WPA Jose Apodaca
Writer: Edith L. Crawford
Carrizozo, N. Mex.
Date: April 28, 1939
Topic: Pioneer Story
Source of Information: Jose
My father was Severanio Apodaca
and my mother was Juanita Sanchez, both were born in Old Mexico and were
married there. They came to the United
States soon after they were married. (I do
not know when they were born or when they married or the year they came to the United States.)
They came to Lincoln County New Mexico, about 1871 and
lived at Picacho, New
Mexico, for a while and moved from there to Agua
Azul, New Mexico, (which in now
called Blue Water, New Mexico.)
Agua Azul in located on the south side of the Capitan Mountains.
Father moved there about the year 1872, and took up a piece of land and built a
two roomed hut on the place.
He had a few head of horses and
cattle and farmed the place. There was lots of wild game in the Capitan Mountains in those days and they always
had all the fresh meat that they wanted. About the first of January, 1873,
while my parents were living at this place, a friend of theirs by the name of
Marcial Rodriguez came to go on a hunting trip with my father. They got up at
day-break one morning and went out to look for their horses. The men had to
cross a flat which was between the mountain and a big arroyo. The juniper trees
which covered this place had limbs that grew very close to the ground. While my
father and Marcial were crossing this flat a band of Indians were hidden in the
juniper trees, and as the men came out in the open the Indians began shooting
at them. They hit Marcial in the back and my father in the leg. The two men
fought with the Indians all day and an it began to get dark Marcial told Father
to make a run for the arroyo and try to get away and save himself, as Marcial
felt that he was going to die and there was nothing that Father could do to
help him. It was best for Father to go for help. Father made a run for the
arroyo with the Indians after him, but as it was dark he was able to get away
from them. Father walked most of the night and came out at the Casey Ranch,
which was about four miles north of Picacho. He told the Casey men about the
Indians and that he had left Marcial Rodriguez seriously wounded on the flat at
Agua Azul. Father was anxious to get back to his home and to my mother.
The Casey's formed a posse and
sent word up and down the Rio Bonito for every man that could go, to meet them
at Agua Azul to fight the Indians. The posse left the Casey Ranch just at
day-break and went as fast an possible to Father's house to see about my
mother, who was expecting a baby. When they got there they found that the
Indians had been there and taken my mother away with them. The posse, headed by
my father, took up the trail of the Indians. When they got to the flat at Agua
Azul they found the body of Marcial Rodriguez. The Indians had scalped him and
cut off his right arm. The posse dug a grave and buried him where he lay. By
this time several others had joined them and they started out after the Indians
again. They overtook them at the west end of the Capitan Mountains
and the Indians and posse had a fight. Several of the Indians were killed but
some of them got away. Some one in the posse noticed two squaws on the side of
the mountain and started after them. The two squaws had my mother and when they
saw the white men coming and
knew that they could not get away with my mother, they split her head open with
an axe and the squaws made their get away. When the men got to my mother she
was dead and they found that she had given birth to her baby, which was alive
and a boy. The posse dug a grave and buried my mother right there on the
My father took the baby to Lincoln,
New Mexico, and gave it to a
woman named Tulia Gurule Stanley to care for. She raised this baby and called
him Jose Apodaca.
The Indians that killed my mother
were the [Mescalero?] Apaches. My father was killed by the Harrell Brothers, on
the Ruidoso River,
about where the town of San Patricio, New Mexico, now is. My father
was on his way to the Dowlin Mill, which was on the upper Ruidoso. He was
taking a wagon load of grain to the mill to be ground. This was about a year
after my mother was killed.
The Harrell Brothers were from Texas and had settled on the Ruidoso River.
They had trouble with the Mexican people over water rights, which terminated
into what is known as the Harrell War.
I grew up in Lincoln New Mexico and was married there to
Evangelesta Gamboa, in 1900. There were no children born to us and my wife died
in 1916 and was buried at Raventon,
New Mexico. I have lived all my
life in Lincoln County.
I am now living at Carrizozo, New Mexico.
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