WPA Joshua P. Church


Sources of Information: Mrs. Ella Davidson.


By: Georgia B. Redfield

Roswell, New Mexico March 6 - 1939


JOSHUA P. CHURCH Pioneer builder Southeast New Mexico, Beginning [1882?]


Operated First Roswell Exclusive Hotel.

An organizer of Pioneer Telephone Company, 1894.

Served Six Years on Roswell City Board

Two Years as Chairman, Made Strong Fight Putting Through City Streets Grading.

Joshua P. Church, coming from Texas to White Oaks, New Mexico, in 1880/1882, was one of the first important pioneer builders of the Southeast section of the territory.

In 1891, after removing from White Oaks to Roswell, he became prominently idenentified, with the business interests and development of the little village, and was one of the most popular, co-operative, and useful citizens the town, and later, the City of Roswell ever [posened?].

Mr. Church was married July 18, 1891, to Amelia Bolton, daughter of John and Ella (Doyel) Bolton, both natives of Wexford Ireland, who came to New Mexico in 1871 and settled at Fort Stanton, where [Mr.?] Bolton was stationed with army guards as a protection against the Indians.

Four children were born to Mr. Church and his wife Amelia Church, whom they named Sophie (Mrs. L. L. [Ochanpaugh?]  who lives in Roswell), Joshua (a son, who lives in [Deming?] New Mexico), Aileen (Mrs. Langford Keith who lives in Roswell) and Elinor (Mrs. Richard [K.?] Harrison) who lives in Mogalis, Arizona.

Mr. Church brought his wife, when a bride, to live in the first exclusive hotel to operate in Roswell, the holdings of which he bought from Mrs. Aileen O’Neal, who had come from White Oaks upon advice of Judge Granville A. Richardson, who explained the need of a good hotel in Roswell, where he lived.

Captain Joseph C. Lea who came in 1877 had bought the old adobe structure, with attic sleeping quarters for paying guests, built by Van C. Smith and A. O. Wilburn in 1869, which he used for his residence.

The new hotel operated by Mrs. O’Neal, which was considered very grand, was also built of adobe. The building first contained a veranda, a dining room, kitchen and small office on the first floor, and seven or eight bedrooms on the second floor.

Additional rooms were built under the management of Mr. Church, the entire structure was remodeled, and named the "Pauly Hotel" in honor of the man who built the first Court House and jail. The cell doors of the jail were equipped with the Pauly Jail Cell Locking System, invented by him, whereby all cells were simultaneously locked on the outside of the jail corridor.

Under the capable management of Mr. and Mrs. Church the Pauly Hotel became widely known as being equipped with as modern accommodations as could be supplied in the Territory during those days of early settlement.

In four years Mr. Church sold out. The hotel afterwards changed hands several times, operating at different intervals as the Pauly, Grand Central, and Bankhead Hotel. Until it was burned June 19, 1937, no matter under what name it was operated, the hotel remained the favorite stopping place of the pioneer sheepmen and stockmen of the Valley, as in the old days when Mr. Church was the manager.

Typical of the progrressiveness of Mr. Church and his never failing interest in civic improvement, during the first years while serving as councilman on the City Board his efforts were untiring in securing financial backing for grading of city streets.

He was also one of the organizers in 1894 of the Roswell Telephone and Manufacturing Company with franchise taken out May 24, 1894, starting as a local system boasting thirty-five telephones, with J. W. Poe, President, J. P. Church Vice President, E. A. Cahoon treasurer, and L. K. McGaffey secretary. This was the pioneer system, and first in the Pecos Valley, which was enlarged in two years, connecting Roswell and Carlsbad, by long distance; with exchanges at Hagerman, Dexter and Lake Arthur.

After having grown tired of public life in a hotel, Mr. and Mrs. Church built their home, where Mrs. Church lives at the present time, at what is now 210 So. Kentucky Avenue. Here, one of the beauty spots of the City was developed by the Church family, and nearly twenty-five years was spent by them in unbroken happiness until the death of Mr. Church which occurred at his home in 1917.

Mr. Church was popular in business and social circles, and with all strangers with whom he came in contact.

He was known throughout New Mexico as a man of indomitable will power and unusual physical endurance.

"Church Peak" in the Mountains near Nogal was named in his honor. Once when deserted by exhausted fellow surveyors, he went forward, alone, and scales the steep rocky mountain side and erected a monument, on which he wrote his name on the top-most-peak.

Years later another man, he too a surveyor, victorious over the same almost unsurmountable cliffs, found the little monument. The pinnacle from that day forward beenknown as "Church Peak".

It will stand through the ages, until the end of time, as a testimonial to the staunch sturdy frontiersman, whose chief characteristic was the will to accomplish all things undertaken by him no matter how great the difficulties encountered.

It is because of such progressive men as Mr. Church, that Roswell people enjoy the beautiful modern City, built in a desert country by the first pioneer settlers of the Pecos Valley.










418 College St.



J. J. Connelly


March 29, 1939


Mrs. Georgia B. Redfield

Box 103

Roswell, N. M.


Dear Mrs. Redfield:

Referring to your manuscript, "Joshua P. Church", I wish to call to your attention the following additional necessary information: Page 1. paragraph 1. From what place in Texas did Joshua P. Church come to White Oaks, N. M. in 1880? Henrietta

When and where was he born?

Page 1. paragraph 3. In what town was Mr. Church married to Miss Bolton? Roswell

Page 1. paragraph 5. In what year did Mr. Church purchase the hotel from Mrs. Aileen o'Neal? 1891

Page 2. paragraph 2. Did the old adobe structure which was bought by Captain Joseph C. Lea eventually become the hotel purchased by Church from Mrs. O’Neal? No

Page 2. paragraph 5. In what year did Church sell his hotel interest; to whom? 1895. No one can remember the man's name.

Will you please make the above corrections on the enclosed carbon copy, and also list these corrections in the regulation three copies, and return to me as soon as possible?

Thanking you, I am

Very truly yours

J. J. Connelly

State Administrator

By Aileen Nusbaum





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