WPA Abran Miller
Writer: Edith L. Crawford
Carrizozo, N. Mex.
September 30, 1938
Subject: Pioneer Story
Source of Information:Abran Miller.
I was born in February, 1863 (I do
not know the date) at
My father, Holan Miller, was born
My father and mother married in
My father was a blacksmith by
trade and where-ever we lived he had a shop of his own. We lived in Manzano New
In the fall of 1863 we moved to
We lived in Fort Sumner New Mexico
until 1874. Father had a blacksmith shop there too. His herd of cattle
increased to about two hundred and seventy five head. In the early spring of
1874 he decided to move to
We loaded up in the two covered
wagons, drawn by six oxen to a wagon, and started for
We crossed the
My father rented a small piece of land from A. N. Blazer, who owned and ran the Blazer Mill, which was situated on the [Mescalero?] Indian Reservation. I do not remember just when we moved to this place on the Indian Reservation. The place had a two roomed log house on it, where we lived. My father still had his cattle and he had them on Fernando Herrera's place on the [?].
Father set up a blacksmith shop, planted a garden and about twenty acres in corn. He made a good crop and when he gathered it in the fall he sent word for me to come home. I had been staying with my uncle, Pat Carrillo, who lived not very far away on the Reservation. When I got home my father said; "Son, here is my crop and my blacksmith shop, you can sell them. Take care of your mother, I am going away and you will not see me anymore." He left that day on horseback. He went by Dowlin's Mill and sold his cattle to Paul and Will Dowlin, took the money and left the country.
Soon after my father went away I went to work for the Murphy Dolan Company, punching cows. I was about seventeen years old. The head quarter ranch house was on the Carrizozo Flats, at what is now the Bar W ranch.
After my father left my mother
moved to the Solado flats, about one mile west of where the town of
When my father had been gone for
about four years I got a letter from him one day. He was over on the
I was very small for my age and when I first went to work for the Murphy, Dolan Company. I got my clothes and board and Mr. Murphy gave forty dollars to my mother, each month. I soon made them a good cow hand and then I got sixty dollars a month.
They sent me with a bunch of
All at once I saw an awful dust rising and I told Lucio to hurry up as I feared some one was rounding up either the cattle or the saddle horses.
He rode off in a run. I waited for some time and he did not return. I had just about decided that he had been killed, and I went back to the cabin. I was standing in the door of the cabin when about thirty men rode up to the door. The leader was a nice looking young fellow. He said "Hello kid, do you have anything to eat?"
I said, "Yes, there is coffee, beans, flour and some canned goods, you are welcome to it, but you will have to cook it yourselves. I have to go and get my horses and see what has become of Lucio."
The leader of this gang was "Billy the Kid." I did not know it at the time as this was just the beginning of the trouble leading up to the "Lincoln County War". This war was between two cattle factions. Murphy and Dolan on one said and McSween and [?] on the other.
Billy the Kid saw I was just a kid
and was scared and he said; "Kid don't be afraid for not a man in the
crowd will hurt you nor bother anything around here while your are in charge of
it." They all got down from their horses and came in. I helped them make
some coffee. While we were waiting for the coffee to boil Billy the Kid asked
me all about myself, how old I was, where I live, etc. After they had eaten
they all rode off toward the head of
I started out a-foot to find the horses and soon found them. The mule that Lucio had started after the horses on was with them but I could not find Lucio. I soon saw that a horse of Lucio's was gone and I just decided that he had gotten frightened and left.
I found out later that this gang of men were with the [McSween?] and Tunstall faction but they never bothered me at all.
While my mother was living on the
When I reached the house I found that the men were Sheriff Peppin and [Florencio?] Chaves, his deputy, and two other men. (I have forgotten their names.) They were looking for Billy. They searched the house but did not find him. Peppin [?] out in the yard and asked who the black horse with the saddle on belonged to. I told him it was my horse. He wanted to know why I kept a horse saddled and staked out. I told him I kept the horse to go round up the other horses. He did not believe me. I know, for he said to one of his men that Billy the Kid should be around there somewhere. When he did not find Billy they rode away. The Kid stayed in our house all that day and when it got dark Mother asked me to let Billy have my black horse and saddle, as she tho'ught that he would return them to me. I did, and sure enough, in about ten days I got up one morning and found my horse, with the saddle on, in the corral. I never did know who brought him back. I was surely glad, for I thought an awful lot of this horse and I was so afraid that Billy would not get him back to me. I had traded with the Apache Indians for this horse. I had given about ten dollars worth of red flannel, beads and powder for him.
When Billy the Kid and his gang
had killed [Bernstein?], a clerk at the Indian Agency, Mr. L. O. Murphy, (of
the Murphy, Dolan Company), sent me to
When I went in to see Governor Axtall, and deliver my messages to him he was mad because they had sent such a kid. He asked me why Pat Carillo had not sent his own son, as he was larger and older than I was. He also told me to tell Mr. Murphy to give me three hundred dollars for that trip, and if Mr. Murphy didn't do it, he would. I got my three hundred dollars from Mr. Murphy all right.
That is the only part that I took in the Lincoln County War, although I was working for the Murphy, Dolan Company all during the war. I stayed at the head quarters ranch on the Carrizozo Flats most of the time.
I saved up about six hundred
dollars while I was working for the Murphy, Dolan Company, and on February 12,
1881, I married Juanita Romero, the daughter of Juan Romero, Of Lincoln, New Mexico. There was no priest
Father Louis [Boresolver?] came
over from Manzano and married us and I paid him twenty-five dollars to make the
trip. We went to housekeeping in
I live here in
Narrator: Abran Miller,
CORRECTIONS ON THE ABRAN MILLER- PIONEER STORY
Page 1, paragraph 4.
"Father and Mother lived in
"I was about six months old
when we moved to Springer,