Pioneer Story of Lawrence H. Dow

   During the Great Depression from 1936 to 1940 there was a WPA Writers' Project paying local authors who interviewed older local citizens and then wrote up a report (called a "manuscript") of each interview. The goal was to collect and preserve pioneer oral histories.

   Edith L. Crawford of Carrizozo worked for this Project, and on August 9, 1938 she interviewed Lawrence H. Dow of Lincoln. The manuscript she wrote after her interview is now archived at the Library of Congress. Here is her report of what Mr. Dow (who was 61 years old in 1938) told her.

   I was born in Lincoln, Lincoln County New Mexico, August 26, 1877. I have lived in Lincoln County for fifty-eight years.

   My father, Eugene W. Dow, was born in St. Lawrence, New York, in 1832. He left home when he was sixteen years old and went by boat to Galveston, Texas. He served as a carpenter's apprentice in Galveston and learned the trade.

   On July 20, 1855, he enlisted in the army as a carpenter. He was a sergeant in Company "B" of the Eighth Infantry, and fought in the Navajo War of 1858 in Arizona. He was discharged from this company on July 20, 1860. He worked at his trade as a carpenter for a while in Arizona, and in 1861 he came to New Mexico and re-enlisted in the army on July 30, 1861 for three years. He fought in six battles with the Indians in 1862.

   One of these battles was at Fort Craig, New Mexico, on February 20, 1862. He was never wounded in any of these encounters. He got his discharge July 3, 1864, at Albuquerque. He married in Albuquerque and followed his trade as a carpenter for a while and then went to the saloon business. His wife lived only a short time and after she died he sold out his business and moved to Fort Stanton in 1868.

   He helped to build a number of the old buildings that still stand at Fort Stanton today. After finishing his job at Fort Stanton, he and a man by the name of Tom Kinney went to Ruidoso River, to a place about twenty miles southwest of Fort Stanton and they built two mills for Will and Paul Dowlin, a grist and a saw mill.

   This was known as Dowlin's Mill and part of the old building and water wheel are still on the spot, and are today one of the show places of Ruidoso. My father and Tom Kinney stayed and ran the mills for the Dowlin Brothers for a couple of years. While there they met and married two sisters, Isabel and Concepcion Hill, of Tularosa.

   Father went from Ruidoso to what was known as the Alamogordo Spring, and squatted on a piece of land there, but he was so very far from any neighbors (about ten miles from La Luz), that he had to give up his place on account of the Indians.

   While he lived on this place he cut prairie hay with ox teams and hauled it to Fort Stanton and sold it. On his trips to Fort Stanton he always took his carpenter tools along, as on these long hauls the wagons were always breaking down and Father would repair them. Sometimes he would be a month making the trip to Fort Stanton and return.

   After giving up his place at Alamogordo Springs, father moved to Lincoln and lived there for a while, working at his trade as a carpenter. In the fall of 1877 he moved to El Paso, Texas, and lived there for three years.

   He moved back to Lincoln in 1880, and bought a piece of land from Charlie Bartlett, three miles east of Lincoln. He farmed and raised corn and sold it to Fort Stanton. He used oxen to do all his plowing and hauling. In 1883 or 1884 father took up a homestead adjoining his place. He first built a frame house on his place and it burned, then he built a three-roomed adobe house which is still standing and has the original shingles on the roof today, that he put on when he built the house. Father and Mother both died at the old home place near Lincoln. During the Lincoln County War my father never took sides with either faction.

   I was married on August 7, 1904, to Carrie Peppin, of Lincoln. She was a daughter of George W. Peppin, who was sheriff after William Brady, who was killed by Billy the Kid. We have eight living children, all of whom were born in Lincoln County, and have lived here for the most part, all of their lives.

   I have lived continuously in Lincoln County since 1880. I served Lincoln County as Deputy Assessor for two terms and am now finishing my fourth year as Assessor, making eight years of service in the Assessor's office, since January 1, 1930 to December 31, 1938.

As told by Lawrence H. Dow, Lincoln, aged 61 years in 1938.

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and for more about the history of little-known and lesser-known places in New Mexico, visit: 
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