WPA – Anthony NM
Interview with: Mrs. O.C. Story
By: Marie Carter,
Anthony, Old Timers Dictionary In Detail
There is no doubt, that to-day and not to-morrow, is the propitious time to collect and preserve some of the true stories of this Great Southwest. For there are not many of the early settlers or old-timers left. Many, who were the pathfinders for us, have passed away, leaving no records of the heroic parts they played in the historical drama of our country.
Take one old-timer for instance--one of the oldest pioneers of our community. Her house is old, too, but it has not withstood the ravage of time near so well as she. When I asked her how long she lived in Anthony, she laughed and replied:
don't you ask me how long I've lived in
"What year was that?"
1881. We moved to Anthony in 1897.
My first husband had been out in this country before, but as I told you,
"And where were you at that time?"
" That must have been exciting," I said.
"Yes, it was. The first thing we run into, after passing the Navajo Indian Reservation a little ways, was about three hundred redskins on horseback, and I guess the only reason they didn't scalp us was the fact that they was too drunk to see us. Them that could still drink was a reelin' from side to side, and them that couldn't hold anymore were asleep on their horses' neck. They was the real thing too--feathers, blankets, bare legs and moccasins. Some of them wore little aprons for pants.
"What tribe were they?"
"Were you afraid?"
"I didn't flinch. And when they passed on my husband patted me on the shoulder. I guess he thought I was pretty brave."
"You certainly were," I said.
"We had to be in them days.
And on the upper Peneasco, where we first settled,
every man and women faced the same problems. Then we moved a little lower down,
Mary Coe Belvins was the wife of Jim Coe, a man who knew Billy the Kid and liked him. She gave birth to the second white child on the upper Peneasco, a creek, sometimes called a "river." The upper and the lower Peneasco was seperated by a dry basin for about twelve miles.
The other day I dropped into our local drygoods store to chat with a friend, and old-timer, who has lived in our community since the year of 1901.
"What," I inquired, "did Anthony look like when you located here?"
me!" she exclaimed, "I wish you could have seen it. All this business
section on th' highway was
jest a wagon road. We drove horses 'n' buggies in them days, 'n' wagons, of
course. It took us a whole day to get anywhere--south of
I waited, until my friend had reclosed the stove door, then resumed my quizzing.
" Where was the principal business street when you located here?"
" West of th'
" I suppose land was cheap," I said.
I'll say it was. Good valley land ranged from eight to ten dollars an acre," she said. "Twenty-five dollars was fancy price."
The street referred to by this
old-timer, in 1901, was a mere country lane, with narrow trails branching off
in different directions. One trail turned north to the town of
To-day, the ranch land known as
the "Dairy Farm," commands a top price, but in 1901 it was bought by
a Mr. Howser for six dollars an acre. Mr. Howser levelled the land and sold
it to C.F. Carpenter for twelve dollars an acre. Mr. Carpenter made some
improvements and sold it to the El Paso Dairy Farm Company. This company bought
the ranch to raise alfafa and grain to feed their
cattle. At the present time the principal crops are cotton and sugar-beet seed.
The seed is shipped to
In the early days of this town the chief amusements were picnics and barbecues. The men usually barbecued the beef. Sometimes they remained up all night preparing, cooking, basting, and turning it on the spit. As one old-timer commented, "ye cna't hurry barbecue."
Mrs. O.C. Story, born 1872,
Anthony, N. Mex.
April 17, 1937
Mr. Lea Rowland
Dear Mr. Rowland:
Your recent letter has cleared up several things for me. Now I believe I understand more fully what you require. Whenever I omit anything essential to the development of a story it is because my informant lacks the desired information. Henceforth, however, I shall do my best to secure it.
Now I shall proceed to tell you
more about the "
Mrs. O.C. Story, who had a sick
husband, and two small children, brought them west in a covered wagon. (I have
the story of that trip) At that time houses were scarce in the little
I shall endeavor to procure all of the data I possibly, can on the [Rafugio?] Grant. Thanking you for your courteous and helpful letter, I am,