WPA I left Ratisbon Germany


Writer: Edith E. Crawford,

Carrizozo, N. Mex.


NARRATOR: Henry Lutz



MAR 14 1938


I left Ratisbon Germany either the 15th or the 16th of January, 1881, on the steamer Wertha, and landed in New York City the 3rd day of February, 1881. I stayed in New York City about ten days. I went from there by train to Trinidad Colorado, where I got a job as clerk in a general store owned by Rosenwall Brothers. I worked for them a couple of years. I quit this job to go to work for a Polish Jew by the name of Cohen. I did not stay with him very long as he wanted me to go out on the streets and pull the customers into the store and make them buy.

There were a lot of coal miners from Starkville and Angleville Colorado who came into Trinidad to do their buying. I left this job and went to work for the Circle Diamond Cattle Company of Thatcher, Colorado, as a cowboy. I only staid through one round up, as I knew nothing about cattle and riding. I sold my saddle, bridle, spurs and bed to the round up cook and borrowed a horse and rode him bareback forty miles to Thatcher. I met a friend of mine, John Pfluegen, who now lives at Santa Fe, New Mexico. John and I were going to seek our fortunes in Old Mexico. We got as far as Albuquerque and both found jobs. John went to work for Ilfeld Brothers, and I for Spitz and Schuster. I stayed with them for awhile and then went to work for E. J. Post & Company of Albuquerque, the largest hardware firm in the southwest. The next year I went to Santa Fe to work for better wages for Speigle-Berg Company. They were in the retail and wholesale mercantile business. I stayed with them until they sold out and went to New York. In March 1886 I met R. Michales in Santa Fe, who had a store in Carthage New Mexico. He offered me the job of helping him move his store from Carthage to Roswell New Mexico. He had two wagon loads of goods drawn by a span of black mules and a span of gray horses. We camped out at night and took turns guarding the wagons and horses, as there was lots of stealing going on in tho'se days. When we got as far as Lincoln the prospects looked good so Michales rented a building next to the old Courthouse and opened up a general merchandise store. I stayed with him until I saved up some money and I bought out Charlie Beljean's interest in the Jaffa Prager Company who handled merchandise and live stock.

I took care of the live stock and of the business. I sold my interest to Jaffa Prager Company and went into the sheep business for myself.

I made good money while in the sheep business. I went back to Ratisbon Germany in 1890 to see my mother. I had been in the army in Germany and had a two year leave of absence when I came to New Mexico in 1881 and as I had stayed nine years instead of the two, I was a deserter. When I got back there I went to see my mother but did not stay at home for fear some one would recognize me and report me to the military authorities.

I saw one girl when I got off the train that I had gone to school with and I always thought that she had reported me for the authorities found out that I was back there on a visit. After staying with my mother for a few days I went to Munich Bavaria to see Miss Mathilda Speath. We became engaged and gave a big party to announce our engagement and set the date for our wedding. About twelve o'clock the night of the party, my brother in law, John Brunero, told me to leave the country at once as the authorities at Ratisbon had found out that I was in the country and were looking for me for deserting the army. I went at once to the home of my girl's father and told him just what had happened. It was very embarrassing for me to have to do this but it was the only way out for me. I asked him for his consent for us to be married in Switzerland.

He gave it and I went to Rahrchach Switzerland to make arrangements for our wedding but on my arrival in Rahrchach I looked up the Mayor and told him that I wanted to get a marriage license, that I was an American citizen and my girl was a Bavarian. He informed me that we could not marry in Switzerland as we were not subjects of Switzerland. When I returned to the hotel I met an Englishmen who told me I might be able to get married at the American Consulate at Zurich Switzerland. When I got there I was told that there had been a law many years ago where an American citizen could be married at the Consulate but that the law had been abolished, and that it would be impossible for us to be married in Switzerland. I set down and wrote my girl how things were and told her that I was going to leave at once for Paris France. I found out when I got to Paris that I would have to go through so much red tape that it would be at least six weeks before I could get a marriage license so I gave up that idea. I wrote my girl that I wanted her father to bring her to South Hampton England and that we could get married there. Her father was afraid to cross the English Channel so that ended our trying to get married in the old country. I wrote her that I was leaving Paris on the Normandy, for the United States. When I got back to Albuquerque New Mexico, I wrote my girl that if she still wanted to marry me she would have to come to the United States. I bought a store at Cerrillos, New Mexico. I wrote my girl that if she would come to New York that I would meet her there and we could be married at once on her arrival. She wired me when she left Germany for New York, but when the time came for me to leave to go meet her, my clerk quit and I had no one to leave with my store. I wired a friend of mine by the name of Fletcher to meet my girl and show her the city and when she was ready, to put her on a through train for Las Vegas, New Mexico. I met her on her arrival at Las Vegas and we were married in the parlors of the Plaza Hotel, by Chief Justice O'Brien, in August, 1890.

Charles Ilfeld, Max Nordhouse and some of the salesladies of the Ilfeld Company store were at the wedding. After the ceremony we went to the home of Charles Ilfeld to a big banquet. We left the next day for our new home in Cerillos, New Mexico. We lived there for one year and then went back to Lincoln New Mexico. I bought out the Jaffa Prager Company store and run sheep as a side line. I bought the James J. Dolan home which was one of the nicest residences in Lincoln. My wife and I had five children, three girls and two boys, of which only two girls are left. Mrs. Lutz died in Carrizozo in September, 1930.


NARRATOR: Henry Lutz, Carrizozo New Mexico. Aged 74 years.


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