Blood and Sand: Valverde

(NYTimes) By the late afternoon on Feb. 21, 1862, the furious Battle of Valverde raged in the sandy, cottonwood flood plain of the Rio Grande in the New Mexico Territory. Just six miles north of the Union post at Fort Craig, hundreds of dead men, horses and mules littered the battlefield as a furious artillery duel and infantry charges stretched on into the late afternoon. At 4 p.m., the Union commander, Col. Edward Canby, decided to make his move and finish the rebel forces, led by Confederate Brig. Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley. Continued

Photo: Colonel (later General), Thomas Green, CSA.

Go West, Young Confederacy

(NYTimes) In the blistering August heat of 1861, an ambitious 45-year-old officer arrived in the dusty streets of San Antonio to organize one of the most daring Confederate offensives of the Civil War.
Freshly promoted to brigadier general by none other than President Jefferson Davis, Henry Hopkins Sibley was a distinguished soldier who had spent 22 years in the West. And Davis was suitably impressed with his plan: to cross 1,300 miles of forbidding desert, capturing New Mexico, present-day Arizona, the California gold fields, and the ports of San Francisco and San Diego. Continued

Photos: 1. Fort Union, NM 2. Henry Sibley


(PublicResourceOrg) 1948 Documentary: Depicts traditional crafts in an Indian settlement in New Mexico. R.1. Visits the home of artist Georgia O'Keefe, examines her art and shows Navaho artists making pottery. Indians perform ritual rain dance. R.2. Men illustrate adobe construction. Scenes of the Rio Grande River. Modern irrigation methods insure a harvest of corn, peppers and wheat. R.3. Wheat is ground by water power. Scenes of family life in the settlement's Spanish enclave. Georgia O'Keefe returns to the desert, the inspiration for her work. U.S. Information Agency. (1982 - 10/01/1999). Made possible by a donation from Andrew Gray.

No pardon for Billy the Kid

(CNN) Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico will not pardon legendary Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid in the death of a law enforcement officer more than a century ago, he said Friday.
Richardson made the announcement on ABC's "Good Morning America" the same day he leaves office.
The issue facing Richardson was whether one of his predecessors, Gov. Lew Wallace, promised about 130 years ago to pardon Billy the Kid -- known more formally as William H. Bonney -- for killing Sheriff William Brady of Lincoln County, New Mexico. Continued

Billy the Kid: a pardon at long last?

(L. A. Times) "I expect you have forgotten what you promised me," Billy the Kid wrote to New Mexico Territory's governor, Lew Wallace, in 1881. The Kid was writing from a Santa Fe jail cell. He was there because of the dogged efforts of Pat Garrett, who had been elected sheriff of Lincoln County, which comprised the southeastern part of the territory, on the promise that he would put a stop to Billy and his gang of rustlers. Now Billy was waiting to be transported to Mesilla, where he would be tried for the murder of another Lincoln County lawman, Sheriff William Brady. Continued

Before McDonald’s there was Fred Harvey

(NYTBR) How important was Fred Harvey? Stephen Fried’s “Appetite for America” says that as the nation’s first popular champion of fine dining, he invented chain restaurants, chain hotels and chain bookstores; glamorized train travel; pioneered cultural tourism; and as the writer Frank Waters put it, “introduced America to Americans.” Harvey Girls, who staffed company restaurants at railroad depots throughout the West, were “the first major female work force in America.” Prior to ­Coca-Cola, “Fred Harvey” was our biggest brand name. Continued

Photo: Harvey House, Belen, New Mexico (Kim Choate/MDRails)

The Plow That Broke the Plains

"The film presents the social and economic history of the Great Plains -- from the time of the settlement of the prairies, through the World War I boom, to the years of depression and drought. The first part of the film shows cattle as they grazed on grasslands, and homesteaders who hurried onto the plains and grew large wheat crops. The second part depicts the postwar decline of the wheat market, which resulted in overproduction. Footage shows farm equipment used, then abandoned. The third part shows a dust storm as it rendered a farm useless. Subsequent scenes show farmers as they left their homes and headed west. Department of Agriculture. Farm Security Administration. Information Division."

Movie: "TR in New Mexico"

On Oct. 23, 1916, Theodore Roosevelt campaigns for Republican presidential nominee Charles Evans Hughes and assails the Wilson administration in Albuquerque, N.M. A young woman rides on horseback carrying a bouquet of flowers. There is an auto parade. Roosevelt passes by in an open touring car. Seated next to him is a man who appears to be Albert B. Fall, one of New Mexico's first U.S. Senators (1912-1921) and later secretary of the interior until exposure of his involvement in the Teapot Dome scandal.
There are long and close-up shots of Roosevelt seated on a stone pillar in front of the Alvarado Hotel in downtown Albuquerque, as he amiably talks with men gathered around him, including Sen. Fall, with cigar in hand, and George Curry, the tall man in a light hat, former territorial governor of New Mexico (1907-1911) and U.S. Representative (1912-1913). There is a long shot of Roosevelt speaking to a large crowd from a narrow platform in front of the Alvarado Hotel. Two young women on horseback bring flowers to Roosevelt. Download here, for free, from the Library of Congress.

Governor plans state monument to preserve Fort Stanton

FORT STANTON, N.M. - Governor Richardson says a state monument will be established to protect and interpret the parade grounds, stables and other historic portions of Fort Stanton.
... Established in 1855, Fort Stanton played a prominent role in opening southeastern New Mexico to settlement. The fort also had roles during the Civil War and during the Lincoln County war and the life of famed outlaw Billy the Kid.

Mescalero Apaches at Fort Stanton

"La Marranita" railcar returns home to New Mexico

SANTA FE - A railcar dubbed the Doodlebug, which once carried commuters between Clovis and Carlsbad, has been returned to New Mexico from California.The No. M-190 railcar from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway had been stored for 20 years in the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.It has been returned to New Mexico as a gift to the state history museum at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe and to the people of New Mexico.
... The self-propelled M-190s, also known as La Marranita or the Little Pig, had 22 seats and carried up to 44 passengers as well as the mail. A second passenger car was sometimes attached to the lead car. Read on.


Caption: "Spring 1916, Florence Mabel and their cow "Brindle" near Tucumcari, New Mexico

©2007 QRAI