WPA Mrs. Annie E. Lesnett
Writer: Edith L. Crawford,
Carrizozo, N. Mex.
Narrator: Mrs. Annie E. Lesnett,
Carrizozo, New Mexico.
SEP 7 -1938
I have lived in the State of New Mexico for sixty-one
years. I lived in Roswell, Chaves
for twenty-five years and in Lincoln county for thirty-six years.
I met my husband, Frank Lesnett,
in Chicago, Illinois, when I was sixteen years old. He
was born in the State of Ohio.
He joined the regular army at Fort Seldon Ohio, in 1870, for a period of five years and was sent to
Fort Stanton, New Mexico, to serve his enlistment,
fighting the Indians. He was discharged in 1875 at Fort Stanton.
He came back to Chicago Illinois,
and we were married July 19, 1876. We lived in Chicago for awhile but Frank was
never satisfied, for he loved the west and wanted to come back to Lincoln County New Mexico, so he left me in Chicago with my people and he
came back to Ruidoso New Mexico, and bought a half interest in the Dowlin's
Mill. This mill was owned by Paul and Will Dowlin at the time. Frank stayed
here and sent for me and our baby son. I came by train from Chicago
to La Junta Colorado, and from La Junta to Fort Stanton New
Mexico on [?] Raymond's stage coach, drawn by four
[?] Raymond and his bride, who was
from St. Louis Missouri, were passengers on the stage with
me. I do not remember any of the places that we stopped except Jerry Hoeradle's
place, where we stayed all night and changed teams. We had a very pleasant
trip, no scares from Indians or desperadoes, although I was very much afraid of
the Indians. My husband had told me so much about them and how they would go on
the war path, but at that time they were supposed to stay on the Mescalero
My husband met me at Fort Stanton.
He was driving two big bay horses to a Studebaker [hack?]. The horses were
named "Bill Johnson, and "Bill Dowlin". How happy I was when my
husband met me and we drove up the beautiful canyon toward the White mountains.
It was in May 1877. We went by way of the Pat Garrett Ranch, which was located
on Little Creek, and on by Alto and down Gavelan Canyon
to the Ruidoso. When we arrived at Dowlin's Mill I saw some blood in the front
yard. Frank told me that a man named Jerry Dalton had shot and killed Paul
Dowlin the day before. Dalton
left the country and was never heard of again.
My new home was a four room log
house, with a big fireplace in the front room, which we called the parlor. We
used kerosene lamps and candles for lights. A man by the name of Johnnie Patton
cooked for us. We boarded several of the men who worked in the mills and helped
on the farms. We raised hogs and sold them to Fort Stanton.
We raised our own feed to fatten the hogs and in the fall of the year the farm
hands would butcher about a hundred hogs at a time. I would get some of the
neighbor women to come and help render out the lard. We used a big iron pot and
rendered up the lard out in the yard. I raised lots of turkeys and chickens and
sold them at Fort
I was always so afraid of the wild
beasts that roamed around in the hills. I remember one time, my husband and the
cook had to go to Lincoln to
court, and left a Mrs. Johnson with me and my three children, to stay alone at
night. One night after we had all gone to bed, Mrs. Johnson and I heard
something prowling around the house. We lay real still and listened, for we did
not know whether it was Indians or wild beasts. We did not have to wait long to
know, for it was a mountain lion and when he got up real near the house he let
out a roar. We all most died of fright for we were afraid that he would break
the windows and come in after us. We moved all the furniture and barricaded the
doors and windows. The lion kept walking around the house and roaring. After a
while he left and went down to the cow pen and killed one of our milk pen
calves. I told my husband when he came home the next day, that I would never
stay home with just women folks again, and I never did while we lived on the
The Mescalero Indians from the
Mescalero Reservation used to come to our place end trade. My husband had a
small store and was post master at Ruidoso. I saw four buck Indians have a
fight in front of our store one time. They pulled each other's hair out and
fought with quirts. They fought for about an hour. I was in the store and was afraid
to go to our house, although the Indians never did bother us. I was awfully
afraid of them, especially when I first came to the Ruidoso. I was always good
to the Indians. I gave them doughnuts and cookies when they came to the Mill
and it was not long until all the Indians were my friends. Geronomo used to
come to our place quite often. Once he brought me a big wild turkey and another
time he gave me a nice Indian basket. I gave the basket to Mrs. Hiram Dow and
she still has it.
There was usually a crowd of young
people at the Mill and we used to ride horseback fifteen and twenty miles to a
dance, and never think anything of it.
In 1882 my husband bought out the
interest of the Dowlin Brothers and he was sole owner of the Mill. We then
moved into the two story building which still stands, with the old water wheel,
about two miles from the town of Ruidoso.
At that time we had a grist mill and a saw mill. All the surrounding country
brought their grain to our mill to be ground. We used oxen to haul our logs for
the saw mill.
I went back to Chicago Illinois on
a visit to my people in 1879, but I did not stay very long as I was anxious to
get back to my western home that I loved so well.
I remember the Chicago fire well. I was sixteen years old,
and when our mother woke us up that night and told us to get up quick get
dressed because our house was about to catch on fire. We all got dressed and
were gathering up the things that we wanted to save and when I got outside all
I had in my hands was the bird cage, with the bird in it. Our home burned that
night. That was in 1871.
In 1887 we sold our ranch and
cattle on the Ruidoso to the Crees, who owned the "V V" outfit. We
moved to Lincoln New Mexico,
where we could have better schools for our children. We lived on the Ruidoso
all during the Lincoln County War but my husband never took
sides with either faction. I did give Billy the Kid several meals when he would
come to our place, but my husband never knew anything about it, for he had
warned we not to feed any of the men from either side, but I did it anyway as I
felt so sorry for them when they said they were hungry.
was a wild country when I first came here and at first I used to get so
homesick for my people in Chicago, but after I
had been here a few years I liked it and never cared to go back to Chicago to live.
Five of my children were born on
the Ruidoso, one in Chicago, and one in Lincoln.
We lived in Lincoln
until 1890 and then moved to Roswell, New Mexico, and lived there for three years and moved
back to Lincoln in 1893. I have lived in Carrizozo for the past ten years. Two
of my children live with me. I am content and happy to spend the rest of my
days here in Lincoln County.
NARRATOR: Mrs. Annie E. Lesnett, Carrizozo, N.M. Aged 83 years.
CORRECTIONS ON Edith L. Crawford, PIONEER
Page 1, Paragraph 1-
I have lived in the State of New Mexico for sixty-one
years. (I came to N. Mex. in March 1877, Maiden name Annie E. Cauanauch. I was
born July 3, 1855 in Chicago,
Illinois.) I lived in Roswell, Chaves County,
for twenty-five years and in Lincoln County (1877 to 1890,
1893 to 1906-1928-1938) (Lived in Roswell
1890 to 1893, 1906, 1928)
Page 1, Paragraph 2
He came beck to Chicago Illinois,
and we were married July 19, 1876. (My parents, Mr. and Mrs. tho'mas Caranaugh,
lived in Chicago, Ill.) We lived in Chicago
for awhile but Frank was never satisfied, for he loved the west and wanted to
come back to Lincoln County New Mexico, so he left me in Chicago with my people and he came back to Ruidoso New Mexico, and
[boughtta?] half interest in the Dowlin's Mill. This mill was owned by Paul and
Will Dowlin at the time. Frank stayed (in Ruidoso,
New Mexico) here and sent for me
and our baby son (Irvin). (In March 1877) I came by train from Chicago
to La Junta Colorado, and from La Junta to Fort Stanton, New
Mexico on Numa Raymond's stage coach, drawn by four
Page 1, Paragraph 3.
I do not remember any of the
places that we stopped except Jerry Hocradle's place, (was on the old stage
road in the Gallinas
Mountains) where we
stayed all night and changed teams.
Page 2, Paragraph 2
It was in May 1877. We went by way
of the Pat Garrett Ranch, which was located on Little Creek, (is 24 miles
Southeast of Carrizozo, New Mexico
and eleven miles East of Ruidoso, New Mexico) and on by the Alto and down
Gavalan Canyon to the Ruidoso.
Page 3 Paragraph 1.
Once he brought me a big wild
turkey and another time he gave me a nice Indian basket. I gave the basket to
Mrs. Hiram Dow (of Roswell,
New Mexico) and she still has it.
Page 4 Paragraph 4
In 1887 we sold our ranch and
cattle on the (Settlement) Ruidoso, (New
Mexico) to the Crees, who owned the "V V"
outfit. We moved to Lincoln New
Mexico, where we could have better schools for our
children. We lived on the Ruidoso (New
Mexico) all during the Lincoln County War
but my husband never took sides with either faction. (It was a war between
Murphy and Dolan and McSween and Tunstall over cattle and banking rights.)
Page 5 Paragraph 2
I have lived in Carrizozo for the past ten years. Two
of my children (Edith L. Crawford and Milton Lesnett) with me.
CHILDREN BORN ON THE RUIDOSO, NEW MEXICO.
Jennie Lesnett, Edith Lesnett,
Frank Lesnett, Milton Lesnett, Bessie Lesnett.
BORN IN LINCOLN, NEW MEXICO
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