Rumaldo Aguilar Duran

Here is the Pioneer Story of Rumaldo Aguilar Duran, of Carrizozo, from the American Memories Collection at the Library of Congress. It was written by Mrs. Edith L. Crawford, an author working for the WPA Writers’ Project, after she interviewed Mr. Duran on November 18, 1938. Mr. Duran was 58-years old in 1938.

 

Mr. Duran said: "I came to Lincoln County, New Mexico, in 1887, from Franklin, Texas, (now El Paso, Texas), and have lived in Lincoln County for fifty-one years.

"My father, Jose Aguilar, married my mother, Salome Duran, at Old Mesilla, New Mexico, (I have forgotten the date). They moved to the Upper Nimbres Valley in Grant County, New Mexico, where my father worked in the mines. There were both silver and copper mines there. I was born February 7, 1880, at a mining camp in the Upper Nimbres Valley. When I was about three-months old my father was killed in the mines at San Vicente, Luna County, New Mexico, which is near what is now Silver City.

"After my father’s death, my mother went to live with her father and mother, Nestor and Santos Duran, who lived in the Upper Nimbres Valley, not far from us. After a few years my grandparents and my mother moved to Franklin, Texas, (now El Paso, Texas), where they lived for several years. My grandfather worked at his trade as a carpenter and mill worker. While we were living in Franklin my mother married a man by the name of Amado Montero. They had one child, a girl named Nestora.

"In September, 1887, we left Franklin, Texas, for Lincoln, New Mexico. We traveled in a covered wagon drawn by two small ponies. In the crowd were my grandfather and grandmother Duran; my step-father, Amado Montero; my mother; my step-sister, Nestora; and myself.

"It took us about a month to make the trip. The sand was so deep between Franklin, Texas, and Tularosa, New Mexico, that we had to travel very slowly. While we were traveling through the sand we broke an axle on the wagon and had to lay over for a week while the men went up in the mountains and got a piece of timber to make a new axle for the wagon.

"We came by way of Tularosa, the Mescalero Indian Agency, through Dark Canyon to the Ruidoso River, and up Gavilan Canyon to Alto, New Mexico. From there we traveled almost due north, down Cedar Creek Canyon, by the "V" Ranch, and on toward Fort Stanton Army Post.

"Just before we reached Fort Stanton we heard shooting. We were all very much afraid of the Indians and my grandfather, who was driving the wagon, drove off to one side of the road in the brush. Leaving the rest of us hidden in the brush, my grandfather and step-father took their guns and sneaked up the side of the mountain to see what was going on. When they got to where they could see they found it was the soldiers from Fort Stanton at target practice.

"That was the only scare we got on our trip but the men always kept their guns where they could reach them, as the Indians had been giving a lot of trouble in this part of the country in the early eighties. From Fort Stanton we traveled southeast down the Rio Bonito and arrived at Lincoln about the middle of October, 1887.

"We first lived in a house belonging to the Catholic Priest just south of the old Catholic Church. My grandfather worked at his trade as carpenter. Sometime later, I do not know the exact date, my grandfather bought a small farm about a mile south of Lincoln, where we raised corn and vegetables.

"On July 20, 1900, I was married to Honorata Mirabal. There were seven children born to us, six boys and one girl. Aurra, Juan, Simon, Romundo, Isidor, Enrique and Manuel. All of these children died in infancy. Not a one lived to be over three-months old.

"When our last child, Manuel, died, we adopted by wife’s brother’s little boy who was the same age as our Manuel. We called him Teodoro Duran. We have three adopted children now. Teodoro, who is married and lives here in Carrizozo; a girl named Emma Lucero, who was fourteen-months old when we adopted her, and who is now eighteen and lives with us here in Carrizozo; and we adopted a baby boy named Isidor Martinez, who was two-months old when we got him. He is eleven now and lives with us here in Carrizozo.

"In 1915, my wife and I moved from Lincoln to Encinoso. A man named Sam Farmer and I put in a general merchandise store and had the post office too. In November, 1918, I was elected sheriff of Lincoln County and served for two years. In December 1918, I moved to Carrizozo and have lived here ever since. "I served as County Commissioner for Lincoln County from 1906 to 1916. I was Assessor for two years, 1925 and 1926. I was Treasurer for two years, 1931 and 1932.

"When I was a small child, my step-father left my mother and my grandparents raised me and I took their name of Duran. My grandfather and grandmother both died while we were living in Lincoln. I do not remember the dates of their deaths. I do not know whatever became of my step-father. My mother is still living and lives with me here in Carrizozo. My half sister is now Mrs. Nestora Greigo and lives here in Carrizozo."

Note: Rumaldo Duran gave this interview in 1938, when he was 58 years old and living in Carrizozo. The interview was conducted as part of the WPA Writers’ Project, and this manuscript is now archived at the Library of Congress.