Pioneer Story of Lorencita Miranda

During the Great Depression from 1936 to 1940 there was a WPA Writers' Project paying local authors to interview older local citizens and then write up a report (called a "manuscript") of each interview so that oral histories of pioneers would be collected and preserved.

Edith L. Crawford of Carrizozo worked for this Project, and on May 5, 1939, she interviewed Lorencita Miranda. The manuscript she wrote after her interview is now archived at the Library of Congress. Here is her report of what Mrs. Miranda (who was 78 years old in 1939) told her.

I was born August 10, 1861, in the town of Las Placitas, New Mexico, in Socorro County. (Las Placitas is now the town of Lincoln, and is in Lincoln County.)

My father Gregorio Herrera married my mother Gerelda Torres in Manzano, New Mexico, about the year 1860. They moved to Las Placitas and I was born there on August 18, 1861. About ten days after I was born, my father was killed in a drunken row in Las Placitas. Another man was killed at the same time and we never were sure who did kill my father.

After Father's death my mother went back to Manzano to live with her people. My mother gave me to one of my aunts, Trinidad Herrera, (who was nicknamed Chinita) who, with my mother, moved back to Las Placitas when I was about two years old.

I have lived the rest of my life in Lincoln County. I will soon be 78 years old. In the year 1869, when I was eight years old, all of the territory lying east of the Mal Pais, was created into Lincoln County, and the county seat was established at Las Placitas and the name was changed to Lincoln.

I was married to Jose Delbros Miranda in January, 1877. We were married in the Catholic Church at the Torres Ranch, by Father Sambrano Tafoya of Manzano. This church is about six miles west of Lincoln. I remember that we had to walk about five miles to the church to get married. My husband had a two-room adobe house built for us to live in. It had a dirt floor. We had no stove and I had to cook on the fireplace.

All eight of my children were born in Lincoln. Seven of them are dead and buried there. My youngest son, Emelio Miranda, is married and has twelve children. He lives in Lincoln and is the postmaster there. One of my grandsons lives with me on my little farm, a half mile west of the town of Lincoln. I raise a few chickens and a small garden which helps to keep me busy.

The house where I was born in Las Placitas (now Lincoln) stood on the site of the old Laws Sanitarium. The place then belonged to Sabino Gonzales, who was one of the men that helped build the old Torreon in 1855. My father-in-law, Felipe Miranda, also helped to build the Torreon. This old Torreon was rebuilt and rededicated in 1935, by the Chaves County Archaeological and Historical Society.

My husband and I were living on our farm just above Lincoln all during the Lincoln County War. We liked both factions so we never took any part in the war.

I remember the day the McSween home was burned. We could see the flames and smoke from our house but we stayed at home for we were scared to death to stick our heads out of the house. We could also hear some of the shooting. Billy the Kid came to our house several times and drank coffee with us. We liked him for he was always nice to the Spanish people and they all liked him.

My Aunt, Chinita Herrera, started to walk to Socorro to see her brother. (I do not remember the year.) She was seen on the road to Socorro by Mrs. Susan McSween Barber who gave her a drink of water and some food. She was not far from a ranch house and Mrs. Barber thought she would get along all right, but my aunt was never seen or heard of again. We never did know what become of her.

My mother married a man by the name of Octaviano Salas, and lived in Lincoln until her death in September, 1926.

My husband Jose Deloros Miranda died October 28, 1928, in Lincoln and was buried here.


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