WPA Elisha Leslie
Writer: Edith L. Crawford
Carrizozo, N. Mex.
Date: October 14, 1938.
Topic: Pioneer Story
Source of Information: Elisha
I was born February 14, 1873, in Dublin, Erath County, Texas, and
came to New Mexico
when I was ten years old. I have lived in Lincoln
about fifty-three years.
My father, Robert Leslie, was born
in Fulton County, Georgia,
May 17, 1853. My mother, Elizabeth Ward, was born in Georgia, (I do not know the town or
county) January 6, 1857.
My parents were married about the
year 1871 in Dublin, Texas. I do not know when they came to Texas. My father owned a
farm near Dublin Texas, and raised corn, small grains,
potatoes, and had a small bunch of cattle and a few horses.
My father had some big heavy teams
and sometimes used them in doing construction work. I know that at one time he
had four teams at work for a rail-road company, but I do not remember just
where this was. My father met a man by the name of Jack Farr, who came down
into Texas from Lincoln County, New
Mexico. He was always telling my father what a great
country New Mexico was and wanted to sell my
father a ranch that he had in Lincoln County.
In the spring of 1883 my father
decided to sell out his farm near Dublin Texas, and move to Lincoln
Two other men that he knew wanted to come too, so these three men, my father, a
man by the name of Dink Arthurs, and a man named Yorke, (I have forgotten his
other name), decided to set out for Lincoln
County. They had three covered
wagons, one to each family. In our family there was my father and mother,
myself, Lura, Jim and Callie. (A brother, Leech, had died in Texas several years before.) There was Mr.
and Mrs. Arthurs and one boy and one girl. Mr. and Mrs. Yorke had no children.
My father and the other two men decided to drive their cattle through. The
other two men hired two men, brothers, named Carter and I made a hand for my
father. We three rode horseback and looked after the cattle, about 200 head.
Each wagon had their own
provisions and each family did their own cooking over a camp fire. The woman
and children slept in the wagons and the men slept on the ground. Each wagon
had their own chuck box and water kegs. The only fresh meat that we had on the
trip were prairie chickens and antelope that we shot on the way. We did not see
any Indians or buffalo and we had no serious trouble. We grazed the cattle
along and when we would come to good grass and water we would sometimes stay an
long as a week.
We crossed the Pecos river at Fort Patches.
We had heard so much about the quicksands on this river and how dangerous it
was to cross it that my father got a pilot to guide us across. We got all three
wagons and all the cattle across without any serious trouble.
Billy the Kid had not been dead
very long and we went out to see his grave. My father had met Billy the Kid at
a railroad construction camp but did not know him well.
Patches we went down to Roswell and up the Hondo river through the Mescalero
Indian reservation, thro'ugh Tularosa and on over to Weed, New Mexico.
We got to Weed in the fall of
1883. We were on the road about three months. The two Carter boys left us at
Weed and I do not know what became of them. The Arthurs family stayed in New Mexico only a year or so and went back to Texas.
The Yorkes lived around Weed for
several years and the last I heard of them they were still in the Penasco
country, in New Mexico.
My father stayed in Weed only
about a month and then decided to go to the Farr Ranch, which is about eight
miles from White Oaks, New Mexico, and is now known as the Felix
We drove our cattle from Weed,
through the mountains, to the Farr Ranch. We stayed there at this ranch all
that winter. In the spring of 1884 my father filed on a homestead at the foot
of the Tuscon Mountains. My sister Callie died during the winter that we were
at the Farr ranch.
After we had lived on the
homestead for several years my father bought a small place in White Oaks and stayed there during the fell and winter and sent us
children to school there. After school was out in the spring we would go back
to the homestead. It was near enough for my father to go back and forth to the
homestead all the time and see how things were getting along.
One winter I got tired of going to
school and decided that I would get out on my own, so I ran away from White Oaks and went out to the Block Ranch and hired out as a bronc
buster. I was about seventeen, I guess then. I was a good rider and not afraid
to tackle any kind of horse. I worked for the Block outfit for about five
years. It was owned then by two brothers, Andy and Mel Richardson.
About 1894 I went to Arizona. I opened a meat
market at Springerville, Arizona. I was married there in 1895 to
Minnie English. After I married I went to work for a man named Harris Miller,
who owned a ranch near Springerville. I worked for his for about three years.
While I was working for him, breaking wild horses, a horse fell on me and
crushed me up pretty badly. I was in a hospital at St. Johns, Arizona,
for more than six weeks. As soon as I was able to travel again I came back to
my father's place in the Tuscon mountains. I know that my days of breaking
horses was over.
I homesteaded on a place of my own
not very far from my father's place. I raised a few cattle and horses and did
some dry farming. My wife and I had four children, Ruby, Walker, Lura and Alma.
When Alma was
about three months old my wife died. This was about 1920. My mother-in-law,
Mrs. George English took my children to care for. Mr. and Mrs. English lived on
a place about a mile from our place.
About 1923 I moved in to Carrizozo New Mexico and
opened up a meat market. I brought my three oldest children with me and sent
them to school. Ruby, the oldest girl kept house for me.
In 1933, I was married to Mrs.
Ruby Wright, of Albuquerque,
New Mexico. In 1934 we moved to White Oaks and I bought the place that my father had owned there, and my
wife and I still own it and live there.
My father died in February, 1932,
and my mother died just a month later, March 17, 1932, in White Oaks, New Mexico.
Both are buried there. My parents had ten children, five of whom are still
living here in New Mexico, one in Colorado, and four are
dead. The names of the children who are living are, Elisha, Lura, Robert, Ward,
Ben and Ellis. My brother Ward still lives on the old place that my father
homesteaded in 1864.
NARRATOR: Elisha Leslie, Aged 65
years. White Oaks, New Mexico.
Edith L. Crawford,
Carrizozo, N. Mex.
Corrections on PIONEER STORY of
Page 1, paragraph 5 My mother and father has ten
children, Elisha, Lure, Leech, Jim and Callie were born in Texas. Robert, Ward, Ben, Jesse and Ellis,
were born In New Mexico. Leech died before we moved from Texas
to New Mexico.
Callie died the first winter we lived in New
Mexico, late in the year 1883. My brother Jim died
about the year 1889, and Jesse was killed in an automobile accident about the
year 1929, all died in New Mexico,
Page 2, paragraph 4. Billy the Kid's grave in at Fort
Sumner New Mexico, DeBaca
Page 2, paragraph 5. Weed, New
Mexico, in low in Otero County,
in the Sacramento Mountains, about four miles southeast of Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
When we came to this country in 1883, all of the places mentioned were in Lincoln
at that time.
Page 3, paragraph 1. The Penasco country referred to
in this story was formed by a group of ranchers who settled on a small dry
creek, called Penasco Creek. It is in the Sacramento Mountains and at that time
in Lincoln County.
Page 3, paragraph 3. Our homestead was in Lincoln
in the Tuscon Mountains,
about eight miles southwest of White
Mexico, and about fourteen miles northwest of Capitan, New Mexico.
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