WPA Judge Frank H. Lea
Writer: Georgia B. Redfield
Interview with: Gertrude Lea Dills (Daughter)
My father, Judge Frank H. Lea and
mother Sue Whetstone Lea were married in
After their marriage they lived at
They then moved to the plantation
home of my father's family at Lea's
My grandfather had been shot and the palatial Lea home burned by Yankee soldiers during the war.
My parents lived at Lea's
He brought a covered prairie
schooner (wagon) drawn by oxen and a hack, both we used to move all of us and
our things to
The journey across the plains was
hard and tiresome - nothing but miles and miles of barren prairie with no
houses only those of
"Promised Land." This
was long before artesian wells drained the waters out. Both North and
I will never forget our trip from
We slept peacefully and were not molested by Indians. The next night, at the same spot, Indians killed two drummers scalped them, and left the bodies, taking the wagon and horses and all the drummer's clothes and things.
White Oaks was not quiet and peaceful. It was just like all noisy roistering mining towns during the 70's.
On one occasion our home was shot up by a local crowd of drunks who returned later after drinking more, to do more shooting. They were met by a posse of miners, gathered to protect us, who fired on the drunks and killed and wounded several.
Our mother was prostrated, from
this shock, for several months. Her baby - my sister,
My father was Justice of Peace of White Oaks for many years - until we moved to Roswell - where he was also Justice of the Peace - serving about thirty-five years in service of peace and order in the State of New Mexico.
Our pioneer mothers were the ones who suffered most in the early lawless days. They bore bravely all hardships and dangers - were truly the "torch bearers" for the men who blasted the way and built homes in a new country.
It is well in this time of
depression with small privations, to keep those days in remembrance and to
think of those women who faltered not in the face of tragedies and hardships,
that are hard to believe were ever endured in this now peaceful country and
modern city of
Given In Interview 4-9-37.
By - Mrs. Gertrude Lea Dills,