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Holliday Baby Burial
Oscuro, Lincoln County, New Mexico
Submitted by C. W. Barnum ©2000 updated 2010
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Lee's Grave
Walt Birdsong's Rebuttal

A lone grave of a child, the Holliday Baby, who died ca. 1910 in Oscuro, New Mexico existed for many years. This was located about 1.1 miles north of Oscuro in Lincoln County on the West side of Highway 54 on ranch land, next to the highway right-of-way. This grave was protected for many years by a picket fence. This grave site was tended by unknown persons. The fence vanished after ca. 1978. Source: E. L. Greer, Nogal, New Mexico.

Comments by C. W. Barnum, New Mexico Genealogy and History enthusiast:
The Holliday child buried at Oscuro was said to have been born and died in the early 1900's, probably around 1910. The mother was Alice Holliday. This is supported by a note dated 3/26/2004 from Mary Bemieche of Alamogordo. She stated that the parents of the child buried at Oscuro were George Hiram Holliday and Alice Anna (Cox) Holliday. George was born in Kinney County, Texas on 7/23/1876 and died 2/23/1963 in Los Angeles. Alice was born 12/7/1888 in Texas and died 2/8/1924 in New Mexico. They are buried in La Luz beside an unknown child's grave. They had two daughters, Ola was born 5/18/1907 in Socorro and Vernie [or Vernice or Bernice] was born in 1911. Those children reportedly moved to and died in California. A grandson named Frank lives in Paso Robles in California. She asked one intriguing question: “I wonder if anyone else was buried in Oscuro.” This suggests she was unaware of the alleged grave of Cowboy Lee who allegedly was buried near the Holliday child. That letter was dated 3/6/2004.

The parents of the Holliday child were George and Alice E. (or A.) Holliday. Alice died 02/08/24 in Lincoln County aged 34 years, six months. The child's grave was located in the same alleged location of the Shorty Lee grave, a cowboy, who died and was buried on a ranch at Oscuro, Lincoln County. Shorty Lee worked for the J Cross H ranch (a dispute exists which ranch it was) owned by the Gallagher's. He was reportedly struck by lightning (Source: Johnson Stearns.) I have reservations that the spot marked by the NM Highway Department for Shorty Lee is correct, unless both graves were in the same immediate area. A stone and wood post currently marks the alleged grave of Shorty Lee. Was R. L. Lee really buried near the highway at that spot? One report said his name was not R. L. Lee but Robert Lee Smith. I personally believe that the grave is staged and inaccurate, perhaps being off by miles.

When I was about seven years old (in the 1950's) on a family trip from Carrizozo to Tularosa we passed by the fenced grave 1.1 mile north of Oscuro. My older sisters said a baby was buried there. In the many times since then, until the highway placed the Shorty Lee sign, I never saw a grave for Shorty Lee. I believe Shorty is buried on the Old Gallagher ranch to the west of the highway. The exact location being lost.

A recent report stated that the Holliday remains were removed to La Luz Cemetery and interred next to her mother a half century later. That would explain the picket fence being removed. Karen Mills has reported that an order to exhume the remains was issued by the Lincoln County Courthouse in Carrizozo. That record has not been found.

Further investigations have revealed that George Henry Holliday is buried in the Cemeterio Catolico De Nuestra Senora Le La Luz, La Luz, Otero County, New Mexico. The Social Security Death Index and the California death records state that George Holliday was born 23 Jul 1876 and died 23 Feb 1963 in Los Angeles, California. His mother's maiden name was Beckett. Obviously, if his remains were moved to La Luz from California in 1963, then he had living relatives at that time who may know the facts about this mystery.

I have been interested in this story for fifty years. The facts are coming out thanks to the help of Karen Mills, Mary Bemieche and others. George Holliday has been found in a book Titled "Outlaw Baldy Russell" (aka Bill Mitchell) by C. L. Sonnichsen. The book tells about the George Holliday's family and the outlaws thereabout, but does not mention Alice Holliday or the child.

Alice Holliday was apparently buried in one of the cemeteries in La Luz, New Mexico perhaps in an unmarked grave. Her death certificate states her remains were taken to Tularosa from Carrizozo. La Luz is seven miles south of Tularosa which was a major city in Otero County at that time. It is reasonable her remains were taken to Tularosa.

The 1910 Census for Otero County, La Luz New Mexico, listed George Holliday (Senior), Age 66, Divorced, Texas, Kentucky, Missouri, Clerk, Post Master.
This was George Holliday Sr., not his son who married Alice. He was divorced at that time. The genealogical data for this family is not complete.

The 1900 Census in Socorro County, La Mesa, listed:
Henry Russell, Born April 1852, 68, married 18 years, AR, AR, AR, Day Laborer [Bill Mitchell, outlaw]
Mary Russell, wife, Born Oct. 1854, AR, AR, AR
Maud Russell, daughter, Born Aug 1886, AR, AR, AR
Holiday (Holliday) Belle (Isabelle) 20, F, W, AR, NM, Socorro Co., La Mesa; Listed as a step-daughter of Henry Russell, an outlaw.

Henry Russell was wanted for murder in Texas and was using an alias. His real name was Bill Mitchell. He also used Baldy Russell and John Davis aliases also.

The 1880 Census for Precinct 3, Kinney County, Texas lists:

Geo. HOLLIDAY (Senior) Head M 31 Farmer MS MS MS
Mary HOLLIDAY Wife M 26 Housekeeper TX MS MS
John HOLLIDAY Son S 6 son TX MS TX
George HOLLIDAY (Jr.) Son S 4 son TX MS TX
Isaah HOLLIDAY Son S 8mo. son TX MS TX

The following is a brief account of the story extracted from the book "Outlaw" by C. L. Sonnichsen; 1965.

On 23 March 1907, Sheriff H. M. Denny and deputy Ben Wooten from Alamogordo headed for Estey City, NM. They arrested a person going by the name of Henry Russell, who was actually Bill Mitchell. He had murdered James Truitt in a family feud. After his arrest, Henry Russell was taken to Carrizozo, NM, put on a train and returned. He had been on the run for thirty years.

The families in Oscuro (east of Estey City) at that time who associated with Russell were Cox, Henderson, Greer and Gililland. The large Gililland Ranch at Oscuro was where the Baby Holliday was buried about 1900. It is known that Bill Mitchell's (Henry Russell) step-son George Holliday lived in Pearce, AZ working for Noel Whitmire.

Bill Mitchell escaped from jail in Texas on 14 July 1914 and returned to New Mexico. He died of a heart attack in Douglas AZ in April of 1928.

Bill had married Mary Jane (Beckett) Holliday in Seven Rivers, NM 28 April 1884. Several Holliday relatives lived in Seven Rivers.

Mary Jane was previously married to George Holliday Sr. on 28 April 1870 in Texas but divorced him on 21 March 1884 for cruelty.

Isabelle Holliday married Frank Kraft in Estey City in 1902 and moved to Engle, then to San Bernardino, CA. She divorced Frank and was never seen again. She and Frank had two sons, George William and John Damen Kraft. Maude Russell married Riley Caldwell in 1905. She married Henry Sam Dillard on June 19, 1926 in Hillsboro, Sierra Co., NM. This reportedly was her third marriage.
I found LUTTRELL,  LEE  40 Tennessee in NM,  Lincoln,  in Oscuro on the 1920 Lincoln Co. Census living in Oscuro.
LUTTRELL, LEE  40  M  W  TENN  (born ca. 1880)
Luttrell, Maud wife 33 Texas
Luttrell, Cora daughter 12 Texas
Luttrell, Orvile son 4 NM (mis-spelled on the census)
Orvile Lutrell is buried  in the Ft. Bayard National Cemetery, Grant Co., NM:
Luttrell Orville Lee, F V 3 Ft., born Sept. 25, 1915, died June 12, 1994, FT. TSGT. US Army Air, Corps.

1n 1900, Lee A. Luttrell was in Stephens County Texas age 20, born in Tennessee in September 1879.
1n 1930, he may have lived in Greer County, Oklahoma with a wife Etta.
He probably divorced Maud in Otero County, NM ca. 1924.
One more mystery is cleared up. Looks like they were married around 1916 in NM assuming Orval is her son. The daughter, Cora, was born in Texas so she is probably not her child. The marriage record of Miss Ola Holliday in Otero County, NM on October 1, 1925, shows Ola was born June 7, 1897 in Ardell, Texas. The license was witnessed by George Holliday and Maud Luttrell. The Deputy Clerk, Otero County Clerks Office, Christine Tenski was most helpful finding these facts.

John Holliday drifted to Silver City and raised a family. He changed his name to Carter. George Holliday Jr. also changed his name to Carter for a few years.

Death certificates:
The Death certificate for Alice A. (Cox) Holliday reads as follows:
Alice A. Holliday, female, White, married, Husband of George Holliday.
Born April 8, 1890, age 34 yrs, 10 months, Housewife. Born in Texas;
Father's name: T. R. Cox, born in Texas.
Mother's name: Wealthy J. Trent, born in Iowa.
Informant: Mrs. Millie Green of Lake? Arizona.
Date of death was February 8, 1924 , from appendicitis.
An operation was performed by F. H. Johnson, in Carrizozo, New Mexico.
Body was buried in Tularosa, New Mexico.
Undertaker was T. E. Kelley of Carrizozo.

The death certificate for Mary Russell reads as follows:
Died July 10, 1945; 7:45 A.M.
Cause of death Chronic Myocarditis (heart trouble) and Senility.
Doctor was J.P. Turner, of Carrizozo, New Mexico.
Female, White, widowed; Place of death: Oscuro, Lincoln County.
Lived in Lincoln Co. 13 years. Born in Fanning County, Texas. Born December 16, 1853.
Father: Cal Beckett, born in Missouri.
Mother: Jane Mackintyre, place of birth not stated.
Informant: Sam Dillard, Oscuro, New Mexico.
Buried on July 11, 1941 in La Luz, New Mexico.
Funeral Director: L. Wasadinghouse? of Alamogordo, New Mexico.

We are still left with a mystery, several in fact. An astute genealogist will spot them.

Janet Wasson filed these findings:
Re: Holliday Mystery
The 1920 census for Oscuro, New Mexico shows:
Holiday, George-43; born TX, father born US, mother born TX
wife-Alice-32; born TX; parents born IA
daughter-Ola-12; born NM
daughter-Vernice-9; born TX [also called Vernie, or possible Bernice]

Ola is in several family trees as "Mary Ola" who married Enoch Dillard. She had three children, (one of whom is still living, and he has six kids.) Enoch died in CA, Mary died in Nogal, NM in 1974. The SSDI lists this: (Apparently Mary Dillard née: Holliday still had family connection in Nogal, Lincoln County , NM as late as 1974.)

MARY DILLARD 18 May 1907 Aug 1974 88341 Nogal, Lincoln, NM 561-60-7903 Issued in Ca.

ENOCH DILLARD 07 Jun 1897 Dec 1979 93422 Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, CA 93302 (Bakersfield, Kern, CA) 545-28-5925

George Hiram Holliday was born on July 23, 1876. He worked in San Marcial, Socorro, NM on the Brown ranch in 1918. His nearest relative was his wife, Alice A. Holliday of Oscuro. He was tall, skinny, with light blue eyes and light brown hair, (from military registration).
Janet Wasson.

From the above facts, the Holliday baby of Oscuro could not have been the child of Alice Holliday, unless the date of that birth was after 1907. Other Holliday relatives lived in or near Oscuro during that time. Mr. Walt Birdsong made an interesting observation. "I believe the Holliday Baby was the child of Isabelle (Belle) Holliday of Socorro, who was twenty years old in 1900, and was one of Baldy Russell's step daughters." This could explain the Holliday baby's ancestry. It is a reasonable statement. However, all we know about the Holliday baby's birth was it occurred around or after 1900. No one knows for sure. It could have been 1910 or 1920. Mr. Birdsong further stated that grave area of Oscuro looked like a burial ground with several graves. Is is a mile north of Oscuro proper. Cemeteries were often located out of town in town in early communities.

Other facts:
1860 Texas Census Earth County, De Faro PO
Mitchell Nelson 61 NC 1799 (Known as Cooney Mitchell. He was convicted of murder of Bill Isaac Mitchell.)
Mitchell Nancy 43 VA 1817 (Nancy was part Indian.)
Mitchell Elizabeth 18 TN 1842 (Might be twins but birth places are different.)
Mitchell Isabella 18 AR 1842 (Might be twins but birth places are different.)
Mitchell Henrietta 15 AR 1845
Mitchell George A. W. 14 AR 1844
Mitchell Araminta 11 AR 1849
Mitchell Serena 9 AR 1851
Mitchell William N. 7 AR 1853
Mitchell Thomas J. 4 TX 1854
Mitchell Daniel P. 9 months TX
(William Nelson "Bill" Mitchell above, was the second husband to Mary Jane Becket Holliday. [Alias Baldy Russell, John King and John Davis.] He killed Bill Isaac Truitt on March 28, 1874 in Granbury, Hood County, Texas. His father Cooney was hanged for the same murder. Bill fled to Seven Rivers, NM. In April of 1884, Mary Jane Holliday left Texas after divorcing George Holliday. She joined Bill Mitchell in NM where they were married. One story is that she and Bill left Texas together. Bill was later arrested near Estey City, NM ca. March 25, 1907 by Sheriff H. M. Denny. He was placed on the train in Carrizozo and sent back to Texas. Bill Mitchell's lawyers got him out on $20,000 bail. He returned to NM where he became a drifter. In 1910 the trail got under way in Texas after a long delay. He was found guilty. On July 14, 1914 he escaped from a prison work gang and returned to New Mexico. Mary was too fragile by this time to follow Bill all over NM. Bill lived in Capitan, NM; Chililli, NM; the Albuquerque area and Steins, NM. He eventually ended up in San Simon, Arizona. He died on June 26, 1928. He had a heart attack while tending a garden. Mary Jane Mitchell died in Lincoln County July 10, 1945 in Oscuro.)

1870 Texas Census Kinney County, Moalde PO
Holliday George C. 24 born in Mexico (First husband of Mary Janet Beckett. He was cruel and a drunk.)
Mary Jane 17 Born in Texas Married in April 28, 1870 [Father: Calamise Beckett; Mother: Eliza Jane McInturff.]

1880 June Texas Census Kinney 3 Pct
Holliday George 31 Mississippi (First husband of Mary Janet Beckett.)
Mary 26 Texas (born ca. 1854)
John 6 Texas (born ca. 1874) son
George 4 Texas (born ca. 1876) son
Isaah 8 months Texas (born ca. 1879)
(Isabelle Holliday was born two months after this census was taken.)

Note: The census clearly says Isaah was born in TX. The date of that census was 24 June 1880. Therefore, Isaah would have been born ca. November 1879. The 1880 Census does not list an Isabelle Holliday because she was born in August 1880, --only 10 months after Isaah was born. The name Isaah Holliday does not occur on any census after 1880. Mary Holliday divorced her husband on March 21, 1884 in Texas and married Bill Mitchell in Seven Rivers, New Mexico on April 28, 1884. Is it possible the Holliday child buried at Oscuro was Isaah Holliday?

1900 Census Socorro NM La Mesa
Russell Henry April 1852 48 Arkansas married 18 years [William Nelson Mitchell]
Russell Mary October 1854 45 married 18 mother of 1 child (Maud), living (by Russell)
Russell Maud August 1886 13 Arkansas [Maud Mitchell]
Holiday (sic) Belle Step-daughter August 1880 19 years [Isabelle, born in Kinney County, TX, Dau. of George Holliday]

Henry Russell was also listed in the 1900 census of NM in Socorro PCT 15 Oscuro.
Russell Henry 58 Married once married 26 years Texas
Russell Mary 55. She had married twice, married 26 years, born in Texas having delivered four children with four children living. (However, she had five children, John, George, Isaah, Isabelle and Maud. Perhaps she said four children because Isaah had died.)

The 1910 Census Otero La Luz NM PCT 2
Holliday George 66 Divorced Texas Father born Kentucky Mother born Missouri.

1920 Census Lincoln County Pct 15 Oscuro
Holiday(sic) Geo. (Jr.) 43 Texas USA Texas [Born July 23, 1876 Kinney Co., Texas]
Holiday Alice 32 wife Texas Texas Texas [Born December 7, 1888 in Uvalde Co., Texas]
Holiday Ola 12 NM Texas Texas [Mary Ola Born May 18, 1907 in Oscuro, Lincoln Co., NM]
Holiday Vernice 9 Texas Texas Texas [Born in 1911 in Texas]

Otero County marriage records show Alice Anna Cox married George Hiram Holliday September 6, 1906. She would have been 17 years old. If the Holliday child buried at Oscuro were her child, then it could not have been born before Mary Ola's birth who was born May 18, 1907. (Mary Ola was born 8 months and 12 days after the marriage.) There is a gap between Mary Ola's birth and Vernice's birth of three years. A child could have been born in this time period and may have died and been buried at Oscuro.
Therefore, we have two possibilities that a Holliday child was buried at Oscuro: Isaah (or Isaac) Holliday and the unnamed baby of Alice Holliday. Both would have been possible and plausible. But a family member said the child was that of Alice Holliday. I see no reason to dispute that. I believe the Oscuro Baby's grave was that of Alice and George Holliday as the family tradition states. The burial would have been ca. 1909, which is within our time frame.
Note: This researcher has not found the whereabouts or marriage record of Vernice Holliday after 1920. It is certainly possible she died and was buried at Oscuro.

About Mary Ola Holiday:
Mary Ola Holliday was born May 18, 1907 in Oscuro, Lincoln Co., New Mexico. She died in August 1974 in Nogal. She is buried in La Luz Cemetery in Otero County.
She married Enoch Joseph Dillard who was born June 7, 1897 in Texas, on October 1, 1925 in Alamogordo, NM. (See 1930 Oscuro, Census)
Her children were Franklin Eugene Dillard, born. April 30, 1928; Ralph Jess Dillard born April 16, 1930 in Hot Springs, NM;
and Mildred Loraine Dillard born October 26, 1926 in New Mexico.
Dillard's buried in La Luz which have headstones are:
Dillard Henry Sam 15 Jan 1887 Aug 1966
Dillard Mary Ola 18 May 1907 2 Aug 1974
Dillard Maud Jane 1886 1964
Our Lady Of Light Cemetery in La Luz
Holliday George H. July 23, 1876 Feb 1963

The Deputy Clerk, Otero County Clerks Office Christine Tenski stated that Miss Ola Holliday was born in Ardell, TX on June 7th, 1897. She was 18 yrs. old at the time of the Marriage Application. She married Enoch Dillard on Oct. 1st, 1925. The referencing number is Book 5, Page 1803.

The 1930 Census New Mexico Lincoln Co., Oscuro 16-PCT show two of the ladies mentioned in our study to be married to Dillard men.
Family #9
Dillard Enouch [Eugene] 32 married at age 29. TX OK OK
Ola M. [Mary Ola] 22 married at age 18 NM TX NM (née Holliday)
Mildred L. Dau. 3 NM TX NM
Frankie E. 1 1/4 years old NM TX TX

Family #10
Dillard Sam H. 42 married age 38 TX TX TX
Dillard Maud L. wife 42 married at age 38 TX AR TX (née Mitchell alias Russell)
Orval L. 14 NM TX TX son

Henry Sam Dillard was born January 5, 1887 in Iredell, Bosque Co., Texas. He died August 7, 1966 in Silver City, Grant Co., NM. He was buried August 10, 1966 in La Luz, Otero Co., NM. He married to Maud Jane Mitchell on June 19, 1926 in Hillsboro, Sierra Co., NM. It is reported that she married three times. Maud was the daughter of William Nelson Mitchell--outlaw, a.k.a. Henry "Baldy or Bally" Russell, John Davis, and John King.
Her mother was Mary Jane Beckett, the daughter of Calamise Beckett and Eliza Jane. Maud Jane Mitchell was born on August 31, 1886 in Dobbs Run, Kinney Co., Texas. Maud died on November 11, 1964 in Tularosa, Otero Co., NM. She was buried on November 13, 1964 in La Luz, Otero Co., NM. Sam's father was James Berry Dillard who was born ca. 1859 in Bosque County, Texas. His mother was Mary Elizabeth Holmes who was born ca. 1856 in Iredell, Bosque Co., TX. He married Maud Jane Mitchell who was born August 31, 1886 in Dobbs Run, Kinney Co., Texas.

Charles Barnum,
Please send any corrections to me.