO was born in Lincoln,
New Mexico in 1902. His father was Francisco Lucero, and his mother was
Juanita Benevides Lucero. My father Martin Lucero was the youngest of three
children. The oldest of the daughters was Felicita Lucero and the second
one was Otillia Lucero. All three attended elementary school in Lincoln.
My father often spoke of his early life in Lincoln before getting married
and later moving to the Ancho and Carrizozo areas. My great grand parents
were Jose and Marita Lucero. They arrived in the area in the 1800’s. My
father’s family had a cattle farm and trained horses at one time. They last
lived in Lincoln County about 1920.
First Family: Antonio MONTOYA
and Petra Garduņo RIVERA were from San Miguel County and had eleven children.
Their second son, Adonio Rivera Montoya (1885-1973) was baptized in Picacho
in Lincoln County. Adonio's baptism 19 August 1885 is registered in the
Carrizozo Santa Rita Catholic Church records, as are those of his wife and
Adonio married Antonia Vigil, (1889-1957) born in in Lincoln County to Daniel
Trujillo Vigil and Elfida Fresquez Chavez. Antonia's paternal grandparents,
Manuel Vigil and Maria Polinaria Trujillo gave eighty acres off the Pine
Lodge Road on the north side of the Capitan Mountains to Adonio and Antonia.
Valued members of their community, Adonio worked for the Block Ranch as
a cowboy. He was also a carpenter and a brick and rock mason. Antonia, a
religious woman, was the epitome of a country wife known for her generosity
and hospitality. She grew and canned her own food, raised chickens, and
was a good cook. Adonio and Antonia had eleven children. Mary taught at
the Richardson School, married Ruben Sanchez and raised four children. Claudio
married Juanita Chaves, bought property at Encinoso, and raised eight children
there. "Chonita" married Damacio Chavez, lived in Capitan, and raised six
children. Elfego lived in Capitan until his death in 1993. Elvira, currently
living on the family property in Richardson, married Anatalio Lucero Sanchez
and raised four children. Cleotilde married Daniel Vargas and raised three
sons in California. Delia married Ray Lucero and is the mother of two sons.
Flora married Evaristo Lucero Sanchez of Arabella and currently resides
in California with their three daughters. Ben, who never married, died in
1957 in a car accident just outside of Capitan. Rosa died at the age of
four. Tony, who married Mary Guillen and had four sons, died in a 1966 automobile
accident. Submitted by: Flora Montoya Sanchez--daughter of Adonio and Antonia,
and her daughters, Martha Sanchez Wilson and Edythe Sanchez Machado.
First Family: Henry Pfingsten
was born in 1840 in Germany and came to the America as a stowaway in 1855.
He first settled in St. Clair County, Illinois. In 1861 he joined the army,
probably to avoid deportation. He was in Company C, 16th Illinois Cavalry,
serving from 18 April 1861 to 16 July 1864. A pension claim notes that he
had a severe saber cut on his head. He married Sophia Bahe on 27 Nov 1866
in Chicago. The 1870 Nebraska Census, lists Henry and his wife, often called
Sophia, Sofia, or Sophie as ages 30 and 23 respectively.
From 1865 to 1870, Henry and Sophia lived in Illinois and Nebraska while
Henry worked on the courthouse in Omaha and for the Chicago Sash & Door
Company. By 1880 Henry and Sophia had moved to Del Norte, Colorado. They
arrived in New Mexico soon after and were listed in the 1885 New Mexico
Agricultural Census. Henry was injured in the Old Soldier Mine near Bonito
City, New Mexico in 1886. He had set off a blast of dynamite then hurried
into the mine while the dust was still in the shaft and the air was bad.
He signaled to be brought back up on a windlass, but either he fell off
a rope or it broke, for he dropped 60 ft. to the bottom. Sophia's pension
claims indicate that he had contracted a disability while in the service.
He died 29 May 1887 at Bonito City and was buried at his home site. After
Bonito Dam was built and Bonito Lake was formed, Bonito City was no more.
Henry's remains lie 50 or more vertical feet above the Bonito Lake overflow
and out of sight of the lake, next to a daughter, Minnie.
Henry's obituary in the 3 June 1887 edition of the New Mexico Interpreter
of White Oaks: "On last Sunday morning, at the residence of Pete Lanham,
Henry Pfingsten [sic] died very suddenly. Mr. Pfingsten was at work on Saturday
on one of his many claims, in the evening he complained of a severe colic
and thought that he would not live long, at four o'clock next morning he
breathed his last. He leaves a wife and seven children, who live near Bonito
City. They have the sympathy of the entire community."
His seven children were: Edward Lee Pfingsten married Maggie Robinson; Fredrick
George Pfingsten married Mary Margaret May; Josephine Pfingsten married
Robert Bourne; Albert Henry Pfingsten married Eva May; Emma Pfingsten married
Ed Peters; Minnie Pfingsten married Mac McKinney; Agnes Pfingsten married
Information from US Archives, Washington, DC, (Census, Civil War Records,
Pension files) Newspaper clippings, May Family Bible. First Family contributed
by Charley Terrell.
First Family: Andrew McNeely
RICHARDSON (1843-1905), Melvin Emyor Richardson (1851-1923), and
Granville Addison Richardson (1860-1937), sons of John Richardson and Louisa
DeLany, were all born in Hopedale, Ohio and all came to Lincoln County in
the late 1800's. Granville was the first to travel to the New Mexico Territory,
reaching Lincoln, New Mexico in September of 1886. He set up his law practice
there and remained for two years before moving to Roswell and becoming its
pioneer lawyer. (An Illustrated History of New Mexico, The Lewis Publishing
Co: 1895). He helped write the New Mexico Constitution by which the Territory
became a state in 1912. He was elected District Judge of the Fifth Judicial
District in 1914 and again in 1927. He served as mayor of Roswell from 1908
to 1910, and the citizens of Roswell recognized him for his many achievements
by naming Richardson Avenue in his honor. (Little Town West of the Pecos,
C. S. Adams: 1909) He was born in Hopedale, Ohio on January 5, 1860. He
married Miss Nina Evert on November 22, 1893.
They had one son, Donovan McNeely Richardson, born in 1894. Granville passed
away on July 26, 1934 in Boston, Massachusetts. Nina Richardson died on
September 14, 1940. Andrew McNeely Richardson arrived in Lincoln County
in 1878, having traveled from his family's farm in Pettis County, Missouri.
He settled at the foot of the Capitan Mountains in Lincoln County and worked
as a sheepherder. Two years later, his brother Melvin followed him from
Missouri to Lincoln County and joined him in the sheep raising business.
(A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol.II, The Lewis Publishing
Both brothers are listed in the 1880 New Mexico census with Andrew residing
in Rio Penasco and Melvin at Las Tablas. Melvin married Miss Alice DeLany
of Hopedale, Ohio in 1884. On March 21, 1885, the two brothers, together
with Melvin's father-in-law, John C. DeLany, Charles S. Thurber and Horace
K. Thurber, associated themselves as a body corporate under the name of
El Capitan Land and Cattle Company of New Mexico. (Articles of Incorporation
dated 3/21/1885). The main headquarters was located at the Block Ranch in
Lincoln County. Andrew married Benina Maria Lucero of Las Tablas in 1887.
He was elected Justice of the Peace for Precinct 6 of Lincoln County New
Mexico and on 3 February 1890 posted bond for this office. (Peace Bond dated
On Christmas Day of 1893, Melvin and his family moved to Sterling, Kansas
but continued his association with the sheep business. On November 8, 1894
Andrew, Melvin, and Horace K. Thurber formed a second association by the
name of The Capitan Sheep Company. (Articles of Incorporation dated 11/8/1894).
On April 3, 1895 the Richardson Post Office was established with Andrew
Richardson serving as one of its postmasters. (Old Timer's Review, fall
1979) An agreement made on the 6th day of June, 1900 between the associates
of El Capitan Land and Cattle Company sold the shares to Nancy Thurber.
Andrew and his family remained in Lincoln County where he was appointed
postmaster of the Arabella post office on 15 February 1901. (Old Timer's
Review, fall 1979).
Andrew had changed the name of Las Tablas to Arabella in honor of the daughter
of one of the townsmen after his appointment. There, Andrew and Benina raised
a family of 7 children: Jose, Bonefacia, Edward, Thomas, Granville, Lavenia,
and Melvin. The family is listed in the 1900 and 1910 New Mexico Census
living in Agua Azul. Andrew died in December 1906 and is buried in Sterling,
Kansas next to his brother Melvin, who died in 1923. (Cottonwood Cemetery
records) Andrew's son, Granville began raising his own family in Arabella
before moving to Hondo, New Mexico. He was a lifelong resident of Lincoln
County who died in 1963. Many of his descendants have remained in Lincoln
County settling in the villages of Ruidoso, Capitan and Hondo. First Family
contributed by I. J. Richardson.
First Family: 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
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.
First Family SENA: The
late 1800’s were times of great adventure, change, lawlessness, and growth
for the city of Lincoln. Among those who settled in the town during this
vibrant time was a teenager named George SENA (b. 23 Apr 1863, d. 20 Mar
1927) who would prove to be an upstanding citizen dedicated to public service.
He was as much at ease with Anglos as with his own people, and could speak
and write eloquently in both English and Spanish. If he is mentioned at
all in the Lincoln County history books, it is as a footnote to the stories
of law enforcement in the Wild West era. But to read contemporary accounts
of his life is to begin to discover a complex individual who likely played
a role in the society of Lincoln village and the early history of the state
of New Mexico. In the early 1880’s, George moved with his parents, Ignacio
SENA and Agapita ORTIZ, from Las Vegas in San Miguel County, New Mexico
to Lincoln. Ignacio was a blacksmith as his father Henriques had been. Ignacio
could read and write, which was unusual for an adult in this time, and most
likely was involved in law enforcement in Las Vegas; the 1870 census shows
two men whose occupations were listed as prisoner in jail living in the
Sena household. It was in Las Vegas that George received his formal schooling.
Although it’s not certain when the Sena family moved, they were living in
Lincoln by the time Billy the Kid escaped from the Lincoln County Jail in
1881. Family legend had it that George was a deputy sheriff at this time.
What the family failed to mention was that Sheriff Pat Garrett had deputized
every male in Lincoln County old enough to carry a gun. In July of 1885,
George married Teresa CARRILLO (b. 16 Aug 1867, d. 1911).
Teresa had arrived in Lincoln with her family during the 1870’s. Her father,
Jose CARRILLO and her mother, Nicanora MONTOYA MARQUES had traveled to Lincoln
from Manzano, Valencia County, New Mexico. George and Teresa started their
new family soon after they married and by their twentieth anniversary Teresa
had given birth to nine children. In naming their children, they gave them
one set of names at baptism but then called them by nicknames, usually anglicized
versions of their Spanish nombres de pila. Use of the nicknames was so ingrained
in them that years later one of the children declared the name on her baptismal
certificate to be completely wrong. She continued to use her nickname as
her legal name for the rest of her life. Their children were: Manuela called
Mela; Vicenta called Bessie; Soraida called Zora; Ignacio whose nickname
Nacho does not appear on official records; Martina Agapita called Anna or
Annie; Maria Adela called Avie; Jose Candido called Joe; and two unnamed
twin girls who died soon after their birth. The family claimed that the
twins had been born alive, but that the doctor who delivered them was drunk
at the time. In his excitement over having birthed twins, he drowned them
while bathing them. They were buried in the front yard of San Juan Church.
The Sena’s home was across from the church, where the children sang in the
choir, and next to the Torreon, a place where the children would often play.
In the early 1960’s, Zora returned for Old Lincoln Days and noted that only
one room of their house remained standing; all the rest had fallen. To read
Sacramental records of the Hispanic Catholic Church in New Mexico is to
discover the names of extended family and close friends among the witnesses
and sponsors. The Sena family records included many surnames you would expect--Chavez,
Lucero, Baca--and a few you might not--West, Norman, Moeller.
In later years, George would play host to future statesmen Octaviano Larrazolo
(New Mexico Governor, 1919-1921) and John Nance Garner (United States Vice
President, 1932-1940). His social circle clearly encompassed the Hispanic-
and European-American communities, political leaders as well as cherished
relatives and neighbors. It seems that George was a man of many talents.
Various documents recorded his occupations while living in Lincoln as bookkeeper
and clerk in Andrew Richardson’s General Merchandise Store, court interpreter,
County Clerk, and Sheriff. His tenure as sheriff, which began in 1895, was
cut short in March of 1896. Governor William Thornton removed him from his
position for failure to enforce the law. This occurred during an era when
many local New Mexico lawmen refused to pursue a known criminal unless the
governor posted a reward for his capture. Following this practice could
be what cost George his job. Despite this apparent ignominy, George reveled
in his role as Wild West Lawman. A studio photo of him circa 1915 shows
a beefy man in a suit and ten-gallon hat holding his six-shooter. The gun
is pointed at the forehead of a young man playing the hapless outlaw. The
criminal’s left hand reaches for the sky while gun-holding right hand is
grasped firmly at the wrist by the sheriff. What remains of his writings
shows a man who could display pride, religious fervor, pathos and righteous
anger all on the same page. In a letter to his grown daughters Zora and
Avie, this stern disciplinarian scolds them saying their disobedience is
like a blow that splits open his soul, and tears and saddens his heart.
He admonishes his daughters that life is very short, very burdensome and
sad at times.
To live in harmony, to give and take, is the best motto for life, he tells
them. In about 1906, George moved his family to Santa Rosa, in Guadalupe
County. While he lived there, he served the county as County Clerk, Court
and Senate Interpreter, and Superintendent of Schools. Though his professional
life was very successful during these years, he also suffered much personal
tragedy. In 1911 his wife Teresa died of unknown causes at the age of 44.
George then married Matilde Tillie HENDERSON in 1913 and they had two children
together: George Coronel and Antonio Louis called Louis or Pershing. But
even as these children came into his life, three of his daughters--Mela,
Bessie, and Anna--died in the 1918 Flu Epidemic leaving behind husbands
and small children. Not long after that, George began to experience the
symptoms of pernicious anemia, a painful, fatiguing disease. Then in 1923,
George’s son Ignacio was killed in a car crash while he was en route to
visit his ailing father. Finally in March of 1927, George succumbed to his
illness just one month shy of his 64th birthday. On the day of his funeral,
schools and businesses in Santa Rosa were closed. His obituary said his
funeral procession was one of the largest ever seen in the city, citing
it as proof of the popularity he enjoyed from his fellow citizens and neighbors.
The article concluded, “With the death of George Sena the state of New Mexico
has lost one of its finest citizens and the Hispanic American people one
of its most illustrious and noble defenders.” Sources: New Mexico Census
1870-1920; New Mexico Parish records for Santa Rita in Carrizozo, Our Lady
of the Immaculate Conception in Tome, Santa Rosa de Lima in Santa Rosa;
Las Nuevas Newspaper, Santa Rosa; United States Marshals . . . and Desert
Lawmen . . . books by Larry D. Ball; Shaking the Family Tree, an unpublished
paper by Elizabeth Clements Mooney. Submitted by Annette Mooney Wasno.
First Family: John Henry SNELL.
John Henry SNELL was born 30 January 1864 in Wilcox County, Alabama. He
moved with his parents and siblings, William, Joseph, David, Edward, Annie
and Mary to Falls County, Texas. He married in Falls County to Benola Kirk
also from Wilcox County, Alabama. John's brothers and sisters remained in
Texas. After a short while in Cottle County, Texas, John his wife and family
traveled in a covered wagon pulled by mules named Bill and Maude to Lincoln
County in 1908. At that time seven of their ten children had been born in
Texas. They homesteaded land on the Mesa above Nogal. A photo of John and
children, Bernard and Alice, with the mules pulling a plow in the field
is dated 1911. John raised and sold cattle and farmed. Benola raised chickens
and milk cows.
She sold eggs and milk. They took a photo of the chicken house that a tornado
demolished. Benola died at the homeplace in 1937. Alice Beneter Snell married
Albert May. Walter 'Buddy' Snell and Alice Beneter Snell remained in the
area, while the other children moved away to other counties and states,
they took a nice family photo before Benola died, and the children moved
away from home. Tommie to WWI then Texas, Bernard to WY, Ernest to WWII
then CO. while Olive lived in Roswell and Lizzie Mae in northern New Mexico.
My mother Annie Kirk Snell married Gean Dickey of Amarillo. The land John
Snell homesteaded was sold to his son Buddy, upon John's death on 30 May
1948 in Texas at the home of his daughter Bernice. John and Benola Kirk
Snell and many of the family members are buried in Angus Cemetery. Submitted
by Louise Wiles.
Copyright October 2007