Friday, August 30, 2013

Cloverine and Rosebud Salve

I used to go door to door selling these when I was a kid, 9 through about 12 in the late 1950's. Everyone in Rowe, New Mexico used both of these for everything. The Rosebud salve was called "Salvia Rosa" in our Spanglish, Cloverine was called Cloverine with the word being pronounced in Spanish rather than English. I would order them by the roll and pay up front and then sell them at the suggested price and keep the difference.
About anything I could do to earn a few quarters was attempted. Selling Clocverine, Rosebud Salve, the GRIT newspaper as well as delivering the Las Vegas Daily Optic. All were ordered and paid for up front and you kept the profits. The Optic was a daily and sold for $.10 and the GRIT was a weekly of nothing but good news, no bad news on there at all.
If the GRIT was all you read the world was a rosy place to live where everyone seemed to have a lot more money than we did. This was where the ads for selling Rosebud Salve and Clovering could be found.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hangings And Lynchings In Las Vegas, New Mexico After The American Occupation

Hangings in New Mexico, before the American occupation, under Spanish and later Mexican control, while not unheard of, were not common, in fact you could say they were rare.

The  book El Paso Chronicles, A Record of Historical Events in El Paso, Texas written by Leon C. Metz and published by Mangan Books in El Paso, Texas  has a bit on some hangings on August 5, 1684. Ten Indians, mostly Mansos were hanged in El Paso del Norte in the mission plaza, at that time El Paso del Norte was part of New Mexico. They were hung for plotting against the Spanish and had confessed. Their bodies were left to hang from the gallows for several days as a warning to others.

When the Americans came hangings became a common occurrence, very common. Seems like the Las Vegas' (both East and West) were very violent towns on both sides of the law during this period. In reality there were many, many, more lynching than legal hangings.

Jerked to Jesus the lynching's were called.

There were only five (5) or maybe four (4) legal hangings in San Miguel County, all in Las Vegas, in the period 1847 - 1923 according to the book titled "Death on the Gallows, The Story of Legal Hangings in New Mexico" authored by West Gilbreath and published by High-Lonesome Books in Silver City, New Mexico.

These five (5) or four (4) were as follows;

  1. Paula Angel, AKA Paula Martín -The case of Paula Angel, AKA Paula Martín is not totally clear, but it is well documented. She was hung on April 26, 1861. She was the first woman to be hung in the United States, though not the first one in New Mexico. One of my paternal ancestors was a namesake of Paula Martín, I have not been able to verify or disprove that it was the same Paula Martín that was hung. She lived in the same time period.
  2. Roy French AKA Frank French - Hung on September 12, 1870 was an African American was convicted of murder.
  3. Fredrick Falkner - He was hung on August 19, 1892 at 2:51 P.M. Convicted of the ax murder of James Lannon.
  4. Herman "German" Maestas - German was a member of the notorious Vicente Silva gang. He was hung on May 25, 1894 for the murder of Pedro Romero who had married his "ex" wife Rosa Duran.
  5. Julian Romero - He was hung on April 11, 1917 at 1:00 P.M. for the killing of Maria Varela. The sheriff of the County at the time was quoted as saying that Julian had died " as bravely as any criminal has faced his executioners".

The lynchings "Jerking's for Jesus" were more numerous than the legal hangings. One of many examples of the excesses of vigilantes can be found in the book "Las Vegas, New Mexico... The Town That Wouldn't Gamble" authored by Milton W. Callon and published by the Las Vegas Daily Optic. While technically not lynching's it comes close enough to be well documented.

On January 22, 1880 four Texans came into Las Vegas bent on a "wing-ding" and in the process killed the new Marshall of East Las Vegas. NOTE: Las Vegas at the time was two separate and different municipalities, East and West Las Vegas respectively.

Anyway the four Texans were captured in Mora on the 5th of February and transferred to the East Las Vegas jail. On the 7th of February a group of self proclaimed lawmen (vigilantes) formed to get them out of the jail and "Jerk them for Jesus". The vigilantes were amatures at hanging and before the neck tie party could be performed the vigilantes became impatient and shot the prisoners as they stood waiting their turn on the "old windmill" on the Plaza.

The book Death on the Gallows, The Story of Legal Hangings in New Mexico states that there were 10 lynching's in Las Vegas between 1851 and 1893 (42 years), not counting the 4 mentioned above since the men were shot and not technically lynched and it does not take into account 2 others lynched in San Miguel County outside of the city limits of Las Vegas. This is a much shorter period than that used for the legal hangings which is 76 years.

The above lynching's refer hangings by mobs of vigilantes of persons believed guilty of some crime or other. The numbers above do not reflect lynching's of people by "private" parties of which there was at least one. The book Vicente Silva, The Terror of Las Vegas, written my Carlos C. de Baca and published by Tate Publications documents one. The lynching of Patricio Maes by the Silva gang after the gang has "tried" Patricio for "betraying" the gang. He was found guilty and hung by being thrown from the bridge over the Gallinas River near the Plaza in Old Town (West Las Vegas). A rope around his neck and tied to the railing of the bridge.