BESSIE BERNICE QUICK BONNELL
Bessie Quick was born in Bent, New Mexico on November 1, 1911. Her parents were Alexander Quick, who was born in Texas, and Izilla Daugherty, whose parents also came from Texas. Izilla had three brothers - Benton, Hansford, and Jasper - and two sisters - Ethel and Lillian. Her father raised mules and sold them to the Army at Fort Bliss. Bessie had one brother and two sisters - Marcus, Faye, and Annie.
Bessie started school in Bent and, when the family moved into the Sacramentos, attended school in Cox Canyon, where she rode a mule to school. She then went to the eighth grade in Cloudcroft, where she played on the girls' basketball team. While she was in school in Cloudcroft, she met Don O. Bonnell from Pierce Canyon. Don's parents were Frank and Lulu Bonnell, who operated a dairy there. There must have been quite an attraction between the two, because the teacher set up a partition to separate them. When Don used to come to visit Bessie in his car, he'd always put it into second gear as he approached, so Bessie could hear him coming. The two were married in Alamogordo on February 3, 1930.
After they were married, they farmed in Russia Canyon for about ten years, and then moved to Karr Canyon near High Rolls, where they farmed for about a year-and-a-half.
Don worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad in the maintenance department for many years, and was able to save enough to purchase the 600 acre Agnew Farm in Laborcita Canyon. Don planted apples and cherries and also ran some cattle there. Every summer, they would drive the cattle up the hill to the old place in Russia Canyon, with Bessie and the girls driving their car up behind the cattle.
In July of 1945, Don was working for the Prestridge Lumber Company on the Mescalero Reservation when, early in the morning, the sky lit up like mid-day. Don thought it was a meteorite, and tracked the location by landmarks, thinking he would try to locate it later. Instead, it was the atomic bomb at Trinity Site that he had seen.
In 1971, they sold all but 20 acres of the Agnew Farm, and that is where Bessie now lives. Besides farming, Don also operated heavy equipment working with the soil conservation agency, and was also involved in the construction of the tunnel on Highway 82 in 1949-1950. Don and Bessie were always too busy to take a vacation until one summer, Don was asked by Soil Conservation to pick up a "cat" in California, and took Bessie along. This turned out to be a nice paid vacation. Don passed away on May 14, 1970.
Bessie and Don had six children - Mary Josephine, who died as an infant; Donald Wayne, born in 1934, married to Gladys Ragan; Melvin Zane, born in 1936 and married to Bonnie Johnson; Janet Bernice, born in 1938, and married to Ron Shriver; Frankie Alex, born in 1941, and married to Mary Beth Zabriskie; and Lois Ann, born in 1943, and married to Phil Fuller. Bessie has 14 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild.
After all the years without a vacation, Bessie has been making up by trips she has been taking. She visited Hawaii in 1984, Alaska in 1987, and has taken two trips to Mexico. She also usually makes at least one trip per year to Oklahoma to visit her son Frank.
Bessie has belonged to the Baptist Church for many years, and attended churches in Cloudcroft, High Rolls, and the one in La Luz that Don helped build in 1941. Her philosophy for life is "Thank the Good Lord, because He has been good to us." He has been good to Bessie Bonnell.