WPA Mrs. Mary Ellen McMillan
Writer: Edith L. Crawford,
Carrizozo, N. Mex.
Date: October 7, 1938
Source of Information: Mrs. Mary Ellen McMillan.
I was born in
My father owned a large farm and
raised fine blooded horses and registered
My mother and father had ten children, John, Fannie, Whit, Lonnie, Mary Ellen (myself), Guy, Hattie, Thomas, Elizabeth, and Belle.
When my father was about nineteen
years old he helped drive a herd of cattle from Adamsville
My father and a friend of his,
About two months after my father
left to come to
My mother and my sisters and I put
up around two hundred gallons of fruit and vegetables that fall. We were very
busy getting ready to join my father in
On October 24th, 1902, my mother,
two brothers, two sisters, my husband and I started from Adamsville
The three wagons stayed together
for about six days until we got to [Crews?]
My husband and I stayed with his
father in Crews Texas, until January 1903. It had gotten so cold that we
decided that we would wait until spring to go on to
We had our chuck box on the back
of the wagon and carried two water kegs tied on the side. We had a pair of
springs in the wagon with our bed on it and we slept in the wagon. We used a
lantern for light. We had a coop tied under the wagon with six hens and a
rooster, [?] blood white
leghorns, that kept us in eggs all the way out to
We struck the plains at Gail Texas and the very first day on the plains we ran into the worst sand storm that I ever experienced in my life. The sand filled up the ruts in the road and made it very hard to travel. We were facing the wind and late in the afternoon we came to a large water tank. It was a dirt tank and full of water and while we were still about a quarter of a mile away from it we thought it was raining for we could feel the water, but it was just the wind blowing the water against the dam with such force that it threw the water up in the air. We stopped at the tank for the night and the wind was so very strong that we were afraid that the wagon would be blown over. We could not cook any dinner or supper that day but we had all our provisions with us. We had to open some canned fruit but it got so full of sand that we could hardly eat it at all.
We traveled the old Chisum Trail and there was not a store or a post-office
from Gail Texas, to
We saw a lot of antelope, coyotes and prairie chickens. One day my husband decided that he would shoot some prairie hens as we had only bacon for meat. I stayed in the wagon and my husband got out to shoot them. He had a shot gun and when he fired at the prairie hens the team of horses got frightened and ran away with me. They ran for about a half mile before they stopped. We were so excited that we forgot to get the prairie hens, though we knew that he had gotten two of them, and we did not get any fresh meat after all.
After we left Gail Texas, we came to the Fish Ranch. This ranch was about twenty-five miles northwest of Gail. The cattle were dying by hundreds. It was very dry and grass was poor. When my husband went up to a wind-mill to see if he could water the team and get water for our water kegs, he found one of our old friends from Adamsville Texas, a man by the name of Virgil Piper. We were so glad to see him and he ate dinner with us that day. He worked on the Fish ranch.
From the Fish ranch the road
followed up what was known as Sulphur Draw. The next
place we came to was the L. F. D. ranch. The head quarters ranch house was at
Mescalero Springs, near what is now known as Cap Rock,
Not very far from the Mescalero Springs we came to a small ranch where there was a big prairie fire. The man on the ranch (I have forgotten his name) asked my husband if her would take one of our team of horses and go round up a saddle horse for him as all of his horses were out in a big pasture and he could not get them on foot. The man had a number of baby calves out on the flats and he was afraid that the fire would trap these baby calves. My husband was glad to help him out by getting his horses for him and the man and his wife gave us some fresh milk and butter and eggs.
Not very much happened from this
ranch on in to Nogal. I saw my first burros between [
We reached Nogal
New Mexico on April 15, 1903. We stayed there for a short while with my parents
and then we moved to [Ancho?], New
While we were living at Ancho New
In October, 1903, my husband
decided to work for the rail road company and we moved to
After leaving the rail road company my husband went to work for the New Mexico Light and Power Company and he stayed with this company for ten or twelve years.
In 1929 my husband filed on a
homestead eight miles south of
My mother and father lived on
their homestead at Ancho until their death. My mother
died in 1922 and my father in 1933. About five years before my father died he
lost his eye sight. He lived with me while we lived on our homestead near Ancho. I have a sister Belle, Mrs. J. T. Johnson, who with
her husband and two children live on their homestead about three miles from Ancho, New Mexico. Of all my
father's family there are only four living. My brother Whit Thompson lives near
Both of my parents are buried at
My husband and I have six
children, Ruth, Bonnie, Euda, Walter, Mary Ellen and
Corrine, all were born in
For the past four years my husband
has driven a school bus from
NARRATOR: Mrs. Mary Ellen McMillan, Aged 58 years. Carrizozo, N. M.
Edith L. Crawford
Carrizozo, N. Mex.
Mrs. Mary Ellen (Thompson) McMillan PIONEER STORY
Corrections on Pioneer Story of Mrs. Mary Ellen (Thompson) McMillan.
My mother and father had ten children, John, Fannie, Whit, Lonnie, Mary Ellen
(my self,) Guy, Hattie, tho'mas, Elizabeth and Belle,
all born in Adamsville
The five children that came to
The rest of the children three
boys and two girls were married and had homes of their own in