WPA Ben Stimmel
Writer: Edith L. Crawford,
Carrizozo, N. Mex.
Narrator: Ben Stimmel
I was born in Ohio, September 25, 1857. I left Ohio in 1877 and went to Kansas City Missouri.
In 1881 a young fellow by the name of Wesley Lewis and I came by train to Las Vegas, New
Mexico to work on the Santa Fe Railroad. On our way
out to Las Vegas we heard of the rich gold
strike at White Oaks, New Mexico and instead of going to work for
the railroad we decided to go to the gold fields. We started out to walk to White Oaks and walked for two days and a half without food or water. On
the morning of the third day we overtook a oxen train hauling freight to Fort Stanton, New
Mexico. They gave us food and water and a ride to
Jerry [Hoecradle's?] place at Pines Wells, New Mexico,
in the Gallinas Mountains. He gave us directions how to
get to White Oaks so we started out again on foot.
I do not remember how long it took us to get to White Oaks but it
was pouring rain when we got there. We came to a house made of pickets and mud.
We went inside and found it was a small store run by Robinson, Bogard and Dick
Young. We bought something to eat and while eating our lunch in the store Mr.
Bogard asked us if we were rock masons. Wesley Lewis spoke up and said he was. Mr.
Bogard told us that he had a job for us at three dollars a day and our board if
we could qualify. We went to work on a building which was to be a hotel and
assay office, the first to be built in White
Oaks. This was in the year 1881
and this building still stands in White
Oaks today. It is built of
After finishing that job I went to
work as a miner in the Little Mack gold mine and later became foreman of the
mine. I married Miss Anne Mackel in January, 1886. We lived in White Oaks until September 1889, when we set out in a covered wagon
drawn by four horses, to go to Oklahoma
to buy a farm. We had two children and two hound pups. I found a place I liked
in Hennessy, Oklahoma, where we built up a real nice farm
and lived for twenty five years.
On April 20, 1912, a cyclone hit
our farm. It took the roof off of our house, and destroyed our barn and all out
buildings. We had a hundred Indian Runner ducks and after the storm we found
them about half a mile from the house in a mud swamp, all dead. The family saw
the cyclone coming and all got in the storm cellar. After the storm I salvaged
what I could from the farm and left Oklahoma
for Lincoln County,
New Mexico, where they don't have
cyclones. I have lived here ever since.
NARRATOR: Ben L. Stimmel, Aged 81
years, Carrizozo, New Mexico.
Pasted from <http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?wpa:4:./temp/~ammem_DBXg::>