Cousins of Lincoln County
Pat Garrett. Billy the Kid. Now that we have that our of system, here is our story. By Janet Ann Barnum
Benjamin Bragg and Benjamin Goats
This is a genealogical account of Benjamin Bragg and Benjamin F. Goats who lived in Texas and whose offspring came to Lincoln County, New Mexico in the 1880's. Two of those children, Mollie Delphora Goats and Thomas Alfred Bragg married and brought forth a strong family that continued their line in several states of our country.
The most fascinating aspect of early Lincoln County Genealogy is the degree to which every person seemed to be a cousin, or some other relative, to every other person. Often, individuals were unaware any kinship existed, but it was there, buoyed by a sea of marriages.
Hust, Terrell, Pfinston, Greer, Bragg, Oswald, Cain, Corn, Zumwalt, Goats, Coats, two McDaniel lines, Duggar, Skinner, Purcella, Sutherlin, and the Branum families formed irrevocable bonds like fingers interlaced, one hand bound unto another.
I despair because of my poor knowledge of Spanish American Genealogy in Lincoln County. It seemed to me when I was in High School that my Spanish American friends were all related to one another as a cousin or a second cousin, although with many different surnames, and they were proud of their large family.
Perhaps, that interlacing of kinship provided strength for people in a land which offered declining opportunity. This book chronicles a tiny piece of that family strength.
A measure of knowledge about Lincoln County, New Mexico is necessary to understand and appreciate it's importance to the Bragg and Goats family. Lincoln County attracted families from many states, but most settlers came from Texas. The influx began after gold was discovered in White Oaks in 1879. Shafts were dug named North Homestake, South Homestake, Little Mac, Lady Godiva, Old Abe, and several lesser mines.
South of White Oaks, claims were producing small amounts of precious metal by 1880 in the Nogal area. The major mines were the American, Helen Rae, and Hope. In the Bonito area, the biggest mine was the Parsons mine. There were much smaller ones operating like the Silver Mine and the Blue Front.
Railroads pushed into Capitan to exploit its coal fields, and a line was planned to serve White Oaks. Before 1900, the mining business began to crumble. In time, the railroads were shut down; Nogal turned into a farming area; White Oaks became a ghost town; Capitan became a ranching community; Bonito City was inundated with water in 1935 caused by the construction of Bonito Dam. The vast resources of the Lincoln County forest came under the control of the Mescalero Apache Indians, and the Lincoln National Forest.
The county seat of Lincoln County was established at Las Placitas in 1869. This was known as Bonito Plaza. In 1878 the county was doubled in size and became the largest county in the United States at that time. The name was changed from Las Placitas to Lincoln in 1878.
In 1912, the county seat was moved from Lincoln to Carrizozo. Carrizozo was then the only going concern in Lincoln County because, it was a busy railroad town of the El Paso South Western Rail Road. Lincoln Village declined. The last known Lobo was killed near Carrizozo on the flats 20 January 1920. Our story shall end about that same time.
The population of Lincoln County was approximately as displayed:
PNE = Precinct Not Enumerated or data not available.
Most Bragg families in America originated in England. Bragg is a Devon name; the Brags of Devonshire had a long history and were prosperous and thriving. "Bragg" means lively and cheerful, suggesting one who boasts. The Bragg name has continued in England for over one thousand years. They are descended from Chief Brego. The Bragg Family Crest is "A lion's head erased, AR., collared vaire, OR and AZ." There are several variations of Bragg: Bragge, Brag, Brage, Braggs, Braig, and Brague. The Braggs are one of the oldest families in America.
Jesse Bragg was born about 1787 in the territory of Mississippi. He married Nancy Waney. From that union came several children of whom complete genealogies have not been compiled. Jesse died about 1847 before he could move to Texas. His wife gathered her children and her belongings and moved to Young County, Texas. She was born in 1796 in Tennessee and died in Texas in 1870.
I presumed our Braggs originated in Alabama but could not establish that fact. Norris Maxwell determined that Jesse and Nancy Bragg moved from Alabama to Mississippi in 1832 or 1834. Part of the family moved to Young County, Texas by 1850. They went to Texas to acquire land in the Robertson Colony near Corsicana in May 1850. The primary counties occupied by the Braggs after 1860 were Navarro, Young, Hill, and Shackelford. Jesse and Nancy's family consisted of the following children:
William Bragg born about 1812 in Alabama. He married
Mary about 1840. She was born in 1817 in Alabama.
George A. Bragg--Son of Jesse
George A. Bragg was wounded by Indians while under attack on the Elm Creek settlement on 13 October 1864 in Young County Texas. Many defenders were killed. After the attack, a doctor from Fort Belknap arrived after a long trip.
George was held down by five men while the Doctor cut the arrow from his body. It took several men to hold George, for like most Braggs, he was blessed by God with size and strength. George swore with the most vile tongue anyone had ever witnessed. George refused to die and went on to settle in the wilderness of Colorado.
The families of Johnson, Bragg, Sutherlin, Purcella, and Cleghorn formed a close association in Texas, and it carried over into early Lincoln County, New Mexico to a lesser extent. It's noteworthy that the Negro slaves who lived among the Bragg and Johnson families took the names of Johnson and Bragg. These Negroes fought beside the settlers with a determined spirit.
George's family was as follows:
Nathan Bragg was the son of George Bragg and Mary
Polly Meyers. Nathan married Virginia E. Allen. Their family are listed
Joseph Bragg was born in Alabama. He moved to Roane, Navarro County, Texas with his mother about 1847. He married Julia Ann Eliza Hamilton in Navarro County 18 January 1849. He lived in Young County, Texas during the Elm Creek Raid. He moved back to Navarro County in December 1868.
The Taos, Texas area had residents of John Hamilton,
and his brother James, who owned slaves. Other residents were Joseph
Bragg, Benjamin Bragg, George Bragg, and Alfred Bragg.
William was born in 1812 in Alabama. His family moved
frequently. They moved from Alabama before 1842 to Mississippi. Then
they moved back to Alabama about 1843. Then, they moved to Texas about
1851. His wife, Mary, was born about 1821.
Jesse Bragg married Nancy Didama Bullard in 1868 in
Hill County, Texas. A study of Jesse's family reveals corresponding
data with Alfred Bragg's family thus:
Suspicion exists that Eva listed in Jesse's family was actually the Eva in Alfred's family, as they have the same name and were born in the same county at about the same time. Eva, above, judging from the other data, was born about 1883, the same as Alfred's Eva. These two families probably lived near one another as was the Bragg custom.
Benjamin Bragg--Uncle to Thomas
Benjamin Bragg was born 26 February 1828 in the state of Mississippi. He married Martha A. Beasley on 21 April 1853 in Navarro, Texas. He died in Navarro County, Texas on 5 November 1905. His children were Mathew born 26 March 1855, Texas; James born about 1856, Texas; Jesse, born 1860, Texas; and Liza, born about 1861, Texas.
Ben Bragg--Father of Thomas
Ben, as his family lovingly spoke his name, was born in Texas about 1852. Ben was the child of Alfred C. Bragg and Susan Emiline Boggs Harris Bragg. Ben married Anna D. 'Annie' Stanphill 23 October 1873 near Hillsboro, Hill County, Texas. His grandmother came to Texas from Mississippi. Ben's grandfather, Jesse, died in Mississippi before his family moved west.
Ben made his living in various ways. In 1875, he worked in Hill County as a farmer. In 1880 he worked for the Rio Grande Railway Hospital Department in Palo Pinto, Palo Pinto County, Texas. William T. Bragg also worked at that location. His relationship to Ben is not known.
Another, William Bragg, was listed as Ben's cousin, twenty-two years old, on the 1880 Palo Pinto Federal census. He worked for the railroad also. William was the son of William and Mary Bragg. William Bragg, Sr. was the son of Jesse.
In 1887, Ben's family joined a wagon train bound for Lincoln County, New Mexico. The train passed through Lubbock, Texas before going through Roswell, New Mexico, then to White Oaks following a wagon road. It passed through Albany, Shackelford County, Texas where Benjamin lived and where his wife, Anna, gave birth to Charles A. Bragg on 17 February 1882. Ben joined the train in Shackelford County.
Ben occupied land to build his quarters in Lincoln County north of Nogal and southeast of the mining town of White Oaks. The only access to his home was a mule trail from Nogal that wound around terminating at White Oaks. This was government land which he could not purchase, but he didn't have to pay for it either. His land would later become part of the vast Lincoln National Forest.
Ben was a prospector as well as a goat and sheep rancher. Ben took over most of the prospecting work while his oldest son, Thomas Alfred Bragg, had a natural talent for herding sheep; therefore, Tom ran the sheep business. It was here he learned to select and breed quality mules. Eventually, he came to be the most respected mule skinner in Lincoln County.
Ben and Thomas increased their sheep herd. They solicited the help of several Mexican herders which Ben hired from the large population of Mexican Americans who lived in Lincoln County.
The herders had a custom of using nicknames. They named headquarters Benado. Benado means "Ben sin mas ni mas." In English that translates into "Just Ben, that's all," or "This is Ben's place."
Just south of headquarters was a long, wide canyon where Thomas drove his sheep just before shearing. The Mexicans named that canyon "Canon Del Bragg." A smaller canyon south of Canon Del Bragg was named "Canon Del Bragg de Pequeno."
One hundred years later, the official New Mexico Lincoln County map labeled these sites Benado Gap, Bragg Canyon, and Little Bragg Canyon in the exact location where they were named by the Mexican herders.
Ben was nicknamed "Patron." Thomas carried the name "Muloamo." They knew who the boss was by calling Ben "Patron." Muloamo literally translates into mule master. An English interruption of Muloamo is mule skinner.
A brief record of Ben's family genealogy can be gleaned from a study of the known censuses thus:
Bragg--Beckman Federal Census Sequence
Palo Pinto Lincoln Lincoln Lincoln Born
Alfred C. Bragg, appearing on the 1880 Hill County census above, either died, married or did not move to New Mexico with his family. It was once believed Alfred C. and Charles A. were the same child, but this was impossible if the marriage license of Charles Bragg recorded his date of birth correctly, i.e. 17 February 1882. He couldn't have been counted on the 1880 census two years before he was born. Possibly, Alfred Charles was born first and died as a child, whereupon, the next child was named Charles Alfred in his memory.
The Stanphill Connection
The Stanphill's entered Hill County Texas about the same time as the Bragg families. Several marriages occurred and the new families moved out of Hill County. In 1880, the census recorded the family of Alfred and Emiline Bragg, and James and Frances Bragg living next door to the family of Charles Stanphill and Francis A. Hammill Stanphill in the village of Peoria. The Stanphill children were Elizabeth age 2, and Kate H. aged eight months.
In early times, families that lived near one another were often related through marriage. Records which were not destroyed by the great fire in Hill County, recorded Stanphill marriages in Hill County after 1873 as follows:
Benjamin Bragg married Anna Stanphill 23 October 1873.
I recognize, but cannot prove, Stanphills Anna, Fannie, Cynthia, and Charles were from the same family. Charles and Fannie Hammill were listed on the Hill County census. The Stanphill-Bragg-Alabama connection is conspicuous.
Charles Stanphill 33 Farmer Alabama
Milton L. Collier, listed above, was the half brother of John Wesley Sutherlin who married Mary Francis Bragg who was the daughter of Alfred Bragg. Nancy Jane Young married Ashley Sutherlin in 1828 in Vermilion County, Indiana. They had three children. Ashley died in 1844, so Nancy moved back to her home in Clay County, Illinois where she married a Mr. Collier who had two children from a previous marriage, Sarah and James.
Mr. Collier died and Nancy left Illinois with her brother-in-law William Sutherlin, the seven children from her first marriage, and Milton L. Collier from her second marriage. They moved to Navarro County, Texas, then to Hill County and Young County.
Next, Nancy married Mr. Covington and moved to Sherman, Texas where they both died. The children of Milton Collier moved to El Paso, Texas. Milton Collier didn't venture westward from Texas according to present records, and he isn't presumed to be related to the Collier family of White Oaks mentioned later.
The Stanphill family roots were in Alabama. That family is recorded below.
James Stanphill 1820 Alabama
Anna may have had an additional brother, Reverend Jim M. Stanphill who was born in 1846 and married Seleusa Sorter who was born in 1845. Their children were:
Addie Stanphill 1864
Data about this family is available from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints file AFN:B2LX-9Q.
Due to the gaps in the sequence of births, it's almost certain more children belonged to Anna's family, perhaps four more children. Since several Stanphill children married in Hill County Texas in the early 1870's, it's reasonable to conclude that they moved to Texas about 1871.
Thomas Alfred Bragg--Son of Benjamin
Further genealogical investigation clarified statements made in our family book published in 1993. Specifically, no evidence exists, either directly or indirectly, that Thomas Albert Bragg had an Indian ancestor, parent, relative, friend, or neighbor.
Additionally, it's impossible that Thomas Bragg was born on an Indian Reservation in Texas in 1874. A search of The Bureau of Indian Affairs records revealed that an Indian Reservation has never existed in the state of Texas. The Bureau Director in The Southwest area confirmed our research.
Additionally, the 1910 Federal Population Census listed Thomas and Mollie Delphora Goats Bragg as W--White, not In--Indian. A final indication of Tom Bragg's ancestry was his death certificate which listed him as "White." Conclusively, a Goatz (several Goats became Goatz) descendant from Benjamin Goats, Grandfather of Mollie Goats, provided documentation that her Goatz line was White.
Thomas Bragg arrived in Lincoln County, New Mexico after 1885 but before January of 1888. This was deduced from the fact that the family of Thomas wasn't reflected on the 1885 State census. The 1890 Federal Population Census would be a preferred census, but it was destroyed by fire.
According to the Federal Population Census of 1900, Thomas arrived before January 1888 because his sister, Emma, was born in January of 1888 in New Mexico. Eva was born in Texas in 1883. Fred P. Cleghorn, Alfred's son-in-law, was born in Texas in 1886. Fred's sister was born in New Mexico in 1888. Therefore, it's reasonable to conclude Thomas arrived in New Mexico in 1887.
Thomas Bragg told, his great granddaughter, Janet Ann Greer, that he came to New Mexico in a wagon train when he was a boy. Thomas was about thirteen years of age when he arrived in the White Oaks mining area.
The wagons were pulled by up to six yokes of oxen, except Ben Bragg's wagon was pulled by six mules. It was Tom's responsibility to water and feed the mules each evening and to inspect them for any trail injuries or sores. He developed an instinct about mules that he carried until he died.
The census records revealed the Bragg, Skinner, Goats, Greer, Cain, Corn, Kennedy, Collier, Cleghorn, Grumbles, and Zumwalt families came to Lincoln County in the same era and each moved from the state of Texas. The roots of early Lincoln County grew in Texas soil.
How the various families knew about the Bonito Country is a mystery, but word surely spread across Northern and Western Texas that gold was plentiful on the Bonito, a land of fresh flowing streams, clean air, and tall trees. Texas newspapers carried accounts of the riches in White Oaks and Nogal. Finding but little gold, immigrants turned to other professions.
One inconsistency occurred in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 Federal Population Census for New Mexico concerning the Thomas Bragg family. Thomas maintained his father was born in Texas. Annie, 'Anna', Stanphill Bragg Beckman, his mother, said he was born in Alabama. By 1920, Thomas had changed his father's place of birth to Mississippi. That inconsistency verified a genealogical axiom that a census is a signpost that points in several directions. Ben, himself, revealed he was born in Texas in the 1880 census, and that settled the question.
Thomas Bragg was a rugged individualist. He stood 6'4" tall, wore a western style hat and sported a thick, black mustache. Thomas preferred mules to horses and was known in Lincoln County as a mule skinner. He often raced his mules against horses for spending money.
Tom, as he was known, was born in Hillsboro, Hill County, Texas on 27 December 1874. In 1887, Tom's father and his family with other relatives and friends, traveled by wagon train to Lincoln County, New Mexico. His other relatives were his grandfather, Alfred C. Bragg and family, and Tom's uncle George T. Bragg, a son of Alfred. The families of Oswald, Johnson, Cleghorn, and Kennedy also joined the wagon train.
Tom received many painful blows during his life in Lincoln County. He outlived his captivating wife, Mollie Delphora Goats Bragg who died in his arms.
Tom never remarried after Mollie died in 1923. He once remarked that Mollie filled his heart. He had no need to take another wife. Although his life was often filled with dark emotions, Tom was blessed by a long life. He arrived in Lincoln County by wagon train as a young man, yet lived long enough to witness a man walking on the Moon.
In 1895, Thomas was hired by J. L. Doughtery as a herder. Doughtery's main business was mining, and he held two mining deeds in the Nogal District, Lincoln County. Doughtery purchased a flock of sheep from miscreants who had stolen them from a rancher Southwest of Lincoln, Lincoln County, New Mexico. They were moved to upper Eagle Creek where Thomas and his herders took over.
One evening in 1896, a band of Mexican raiders rode across the open range, which was Public Domain, from Lincoln to Eagle Creek east of Alto where Tom was camped. Thomas was living in the rough for some time, so it was necessary for his loving father, Benjamin, to bring in supplies for him.
As Benjamin approached Tom's camp on the Eagle Creek trail, he was discovered by the raiders who came to retrieve the stolen sheep. The raiders waited in hiding as Ben negotiated the trail on his mule followed by two pack mules laden with supplies. They opened fire. Ben fell from his mule mortally wounded.
Tom rode his mule the short distance to investigate but was turned away by gunfire. After the raiders gathered and removed the sheep, Tom took Ben's body to Nogal for burial. Ben was buried in the Nogal Cemetery.
Tom chipped a headstone from a slab of rock and buried it in the drifting sand of Nogal Cemetery. Ben's name was scratched on it's face with an awl. That tombstone was lost until 1993 when it was discovered jutting above the sand on a grassy slope.
The minister who conducted the funeral service was probably John H. Skinner, the Greer and Bragg family minister for several years. Ben's mother, Emiline Bragg, fell into depression after Ben's death and experienced mental problems the rest of her life.
A short time later, Thomas Alfred Bragg, Leo Oswald--Tom's brother-in-law from White Oaks, and uncle George T. Bragg from Raventon quietly slipped through the scrub oak on their mules to the open range near Lincoln. They remained in hiding except to make surprise attacks against the raiders.
According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Day Book, warrants were issued for George T. Bragg and Thomas A. Bragg by Lincoln County Sheriff Emil Fritz, but they never went to trial. From the day of his father's death onward, Tom packed a rifle. George eventually departed Lincoln County only to be murdered in Arizona.
Leo Oswald moved to Carrizozo, New Mexico and became a Deputy Sheriff of Lincoln County by 1910. He owned a home in Carrizozo free and clear. Before 1920, Leo moved north to Valencia, New Mexico. Tom held his place in Lincoln County.
Several stories survive about Tom's rough-necked deportment. Tom wasn't shy, for certain, but he wouldn't permit anyone to take his picture. He was a fist-fighter, mule skinner, and mountain man. Men who provoked Tom knew anguish.
Tom once stopped a supply train of mule-drawn wagons bound for Bonito City. He removed his belt and placed it around a lead mule, unbuckled him from the team and lead him away. The mule was named Rhoda, a prize mule belonging to Tom which was stolen a month earlier. Tom spoke not a word during the incident.
The children of Thomas Bragg are outlined below:
Lee Charley Bragg, first child of Thomas, was born in Benado on 4 April 1899. The Lincoln County Historical Society determined that he was buried at Carrizozo. The family claim he was buried at Angus. He died on 2 January 1938 of influenza. He was only thirty-eight years old.
Bertha Fannie Bragg, second child of Thomas, married Lester Greer on 2 August 1920. Lester was born 20 June 1896. Bertha was born 19 August 1901. Their dates of death were 31 March 1971 and 21 April 1967 for Lester. They were part of the Greer Family from which the Greer Society was formed.
Tom's third child was Emzy Everett Bragg, born 30 August 1905 near White Oaks, married Jewell A. Bullard--born on 1 Dec 1911 in Capitan, New Mexico; they married on 22 September 1930. Their children were Evelyn, John, Mary Nell, Earl, and George. George died while an infant and was buried under the marker "Baby Bragg" in Angus Cemetery.
One summer Emzy was at the old Parsons Hotel which was converted into a saloon. The rooms upstairs were said to be places of lascivious behavior. The Parsons was a rough place to visit. It was here Emzy got into a fight with a man named George Mannis. Mannis pulled a hunting knife and stabbed Emzy in the right thigh and left shoulder.
The nearest doctor was in Carrizozo, thirty miles away. Emzy drove his pickup truck toward Carrizozo but bled to death before he reached the hospital. He died on 19 May 1941. He was only thirty-five years old. Fist-fighter Emzy was buried next to Thomas Alfred Bragg in an unmarked grave. Mannis was convicted of manslaughter.
Roy Harman of Carrizozo said Emzy had a menacing side to him. He enjoyed fist-fighting. He provoked others to fight without reason. He liked to aggravate and challenge people. Emzy's sons were also well-known experts with bare fists.
Emzy's son, John, was taken-in by John Harkey who raised him and taught him business practices. John helped Mr. Harkey with his business operations in Lincoln County until he was killed in a car accident. John was only twenty-five years old when he died. John was born 23 September 1933, died 18 September 1958, and was buried in Ruidoso, New Mexico.
Evelyn Bragg became a nurse in Ft. Stanton. Mary Nell married and moved to Texas. Earl Bragg became a ranch foreman in New Mexico at the famous O BAR O Ranch. He married a beautiful lady named Beverly.
After World War I, Tom and a brother established a Goat ranch in the Oscuro Mountains each having a half interest. Later, the Greer family purchased the Bragg ranch and moved their Mohair Goats from the San Andres Ranch.
A stock brand recently discovered by a Goats descendant was "T X B". This was the brand of Lee Goats' brother-in-law, Thomas A. Bragg, of Parsons. It was short for Thomas X Bragg. Other brands in the New Mexico Brand book of 1915 were under the name Annie Bragg of Parsons; J. W. Bragg of Quemado, J.W. Bragg of Angus; Jake Goetz of Stanley; Otto Goetz; and Lee Goates.
The brand of Lee Goats was Mollie's brother. J. W. Bragg was James W. Bragg, son of Alfred, of Quemado; and his grandson, James William Bragg of Angus. New Mexico had two places named Quemado. The one in question was in Socorro County.
Thomas Alfred Bragg was born on 27 December 1874 an died on 9 September 1968. He was ninety-four. He's buried in Angus Cemetery. He lies next to his beloved Mollie D. Goats Bragg. His grave is marked by a small brown stone.
Alice J. Bragg
Alice, also Fanny, and later called Texana, was the second child of Ben and Anna Bragg. She was born October 1876 in Texas, most likely in Hill County. She married Leo Oswald, a family friend, about 1895 in New Mexico. During her childhood she was called Fannie, a name which she cast aside upon her marriage.
Alice gave birth to three children in Lincoln County: Claud, born October 1894; a baby child, born about 1896, who died while a child, named R. F. Oswald; Emma Oswald, born April 1897, who was named after Alice's sister. There is no record of additional children. She moved to Valencia, New Mexico after 1910 where she resided until after 1955. She was then 74 years old.
Emma E. Bragg
Tom's younger sister was Emma E. Bragg, born 30 January 1888 in White Oaks, New Mexico. Emma married Ernest William (Cap) Henley 24 December 1907. Their children were Eugene born about 1909; Gerald born about 1913; Clayton born about 1916; Annie Mae born about 1918; and Elinor who was born about 1920, all in Carrizozo.
William Bragg showed typical Bragg generosity toward the Henley family. The Henleys lived on the property adjoining William's which was near Thomas's property and also near the Greer property on Bonito Creek. William assisted his sister and brother-in-law to get established in the valley on the Bonito.
Ernest William Henley, William Bragg, and Thomas Bragg were alike in several ways. They were easy to identify, because they were over six feet tall. James William Bragg stood 6'5" tall in bare feet on a hardwood floor. Each had wide shoulders carried above slim hips, each had enormous fists.
These three often traveled together. When they went to the Parsons for a bucket of beer, they attracted wary attention, but they had a quiet way of going about their business. Handsome Henley had a reputation as a lady's man.
After 1925, Ernest William and Emma Henley moved to Mill Valley, California which was two hours from where Emma's brother, William Bragg, lived. Emma Bragg Henley worked at a navy base and retired near San Francisco about 1954.
Charles Alfred Bragg
Charles (Charlie) was born 17 February 1882 in Albany, Shackleford County, Texas. A photograph of Charles revealed he was about 6'4" tall, slender and handsome. When he became a young man in Lincoln County, he was the foreman on the Texas Park Ranch east of Benado. This ranch was on private land, not subject to Lincoln National Forest regulations. It was named Texas Park because most of the ranchers in that area came from Texas.
Texas Park was a beautiful area with varied and abundant wildlife. Several early homestead families lived in Texas Park east of White Oaks. Some of those families were:
Augayo Bragg Bartlett Bailey Blanchard
York Springs was named for the York family. Bertie Cleghorn was raised by the Blanchards, family relationship unknown. Some descendants still live in Blanchard Canyon. The Hicks family lived in Deer Canyon.
The Texas Park Ranch was sold on 8 July 1887 by S. A. McClellan to a Mr. Bragg who was the father-in-law of Mr. J. W. Sutherlin. Texas Park was often referred to as Bragg Park. Mr. Bragg was Alfred C. Bragg of White Oaks. His daughter was the Mary Bragg who married J. W. Sutherlin. John Sutherlin arrived in Lincoln County, New Mexico in 1884 or 1885.
Charles Alfred Bragg married Emma L. Peters on 1 June 1913 at the Angus Church. She died on 20 August 1916. A headstone emgraved with the name Emma Bragg exists in the Pfingsten section of the Angus cemetery. Under that marker lies Emma Pfingsten Peters Bragg. An abridged list of Emma's family is shown below.
Henry Pfingsten 1840 Germany
Emma Pfingsten Peters and Edward Peters lived on the property next to Joseph and Anna Beckman on Bonito Creek in 1900. One house down the road lived the family of Frederick Wells Pfingsten. Bachelor Charles Bragg often visited his parents, Joseph and Anna Beckman, on Rio Bonito.
Charles also visited Edward and Emma Peters. On 1 June 1913 Emma and Charles married after her divorce from Edward Peters. The Peters children became wards of Edward Peters. Emma Pfingsten Peters Bragg died 20 August 1916.
Charles Bragg's second marriage was to Alice B. Purcella on 17 July 1917. Alice was a beautiful lady from Roswell, New Mexico. Her relatives were farmers and ranchers from Tinnie. Charles died in Southern California about 1955 according to Margie Cowan, his niece.
Charles moved to California on 5 January 1923 together with his brother, William Bragg, and other families. Margie Cowan stated Charles left his daughter, Mary V. Bragg, in the care of a Nogal family three years prior to his going to California. Mary never saw her father again.
Mary Bragg was born 27 June 1914 in Angus, according to Opal Peters. Mary was two years old when her mother, Emma, died. She was only four years old at the time she was forsaken by her father.
The children of Charles A. Bragg and his wives were:
Wife #1: Emma Peters Bragg:
Wife #2: Alice Purcella Bragg:
1910 Census: Tinnie
Frank K. Purcella, Brother to A. M. Purcella, Age 30 born in Arkansas on 9 January 1882. Minnie, above, was the daughter of John H. Shears and Alice J. Collins. She was born 6 June 1879 in Weatherford, Texas. Below is a Purcella family in the Agua Azule Las Palas Precinct No. 3.
Louis Gordon Purcella was born 19 June 1871 in Limestone County, Texas. His father was Joseph Purcella and his mother was Nancy Elizabeth Goodwin. He married Annie Elizabeth Van Winkle. Willie Paul was born in Capitan, Lincoln County, New Mexico.
1910 census continued:
Alice Purcella was born 9 February 1896. She married Charles Bragg on 17 July 1917. She died and was buried in Tinnie in 1919. She had a daughter named Edith. Margie Cowen remarked that both mother and child died at Edith's birth.
Minnie F. Purcella was married to Andrew Purcella who died in 1920 according to information supplied. The 1910 Oscuro census Pricinct #5 showed Andrew Purcella aged 25 married to Lillie aged 23 with child Orlean aged 3. All were born in New Mexico. Lillie and Minnie cannot be the same person.
The Purcella patriarchs were Joseph and Nancy Purcella. The 1885 New Mexico census revealed the following family:
Joseph Purcella age 58 Louisiana
Joseph Purcella and Nancy Elizabeth Goodwin had another child not shown above named Mary A. Purcella who was born in Nacogdoches County, Texas in 1857. She would have been twenty-eight in the 1885 census. For more information, see IGI Batch # 8526806, Sheet 94. Nancy had her first child at age seventeen and her last at the age of forty-three.
It appears that the Purcella family arrived in New Mexico in 1883. There is a record of a marriage between A. W. Purcella and Cleotilda Nejeres on 23 April 1919 in Tinnie, both were from Tinnie. A. W. was born 20 February 1874 in Coldwell, Texas. Nejeres was born in Ruidosa, New Mexico 6 May 1893. One may wish to reconcile the 1885 census with the later censuses as a mental challenge.
Eva was the last Bragg child born in Texas from Ben's family. She was born in Shackelford County in June 1883. After 1900, she vanished from our records. A search of the 1910 Lincoln County census for a person named Eva with a different last name, assuming she married, who fit her age couldn't be found.
In September 1993, a search of Angus Cemetery in Angus, New Mexico, located two Bragg graves without headstones. It's possible one of these graves holds Eva or she may be buried in the Bragg Cemetery near White Oaks.
Did Eva marry a gentleman of the Goats family and depart New Mexico when the Goats families went North; or, did little Eva marry a Kennedy, Collier, Grumbles, Johnson, or Cleghorn? If Eva was a nickname, her destiny may forever remain a mystery. My heart tells me her proper name was Eveline Anna Bragg.
This letter* was received just prior to printing.
Joseph was the brother of Rebecca Eliza Hurley. Rebecca married Richmond 'Little' Hust in Nogal in 1891. They had children Melvin, Marion, Ottis, Gladys, George, Elmer, and Leroy. Joseph was Elmer Hust's uncle. Joseph was my mother-in-law's brother. I married Elmer Hust.
Eva had three loving children; Irene, Lillian, and Bennie. They moved to Truth Or Consequenses where Eva died in a nursing home about 1965. Bennie was at her side until the end. Bennie died a few years later. Sincerely, Inice Hust
---This Just found. Eva's full name was Eveline Lee Anna Bragg. She was born 11 June 1884. She died 15 December 1966 in Silver City New Mexico.
Unselfish people like Inice Hust made this book possible. Her testimony draws attention to another fact about Lincoln County: Families were interlaced by marriage across the county and across classes.
In no other county in America will this curiosity be found as in Lincoln County, New Mexico. The Husts were related to the Greers. The Greers were related to the Braggs. The Braggs were related to the Hurleys; and, the Hurleys were related to Husts.
A brief list of the Hurley family follows based on the 1910 Lincoln County census, Ruidoso, New Mexico, and other sources.
Joseph Hurley-father Texas
Mary Virginia Bragg--Daughter of Charles Bragg
Mary was raised near Nogal and Bonito after her birth in Angus 27 June 1914. She was taken-in by Mrs. Josie Bourne when she was four years old. They moved to the railroad town of Duran, New Mexico where Josie owned a telephone exchange.
Mary was adopted by Robert and Josephine Bourne in 1918. When Mary was seven, Josie died. Josie's niece, Edith, cared for the child for two years and then Edith died. At that time, Mary Bourne was taken to the orphanage in El Paso, Texas.
Mary attended school in El Paso, but was allowed to live with Chloe May (Zumwalt) Peters in Nogal during school vacations. Chloe was married to Mary's half-brother, Gilbert Peters. When Mary was fifteen, she became a ward of Chloe and Gilbert and lived with the Peter's family in Capitan, New Mexico. She graduated from Capitan High School.
Mary had emotional problems during her teenage years. She refused to take naps and didn't sleep well at night, often staying up all night. Once Chloe, Mary's sister-in-law and overseer, asked her,
"Why won't you sleep, child?"
"If I sleep, I'm afraid I'll lose you too, Chloe."
Mary grew into a lovely women. She was much admired by young men. She was petite, healthy, and had an aura of innocence about her. She excelled in academics. She was a respectful child who worked hard around home.
Mary Bourne married Robert J. Clarke 3 November 1934 in Angus. Bob Clarke was a Fort Stanton resident. He was born 2 August 1909 in Oxford, Colorado. They moved to Idaho where she brought forth two children named Bobbie, a daughter, and Donald Butch Clarke. Later, she married Kenneth Carroll and moved to Stockton, California where she passed away.
--- Just found: Mary died 1 August 1970 in Marin County California.
A brief Bourne genealogy appears below.
James William Bragg, son of Ben and Annie Bragg, was the youngest child in the Bragg/Beckman family. He was born in Bonito Lincoln County, New Mexico 17 June 1891. He died in Napa Valley California, 26 January 1970.
William was a loving son and stepson. William married a lady named Nettie Jane McDaniel 21 August 1917 in Bonito City, Lincoln County. They were married by Arthur Marston. The marriage took place in Water Canyon. Nettie Jane McDaniel Bragg died on 15 November 1973 in Santa Rosa, California. She was born in Bradley, Indian Territory, Oklahoma on 27 December 1894.
William and Nettie had a child named Bennie in 1918 in Capitan, Lincoln County. William was a rancher in the Capitan area, probably on the Texas Park Ranch. William moved to St. Johns, Arizona in 1913 but returned before 1918 to care for his parents.
When World War I began, William joined the service. After the war, he was discharged as a PVT, US Army, and he returned to Lincoln County, Bonito. William and his family and the McDaniel family loaded their automobiles with family and tangibles and worked their way to Southern California. It was said they appeared like a desert caravan, because they had so many vehicles in their party. 5 January 1923 was the last time any of them saw Lincoln County.
On the exact day William took to the highway, Thomas Bragg moved his family into a new home he built with his own hands. It was a happy day, but unknown to him at that time, Tom's world would crumble in only eleven months for his lovely Mollie would be gone.
In 1945, William's family moved to Napa Valley, California. William became a carpenter. His wife died in Santa Rosa on 15 November 1973 with interment at St. Helena Cemetery. She had these children:
Bennie Bragg born 24 January 1918 in Capitan, Lincoln County, married Mary Jane Mills. Their children took the Mills name.
Their children were born in Ft. Bragg, California:
The McDaniel Connection
James William Bragg married Nettie Jane McDaniel in Lincoln County. That family moved to California on 5 January 1923 from Lincoln County on the Overland Route. They settled in The Napa Valley about 1945. Nettie's family is presented next, briefly.
John McDaniel, born in Scotland about 1695.
Nettie Jane McDaniel born 27 December 1894 in Bradley, Indian Territory, Oklahoma. Died 15 November 1973, Santa Rosa, Napa County, California. Married James William Bragg in Water Canyon, LINCOLN COUNTY, NEW MEXICO about 1917.
Nannie May McDaniel born 24 December 1896, Indian Territory, Texas. Died 7 September 1979 in Windsor, Sonoma County, CA.
Albert McDaniel born 3 April 1901 in Indian Territory, Oklahoma Died 1 September 1971 in Napa, Napa County, California. This McDaniel married another McDaniel named Delila May.
Stella Gertrude McDaniel born 28 September 1905 in Indian Territory, Oklahoma. Died 8 September 1991 in Glendora, California.
Nellie Ann McDaniel born 20 June 1907 in Indian Territory, Greer County, Oklahoma. Died 19 December 1984 in Napa, Napa County, California. Nellie married another McDaniel named Vina Owen. Vina was the brother to Delilia May, heretofore mentioned.
Samuel M. McDaniel was killed on 11 June 1915 on the Bob Henley ranch in Bitter Canyon near Rio Bonito. Samuel was separating a mule colt from her mother when the mare kicked him in the stomach causing instantaneous death. The mare then turned on her colt and killed her too. The mule, thereafter, took up a position near Mr. McDaniel preventing rescuers from approaching him. The vicious mule was dispatched.
Alfred Charles Bragg--Grandfather to Thomas
Alfred Charles Bragg, son of Jesse, was born on 19 September 1829 in the state of Alabama. He married Susan Emiline Boggs Harris in 1850. He moved first to Young County, Texas in 1860 then to Hill County in 1870. Ben's wife was from Hill County, and it's probable Ben and Alfred were in Hill County during part of the 1870's.
Alfred had 12 children by 1880 and most may have moved to White Oaks New Mexico in 1887. By 1910, many of his children did not appear on the Lincoln County census.
Alfred owned a ranch in Texas Park. Roy W. Harman, a White Oaks historian who was born in Texas Park, reported the Bragg Ranch headquarters were located in a canyon on Patos Mountain northeast of Benado.
Roy Harman's mother, Ollie Fewell, came to the White Oaks area in 1898 in a covered wagon. Ollie's mother was named Elizabeth Fewell and was a widow. Her deceased husband was named John Fewell. They started out of Lampassas, Texas in early 1896 driving fifty head of cattle.
They journeyed via Floydada Texas, where they camped for the winter in 1897. They stopped at Portalas, New Mexico to rest before crossing the Pecos River at Ft. Sumner in the spring of 1898. Portalas was only a trading post at that time. Their next stop was Texas Park.
Elizabeth Fewell married in 1904 and had a girl named Ollie who married Leslie Harman. One son was named Roy Harman who lived on the Harman Ranch near the old Crumb place. The Harman and Bragg families were closely associated for many years.
Roy Harman reported a lady named Nan Johnson lived with the Alfred Bragg family on the Bragg Ranch. Nan was Nancy A. Johnson, Alfred's granddaughter. Nan moved to Phoenix in 1920. Johnson Springs and Johnson arroyo near White Oaks were named for the Johnsons. Frank Johnson, listed below, was born in Llano County, Texas. His father was also named Frank. Llano County was a popular Texas County for Bragg relatives as we shall see.
Alfred and Susan Bragg of White Oaks
Alfred C. Bragg 1829 Alabama Miner, Farmer, Rancher
It's important to recognize that most of Alfred's
One of Alfred's children went to Colorado according to a statement made by James William Bragg a few years before his death. That person hasn't been identified at this time, but he may have been either Alfred Newton, Thomas or James Bragg, each a son of Alfred.
Emiline Harris's family traveled extensively before settling in New Mexico. Information from Helen Henagar's files are presented next.
Harden E. Harris 1807 North Carolina
We found additional relatives. Specifically, if we
return to Hill
Remembering the above paragraph, in the 1920 Lincoln County census, a Fred P. Cleghorn found himself in White Oaks. He was married to Edna M. Collier. They had a daughter named Ida. Fred was the son of Jack and Nancy Cleghorn. Jack was a businessman.
The Cleghorn--Collier mystery can be understood by combining the 1885, 1900, 1910, and 1920 fragments of information found in the Lincoln County censuses and newspapers.
Father} Joseph Collier 1831 Virginia
Clyde J. Collier married Beulah Dale 4 July 1916.
Clyde and Beulah
Ida C. Collier married Harry A. Gallacher on 18 April 1918. Both grew up on ranches near White Oaks. Ida moved to Roswell, New Mexico after her marriage to Gallacher. Later, they moved to Oklahoma City.
Elbert J. Collier owned a ranch in Coyote Canyon near White Oaks. His wife had five sisters, Mesdames Cole and Cantor of Meskogee, Oklahoma; Mrs. S. M. Wharton of Tucumcari; Mrs. George Brown of Inglewood; and Mrs. L. Hopping of Pasadena. Lillian Maurine Collier died 16 September 1926. She was born 8 November 1906 in Brown County, Texas. Collier Hill, which is located two miles north of White Oaks, was named for the Collier family.
It was reported by Roy Harman that Jack's actual name was Fred Pearl Cleghorn. He went by Jack, because he wanted to avoid being called Pearl. Fred was born 16 June 1886 and died 21 June 1948. He was buried in White Oaks.
Jack Cleghorn and his brother-in-law, Joseph B. Collier, lived three miles east of White Oaks on homesteads. That was 1 1/2 miles northeast of the coal mine. Joseph worked in the coal mine. Jack fired the boilers in the power house. Robert Leslie worked in the mine with Joseph.
The Leslie family and the Bragg Families were neighbors and friends. Robert Ward Leslie remembered his mother telling him as they passed the old sheep corral in Bragg Canyon, "That's just Ben's (Bragg) place." The forked corner post of that corral stood for over forty years.
The Leslie family came to New Mexico in 1883. They were Robert Leslie, born 17 May 1853 in Georgia, and his wife Elizabeth Ward, born 6 January 1857 also born in Georgia. Their child, Elisha Leslie who was born in Earth County, Texas 14 February 1873.
Elisha remembered a man named Jack Farr came to Texas from Lincoln County and told about a wonderful land and friendly people in Texas Park, Lincoln County, New Mexico. Robert Leslie moved his family to Lincoln County with two other families, Yorke and Arthurs, and two brothers of the Carter family who took care of the wagons and stock.
In 1884, Robert filed on a homestead after passing through and camping on the Farr Ranch before reaching his new home. That home remained in the Leslie family for one-hundred years. Elisha married Minnie English after moving to Arizona but returned to Texas Park. Minnie died, then he married Ruby Wright.
Robert Leslie died in 1932; his wife, Elizabeth died one month later. They had ten children with six surviving in 1930. Those were Elisha, Lura, Robert, Ward, Ben, and Ellis.
Ward Leslie was born in January 1888 in White Oaks. He married Leoly Slack in 1909. His children were Robert Ward Leslie, born 2 September 1912; Bessie Pearl Leslie, born 4 April 1916; and Callie Irene Leslie, born 15 July 1918.
Robert Ward Leslie became a member of the White Oaks Historical Association about 1970 working hundreds of hours in preserving the cemetery and historical treasures around White Oaks.
Ben Leslie once recorded memories of his childhood. He, his brother Lisha, with Roy Grumbles and Roy's sisters, Ollie and Sally, played baseball with the team at White Oaks. Another girl player was Margaret Gallacher. Those girls played as well as any boy and he was glad when they were on his team. Jane Gallacher managed a hotel in White Oaks.
The Colliers were cousins of the Braggs. As Helen Henager revealed through the 1880 Hill County, Texas census, a full circle was made by marriage of the Stanphill, Collier, Bragg, and Cleghorn families thus:
James Stanphill 1820 Alabama--Father of Anna Bragg
It shouldn't shock anyone to learn that Frank Johnson
Additionally, a tragedy may have occurred in Hill County. Two Cleghorn children were living with families other than their own. Jiff, age nineteen, lived with a "Collins" family. Close by, lived little Alice Cleghorn who was barely nine years old. She lived with the Scott family. Naturally, they lived on either side of a Johnson family. Their parents were not found in Hill County in 1880.
With the utmost suspicion, I speculate that the "Collins" family was actually a "Collier" family misspelled by the census enumerator and these children were the brother and sister of our Jack Cleghorn who married Nancy Bragg in Lincoln County. Further, I believe they had another brother living in Hill County named William Cleghorn with his wife, Sarah. Both were born in Alabama.
The Gallachers were in the family stew along with the other families mentioned. Harry Alexander Gallacher married Marian Evalena Grumbles on 24 September 1903. Marian isn't to be confused with her mother, Mariam R. Grumbles. Marian Evalena went by Lena.
Further, Alice Blakestad discovered, that on 7 December 1905, Zellah May Grumbles married Robert Ridley Byrd of Globe, Arizona. Zellah reported her birth place as Llano, Texas 23 May 1885. Her Grumbles family arrived in Llano County about 1881 and departed about 1887 via wagon train.
This placed the Grumbles in Brooking territory in Llano County, Texas through which Alfred Bragg briefly passed where marriages occurred and families joined in friendship. That bond was transplanted into Lincoln County, New Mexico.
The Carrizozo News reported the Collier family owned a family cemetery area at White Oaks. Joseph Collier was a Fireman at the White Oaks Power company. The Collier children were probably all born in Lincoln County.
We know Nancy Bragg married a Cleghorn who was related to the Collier family. This made a sturdy lacework of in-laws considering a Collier married a Cleghorn.
To continue, on the 1900 and 1910 Lincoln County censuses, Mariam Grumbles lived in White Oaks, then in 1920, Carrizozo. The father of that Grumbles family wasn't shown. S. J. (Rox) Grumbles of El Paso, visited the Grumbles family frequently. Rox married Cassie B. Cooper of White Oaks 25 October 1891. Mariam's family is listed below according to the 1900 Lincoln County censuses with other information added.
Mariam Grumbles wd. Head 1859 Texas
Mariam Grumbles owned a ranch North of Carrizozo in 1918. Mariam's husband, determined from cemetery records, was John H. Grumbles who died 10 March 1896. They were married in Llano County, Texas 21 December 1882. The document recorded her name as Mariam R. Brooking.
Marian Evalena Grumbles married Harry Gallacher in 1903. Next she married Richard C. Morgan about 1915. Last, she married George W. Jeffery. Herman, son of George, was killed by a passenger train north of Carrizozo. Fay Jeffery was a younger sister of Herman.
On the 1910 Carrizozo census, Lena M. (Evalena) Gallacher was divorced and had a child named Vaden Grumbles Gallacher. Zeliah (Zellah) married C. C. Hurst. Ida and Rox Grumbles moved to Riverside, California in 1917. Roy died on 25 October 1918. In a joint project, Mrs. Ira Greer and Mrs. Walter Grumbles moved to Tucumcari after their respective husbands died.
Sally Grumbles married William Owen. Children by that marriage were Johnny, Dola, Raymond, and Robert. Sally and William left White Oaks about 1923, moving to Jerome Arizona.
John Grumbles's brothers were Stonewall J.(Rox) Grumbles and Jefferson Grumbles who lived in White Oaks. John was born in Texas in 1859 and Stonewall, 1861. They arrived in White Oaks before 1885. The dates of births of the Mariam Grumbles children indicate they came to New Mexico about 1887.
Jefferson Grumbles married Hannah L. Calvin. Hannah was born in 1861 and died in 1923. She was buried in White Oaks beside her husband. Jefferson was born 1861, died in 1891. S. J. Grumbles married Cassie Cooper 25 October 1891. He moved to El Paso, Texas soon after 1900.
Walter Emmitt Grumbles was an Honor Student at Carrizozo in July of 1917. In 1931 his daughter, Evelyn, attended the University of Arizona. His son, Walter (Teat), moved to California when he became an adult. Walter's family appears below from the Carrizozo 1920 census:
Walter E. Grumbles 32 Texas
Mariam R. Grumbles, a widow in 1920, lived in Carrizozo
in her home
By August 1927 Mariam Grumbles moved to Riverside, California with several relatives. Her Daughter, Mrs. George W. Jeffery moved to Riverside as did Mrs. Jeffery's son Vaden Gallacher. S. J. Grumbles moved to Riverside by July 1927.
The Grumbles inventory is important for in order for Lula B. Brooking to be Mariam's NIECE, Mariam was Lula's AUNT which necessarily means Lula must be a daughter of Alfred Bragg. This confounds our study. Who was Lula?
Lula wasn't Mariam's niece from a Bragg perspective, rather, Mariam was Mariam BROOKING who married a GRUMBLES. In which case Lula B. Brooking was the child of Robert Lee Brooking and Lula A. Cleghorn. A recently discovered marriage license stated John H. Grumbles married Mariam R. Brooking 21 December 1882 in Llano County, Texas. This confirmed our speculation.
Lula B. Brooking was a daughter of Mariam's nephew, and the granddaughter of Mariam's brother, and the granddaughter of her sister-in-law. Actually, more than one Lula Brooking lived in Lincoln County, but an attempt to analysis their relationship to Mariam is reserved for the reader.
Chromosomes were shared between these relatives, but the exact terminology which explains their relationship escapes me. Before we leave this subject, note that four ladies were named Lula Brooking. Determining who belonged to which family was quite aggravating.
The Bragg family's web extended further. In 1900 this Brooking family lived in White Oaks:
Maggie Brooking Mother Apr 1859 Texas
This family didn't have a male head-of-household, but nearby lived an Edward S. Brooking who was born in 1865. Was Maggie a Grumbles prior to marriage? Another Grumbles family lived only four houses from Alfred. They were Stonewall J. Grumbles and wife Cassie B. Cooper. He was born in Texas in 1863. She was born in Texas in 1873. The Grumbles and the Colliers lived only two households apart. I speculate William married Maggie in Texas about 1881. Be careful to observe that Robert P. Brooking was not the same person as Robert Lee Brooking.
The 1920 Lincoln County census, Precinct #7, Jicarilla, revealed that Maggie Brooking remarried. Her family was recorded as follows: Brooking was spelled Brookin.
Arnold Norton 74 Virginia
Was it a coincidence that the families of Grumbles, Collier, and Brooking lived near Alfred Bragg if they were not related? Probably not. Those surnames were not common, and Bragg children married spouses with the same surnames which makes it a certainty they were related. Also, a check of current telephone directories suggests that the surname GRUMBLES appears once for every five-million people.
Some revealing marriages recently discovered are listed below:
Robert Lee Brooking to Lula Cleghorn. 14 March 1895 at White Oaks, Lincoln County, New Mexico.
Julia Brooking to H. S. Needham. 9 April 1895 at White Oaks, New Mexico. Julia may be 'Sallie' of the R. K. Brooking family.
Lula B. Brooking to D. J. Vent 16 January 1915 at Carrizozo, Lincoln County, New Mexico. She was the daughter of Robert Lee Brooking.
Relatives listed below were buried in White Oaks prior
Our lesson: Even if we know little about our ancestors, we will gain genealogical knowledge by using our minds, our intuition, old newspapers, wills, censuses, marriage records, family legend and persistence.
We can't leave the Brooking puzzle without making a mental journey through time to Llano, Texas. In 1880 in Precinct # 4 there lived a family as shown next:
R. K. Brooking 56 Kentucky
The Brooking puzzle is solved. But why did we choose Llano County for our search? Because the death certificate of George T. Bragg stated he was born in Llano County, and this was at a time, 1876, when his sisters were old enough to marry. Edward Brooking to Lula Bragg was one of those marriages. Notice the similar names in the Grumbles family and the Brooking family.
William Brooking married Maggie as previously listed. It's highly likely they married in Llano County, Texas. William and Maggie were about the same age and followed their relatives to Lincoln County about 1890. William's fate is unknown.
The family structure isn't completed. In the 19 April 1918 Carrizozo News, it stated Alfred Johnson was visiting home and was a nephew to Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Kennedy. Since Ida Married William Kennedy and Nancy Bragg married Frank Johnson, that was correct. The intermarrying in the Bragg, Collier, Cleghorn, Kennedy, Johnson, and Grumbles families generated a huge, loosely-bound extended family. They were each nephews or nieces, and cousins, concurrently. To expand on that thought, let's look quickly at our Robert Lee Brooking.
Robert was the son of Robert K. and Pauline Brooking.
We'll end our scrutiny there. The reader may desire
to challenge the
William Kennedy was a machinist and mechanic for the mining companies at White Oaks. C. L. Kennedy was a Precinct Judge in 1917 and died on 12 October 1917 on his small ranch in the Jacarilla Mountains near White Oaks.
By 1910, Emiline Bragg was deceased and Alfred was 80 years old, alone except for his son James. He was widowed, and living in the ghost town of White Oaks. In the 1920 census, Alfred Charles Bragg vanished. James C. Bragg may have moved to Arizona or Colorado where he had several cousins.
Family legend purports several Bragg relatives were buried around White Oaks. Susan Emiline Boggs Harris Bragg was buried on Alfred Bragg's ranch on Bragg Flats. Another relative buried there was a child of Mary Bragg Sutherlin and four other Bragg relatives. These graves are unmarked.
The Lincoln County Historical Society located the resting place of Alfred Bragg. He was buried in the White Oaks Cemetery, but the grave is unmarked. Alfred was born on 19 September 1829 in Alabama and died on 4 January 1919 in Carrizozo. He lived out his life on Bragg Flats. The Grumbles, Brookings, and Johnsons apparently stayed on after Alfred's death to operate the ranch for a short time.
The Tragic Gallacher Family
The Gallacher folk were friends and cousins of the Braggs by Collier and Grumbles marriages. Jane A. Malcolm was born in Scotland 26 July 1858. She married William Wilson Gallacher 20 July 1877 in Joilet Illinois, but was widowed on 19 November 1893. She was the mother of Harry Alexander Gallacher born 11 August 1879, Illinois; John Malcolm Gallacher born 11 May 1882, Illinois; William Wilson Gallacher, Jr. born 1 April 1887, New Mexico; and Margaret Mackie Gallacher who was born 2 June 1890 in the Ozane Hotel in White Oaks, New Mexico.
Jane's mother was Margaret Malcolm nee Mackie, born 4 April 1823 in Scotland. Her father was John Malcolm. Jane and her mother ran the Ozane Hotel in White Oaks. The Gallacher family received United States citizenship in 1871.
William Wilson Gallacher, Sr. was a miner. He fell down the shaft of the South Homestake mine on 19 November 1893. He fell a distance of 390 feet. The mine owners blamed the accident on William, claiming intoxication, rather than on unsafe mine conditions.
Margaret Gallacher was a school teacher in White Oaks. She married William Morham Kelt. They had a girl named Willie Henietta Kelt. William Gallacher, Jr. had a girl, Jane. He had a boy, Bill. In 1900 William was a miner. After 1920 William owned a ranch called the Indian Tank Ranch in the Oscuroes. He died 12 December 1985.
John Gallacher married Elizabeth Truman, a lady from Ohio, 20 June 1925. Prior to 1901 John was a miner but later owned a ranch in the Northern Range of the Oscuroes. On 31 May 1929, John died from falling off the Chupadero Mesa. It crumbled while he stood upon it to look for a Cougar that had killed his lambs. He died in El Paso and was buried at White Oaks.
Harry Gallacher first married Lena Grumbles; secondly, Ida Collier. Ida married George Goodson after her marriage to Harry. Harry owned a ranch 20 miles north of Carrizozo near the Mal Pais. He died 23 December 1938 from ingesting poison. He left this note:
"Don't blame anybody for what I have done as I am tired of living and my troubles will be over here on this earth as life has only been a dream. H"
The Sutherlin Connection
Without doubt, the Sutherlin and Bragg families had a strong relationship. The marriage of Francis was previously noted. In 1861, F. M. Sutherlin married Nancy Bragg in Young County according to IGI Fiche #888. Nancy was the daughter of Thomas and Francis Bragg. Thomas was the son of Jesse.
The large family of Mary and John Sutherlin is listed
Most Bragg relatives had a love-hate relationship with Lincoln County. The Sutherlin family was an example. Millie, Ernest, and Mary were married in Lincoln County, yet, they moved from her. Alfred Robert, John, George, and Ethyl were born in Lincoln County, yet they left her. John and Mary were pioneers in Lincoln County, yet, they moved back to Texas and returned to Lincoln County and departed once again.
Some of the Sutherlin children were born in Albany, Shackelford County, Texas. That's exactly where our Thomas Bragg was born. Some returned to Albany to live and die after leaving Lincoln County. The mixing of families by marriage and by locality seems too complex to have been by mere chance.
Julia Alice Sutherlin married Ernest Elsworth Wright who was born 9 June 1863 in Boston. He married Julia on 9 October 1891 in Deming, New Mexico. Elsworth was called "Boston" because of his distinctive speaking. Their children are listed below.
Elsie Rebecca Wright Nov 1894 Capitan, Lincoln, NM
Ernest Albert Trainor Mar 1918 Clifton, Greenlee,
George married Fannie Bartlett on 9 May 1898 in Raventon,
George and James got into a disagreement, and James took his hunting rifle and shot George who fell to the floor. When authorities arrived they found George Thomas Bragg dead.
James said it was self-defense, but a trial was held and it was determined three shots were fired. The most damaging evidence against James was one of the wounds suffered by George Bragg had a knife slit therein which was inflicted to cause George to bleed to death. James was sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary. George Bragg was buried is Pinal Cemetery, Globe, Arizona.
Mary Francis Bragg
Mary Francis Bragg married John Wesley Sutherlin in Hill County, Texas 4 October 1869. The Sutherlin and Bragg families had a extended relationship and friendship.
John Sutherlin and Mary Bragg married in Young County. In Fort Belknap, Young County, there was a George Bragg, son of Jesse, and the Nathan Bragg Family, the Martin V. Bragg family and several slaves named Britt Johnson, a daughter of Johnson's, and Eliza Bragg, and Sol Bragg, Negroes. These settlers fought in the Battle of Fort Belknap on 13 October 1864.
George had a daughter named Margaret. Little Margaret hid under the bed during the attack. Years later, she told the story repeatedly to her grandchildren how her father stood his ground in the doorway, firing his pistol even as he suffered the pain of an arrow which had struck it's mark.
Joseph Beckman--Thomas Bragg's Stepfather
Joseph Beckman arrived in Lincoln County before 1885. He was a miner and there are indications he was an educated man, perhaps in Engineering. After Ben Bragg was murdered, Joseph Beckman and Anna Stanphill Bragg were married 10 November 1898 in White Oaks.
Joseph realized the mining business was dead, so he moved his adopted family to the Bonito area. Joseph got out of mining and turned to ranching. He secured a lease in the White Mountains.
He sold his holdings for $3,000 on 20 January 1916 to a man named Arthur. He continued to live on the Bonito in Crocket Canyon until he and Anna moved to the Greer goat ranch in the San Andres Mountains.
His wife, Anna D. Stanphill Bragg Beckman, died 31 October 1927 in Otero County on the Greer goat ranch in the San Andres Mountains. Anna was transported to the Nogal Cemetery where she was buried Monday, 7 November 1927. Her first husband, Benjamin Bragg, was also buried in Nogal Cemetery in 1896. Reverend John H. Skinner performed the ceremony and was the minister who married her and Joseph Beckman thirty years earlier. Joseph died on 9 July 1931 in Nogal, New Mexico. He was buried in Nogal Cemetery. No children were born by Anna and Joseph.
The Henley Connection
The Henleys consisted of several families that came to Lincoln County, New Mexico about 1880 from Missouri. Ernest William Henley married Emma Bragg who was the daughter of Ben Bragg. The Henleys acquired power and prestige for several years in Lincoln County. Then, the Henleys drifted to other states until by 1993 there was only one Henley family remaining in Lincoln County.
The Henleys acquired land in the Nogal and Bonito area. Henley children attended the Nogal Academy which operated for several years. Ernest William Henley was a sworn official of the Court and acted as sheriff in the absence of the Sheriff Langston (1891). Charles Henley often assisted William in discharge of his duties. In 1917, Charles Henley purchased a ranch in Quemado, Socorro County, New Mexico near the ranch of James W. Bragg.
It was William and Charles who were involved in the Brazel Ranch shootout which left Deputy Smith shot in the head. Jim Conner had been traced to the Brazel Ranch after an armed highway robbery at Henley Hill near Rio Bonito on 10 September 1891. Conner escaped.
Around 1902, the Henleys had established the Henley
School House for use by their children and by others. Tom Henley was
the Justice of the Peace in Bonito for several years. Combining a Henley
School House, a Justice of the Peace, two Officials of the Court, and
Henley land holdings, gave the Henleys considerable clout. Some Henleys
of early Lincoln County are listed next:
Robert H. Henley, son, was born November 1874 in Missouri, he lived in Alamagordo, Otero, New Mexico after 1900. He was married to Deloras Tolson. She was born December 1879 in Texas. Robert worked for the railroad. They married in 1899.
Nellie Ann Henley, daughter, was born 27 April 1876 Cole County, Jefferson City, Missouri.
Allen Henley, son, born 6 June 1901, died 25 June 1902.
(II) T. J. Henley born October 1842 in Missouri. He married Nancy M. about 1872 in Missouri. Nancy M. was born February 1854 in Arkansas.
Lucy Henley, daughter, was born November 1885 in New Mexico.
John Henley, son, was born May 1889 in New Mexico.
(III) William J. Henley was born 2 January 1842 in Missouri. He was a brother to Thomas. He died 12 September 1913 in Lincoln County. He was buried at Angus Cemetery. He married Fannie Francis. She was born 11 August 1843 in Illinois and died 24 April 1904.
James A. Henley, son of William, was born in October 1865 in Illinois. He married Lillie who was born in August 1874. They married in 1893. Lillie was born in Mississippi.
William S. Henley, son of James, was born April 1895
in New Mexico.
Ernest W. Henley, son of William known as Cap, was born 2 September 1881 in New Mexico. He married Emma Bragg in Lincoln County 24 December 1907.
Eugene Henley, son of Cap, born 1909 Bonito, Lincoln
The 1885 Lincoln County census revealed the Patriarch of the Henley family which entered New Mexico about 1880.
Precinct # 8, White Oaks, Lincoln County
It was reported by Alice C. Blakestad that the husband
of Lucy J.
Charles Henley, born 7 September 1868 and died 28 September 1947, married Addie Lee "Edy" May who was born in Stone County, Missouri on 9 October 1879. Addie died 19 November 1979 in Ft. Bayard State Hospital in Silver City, New Mexico. They had a daughter, Enid Henley who married a McCargish. Addie's parents were Cynthia Ann "Tiny" Hust and Abram May. Addie's son was John Grayson Henley. See Henley/May shootout below.
Cynthia was related to the Coats Clan. The Mays were related to the Pfingstons. The Pfingstons were related to the LaMays. Other relatives were the Skinner, Terrell, and approximately 100 other families, a labyrinth of relatives.
The Henley family knew heartache. On 9 October 1903, in Nogal, Frank May was shot to death by Jim Henley at two in the morning in a saloon owned by Clark Hust. Frank and Jim exchanged hostile words for several days prior to the shooting.
Frank went to a dance that evening then went to the Hust saloon around 1:00 a.m. Frank sat at a table with friends when Jim Henley entered and walked directly to his table. Jim challenged Frank, and Frank immediately arose taking-up a chair to strike young Jim.
Henley drew his pistol and fired directly into Frank's right shoulder. Frank fell in pain. Jim was caught-up in the emotion of the moment and continued to fire. Two more bullets struck Frank in his head and a third passed through his hat. Jim Henley fled only to be captured by the sheriff in the Hills of Nogal on the following afternoon.
James A. Henley was tried for the murder of Frank May in the county of Lincoln, town of Capitan. Col. Pitchard of White Oaks vigorously defended James Henley, and demanded he be released on bail.
The families of Henley, May and Hust were so well known in Lincoln County that the trial attracted widespread attention and heated debate. The May and Hust families were related by marriage and were long-time residents of Lincoln County. Thus, hard feelings persisted for several years.
Present at the Hust saloon that early morning was Thomas Alfred Bragg. He told the story to his grandchildren. He revealed a fight ensued, after the shooting, between the Henley and May supporters. Tom had friends on both sides but was caught-up in the altercation. Broken heads and broken tables resulted. Tension in the area persisted for several months.
These Headstone Inscriptions are at Angus or Nogal Cemeteries:
William J. Henley B 2 January 1842 D 25 June 1913
Thomas W. Henley B 27 October 1841 D 23 April 1921
Allen Henley, Son of RHH & KDH B 6 June 1901 D 25 June 1902
Fannie Henley B August 11, 1843 D April 24 1904
Emma Henley B March 3, 1906 D February 16 1914
John Grayson Henley B 9 Sept 1912 D 15 Feb 1914 .
Emma and John Henley were Charles Henley's children.
The Branum Cousins
The Branum's were a successful pioneering family in early Lincoln County. Nellie Anne Henley, daughter of Thomas and Nancy Henley, married Lin Branum on 6 June 1896 at Nogal, New Mexico. Nellie was blessed with the following family.
Lin-Lindsay A.Branum, Husband, born 9 August 1861
In Socorro County in the 1900 census, Precinct #10, this Branum family was recorded in household #214:
George G. King Aug 1846 Missouri
Jesse and Nancy Waney Bragg
The following page lists possible descendants of Jesse
and Nancy Waney Bragg. Researchers are advised to check the actual censuses
as our list is not complete.
Census Year: 1850
Census Year: 1860
Census Year: 1860
Census Year: 1870 Census Year: 1880
Census Year: 1880
Census Year 1870
Census Year: 1880
Census Year: 1880
Census Year 1880
Census Year: 1880
Census Year: 1900
Census Year: 1910
This family lived west of Alfred: See text for details.
The GOATS Connection
Goetz is a German family name. It means beautiful God, or a God of beauty, or something close to that meaning. Goetz which is pronounced like Goats should not be interchanged nor confused, because Goats is an English name over one thousand years old. The Goats name also occurs among Native Americans.
I believe some Goats families were lost in the 1880, 1900 and 1910 Federal Population Censuses, because Goats was recorded as Goetz. The time required to search out the name of Goats was lengthy. At some future date, the family name of Goetz may be investigated for the census years which have importance to our inquiry. A study of the Ancestral File suggested a few Texas Goats families changed their name to Goatz and Goates which further compounds genealogical study.
The family name Goats was derived from working with Goats. Other names associated with Goats are Goates, Goate, Goater, Gothard, Goddard, Godard, Goatman, Goatherd, Goaterman, Goatcher, and Godart. The name Goats originated in medieval England.
Family legend suggested Mollie Delphora Goats had an Indian father who tended Goats from whence she received her name. Many early settlers tended goats for milk and cheese made from goat milk. It seems unreasonable that all members of Mollie's family also took the name Goats.
The 1910 Federal Population Census reported a Lee E. Goats living with Thomas and Mollie Bragg in Bonito, New Mexico. He was twenty years old. Did he also take the name Goats from his father's animals? The 1910 Federal Population Census registered Lee E. Goats as White. A Social Security Death Record exists for Lee Goates (not Goats) who was born in Texas and died in Texas and who was the same age as Mollie's brother. He apparently changed his name to Goates from Goats. He was reported as White.
One fact is certain about Lee E. Goats/Goates. He was very dear to Mollie's heart. She named her child Lee Charley Bragg after him, and her other son after her father, Emzy Everett Bragg. She allowed him to live in her home after he became a man at a time when living was hard in poor economic times. The great depression loomed over the horizon, but she cared for him as if he were one of her own children. Mollie's family was known for it's generosity toward their family relatives of Goats, Bragg, and Greer.
Mollie had a child named Emzy Everett Bragg. An unusual name. A check of the Social Security Death Index revealed an Emzy Oscar Goatz. Extensive inquiry tracing the name EMZY led to his granddaughter, Helen McClausland, who provided valuable information for this study. Unfortunately, the descendants of James William Bragg who were located after months of tracing provided very little information. A wealth of knowledge may be lost forever.
One Goats family was listed on the 1885 State Population Census in Bonito. We know that Thomas married Mollie in 1898. I speculated that Mollie was a daughter of that 1885 Goats family, but she wasn't listed with them. Her parents were later determined to be Emzy Oscar Goats and Margaret S. Rafter.
Goats Age Pos Occ Place Born Year(Calculated)
Thomas's mother, Annie Beckman, told the census Marshal that Thomas was a member of her household and was married, but no mention was made of Mollie and her child. Surely, if Mollie lived with Annie's family, Annie would have told the Marshal. It's significant that Lee was Annie's first grandchild. A proud grandmother would have mentioned her first grandchild to the Census Marshal. So, where was Mollie and child?
A check was made of the complete 1900 Federal Population Census for the state of New Mexico. Mollie couldn't be found. I acknowledge that fatigue may have made me miss an entry after a day or two of viewing the microfilm. Still, I couldn't find her under a Goats surname nor a Bragg surname.
I searched the State of Texas census in 1900 figuring
that Mollie became pregnant before Thomas went to jail. Then Mollie
gave birth without Thomas available to help her care for her first child.
Mollie was only eighteen years old. So, Mollie went home to her family.
After extensive study, I couldn't find Mollie nor her family anywhere
in the state of Texas. Where had she gone? To where had the family of
James and Nancy Goats vanished? Emzy Ellis Goats was born in Nogal,
Lincoln County, New Mexico on 4 June 1895. Where was his father Emzy
Oscar Goats in 1900? The answer may be that they were working on a ranch
in Deaf Smith or Palmer county Texas.
Mollie Bragg returned to Bonito by February 1900 because she had child, Bertha, on 19 August of 1901. Perhaps, she never left Lincoln County at all. It's evident that the Benado operation was kept alive until 1906, because Mollie's son Emzy Everett Bragg was born near White Oaks, Benado, in 1906. Therefore, the Bragg and Goats families floated between Bonito and Benado.
The answer to elusive Mollie's mystery is she was living in Benado. Her Goats family was also in Benado. Her beloved brother Emzy, was in Benado. Her father and possibly her grandfather were in Benado or on the Bragg Ranch in Texas Park. The census Marshal may have elected to avoid the mule trail leading into the wilderness to record a few individuals; thus, they escaped enumeration.
Mollie Delphora Goats
Mollie was born on 5 January 1881 in Williamson County, Texas. She was a perfect match for Thomas Alfred Bragg whom she married on 2 April 1898. Mollie had a love of life about her in everything she did. Life was often harsh in the wilderness, but she always had a cheerful disposition. She was playful, almost childish at times, but she had a way to turn long, hard days into joyfulness.
The Bragg family moved out of Benado when it was claimed by the expanding Lincoln National Forest. They moved to Parsons on the Bonito just before 1910. It was there Little Mollie became ill with a fever which never went away. On 15 October 1920 Mollie had a mastectomy in Carrizozo. She died of cancer on 27 November 1923. Thomas cradled Mollie in his arms as she passed beyond.
Mollie was buried at Angus Cemetery. Friends, Goats, and Braggs from all over the territory traveled to Angus to demonstrate their concern and respect.
Benjamin F. Goats
Benjamin F. Goats was from the great Goats' state of Arkansas. Many Goats families can trace their roots to Arkansas. Benjamin's family moved to Texas before 1857, possibly before 1850. Benjamin produced a large family who brought forth many other Goats families which migrated to almost every state in the United States.
On 7 July 1858, Benjamin Goats took a wife from Williamson County, Texas named Rebecca Smith. Rebecca was a Texas lady who was born about 1841. The International Genealogical File #3,008, Texas, recorded that Rebecca married Benjamin in 1858.
The family of Rebecca consisted of the following:
Taylor Smith, a farmer, was born in 1810 in Georgia.
Sarah, his wife, was born in 1815, in North Carolina.
Benjamin Goats was a wealthy farmer. He lived in Williamson County in 1858 but moved after that date. He returned to Williamson County before 1880. One of our researchers believes Benjamin's parents were Arkansasonians named John L. and Francis Goates. Benjamin's family was as follows:
Benjamin F. Goats was born in 1843 in Arkansas.
Benjamin's son, Albert or Elbert, married Mary J.
about 1883. Their family consisted of the following:
Emzy Oscar Goats, second child of Benjamin and Rebecca, married Margaret S. Rafter before the 1880 federal census in Williamson County, Texas. Margaret was listed as living with the Benjamin family at that time. Their first child was born in January of 1881; therefore, Emzy and Margaret must have married about March of 1880.
Emzy Goats was an adventurous man. He departed Williamson County before 1888 and moved to Potter County, near Amarillo. Emzy and Margaret had a child named Martin Joseph Goatz according to the International Genealogical Index, on 18 February 1888. This was the first hint that this line of Goats had changed the spelling of their surname to Goatz.
Emzy Oscar Goats had a cousin named Henry Lee Goats who married Mary Louise Whisett. Emzy's family and Henry's family moved to Amarillo together. Henry and Louise had a child in Amarillo who they named Henry Lee Goats on 9 April 1911.
In 1911, Henry Lee's family contained the following
Emzy and Margaret's family was reconstructed from
various sources and is presented next.
Emzy Ellis Goats, eighth child of Emzy Oscar, married Vicie Mable Martin in Couer d' Alene, Idaho, on 29 October 1921. Their family is displayed next. All of their children were born in the state of Washington. Note the various surname spellings.
Emzy Ellis Goats was born 4 June 1895 in Nogal, Lincoln
County, New Mexico. He married Vicie Mable Martin who was born 19 January
1906 in Boise Idaho.
The Goats men learned ranching skills when they were in Lincoln County. They first worked the sheep ranch of Ben Bragg at Benado; then, they worked the cattle ranch of Joseph Beckman in the White Mountains. They departed Lincoln County before 1910 and went to the states of Colorado, Texas, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming.
Recently discovered post cards found in Bremerton, Washington prove that Mollie was writing cards to her brothers during 1910 from Angus, New Mexico. Thus, the Braggs had moved to the Bonito and Parsons area at that time as Angus was the only Post Office except for Bonito City. This established that the Goats family departed Lincoln County before the 1910 census.
Annie Goats moved to Trinidad then Elmora, Colorado and lived on a cattle ranch. After 1910, Bertha Bragg began sending post cards to her mother's sisters who scattered across the Western states. Pearl Goats moved to Rifle, Colorado.
Another Goats family was uncle Henry L. Goats, his wife Mary and their children Grady, Elizabeth, Susie, and Henry. Susie was from a previous marriage. This family lived in Amarillo, Potter County, Texas. This was the same city where Mollie's father, Emzy, lived in the 1880's. Mollie Lived there between 1881 and 1892.
Tracing old postcard's post office stamps placed Claud Goats in Plattervill, Colorado in 1913. Jim Goats was in Kenimere, Wyoming along with other brothers.
On 22 May 1909, Lee Goats, the brother Mollie loved dearly, accompanied a train-load of cattle to market in Durham, Kansas. He sold the herd, collected payment, and returned home in a passenger car. He had become a man.
The brothers of Martin, James, Jeff, and Claud worked
out of Rockford, Washington after 1913 as independent ranch hands. Each
spring they hired-out to round up stock on different ranches. They took
care of roundup, branding, cutting, and shipping. Later, they engaged
in buying and selling cattle for several years.
Tell your children so they may tell their children.