New Mexico’s “Lincoln Independent” – 1890

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Did you know we have over 200,000 digitized volumes of newspapers from throughout Texas and New Mexico available online? Well, you do now! And one of this author’s personal favorites is the Lincoln Independent from Lincoln, New Mexico. The paper was founded in 1880, but the only run we’ve got our hands on is the entirety of 1890, beginning with the issue above dating from January 3rd. The remaining issues can be found here, but here are a few of our favorites below.

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With Halloween coming up, we chose the issue above from October 31, 1890. Sadly, although Halloween is a ‘holiday’ of sorts was celebrated in the 1890s, with pushes from various groups to make it a community-oriented celebration. But it didn’t resemble today’s celebrations, or even those of the 1920s and 30s. Also, Lincoln County was absolutely the U.S. frontier (New Mexico would not become a state until 1912), so costumed frivolity may not have been their top priority.

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One thing we were excited to find here at the Southwest Collection was this ad for the Angus VV Ranch. We have an archival collection related to the owners of the ranch, Charles M. and James E. Cree. It has been digitized and placed online, and contains information that the Lincoln Independent doesn’t share: a rash of cattle rustling that was occurring at the time!

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Another tidbit we enjoyed was this advertisement for the Agricultural College of New Mexico in Las Cruces. This would later become New Mexico State University. And we want you to know that, in our opinion, it still has a very good library.

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This all ends, as it probably should, with the final issue in our possession, dating from December 12, 1890. A comparison between the first and final issue reveals only one significant difference: the paper was begging readers to subscribe to the Independent. Here’s to hoping that their please worked.

If you’d like to read more of these papers, the many others we have from Eastern New Mexico, or the hundreds of thousands of others from throughout Texas, head over to our digital collections and dig in!

The Adams Family Papers – No, not THAT Addams Family!

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It is time once again to dig among our little-used collections to find something to share with y’all. This time it’s a handful of turn-of-the-century (nineteenth to twentieth centuries, that is!) photographs from Horace F. Adams and his family. Adams was a farmer, carpenter, and certified “public weigher,” as well as one of the first settlers of Terry County, Texas. If you’ve never been out that way, it’s the home of scenic Brownsville, cotton farms, and a good stretch of highway that points you toward New Mexico. The Adams family used a plain old “F” as its cattle brand, which it continued to use well after Horace’s death in 1925.

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Papers include financial records such as promissory notes, bills of sale, deeds, and receipts, all filed alongside genealogies of the “Franklin and Hull families” from 1798 to 1883. But most interesting are its photo albums, where we found the man in military uniform that headlined this blog. It is unlabeled, so his identity remains a mystery, but the photo of a snowy home, above, has the words “My first yard a four of us! Feb. 6 1923” scrawled on the back.

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Sadly, many of these photographs are mysterious. The family in the snow, below, are identified as “front of my home. My wife and Kiddies. Feb 6. 1923 – J. K. Knight.” Clearly they are the same folks from the other wintry photo. But the baby in a car, above? We have no caption or notes, even on nearby papers in the collection. The kiddos on the bull, below, are described as “Roy & Ethel, a bull, and Babie Ethel.” Are there two Ethels? Is that the same child from the car? We can’t tell, and they didn’t say.

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Our final image is no mystery. Adams was a livestock weigher, so he had a large number of calendars provided, we assume, compliments of the cattle industry. This 1913 example extols the success of the National Live Stock Commission Co.  They just had just sold the highest priced drove of cattle ever shipped out of Washington County, Iowa!

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We end with a bit of trivia that had us laughing. Before they moved to Brownfield, the Adams family lived in Gomez, Texas.  You can’t make that up. Anyway, this is a small collection, filling only one archival box, and it is infrequently used. But if you want to take a look at it, or any of the rest of our treasures, contact our Reference staff at randy.vance@ttu.edu and they’ll set you up.

The Diaries of William DeLoach, A West Texas Farmer

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“Years are the milestones that tell us the distance we have traveled…” These words, the first to appear in the diaries of William G. DeLoach (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/ttusw/00161/tsw-00161.html), were not a platitude. DeLoach noted daily events in his diary from 1914 to 1964, often documenting the mundane life of a West Texas farmer, but at times exploring the emotional and philosophical depth of a man whose daily accounts spanned two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

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This is the first full page of his diary, written Wednesday, March 24th, 1914. It is a simple series of notes. He visited Ralls and Crosbyton, Texas, signed a cotton contract, and saw one of his laborers complete the maize harvest. Such entries comprise the bulk of his notes.

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This page includes October 29th, 1929, also known as Black Tuesday, when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. Yet the crash’s effect took its time crossing the country, so all he described that day was cutting feed until a rain began that lasted well into the night.

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The Depression, and more importantly the Dust Bowl, haunt the background of his diaries, but DeLoach coloring his stories of day-to-day life. On July 23rd, 1937, however, its effects came to the fore. “I hurt all day. Not with much heart. I can’t do any thing with any heart with such surroundings. I even can’t write any more. My (?) are all shot. Just to be the paying teller and nothing more is bad.” But then, as always: “Bill finished the feed plowing.”

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Some entries are punctuated by tragic or amusing local news. Early November 1937 saw a man lose an arm in a cotton gin: “That is bad…. They take too many chances.” The next day, DeLoach heard about an acquaintance who was “pinched for drunk.” He mused, “Too bad to get sauced in Sudan [Texas] if one is a stranger. Homeguard can.”

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“This is March 28th, 1964. My first entry was made on March 28th, 1914.” Infirm “in more ways than one,” William DeLoach set down his pen. “Goodbye, Diary. You have been lots of help in lots of ways.”

(An abbreviated version of the diaries was edited by Janet M. Neugebauer, former archivist at the Southwest Collection, and published as Plains Farmer: The Diary of William G. DeLoach, 1914-1964.)

Cattle Rustling in the Archives

Portions of brands found in Spence Brothers Herd

At the Southwest Collection, we acquire more materials than we can describe in a thousand of these blogs. Some collections span nearly 1,000 linear feet, some a mere wallet-sized box. The Charles M. and James E. Cree Papers are one of the latter. Ranging in type from correspondence to cattle brand identification and stock counts to financial statements, the collection might at first glance inspire little interest. A closer examination, however, reveals over a decade of cattle-rustling and vandalism on a New Mexico ranch at the end of the 19th century.

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James E. Cree was a Scotsman who owned of a distillery in Edinburgh, Scotland (his son, Charles, whose name the collection also bears, was born years after this tale.) He founded the Angus VV Ranch in the 1880’s on Little Creek near Angus in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Cree and his partner Brandon Kirby are credited with introducing the Angus breed of cattle to New Mexico. Pat Garrett, former sheriff and noted slayer of Billy the Kid, at one point served as ranch manager on the VV ranch. (Although in this context, that is just some fun trivia.) The numbers of calves on the VV and other ranches are noted in the document above, as is the certification of the VV brand, below.

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Why do those administrative cow counts matter? Well, according to the report above as well as several related documents, someone in the Lincoln County area had been cattle rustlin’, specifically “Slick” Miller, Allen Hightower, and the Spence Brothers. From secluded spot to secluded spot, Miller and Hightower had driven the cattle stealthily until the Spences bought them at $4-5 a head. This tale was summarized by an unnamed Agent of the South Eastern New Mexico Stock Growers Association, the report of whom can be seen above, after extensive investigation and testimony.

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Louis Herrera, a ranch employee, provided at least four separate statements at least four separate statement to investigators, a portion of which can be seen above. In other instances, only a portion of the testimony survives. The statement of J. F. Allison, below, is one such. He was involved in the arrest of “old man Eaker,” another rustler who plundered the VV.

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The conclusion of these investigations is not immediately apparent. Some rustlers were certainly arrested; others appear only once or twice in the documents. It is also possible that because these records span over a decade, other instances of cattle rustling are being document here. Perhaps some intrepid researcher could piece the entire story together using the Charles and James Cree Papers along with other SWC collections, or even collections from other archives. So take a look through the papers for yourself, and feel free to get ahold of our Reference Staff. They’re here to herd you through the process if needs be.