Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
History: Boom to bust — Organ once a thriving mining town
The Modoc Mine
Van Elliott and his brother Robert were finishing a long day's work in their Organ Mountain mine when a friend rode up carrying a message. The Elliotts were soon headed back full steam toward their home in Organ. While they were gone, Sam Hester, one of several men who delivered water by mule to the waterless town, had entered the back door of his home and, as reported in May 1883 by the Rio Grande Republican, "made an indecent proposal" to his wife, who was there alone. The paper said Hester was "repulsed with scorn and indignation and slapped in the face." Mrs. Elliott raced across the street to N.J. Kennedy's store. Hester fired a shot as a warning for her to "keep quiet." The next day, Hester came to town with a friend, both fully armed. According to Elliott, he approached Hester to demand he apologize to his wife, but Hester raised his pistol and fired, narrowly missing. Elliott and his brother fired back, with Van twice hitting Hester, who died later that evening. The brothers were arrested and Van was charged. Witnesses said Elliott acted in self-defense, though Hester told a deputy Elliott had shot him as he delivered water. It wouldn't be the last shooting or violent episode in the little mining town, though most were perhaps less chivalrous and more alcohol-induced. Organ had its wild period, with seven saloons and prostitutes operating in "cribs" set up behind the Blue Adobe Saloon...more