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Henry Clark's Windy Tale Henry Clark, an old timer living in Carlsbad, is known and has the name of being the windiest man in New Mexico. He has always been that way. One day, while on his way home an old rancher named Pap Jones saw a man on horse back coming toward him. The horse was running very fast, but as the rider drew nearer, the pace was somewhat slowed. Pap saw it was Henry so he called out, Say Henry, get off your horse and tell me one of your windy tales. “Sorry, I can't hollered back Henry, yer wife just fell off the porch and broke her arm and I'm on the way to get the doctor.” Pap, startled by the news, spurred his horse and practically flew home. When he arrived, much to his surprise, he saw his wife sitting quietly out on the front porch knitting. “Why!”, said Pap. “I thought you had fallen off the porch and broke your arm, Henry told me you had, that dang liar!” In a few days Pap saw Henry and asked him why he had told him his wife had broken her arm. “Well, said Henry, I'll tell you. “You asked me to get off my horse and tell you a windy and I didn't have time to get off my horse and tell it, so I just told one while I rode past you.”
In the 1938 Progress Edition of The Daily Current Carlsbad, New Mexico was printed a story... “Bad Shell and Fact That He Picked Up Wrong Gun Saved Rancher From Killers.” Columbus Lewellen had no premonition of danger as he swung down a Texas canyon trail late one February evening in 1894, humming a carefree cowboy tune to the rolling rhythm of his blooded horse's easy lope. Lewellen had every reason to be happy. Times were good, pasture was abundant. His herd had prospered and he was on the way to being one of the West's cattle barons. He thought of his family back at the ranch house. They would be spared the hardships he had experienced as a lad in the mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky, he told himself. The sun was hanging low in the west as he turned down the trail leading to his partner's home. He had been sent word that the water supply had dried in a pasture where he kept a herd of fine horses. He would have to hurry to change them to another pasture and get home before night, so he spurred his horse. Long shadows were creeping across the valley, golden shades of light slanting upward through the boughs of the sleepy cottonwoods. Silhouetted against the plummeting red dics of the sun was form of his partner's wife. She appeared 15 feet tall, "that's funny," thought Lewellen. She's a mile away yet I can see her plain as day and she looks like a giant. Mirages were not unusual in western Texas, but they were not seen at sunset. The picture was rather ghostly, and it made Lewellen feel uneasy. Mechanically, he caught up his rifle from the saddle holster. His horse snorted, directing his attention to the trail in front of him. There stood the menacing form of his partner, his long booted legs planted on either side of the trail, the nuzzle of a six gun leveled at Lewellen's heart. "Stop where you are, Lewellen," barked the partner. "I might as well tell you now, that story of the water drying up was a gag. I just wanted to get you here to kill you. We've been stealing your stock for months and you were too stupid to know it. Now I am going to kill you and take the rest of them." He patted the barrel of his revolver and grinned. "You ready to die, Lewellen?" Further down the valley, a shot split the still air of the evening. A rifle ball whined close to Lewellen's horse, ripped through the leaves behind him. The frightened animal reared high into the air throwing Lewellen sideways, but his gun was leveled on the figure in the trail and when it spoke, the partner slumped to the ground, his dead fingers pressed hard on a trigger that had clicked on a worthless shell. "My God, don't kill me," wailed a frantic voice as a man jumped from behind a bush and kneeled at the feet of Lewellen's horse begging for his life. He was safe, for Lewellen had sent his last bullet through the heart of the partner who had tried to kill him for what cattle he had not already stolen and marketed. Two happy coincidences had saved Lewellen's life. One of the cattle thief friends of his partner had filed the trigger on his rifle so it would not stay cocked. His adversaries thought, with a jimmied rifle, Lewellen did not have a chance to shoot. His partner's wife had told the thieves that they had better not attack Lewellen, if they valued their lives, for he was a dead shot. "If you miss, you're dead," she told them, "for Lewellen doesn't miss". So when the cattle thief saw what happened in the first attempt on Lewellen's life, he went insane with fear. He did not know Lewellen's empty rifle just then was a harmless as a pop gun. That was Lewellen's first and last gunfight, but it cost him his last cent. A gang of nine cattle thieves had driven more than $100,000.00 worth of his cattle off to market. With the aid of the faithless partner, whom Lewellen had staked, and who owed him $3,000.00 the job had been easy. What he had left, he spent in proving to the court that he shot in self defense.
Goodyear’s largest tire tours Carlsbad circa 1930
A story told by Henry (A fair truth be told) Retold By Katherine Ragsdeal Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum Coming by ox cart from San Antonio, Texas, on their way to San Francisco, California, Henry Clark's parents decided to stop in New Mexico for awhile. Their guide Yaqui Joe and his wife known to Henry as Aunt Anna wanted to go to Mexico. Henry's parents told them that they could go. When they left Aunt Marti Anna took Henry, aged four, with them. After crossing the Rio Grande they met a group of Mexicans and Indians going to the interior of Mexico for mahogany. Yaqui Joe decided to go with them, so Henry, Aunt Marta Anna and Yaqui Joe started on this long journey. They had traveled several days when bandits over took them. These bandits made the younger men and women their prisoners and left the old men, women and small children, called drags, to die of starvation and thirst. Aunt Marti Anna took it upon herself to lead these drags back to where there was food and shelter. After traveling all day they were captured by two men, a train of burros carrying fruit. The drags captured these two men and tied them up, then the old men, women, and children started eating, after having eaten their fill they untied the two men and demanded that they guide them to a village. After several days traveling they reached a small village where they remained for quite some time. During this time Aunt Marti Anna taught Henry the ways of the Indians, he learned to graft certain cacti to make blue, black and red paint. He learned the signs the Indians use in pointing out trails, he learned how to hunt. Many things were taught him by this old Indian woman. At an early age of about sixteen, Henry met the Marauding Victorio, and joined his band of outlaws. This band consisted of 700 white men and three hundred Indians. Every man was needed by Victorio because he had a contract with a Cuban in the South of Leon to bring from 10,000 to 20,000 head of cattle a month to him. These men would scatter from California to Texas and New Mexico stealing cattle. “I have camped on top of Sitting Bull Falls twenty miles south west of Lakewood awaiting nightfall, so I might go into the Seven Rivers country to steal cattle. One time after we had gotten several hundred head of cattle, we drove them as far as Sitting Bull Falls and here we camped on the top. About dawn we saw camping down below us a few cowboys, Big Bill, two Indian bucks and I gave a wild Whoop and I don't believe those boys feet touched the ground good before they got on their horses and left out. No sir, those men weren't looking for Indians then.” Henry Clark.
Carlsun loves trivia!and the old stories about famous folks and folklore!
William Henry “Hank” Harrison 1836-1931 Information printed in the Carlsbad Newpaper 1853 - Becomes a buffalo hunter in the Texas panhandle 1878 - Arrives at Seven Rivers 1880 - Homesteads Rattlesnake Springs on the Upper Black River and takes a small ditch from the spring. This is the second irrigation system in this region. The Charles Slaughter Family settled at nearby Grapevine Spring soon after. Hank bought their cattle herd when they departed for Arizona 1881-1883 - Helped provision the 9th and 10th Cavalry Troops camped nearby (all Buffalo Soldiers) during their campaigns against Geronimo. 1882 - Said to be the first non-Indian to see the natural entrance to the future Carlsbad Caverns, originally known as the Bat Cave. 1892 - Marries Miss Ida Ward, daughter of Lycurgus Ward. (However, a woman shortly appears, with her son and proof that she is still the legal wife of Hank, who has just made himself a bigamist. Ida Ward sues him for breach of promise. 1893 - In time after he successfully gets a divorce, Hank has for the second time wed Miss Ida Ward. 1931 - Hank, has died at ripe old age of 95. This photo was taken in 1930
Carlsbad RV Park and Campground
Circa 1931 Circa 1931