WPA Mrs. Sarah Hughes


Writer: Edith L. Crawford

Carrizozo, N. Mex.

MAY 24 1938




Interview with: Mrs Sarah Hughes


I was married to George Madison Hughes, October 22, 1882, in Junction City Texas, ten children were born to this union two girls and eight boys.

We lived on a ranch seven miles north of Junction City on the north Llano river, we raised hogs for the market and had a few head of cattle. Our ranch home was in the woods on the Llano river, where there was plenty of feed for our hogs and cattle.

The country was wide open in those days, there were no fences, our hogs fattened on pecans and acorns.

All of our children were sick most of the time, so Mr Hughes decided to move to New Mexico, as we had heard about the wonderful climate, and that it was a wonderful cattle country.

In the spring of 1902, we sold our ranch and hogs, kept eighty head of cattle ten horses and three hound dogs. We loaded our bedding clothing and provisions into three covered wagons, and left Junction City Texas, the twenty second day of August 1902 for New Mexico.

One wagon had a chuck box in the back and where we kept our dishes and food, we had a cow hide streched under the wagon to carry our cooking utensillis and our water kegs were tied on the side of the wagon, this wagon carried our provisions and beddingThe other two wagons were for the family, I drove a spring wagon and had a pair of bed springs in the back of the wagon for the smaller children to play and sleep on during the day.

The three oldest boys were the cowboys and drove the cattle Mr. Hughes and one of the other boys drove the other two wagons, we traveled very slowley on account of the cattle, we slept out in the open at night as the weather was very warm when we left Texas and it was awful dry, we spread a wagon sheet down on the ground and made our beds on this and had another wagon sheet to spread over us in case it rained at night, it only rained on us twice during the whole trip.

I did all the cooking with the help of the oldest girl we made biscuits and corn bread and baked them in dutch ovens I used cream of tartar and soda to make my bread with, we had three cows in the herd with young calves the boys milked the cows and we had plenty of fresh milk for the children to drink.

We brought all of our meat that we had smoked before leaving Texas, we also brought a ten gallon keg of home made syrup that we traded hogs for we lost a lot of our syrup while crossing the plains it got to warm and boiled over.

The only two towns that we stopped in between Junction City Texas and Eddy New Mexico (which is Carlsbad New Mexico now) was San Angelo and Garden City Texas, we stopped to stock up on provisions the boys drove the cattle around the towns.

When we stopped to camp at night the children would run wild on the flats, we were always afraid they would get bit by a rattle snake, as we saw so many on the road during the day.

Our stock suffered quite a bit for water and feed while we were crossing the plains, one day in paticular I remember the cattle were badley in need of water we noticed a ranch house in the distance with a wind mill and tank we drove by with the wagons to see if they would let us water the cattle, but when the horses smelled the water they made arun for the tank we just couldn't hold them back and about that time two women came out of the ranch house and ordered us off of the place they said "they only had water enough for their own stock."

We couldn't get the horses away until they got enough to drink, we didn't even ask them to let us fill our water kegs after they acted so rude towards us the children all got a drink and we drove on, I thought those were the meanest two women that I ever heard of.

We drove on and found a watering place that night it was the Concho river and we camped on the banks of the river for two days and let the cattle rest and get all the water they wanted. We drove on across the plains with the cattle when we struck the line between Texas and New Mexico they quarantined our cattle on account of ticks, and we had to leave them in a pasture. We came on to hunt a location before the weather got to cold.

As we crossed the line into New Mexico we met a family by the name of Turk, and they traveled with us as far as Roswell New Mexico, we struck the Pecos River at Eddy New Mexico we camped on the river several days and rested our selves and teames and I did the family washing.

There was lots of hard work and responsibility for me on this trip looking after ten children keeping them clean and fed.

But the trip was well worth all the hardships that we had as the children became healthy and [taned?].

One evening while we were camped on the Pecos River we were cooking supper, I heard a shot and a woman scream I told Mr. Hughes "to run quick as I just knew some one had shot Mrs. Turk," Mr. Hughes went over to the Turk camp found that one of the Turk boys had shot a big rattle snake that had coiled and was just ready to strike his mother on the ankle when he shot.

We moved our camp that night for we were afraid there was another rattle snake around.

We left Eddy and came on to Roswell New Mexico. where we camped for a few days, we decided we had rather be in the mountains than on the plains so we we followed the Hondo River until we came to the Capitan Mountians so we crossed over to the north side of the mountians and camped for the winter. Mr. Hughes and the three oldest boys went back to the state line after our cattle and brought them back to the Capitan Mountians and turned them loose for the winter.

Mr. Hughes began to look around for us a place for us to live he found a place on the Bonito River three miles northeast of Angus New Mexico, which is located twenty six miles southeast of Carrizozo New Mexico, we moved our cattle over to this place and turned them a loose as the ranges were wide open in tho'se days.

We did some farming and sent the children to school at Angus we also got our mail at Angus, the children rode horse back to school. We landed on the Bonito May 12, 1903; we lived on this place about four years.

We needed better schools for our children so we sold our place and cattle and moved to Carrizozo, New Mexico in 1907, where I have lived ever since.

I was born twelve miles north of Dallas Texas, on farm January 22, 1857. Mr. Hughes was born in Ashville North Carolina October 27, 1851, died in Carrizozo, New Mexico November 7, 1916.


Narrator: Mrs. Sarah Hughes, Age 81 Carrizozo, New Mexico


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