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The speaker is an 86-year-old White woman with a high school education from Silver City, New Mexico; she was recorded in 1966.



County: Grant
State: NM

Commentary:
Originally a silver-mining boomtown, Silver City was established in 1870 at a time when the Wild West lived up to its name. In this segment the speaker mentions Billy the Kid, whose first arrest occurred in Silver City and ties into her family???s history.
Inf: My father and mother came to New Mexico in the year eighteen hundred and seventy. My, the, uh, my mother came from Maine and my father came from Ohio, and they met in Denver, Colorado, and came down through New Mexico into Silver City, which was just a small mining camp at that time. They, uh, had nine children, and I was the seventh child of the family, and I???m the only one living at present.

Uh, I attended schools in Silver City and, uh, spent many years of my life on a cattle ranch on the Mimbres River. Here I???m, learned to do all kinds of, uh, outdoor work with cattle, and, uh, my husband and I later bought the ranch that belonged to my father and we were the first to put in the registered Hereford cattle. And now it???s a fast-growing, uh, occupation in New Mexico. I can???you want me to say anything more? [FW: Okay.]

My father was a sheriff in the early days and served as sheriff all through the eighties. He was a very prominent sheriff and was, uh, well liked by everyone. He was a man that did not carry a, have a big gun strapped around him as a great many of the d-, lawmen do now, but he was, uh, he would go with his hands out, and to show them, to show anyone he was about to arrest, that he was, was without a gun. And he never, uh, he never had to shoot or kill anyone, for that reason. He, uh, although he com-, he, uh, arrested many, uh, many, um, criminals. Among them was Billy the Kid. He was just a boy when he was in Silver City, and he, uh, the first offense, his first offense was, uh, theft of a dozen pounds of butter. Uh, for that he was just reprimanded, but later on, few years later on, he, uh, stole, uh, f-, uh, sixty dollars from a Chinaman, and for that he had to be placed in jail.

And, uh, one time, one, his, he complained of not being, uh, not getting any air in the, in his cell, so he a-, my, he asked my father if he couldn???t be in the corridor and my father gave his permission. And one morning he went in the jail to, uh, s-, to (dipple) with the prisoners, and he found that Billy, that Billy had escaped through the old-fashioned chimney in the jailhouse. And, uh, Billy the Kid from then on, uh, uh, went on in, he, after he escaped he went over into Arizona and that???s where he started his, uh, career as a gunman. He killed three men over there and then later on he was over in the eastern part of the state.

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