WPA On July 21, 1879, I was
Writer: Edith L. Crawford,
Carrizozo, New Mex.
FEB 14 1938
Narrator: Mrs. Martial C. Phillips
On July 21, 1879, I was married to
Mr. John H. Phillips, a rancher and we lived in Tom Green County,
Texas. To this union was born
three boys, Walter, Roy and Pete. Walter and Roy both died in their early teens
and within three days of each other. Pete is still living.
In the spring of 1885 Mr. Philips
drove one hundred head of cattle to the Davis Mountains
near [Toyah?] Texas,
to find pasturage. While on this trip Mr. Phillips scouted around in New Mexico looking for
grass and water. In the spring of 1886 we sold out in Tom Green County Texas and started out for New Mexico, coming by way of the Davis Mountains
and picking up our cattle. That was the year of a terrible drougth and we could
hardly find a place to camp on account of so many carcasses of dead cattle. We
found only about half of ours. We crossed the line into New Mexico on September second, 1886.
We traveled in a covered wagon
drawn by two horses and we had a trail wagon. We brought our chickens, four
milk cows, seven head of horses and one hundred seven range cattle. We traveled
alone and I drove the wagon. Walter, our oldest boy who was six rode with his
father and helped as best he could with the cattle. We saw no Indians nor Buffalo on our trip. We
started by daylight each day but stopped a little early at night for camp. We
picked up sticks and cow chips for fuel. We carried a water barrel in our trail
wagon and did not suffer as many hardships as some of the pioneers did. We had
one funny experience when we camped at Pecos Station on the Pecos River.
We were so tired and worn out Mr. Phillips decided that we would stay a day or
so and rest. He wanted to hire some one to look after the cattle while we
rested up, so he took Walter and rode off to see somebody about that. I had to
go to the river for some water. I left both of the smaller children in the
wagon but when I got nearly to the river I found that Roy had followed me and
had his little drinking cup in his hand. The river was very high and just above
where I was there was a whirlpool. Just as I dipped in my pail Roy
screamed, "Ma, there is Pa."
I looked up and saw a man's leg whirling around in the pool. I dropped my pail
in the river and grabbed Roy
up and ran back to camp scared to death. Roy was
crying and calling for his Pa.
When Mr. Phillips came back I told him what we had seen. He went out and got
some ranchers and they began a search for the body. The next day they found the
body in a rancher's yard where it had been washed by the high waters of the
river. It was an old Mexican man who had lived in a small hut on the river bank
and the high water had washed the hut away and the old man had drowned. Not
much else happened to us on the trip. It was long and tiresome. We came on to
the Carizo flats as we had heard there was lots of grass and water there. It
was all open country in tho'se days and we followed the grass and camped at
watering places. While we were drifting around trying to decide where to buy we
camped for a while at the Cottonwood Springs in the Patos mountains. It was a
lovely place, owned by the Anderson Land & Cattle Company and a Mrs. Simms
and her son Jimmie were caretakers. Mr Phillips was very much taken with the
place and said that he hoped the day would come when he could own it. There was
a large white house there and it
was called the "White
House". It was not for sale at that time, but about the year 1918 Mr.
Phillips heard it was for sale and bought it. I still own it.
In the year 1887 we bought a good
place on Eagle Creek and lived there for many years. This place was near Alto.
We sold out to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company and moved to a small ranch
we owned on Bonito near Angus. In 1920 we moved to the Cottonwood Springs
ranch. Mr. Phillips enjoyed this place so much and always said that we would
not move any more. He died in January 1926, and is buried in a small plot not
far from the ranch house. All of my family is gone but Pete, who is married and
has four children. I am still holding on to the Cottonwood Springs ranch though
they won't let me live there any more as I am too old now. I want my
grandchildren to have it.
Narrator: Mrs. Martial C. Phillips,
Aged 82 years.
Carrizozo, New Mexico.
Pasted from <http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?wpa:40:./temp/~ammem_DBXg::>