The History of Weed by Pat Rand
The community of Weed is located on NM Hwy 521, about 20 miles southeast of Cloudcroft, 4 miles from the nearby village of Sacramento.
In December of 1885, a post office was established at a wide spot in Agua Chiquita Canyon, which was somewhat central for the area and a natural crossroads. The post office was named for W.H. Weed, a prominent White Oaks merchant, born and raised in New York City who had come to that mining town about 1882. There is no evidence that he ever visited the Agua Chiquita, but he set up a branch store there which became Weed as others built around it. The post office changed locations eight times in the next ten years.
The exact date of settlement in the Weed area is difficult to pin down. Scouts and hunters had entered the southeastern canyons of the Sacramentos as early as 1875. Cattle companies, looking for new water and grasslands, began running cattle into the mountains by 1880. The attractive qualities of the area were noted and the word was carried out by early visitors back to Texas and other states.
Albert Coe, who scouted for the Army, saw the Weed area in the 1870s and tried to settle on the Rio Penasco at the time. He soon left, got married and returned to the area in 1881, moving to Weed in 1887.
In 1881, William O. Robertson scouted the region. Upon his return to San Saba, Texas he described the mountain to his neighbors and friends and the exodus began.
In 1884, the J.W. Buckner, Dave Lewis, Bishop Fletcher and McBride families left for Mescalero and moved to Weed the following year.
By 1888, Thomas Farr Fleming, Felix Sanders and Tilman Jones had traveled from San Saba to join Richardson.
In the 1890s the Ehart, David P. Allen and J.N. Daugherty families arrived. The Daughertys were encouraged to make the move by their famous in-law, Charles Goodnight. Jacob Gregg emigrated in 1897.
Many notable citizens of the Weed area came from Texas before 1896, including G.W. Lewis and John Prather in 1884; G.E. Miller in 1886; Marion Pendergrass in 1887; the Potters, Parkers and Van Winkles in 1888; and G.W. Ivans and John Cridebring in 1895.
Other people who have been identified as being in the area by the year 1885 include Captain Wilkinson, Jim Baird, A.C. McDonald, McPherson and Biggs Booth, the Rev. John Hunter, William Ratliff, William Miller, Mary Hughes, Lucretia Miller, W.W. Davis, Amos McKeen, Frank Garst, L.W. Neatherlin, John Mack, F.E. McCleary, A.F. McEwan, D. Penrod, E.O. Thomas, W.R. Keeny, Nelson Davis, Tulk, W.J. Green, C.F. Hilton, P.G. Lemons, Wayland and sons, Washburn, Woods, Watts and Wilcox.
Most Weed settlers had traveled by wagon to the vicinity of Carlsbad, up the Peco to the mouth of the Penasco and went west to Agua Chquita Creek. Some, however, took roundabout routes to the mountains.
Thomas Day and James Wayland had both tried California before settling in the Sacramentos. Thomas W. Jones made the trip from the east to Weed via Arizona. Jesse de Prado MacMillan came to the Agua Chiquita from Scotland in 1903, stayed a few years near her cousin, Mary Tod Westlake, from Canada, and moved to California. The Munson and Calkins families traveled about before settling in the Weed area.
Wed remained the center of the region, although the surrounding communities reduced its importance after 1900, when the Federal Census showed the population of Weed to be 429 people. Weed settled into a sleepy isolation where a small, stable population of sawmillers, stockmen, farmers and merchants had developed.
Through the years, the population has declined and the Weed school, which was established in 1885 and had taken the children of the surrounding communities was closed in 1991. The students were transferred to the Cloudcroft district.
In spite of this loss and a population of only 40 people, the people of Weed have maintained a strong kinship to each other and, in June 1995, celebrated Weed’s 110th year attracting more than 1,000 visitors.
Information for this article was obtained from the archives of the Sacramento historical Museum and Research Center.