A History Of The New Mexico State University College Ranch

Original Research and Writing by Judy Fabry

Editing and Additional Material by

Susan Pieper, Department of Animal and Range Sciences

College of Agriculture and Home Economics, New Mexico State University

Las Cruces, NM, 1992


At the request of the Department of Animal and Range Sciences, research and original writing for this document were done for New Mexico State University's Centennial celebration by Judy Fabry, a M.A. student in History at New Mexico State University. An important component of her research was the interviews with Lewis Carr, Kenneth Valentine, W. E. Watkins (now deceased), and Maude Vander Stucken. They all contributed greatly to this history. After Judy left NMSU, the editing and completion of the document was taken on as a class project by Susan Pieper, a M.A. student in Technical Writing. Reldon Beck and Rob McNeely continued their contributions with trips to the ranch, as well as with continual reading, revisions, and editing.

Chapter 1

The College Ranch Today

In 1927, Congress granted land from the public domain to the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts "to be used for the purpose of conducting educational, demonstrative, and experimental development with livestock, grazing methods, and range forage plants .... " (39) The passage of this legislation ended two years of negotiations by the College to obtain ranch land for the school and the associated Agricultural Experiment Station. The College Ranch is located in Doña Ana County, some 25 miles north of the main campus of New Mexico State University at Las Cruces. At the southern end of the Jornada basin, the ranch compasses approximately 100 sections of land. It is situated directly west of the Jornada Experimental Range, a federally owned and operated research facility completely separate from the College Ranch, though college faculty conduct experimental work on both sites. The ranch serves as a research facility for the Department of Animal Range Sciences within the College of Agriculture. The department head oversees the research and administrates the ranch. Funding for research is provided by the College Agricultural Experiment Station. Major studies at the ranch include cattle breeding, cattle nutrition, brush control, and ecological studies on the relationship between small herbivores and plants. In addition, long-term ecological studies on the ranch continue to monitor vegetational changes over time. A herd of about 300 cattle is used for research. The herd consists of Hereford, Brangus, Angus, Simmental, and Charolais breeds, with various experimental crosses between these breeds. Educational tours are conducted regularly at the ranch for groups such as foreign visitors, workers in federal agencies and farmers. Various classes from New Mexico State University visit the ranch regularly for class projects and educational tours. Modem technology touches the ranch at several points. Interstate 25 crosses the ranch on the west side. A highway rest station and a Border Patrol station are located along the highway within ranch boundaries. Microwave towers for the Federal Aviation Administration are located in that same area. Three major power lines crisscross the ranch in several directions. A fiber optic line connecting New Mexico's major research centers also crosses the ranch east of the highway. After the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Land Management designated the college ranch as a Known Geothermal Resource Area, fifteen or twenty companies conducted explorations of the ranch's geothermal potential. The Hunt Brothers drilled a $6.5 million hole on the east side of the ranch. This drilling yielded a 9000-foot deep geothermal well which produces 50 gallons of 260 water per minute. Local residents also use the ranch for picnics, hunting, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

Natural Features of The College Ranch


The topography of the College Ranch varies widely. Included within its boundaries are river bottom, hilly land draining to the river, mountains, and a portion of the Jornada plain. Elevations on the ranch range from 3,900 to 5,500 feet at the peak of Summerford Mountain, at the north end of the Doña Ana Mountains. On the plain elevations vary from 4,000 to 4,300 feet. The plain consists of alluvial fill that is 300 feet deep in places. with several ephemeral rainy season lakes (playas). Though the playas are small, ranging from 3-20 acres, they are significant in the management of the ranch. Some 20 soil types have been identified on the ranch, ranging from ioamy sands to clay, sandy soils being the most common. These soils vary in depth from only a few inches over caliche hardpan to a depth of four feet and more, but depths from 12 to 20 inches are more common. The middle-depth soils support the greatest abundance of grasses and forbs.


Average annual precipitation on the ranch is about nine inches, with 55% falling in the months of July, August and September. Rainfall varies widely from year to year; departures of 50% and more from the annual average are not uncommon. Large departures below average present serious problems for plants and animals. The average year-round temperature is 59∞F. The average temperature in January is 39∞F and the average temperature in July is 70∞F.


Vegetation on the ranch consists mainly of

  • Desert grassland on the Jornada plain
  • Creosotebush on the upper plain slopes surrounding the mountains and on the hilly land on the river drainage
  • Mesquite-covered sand dunes on sandy soils and other lands intermingled with the creosotebush and grasslands.

The grassland varies from excellent condition range, dominated by black grama, an excellent forage grass, to poor condition range dominated by snakeweed, a plant associated with forbs and grasses with low grazing value. Other grasses in the grassland are dropseeds, three-awns, tobosa grass and burrograss. Soaptree yucca is a plant characteristic of the grasslands. Mesquite has invaded much of the grassland. In the mesquite sand dunes, chamisa, or four-wing saltbush accounts for much of the grazing. The creosotebush type has very low grazing value since creosotebush itself has little forage value.


Among the larger forms of wildlife found on the ranch are mule deer, pronghorn antelope, bobcat, coyote, ringtail, badger, Arizona grey fox, and kit fox. Mountain lions have been sighted. Smaller animals include cottontail rabbit, black tailed jackrabbit, kangaroo rats, skunks, bats, ground squirrels, mice and other rodents. Two game birds, quail and mourning dove, are common on the College Ranch, as are several species of raptors, including golden eagles, hawks, and falcons. Many species of reptiles, most commonly lizards and snakes, also are found on the ranch.

Chapter 2

Historical Perspective

Early Travelers and Trails

Today the College Ranch is reserved for research but it was used in other ways for thousands of years. Native Americans hunted and gathered in many places on the ranch. A stretch of 90 waterless miles on the Jornada plain became known as the dreaded Jornada del Muerto (Journey of the Dead One), one of the most difficult parts of the trail between Chihuahua and Santa Fe. Later, a cattle empire grew and left its mark on the land.

Native Americans

Few archaeological studies have been done on the College Ranch, but studies of other parts of Doña Ana County have provided general information about the use prehistoric peoples made of the land. No documented Paleo-Indian (pre-7000 B.C.) sites exist, but Folsom points in private artifact collections show that a hunting society utilized this area. The period from 7000 B.C. to 1 AD. is represented in Doña Ana County by the Cochise culture, a hunting and gathering society that may have cultivated com and squash. (8) Sherds of plain brown pottery found commonly in the area are evidence of the Jornada Mogollon culture (1-1400 AD.). Archaeologists hypothesize that the Jornada Mogollon people made residential camps in the mountains near springs and cultivated simple crops there. They used the Jornada plain for seed-gathering and perhaps for mesquite bean harvesting. (8) The time of the arrival of the Athapascan and Navajo Apaches has not been documented. Early Spanish travelers (c. 1600) wrote of the Mansos, a nomadic group living near the Jornada del Muerto. During the nineteenth century, Mescalero Apaches, used the mountainous areas of Doña Ana County for their camps. (8) Petroglyphs, probably from the historic Apache period, can be found on the College Ranch.

The Camino Real

Although many Indian trails undoubtedly crossed the Jornada plain, the earliest trail for which there is evidence is the Camino Real, the route established by the Spanish between Chihuahua, Mexico and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The trail wound northward through the Mesilla Valley to a camping place called Robledo near present-day Radium Springs. From there the Camino Real left the river valley and made a gradual ascent to the rim of the Jornada plain; there it turned northwesterly along the edge of the plain, continuing to another camping place called San Diego, in the vicinity of Tonuco Mountain. Most of the eight-mile distance between Robledo and San Diego was over land that is now part of the College Ranch. The Camino Real carried nearly all traffic between Mexico and New Mexico for over 250 years. Traffic on the trail included animal-drawn transportation as well as flocks and herds of livestock. Mesquite beans were a source of feed for the animals. Eventually, mesquite bushes, growing from undigested seeds dropped by the livestock, lined the trail. Even today, a sharp observer can still see portions of the trail delineated by mesquite bushes. One of the earliest travelers on the Camino Real was Don Juan de Oñate, agent for the Spanish Crown, who conducted a party of colonists, soldiers, and priests over the trail in 1598, on their way to establish the first Spanish colony, north of present day Santa Fe. Two centuries later, Mexican independence opened the borders of New Mexico to trade with the United States. Josiah Gregg, author of Commerce of the Prairies, was among the first Americans to travel the Camino Real, taking six wagon-loads of merchandise to Chihuahua in 1839. The old trail was a war path too. Colonel A.W. Doniphan came down the trail with his column of Missourians in December 1846, on his way to Mexico during the Mexican-American War. Several months later, Samuel Magoffin, along with other traders, followed the army down the Camino Real to El Paso del Norte, present-day Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. His 18-year-old bride, Susan Shelby Magoffin, was probably the first American woman to travel the trail. She made notes in her diary, Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico, about the condition of the grama grass on the Jornada plains: "very sweet and slightly green near the root." She also noted the presence of prairie dogs on the Jornada plains, a form of wildlife no longer found there. (22) In 1851, after the Mexican War established new boundaries between the U.S. and Mexico, John Russell Bartlett represented the U.S. on the Boundary Survey Commission. As part of his work, he traveled the Camino Real as far north as the San Diego campsite, where he turned westward. Describing the Jornada plain, he called it " ... of the most desert-like character." (2) During the Civil War, both Union and Confederate troops passed over the trail during the short but significant campaign in New Mexico.

Later Roads

After Doña Ana County was settled, travel commonly followed ranch roads connecting wells and ranch headquarters. One such route connecting Organ and Rincon crossed the College Ranch. This road, nothing more than a pair of wheel ruts, crossed the ranch from southeast to northwest, passing by the Summerford headquarters. The road gained the recognition of the highway department, as evidenced by the location of an official sign marking the way to Rincon located at a ranch road junction northwest of headquarters. Though parts of this old trail are still in use on the ranch today, for the most part only faint traces of it remain. Around the turn of the twentieth century, the portion of the Camino Real passing over the Jornada plain was abandoned as the main route of north south traffic. The construction of a telephone line running northwesterly over the plain may have initiated the new route a few hundred feet west of the old Camino Real. This route became a state highway, also dubbed the Camino Real in recognition of its proximity to the old trail. By the late 1920s, U.S. Highway 85, in the Rio Grande valley, replaced the Camino Real as the best north-south route. The old road remained in use but was reduced to the status of a county road. Built in the mid- 1960s, Interstate 25 crosses the College Ranch, making it possible for modem automobiles to speed along smoothly only a few hundred yards west of the old trail where ox-drawn carts once bumped and jolted.

Early Owners of the College Ranch Lands

During the 1880s the Mesilla Valley and Doña Ana County began a period of rapid growth and development. The rich valley land attracted farmers, the Organ Mountains drew prospectors and miners, and these occupations made it possible for merchants, businessmen, and professionals to establish themselves in Las Cruces. All around, between the mountain ranges and on both sides of the river, good grazing land provided opportunities for the booming cattle industry. Cattle ranching and the necessity for water sources dominated the early history of southern New Mexico. Accordingly, the story of the College Ranch revolves around its water sources.

Litton and Buckle Bar

Job M. Evans was the first person to enter a claim for a homestead on property that would later be part of the College Ranch. In 1887 he claimed 160 acres of land along the Rio Grande, about halfway between Tonuco Mountain and Leasburg. He paid $400 for the land, which apparently contained two water sources. One source eventually would be developed as Litton (also spelled Lytten, but named after P.M. Litton) Well and the other would be developed as Buckle Bar Well. A complicated series of ownership transfers took place among several members of the Evans and Irving Lewis families during the next eighteen months. However, in August 1888 the land was deeded to the Detroit and Rio Grande Livestock Company. The Engle Cattle Company acquired the land in 1905. Over the next ten years, ownership of the two water sources again passed through a number of hands, ending with P.M. Litton in 1916.

Tonuco Springs

Close by the Rio Grande, two springs flowed out of a deep recess in a bluff about two miles south of Tonuco Mountain. In 1888, John Stansburry entered a claim for a homestead on the 40 acres around Tonuco Springs, about half a mile north of the Evans property. Stansburry may have planned to farm the small area of flat land between the mountain and the bluff. Whatever his dreams, they were short-lived; within the same year Stansburry sold his interest to the Detroit and Rio Grande Livestock Company for $500. The Detroit and Rio Grande Livestock Company ran a large cattle operation spreading eastward from the Rio Grande across the Jornada plain and northward to Engle. Although the ownership and boundaries of the ranch changed a number of times in the next thirty years, the Detroit Company dominated the lands of the College Ranch with its well-known Bar Cross brand (-X).

Summerford and Cleofas

In 1905 Henry Summerford bought two 40-acre tracts from the Santa Fe Pacific Railroad Company, paying $110 for each tract. One piece, probably a likely spot for a good well, was at the foot of the north side of Summerford Mountain. The other tract was in rougher country some three miles south of Summerford Mountain. Undoubtedly this tract also contained some evidence of a water source. In all likelihood, Summerford bought the two 40-acre tracts to increase the amount of range he controlled. Bill McCall, a rancher who lived near the College Ranch, was a cowboy for the Bar Cross in his youth. He reported Summerford was running 1400 head of cattle in the vicinity of Summerford Mountain and onto the Jornada plain by 1905. (22) In 1907, Jim Sewell, known locally for his ability to drill wells in the Jornada sands, drilled Summerford Well, a mile north of Summerford Mountain. (Personal communication, K.A. Valentine.) Another undeveloped well, carved from eight feet of solid granite on the south side of Summerford Mountain may have been an unsuccessful effort prior to Sewell's well. (Personal communication, Lewis Carr.) Henry Summerford died in 1908. The following year, the probate judge allowed his wife to sell the ranch to the Engle Cattle Company, the company then carrying the Bar Cross brand, for $2,000. In 1912 the Engle Cattle Company sold all of its interests in Doña Ana County (including the Summerford Ranch and Tonuco Springs) to James L. Hurt for $165,000. Years later, a goatherder named Cleofas Guevara dug a well on the parcel that Summerford homesteaded; his name was given to the southern end of the College Ranch-"Cleofas Country"-and to the improved well that was put in after the College acquired the ranch. Cleofas Guevara was a goat herder who cared for the goats belonging to the Wertheim family of Doña Ana. He and his wife lived in the rough country west of the Doña Ana Mountains at least as early as 1920. No record of Cleofas' legal claim to any of the ranch land was found, but in 1934 the College paid him $200 for his claims to land or mineral rights in the entire township (a 36 square mile area). Cleofas continued to live in the canyon for a number of years after he signed over his claims; his wife died and was buried there. How the College Ranch finally acquired the property remains a mystery. C.T. Turney did not sell the 40-acre plot to Max Vander Stucken, nor was it included in the College's purchase of the Vander Stucken ranch. In 1924 Turney sold the Cleofas parcel to William J. Rathje, along with a number of other small plotson the Jornada Range Reserve. Shortly after that, Rathje mortgaged all of the parcels to the American Mortgage Company. In 1925 W.H. Waggoner received the Cleofas parcel in his purchase of Turney's holdings from the mortgage company. No record of the College's purchase of the Cleofas parcel from Waggoner has been found. The Congressional legislation of 1927 transferred the entire section in which the Cleofas parcel is located to the State of New Mexico, and no mention was made of the 40-acre exception, even though it apparently was in private hands in 1927.

C.T. Turney

By 1901 C.T. "T-Hook" Turney began acquiring The water sources that would sustain the cattle empire he built on the south end of the Jornada plain between the Doña Ana and the San Andres mountains. Soon after Turney began his ranching operation on the Jornada, E.O. Wooten, a faculty member from the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, approached Turney about cooperating in rangeland studies. Turney agreed, and by 1912 the relationship was formalized: Turney became the first cooperator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Jornada Range Reserve. Recognizing Turney's expertise in the cattle business, the USDA encouraged Turney to operate his ranch as he saw fit-the scientists were there only to observe the results. (1) A number of successful years caused Turney to think about expanding his large ranch even further. In January 1919 he bought the Bar Cross ranch from James L. Hurt, acquiring the Summerford properties and Tonuco Springs as part of that purchase. In a separate purchase, Turney also acquired Litton and Buckle Bar from P.M. Litton. His purchases placed all of the rangeland in northeastern Doña Ana county under the control of one rancher for the first time in history.

Max Vander Stucken

Even before he took on the additional challenge of the Bar Cross, Turney did not run his Jornada ranch alone. His sons, Floyd and Joe, lived at the Aleman camp on the north end of the ranch; son Edgar lived at Flat Lake on the west side; and Turney's daughter, Maude, and son-in-law, Max Vander Stucken, lived at the Jornada headquarters.(Personal communication, Maude Vander Stucken.) Because Turney mortgaged everything he owned except his farm in Mesilla to buy the Bar Cross, within a year, he was in financial trouble. In an effort to divide and save his assets, he sold parts of the ranch to his children. In November 1919, Max Vander Stucken bought Summerford Well, Tonuco Springs, Litton and Buckle Bar for $10,000. The Cleofas tract was not included in Vander Stucken's purchase. Although the first two years after Vander Stucken bought the ranch were promising, weather and the economy were against him. A drought beginning in 1921 reduced grass to 11 percent of its pre drought cover. (11) Cattle prices dropped. By November 1924 Vander Stucken was two years behind in payments on a mortgage that had grown to $37,000. In May 1925 Vander Stucken told J.L. Lantow, head of the animal husbandry department at the agricultural college, about the impending foreclosure and recommended that the College buy the ranch, and negotiations began. In February 1926 Vander Stucken transferred the ranch premises and the personal property associated with the ranch to the American Mortgage Company and the College signed the papers to acquire the property. (Personal communication, Maude Vander Stucken.)

Establishing The College Ranch

Although the Rodey Act established the New Mexico Agricultural College and Agricultural Experiment Station in 1889, nearly forty years passed before the College acquired its own rangeland on which experimental work could be conducted. Until that time, research was conducted on campus or accomplished cooperatively with individual ranchers across the state. In 1924, H.L. Kent, President of the College, Fabian Garcia, Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, and L. L. Lantow, Head of the Animal Husbandry Department, learned of the availability of the Vander Stucken ranch, north of Las Cruces. Conditions in southern New Mexico had created a buyer's market for ranch land. Falling cattle prices after World War I and several years of drought left some ranchers facing foreclosure; others were moving to reduce their holdings. The American Mortgage Company held the Vander Stucken ranch and was asking $7,500 for the property, a low price to pay to control nearly 100 sections of grazing land. In August 1925 the College contracted to purchase the property that would become the College Ranch. An explanation of customs relating to ranch ownership is necessary to understand the purchase the College made. Ranchers controlled vast areas in the public domain by owning only the water sources within those areas. Cattle ideally need to be within two to three miles of water, so a single good well could control as many as 30 or more sections of grazing land. Accordingly, the purchase of the Vander Stucken ranch involved acquisition of only 174 acres around 3 water sources: Summerford Well, at the ranch headquarters; Tonuco Springs, on the west side of the ranch; and Litton Well, about a mile south of Tonuco Springs. Grazing leases on approximately 6,000 acres of state lands also were assigned with the purchase. The remainder of the 64,000 acre ranch consisted of land in the public domain. Several additional water sources, developed and undeveloped, existed on the leased and public lands. After the College gained control of the grazing land surrounding the water sources, New Mexico Senator Sam Bratton and Congressman John Morrow recognized the need for the College to have complete control of the ranch land if long-term experimental work was to be accomplished and introduced legislation to remove the College sections from the public domain. As a result of their efforts, and with the help of another New Mexico senator, A. A. Jones, in 1927 Congress passed legislation transferring approximately 55,000 acres of federal land on the ranch to the State of New Mexico for use by the College. At that time, the federal government retained the mineral rights to the transferred sections. In 1967 land on the ranch was closed to mining by Congressional action in order to protect the scientific studies taking place there. Finally, in 1984, Congress transferred to New Mexico State University some 5,700 acres, former "state school sections" under Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction as a result of land swaps between the State of New Mexico and the Federal Government in 1972.

Chapter 3

College Ranch Personnel

As part of New Mexico State University, many different kinds of people have worked at the College Ranch. These include administrators, researchers, ranch foremen, cowboys, students and teachers.

University Researchers

J.L. Lantow, W.E. Watkins, P.E. Neale, and K.W. Parker made up the faculty of the animal husbandry department during the early period Lantow directed the experiments and Lewis Carr, the ranch foreman, handled the livestock. Watkins was a chemist, hired to do nutrition studies. Neale was primarily the department's sheep and hog man, but he also participated in the work with cattle that went on at the ranch. Parker, who came toward the latter part of the period, was an early range scientist and the first in the department. Parker left the department in 1937. In 1954 Ward Repp joined the College faculty, helping W.E. Watkins conduct nutrition studies. Lewis Holland came to the University in 1959, replacing Blackwell as the department's animal breeder. In 1971 he became Associate Dean of Instruction for the College of Agriculture and Home Economics, retiring in 1985. When Kenneth Valentine came to the College in 1942 he had already spent nearly a decade working on the Jornada Experimental Range. Research on mesquite and creosotebush ecology and control occupied much of Valentine's 29 years as a range scientist for the agricultural experiment station. Jon Norris joined Valentine in 1946, and together they carried on the work initiated by Parker and Bridges. Jesse Gerard worked as a research technician in the department from 195 to 1968. Working closely with Valentine, he was responsible for much of the herbicide application along with construction of exclosures. Reldon Beck replaced Valentine in 1971 and has continued the grazing studies that Valentine initiated. Beck has also continued to study control effects of creosotebush and mesquite. He also has conducted research on ecology of small herbivores and their competition with cattle. John Knox came to the College as head of the animal husbandry department in 1935 and continued in that position until his retirement in 1964. Everyone who worked with him agreed that he knew cattle as well as anyone can. Educated in the Midwest, he began studying beef cattle in the early 1920s. From 1927 until he accepted the job with the New Mexico agricultural college, he worked at Texas A and M, teaching, doing research, and judging livestock. The livestock experiments he instituted at NMSU, particularly those relating to nutrition, grazing, and performance testing, became nationally known,. Time has not diminished the respect felt for Mr. Knox by everyone who worked with him. Knox was vitally involved in the management of the College Ranch. He usually visited the ranch Friday afternoons and talked with Carr to find out how things were going and to give new instructions. Carr especially appreciated Knox's ability to "talk like a cowboy." Like College President Harry Kent, Knox always left his "good English" at school when he came to visit the ranch. Knox never gave orders, he just made suggestions. Carr remembered the time when he was working cattle near Selden Well in the early summer when the yucca was beginning to bloom. Carr knew Knox wanted the cattle to be pastured anywhere that the blooms were particularly profuse because the flowers were high in mineral content. As soon as Carr finished the work he was doing, he intended to move the animals onto a nearby pasture that was full of blooming yuccas. In the meantime, Knox happened to be on the ranch and stopped to chat with Carr as he worked. His gentle reminder about the yucca flowers was nothing more than an observation: "Lewis, those yucca blooms sure are getting heavy." John Knox's retirement in 1964 marked the end of 30 years devoted to research of the most practical kind, directed toward improving production for New Mexico's cattle ranchers. Even while he carried the dual loads of teaching and being the department head, Knox was intimately involved in the operation of the College Ranch. However, during the years of Knox's administration the scope of the animal husbandry department had increased; by 1964 it was known as the Department of Animal, Range, and Wildlife Sciences and the number of faculty members had increased accordingly. Three men served as department head between 1965 and 1987. A.L. Neumann, replaced Knox in 1964. Because of the greater diversity in facilities and faculty in the department, succeeding department heads would not be as personally involved in the operation of the College Ranch as Knox had been. In 1971, A.B. Nelson, another animal nutritionist with the department since 1962, was chosen to succeed Neumann. When Nelson retired in 1985, B.J. Rankin, the department's animal breeder since 1971, became department head.

Ranch Foremen

When the College acquired the Vander Stucken ranch, equipment was nearly non-existent, all cattle had been removed, but the ranch was overrun with wild horses. Lantow needed a man who would live on the property to take care of the land and livestock. On October 17, 1926, he met Lewis Carr, who had heard by the grapevine that Lantow was looking for a foreman. Carr was an ambitious jack-of- all-trades, experienced with horses and cattle, who was looking for a permanent job that would support his young family. After a tour of the ranch in Lantow's Model T Ford, Lantow made his offer: $50 per month plus room and board. Four days later Lewis Carr and his family moved to the three-room adobe house at Summerford well and began the job he would hold for the next 42 years. He was twenty one years old. Separating the history of Lewis Carr from the history of the College Ranch is difficult. A first-class storyteller, Carr can entertain a listener for hours at a time. His love of the ranch and the work he did there are always evident. When A.L. Neumann became head of the Animal, Range and Wildlife Sciences Department in 1964, he wanted to know how many hours Carr worked in a week. Apparently, he had some idea of limiting the foreman to a 40-hour work week. The first week Carr kept track, he totalled 120 hours. Neumann gave up his plan. The foreman is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While the foreman of an experimental ranch has all the responsibilities of his counterpart on a commercial ranch, he also has the additional work required in initiating or maintaining experiments. Carr admitted that keeping the wells operating was his biggest headache during his years as foreman. He took great pride, though, in his ability to do so. After Carr retired, University administrators tried to find a way for him to do repair work on the wells without violating the terms of retirement for state employees. Pleased that the situation never presented itself, Carr says emphatically, "I swore and be durned, if l ever got rid of those sand wells, I'd never go back!" Carr's road crew consisted of himself and two mules and the construction equipment was his own design. Laying two telephone poles side by side, a car's width apart, he fastened a brace between them to maintain the separation. Then he put another pole beneath each of the original ones, allowing the two to overlap enough to so that he could lash them together securely. After hitching this apparatus to the mule team, Carr dragged it the length of the road he wanted to establish. The leading ends of the bottom poles dug into the soil and uprooted any small plants that were obstructing the way, creating two tire tracks. Carr recalled a cattle experiment that Knox began shortly before the U.S. became involved in World War II. The experiment required rounding up a hundred head of cattle each day and cutting them into four separate pens. Certain animals had to go into certain pens to receive a specific feed supplement. The war left Carr without extra hands, so he had to do the work alone every day. Later he could grin when he remembered how he trained the cattle to go to the right pens--by applying healthy whacks with a cedar branch--but at the time it was tedious work. After the experiment ended, Knox told Carr that he would never have started it if he had known Carr would have to do the work alone. Many years later Carr trained another herd of cattle. In 1966 Lewis Holland began the first crossbreeding experiments by introducing 50 Brangus heifers to the ranch. Carr had never seen such wild cattle; they ran every time he came near them, a frustrating phenomenon when he had to handle them in experimental situations. He decided to try running with them, keeping his horse at the head of the frightened herd and "sing-songing" them all the while. After a week of that kind of treatment the heifers were tame enough to come up and lick Carr's stirrups. Soon after Carr came to the ranch, Lantow traded a $25 pig for a tractor, a Fordson with metal wheels. Carr was particularly pleased with the acquisition because it meant he wouldn't have to pull the sucker rods at Summerford well with a horse any longer. Until 1935, Carr's saddle horses were range-fed. Since a range-fed horse can't be worked as hard as one fed on hay and grain, he needed to have 6 or 8 horses available for every man who was working. Sometimes Carr rode as many as three horses in a day because he had to cover so much ground. The original Selden pasture, between headquarters and Selden well, was seven miles long and four miles wide; it took all day to go to and from the north or west boundaries. The horse trap was near headquarters, so Carr usually changed horses if he went by the house. After John Knox replaced Lantow as head of animal husbandry at the College, he encouraged Carr to begin feeding his horses, to develop a smaller and stronger working string. Carr remembered the results of giving the range horses good feed: some got so ornery he couldn't work them any longer! Eventually Carr made a deal with Knox: if he was allowed to run five mares on the ranch, Carr would keep the ranch in horses. In 1942 he bought a stallion, Dugan, to use for breeding. Ace, another of Carr's horses, deserves special mention. His carefully-maintained grave is just outside the gate to the College Ranch headquarters, testimony to Carr's respect for an old friend. The big black horse really belonged to Carr's wife, Bertha. Carr bought him for $10 in 1928. On his way home with the bargain, Carr remembered Bertha's birthday was coming and decided the horse would be her gift. During his 25 years on the ranch, Ace was a pet, a rodeo star, and an incomparably good cattle horse. Ace could work cattle without a bridle; he responded to voice commands given by a person on the ground or on another horse. One ranch hand, Rusty Huss, said he preferred to work calves with Ace rather than with another man. Carr saved Ace for work near headquarters or for when he was working alone and needed reliable help. In 1968 Lewis Carr retired after 42 years of service to the College Ranch. James Whittenburg replaced Carr in 1968 and served as ranch foreman until he was killed in November 1971. In December 1971, Calvin Bailey accepted the foreman's job shortly after he graduated from NMSU with a bachelor's degree in animal science; he also expects to work at the ranch until he retires.

Chapter 4

Improving The College Ranch

Getting Started

The College acquired the Vander Stucken properties through the expenditure of Purnell funds, a federal allotment for state experiment stations. However, supporting the ranch was another proposition. Fabian Garcia's annual reports for the Agricultural Experiment Station from 1926 to 1929 chastised the New Mexico legislature for its failure to appropriate significant funds for agricultural research. (36) The Congressional legislation of 1927 which transferred the portions of the ranch land in the public domain to the College and experiment station also mandated the State of New Mexico to support experimental work: if the land was not used for research it would revert to the Government. In his 1927-28 annual report, Garcia estimated that $15,000 was needed to stock the ranch, drill two additional wells, build a ranch house, and establish pasture fencing. (37) In January 1929, the Board of Regents asked the legislature for $20,000 to support the ranch operation during the 1929-31 biennium. The regents maintained that the ranch could become a source of revenue, capable of supporting the expenses of the animal husbandry department. (23) Although the legislature appropriated only $10,000, it was enough to put some important improvements in place. The funds were used to put in a well, windmill, scale house, and steel tank with a capacity of 63,000 gallons at Camp Well, and to build 20 miles of pasture fences, forming Pastures 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Two miles of pipeline were also laid to water the pastures. (11) In 1929 the Board of Regents also adopted a new policy authorizing the animal husbandry department to use any income the department generated to improve the experimental facilities. Although the ranch budget was limited, facilities were continuously improved.

The Jornada Range Reserve Boundary Fence

In the early days of cattle ranching on the Jornada plains, as on other New Mexico rangelands, there were no fences between ranches. In fact, it was illegal to fence the public domain. Cattle that strayed from their home range were recovered by their owners at branding and shipping times. However, there was a loophole in the law against fencing the public domain: a roadway could be fenced. If neighboring ranchers agreed to the location of a boundary fence, the line could be surveyed as a roadway and then the fence could be built. This was the tactic that C.T. Turney proposed to use to establish the boundary around his Jornada ranch. In spite of Turney's early effort to fence the public domain legally, the fence was not built until 1912 after the Jornada Range Reserve was established. Part of this fence marks the present-day boundary between the Jornada Experimental Range and the College Ranch.

Other Early Fences

When the College acquired Vander Stucken's ranch, part of its boundaries were fenced. The Jornada Range Reserve's fence marked the eastern and part of the northern boundaries. Another fence marked the line between the College Ranch and W.A. Winder's ranch, the Open Diamond, extending from the Jornada Range Reserve fenceline to the old state highway. The fence along the Santa Fe Railroad marked the western boundary, but the southwestern and southern boundaries were unfenced. Few interior fences existed. A long fenceline, believed to be a Bar Cross improvement, roughly divided the Jornada plains from the Rio Grande drainage. It extended from the Doña Ana Mountains northwest to the old state highway, then followed the highway to the northern boundary of the ranch. Some drift fences existed in canyons and arroyos near the Doña Anas. Edgar Turney, son of C.T. Turney, and Pacheco, a local cowboy who worked for nearly every rancher on the Jornada and who became an institution on the College Ranch, removed those fences some years later, after the boundary fences were complete. After the College Ranch lands were removed from the public domain in 1927, fences could be built anywhere on the ranch. First, Pacheco and Vander Stucken put in one fence running south from headquarters to the northeast comer of Summerford and another southwest to the western foot of Summerford Mountain. These fences created Pasture 9, providing a way to confine livestock to the north side of Summerford Mountain. They built another fence running north from headquarters about two miles to the Jornada Range Reserve fenceline, creating a horse pasture to the east. A third fence built by Litton and his sons for the College in 1927 completed the northern boundary from the state highway west to Tonuco Mountain. In 1935 the Division of Grazing of the Department of the Interior established a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp on the College Ranch. The first group of CCC men to work at the ranch completed the boundary fence and put in several of the other pasture fences. They also rebuilt the old fence that separated the College Ranch from Winder's ranch. Lewis Carr used tornillo they cut from the bosque near the Rio Grande to build a fence between Pastures 11 and 13. A narrow neck of land south of Tonuco Mountain, outside the ranch boundary contains a deep canyon that collects large amounts of run-off from the hilly country east of the river. Control of this canyon is important for flood control on the land below it; for that reason the owners were not interested in selling the land to the College. In 1955 a long-term grazing lease negotiated with the owners permitted building a fence from Tonuco Mountain to Tonuco Springs. Shortly before his retirement, Carr undertook the last major fencing project on the ranch, the stretch across Tonuco Mountain. The terrain was too steep to use a vehicle to carry equipment, so Carr packed in posts and wire on horseback.

Wells and Water

Two wells, Summerford and Litton, existed on the land purchased by the College, but only Summerford had a working windmill. Four other undeveloped water sources also existed: Tonuco Springs, Buckle Bar, Cleofas, and Wagner. Selden Well, a windmill and a dirt tank were on land leased from the state.

Camp Well

In 1930, two drillers put in Camp Well with the help of Lewis Carr. Jim Sewell, who had put in Summerford Well 23 years earlier, started the job. Because the drilling mast wasn't long enough to raise 20-foot sections of pipe, Carr and a hand dug a 16- foot deep pit, through caliche into sand, into which the sections of pipe could be lowered. Then Sewell started drilling the well in a comer of the pit. When the drilling bit got hung up in the hole and Sewell couldn't retrieve it, he decided the time had come to retire. He sold his rig and the job to Dutch Candler, with the stipulation that Candler had to start a new drill hole. Candler succeeded in drilling the well but ran into trouble with the windmill. The windmill gearhead was exceptionally heavy, weighing 3,700 pounds. It had to be raised and delicately positioned on top of the windmill structure. Candler and Carr devised a pulley system to hoist the casing: Candler pulled from one direction with his Model A Ford to stabilize the gin pole, and Carr pulled with the tractor from the other direction, raising the gearhead. In the process, the gin pole got off-center, broke, and the casing crashed to the ground, breaking one leg of the windmill tower on the way. After repairs and recalculations, the gearhead was finally positioned, and the huge 20-foot fan assembled. Camp Well also watered Pastures 1, 2, 3, and 4 by gravity flow from its location in Pasture 5. In 1982 Camp Well was redrilled. An experimental solar-powered pump was installed at the new well, using demonstration-quality photovoltaic panels. As a result of the condition of the well and the quality of the photovoltaic panels, this pump also proved to be inadequate.

Mayfield Well

Before Mayfield Well was drilled, Carr hauled water from Selden Well to a metal tank near the north end of Selden pasture. In 1936, a CCC crew helped to drill Mayfield Well on the present line between Pasture 15 and Pasture 3W (formerly pasture 16). The well took its name from Ellis Mayfield, member of a prominent Mesilla Valley farming family, who supervised the work. In the early 1980s Mayfield Well ceased to function. To provide water to the Mayfield tank, several crews composed of faculty and staff from the Animal and Range Science Department engineered and laid a 12,000 foot, 1-inch PVC pipeline from Selden Well to Mayfield tank.

Summerford Well

Summerford Well provided enough water to irrigate a garden plot and water stock in addition to normal domestic usage for the Carrs. After repairs were made to the well in 1935, Carr built a concrete tank to replace the original earthen tank. In later years a submersible pump replaced the windmill.

Litton and Buckle Bar Wells

The windmill at Litton Well had been destroyed by fire sometime before the College acquired the property. Carr replaced that windmill, dug the nearby Buckle Bar Well and erected another windmill. Litton Well was in bad repair when Bailey took over in 1971, but since Pasture 17 is not used, the well has not been refurbished. Buckle Bar still serves as a watering place for cattle kept on Pasture 19 during the winter.

Selden Well

The origin of Selden Well is undocumented. Bill Shaw, a neighboring rancher who was a cowboy for the Bar Cross in 1915, remembers Selden Well being there when he rode that part of the range. None of the deeds relating to the land transfers specifically name Selden Well. However, in 1919, the mortgage from C.T. Turney to James Hurt refers to "pumps and improvements on State of New Mexico lands or public domain." The approximately 120 acres still in the public domain surrounding Selden Well were transferred to New Mexico State University as part of the 5,700 acres granted to the university in 1984. The area around Selden Well had more improvements than the other outlying wells. The Bar Cross installed a metal drinking tub and a large earthen tank. In 1928 Carr built a concrete collar around the drinking tub and in 1934 he improved the tank, excavating to a depth of five feet before building concrete walls around the storage tank.

Wagner Well

The origin of the name for Wagner Well is unknown. Wagner Canyon, in which the well is located, also has been known as Shipping Pens Canyon because it provided a relatively direct route to the railroad shipping pens at Leasburg. Wagner Well lies in Pasture 11, about half-way between headquarters and the southern ranch boundary. The well was originally a seep, dug out and lined with redwood by a CCC crew. Carr later put in a well above the seep and replaced the redwood box with two 3-foot-diameter galvanized culverts. Wagner Well was never a strong water source, watering only about 50 head of cattle in a wet year. By 1971 the fan had blown off the windmill ; the tower was stolen a few years later and has not been replaced.

Cleofas Well

Cleofas Well was developed on the tract that Henry Summerford purchased in 1905. Cleofas Guevara had a "dug" well that he used for domestic water and for his garden. In the canyon, a short way from his house, water accumulated in a rocky comer covered with sand. Horses pawed the sand to get to the water buried there. Carr sank a well a short distance above Cleofas' well and erected a windmill to power the pump. This well serves Pasture 11.

Tonuco Springs

Tonuco Springs was the last water source Carr developed. The cold Waters of Tonuco Springs, flowing from a recess in the bluff below the mountain afforded the only water in that part of the ranch. Since the existing facilities at the spring, a barrel and a tin cup, were more suited to man than beast, Carr decided to build a concrete tank. Diverting the water with a pump, he cleared the area around the springs to bare rock, then poured cement walls.


Cox tank, a large earthen tank in Pasture 11, catches runoff from the Doña Ana Mountains. Hal Cox, member of a prominent local ranching family, supervised the CCC crew that built the tank, which usually holds water from September to March. Carr built another large earthen tank bearing his name on the west side of the ranch in Pasture 12. After scraping away the shallow layer of topsoil with a bulldozer, Carr encountered a layer of caliche, which he scraped off and piled to one side. When the tank was the desired depth, he paved the surface with the caliche he had removed earlier, creating a relatively impermeable floor. Shortly before he retired, Carr also built Tonuco tank, an earthen tank southeast of Tonuco Mountain. This tank provided water for the cattle that grazed on Tonuco Mountain after 1967.


In June 1905, a road survey authorized by the Doña Ana County Commissioners for a road from Las Cruces to the San Andres Mountains was completed. Although the survey line took a direct route from Las Cruces to the Jornada plain, the line from there to the mountains was rather circuitous. The survey line continued northward between the Turney and the Summerford ranches to a point about 2-1/2 miles in a northeasterly direction from Summerford Well.There it turned away from the San Andres in a northwesterly direction for a distance of 8 miles, then went north for another 10 miles before turning eastward to the mountains, 15 miles away. The proposed road ended in an isolated spot in the mountains which would have been of no interest to the public. The county commissioners' "viewing committee" estimated the cost of construction for the road to be $1 per mile, an indication of the caliber of road they expected to be built. (7) Over a period of time, normal ranch traffic created roads along some portions of the survey line, but no road construction took place. People living in the area will say that the best way to build a road in the desert simply is to drive a vehicle across it. The desert recovers slowly from any disturbance of the soil; many unplanned and unauthorized roads existing on the ranch today are a result of that simple fact and most of the planned ranch roads also evolved in that manner. Visitors driving off-road are a major concern because of plant and soil disturbance which cannot easily be returned to original status.

Range Improvements

Between 1935 and 1938, a number of improvements were made by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) crews stationed on the College Ranch. The CCC built a rock dam in pastures 15 and 16 to divert an arroyo and provide a means of flooding a five-acre experimental revegetation plot. (30) In September 1935 a CCC crew built contour terraces over Pasture 9. Carr remembered that the terraces were quite effective in slowing runoff from the mountain until one particularly heavy rain. The top terrace overflowed from the volume of water that accumulated, creating a flood that swept down the slope, into the ranch yard. (30; Personal communication, Lewis Carr.) The CCC crews also built rock check dams and brush fence water spreaders in Pastures 8 and 10, another effort to slow the runoff from Summerford Mountain. The water spreaders were made by laying wire-wrapped bundles of brush, which had been cut from the bosque, into shallow trenches that followed the contour of the slope. Although some of the water-spreading measures were quite effective in diverting runoff, in the long run they did not prove to be an effective means for encouraging revegetation or growth of seedlings. (30)


By 1926 the College had begun to build the herd of Herefords that would eventually become one of the oldest closed lines of that breed in the country. The first 52 yearling heifers Lantow purchased came from the herd at the Jornada Range Reserve. When Carr took over, the livestock inventory for the ranch, besides the heifers, included two Mexican mules, a number of saddle horses, a 400-head herd of wild horses helping themselves to the drought-depleted grass, and a smaller herd of wild burros residing in the mountains.

Wild Horses and Burros

Between 1927 and 1931, Carr removed 412 wild horses from the ranch. It wasn't a job he pursued full-time; it was just something he worked at when there was a lull in the daily routine. Bum Walters and Jack McCorkle helped him occasionally. Because Will Winder, who owned the ranch north of the College Ranch, wasn't running any cattle, Carr put the horses onto Winder's property. The Pruit boys, whose ranch lay north of Winder's, also dumped horses onto his ranch. By 1931 they had accumulated some 800 head of horses in Winder's pastures. To save his friends the expense of claiming their animals, Carr cut all of the strawberry roans out of the wild herd for Pete Litton, knowing Litton had the only roans in the area. Carr cut out the bald-faced and stocking-legged horses for Cleofas and sold them separately at the sale in order to generate a little income for the old goatherder. Horses that didn't sell were driven to El Paso where they were sold either to the Mexican government for $35 per head, or to the Peyton Packing Company as "killers" for 50 cents per hundredweight. Carr dispatched the wild burros with less trouble: he shot them. Chasing them through the mountains was the hard part. The burros' speed and agility enabled them to stay one canyon ahead of even the best horse.

Sheep and Goats

When the College bought the ranch, Lantow and Kent had great plans for utilizing the various types of range represented there. The range east of Selden Well and around Summerford Well would be used for cattle experiments. The rougher land toward the Rio Grande would be used for sheep, and the mountainous areas for Angora goats. The land near the river would serve as the sheep headquarters and part of it could be planted in alfalfa. (21) The sheep were brought by railroad to the loading pen at Leasburg. From there, they were herded some 8 miles into the hills above the river. Allowed to roam at will, the herd soon spread itself all over the west side of the ranch. Carr recalls when he finally rounded up the sheep he could always expect to find one or two on top of every hill. The experiment was short-lived. Predators were a problem, but three-awn grass growing on that range was a more serious problem. The fruit of the grass works itself into the sheep's fleece and flesh as well as causing sores in the mouth. Some fifty years after Lantow and Kent made their plans, Angora and Spanish goats were again introduced on the ranch for an experiment for creosotebush control.


Cattle always have been the main livestock on the ranch. The initial herd of 52 heifers was purchased from C.T. Turney and carried the T-Hook brand ( ). The second group of 52 heifers, purchased in 1927, came from the Wedgewood ranch (WW) near Hillsboro. Max V ander Stucken and Pacheco drove the herd as far as Detroit Tank, near Rincon. Carr met them there and helped move the herd onto the ranch. A third group of 52 heifers was purchased from W.H. Waggoner, whose brand was the Z Slash ( Z/ ). The College brand is the Bridle Bit (0-0 ). By 1930 the pastures around Camp Well were fenced and experiments in cattle nutrition began in earnest. From 1951 to 1956 southern New Mexico experienced a drought so severe that Knox removed the cattle from the College Ranch. He was a careful manager of rangeland and saw the damage the ranch was suffering. He rented pasture from the neighboring Jornada Experimental Range where the grass there was also in bad condition, but there was more of it.

Buildings and Equipment

In 1927, when Fabian Garcia asked the legislature for $15,000 to equip the newly acquired College Ranch, he probably knew he was stretching things by including a new ranch house on his want list. Not that a new house wasn't needed, but a lot of other things more directly related to experimental work also were needed. In 1939, in a brief history of the College Ranch prepared for a Ranch Day program, the author acknowledged that the CCC program had completed most of the improvements needed on the ranch; the only things remaining to be built were a scale house at Selden Well and a laboratory and ranch building at headquarters. (13) Although Carr built the scale house at Selden within a few years after the Ranch Day program in 1939, and the Hust house from Selden Well was moved to headquarters to be used for a laboratory, fifteen years passed before the Board of Regents appropriated $15,000 to build a new ranch house. Until 1953 the Carr family lived in the adobe house that was built sometime between 1905 and 1908. Knox authorized Carr to improve the house any way he could but stipulated that he must add a fireplace to supplement heat from the cookstove. 1be original three-room house had rush ceilings between exposed beams with a flat mud roof covered by a corrugated metal gabled roof. Carr built the fireplace, added a room to the west side of the house, and removed the metal roof. No further improvements were made in the ranch houses until 1982. By that time the roof on the "new" house was in bad shape, having weathered for 30 years. In 1981, the Board of Regents made a special appropriation of $60,000 to provide for much-needed maintenance all over the ranch. The two houses were refurbished, the bathrooms and kitchens were remodeled, and new flooring was put down. The plumbing in the smaller house was also replaced. Carr built corrals out of railroad ties and 2x8 lumber while he was foreman. These corrals were painted every three years and repaired as soon as damage was noticed. Beginning in 1978 the wooden corrals were gradually rebuilt with pipe, with only the corrals at Selden remaining to be replaced in 1987.

Chapter 5

Research at the College Ranch

For more than 60 years, the College Ranch has provided a location for research in livestock and range management. Much of that research will provide a basis for decisions cattle ranchers and land managers must make relating to range utilization, cattle nutrition and breeding. Other research has been directed toward gaining a better understanding of the environment in which the ranch is located. The research history of the College Ranch may be divided into four periods: [l] 1926-1934, a time of getting organized and establishing facilities, with most research directed toward cattle nutrition. The period ends with the naming of John Knox as department head. [2] 1935-1956, a time of expansion-more researchers and more research topics-and the first analyses of data that had been accumulating for 20 years. This period ends with the close of the drought in 1956. [3] 1957-1964, a period of continuing data analysis and new research focusing on regeneration of drought-damaged range. This period ends with the retirement of John Knox in 1964. [4] 1965-1981, a period in which a number of long-term studies were initiated, including work by University researchers outside the Department of Animal and Range Sciences

1926 Through 1934

Cattle Studies

The first experiment undertaken on the College Ranch was a study of the effects of protein supplements on range cattle. A severe drought during the early 1920s had forced many southern New Mexico ranchers to utilize stop-gap measures to carry their cattle through the dry period, one of which was feeding cottonseed cake. In 1925, Lantow decided to feed cake under controlled conditions to determine its effectiveness. He began the experiment with the 52 heifers purchased from Turney, grazing them on Jornada Range pastures until the College bought Vander Stucken's ranch. By 1929, a total of 156 heifers and their calves were involved in the study. (21) Lantow's study revealed that feeding minimum amounts of cottonseed cake during the winter was an efficient way to boost production. Calves to be sold as yearlings made better gains with a winter supplement; cows fed cake during the winter produced more milk and had heavier calves at weaning. Lantow noted that feeding to prevent starvation was not efficient. However, if good stocking and culling practices were practiced, then poor condition cattle would not be on hand to require expensive feeding. (21) In 1930, Watkins' first nutrition experiment began. Lantow and Watkins had noticed that a considerable percentage of the cows which had produced calves and were apparently in excellent condition for breeding failed to conceive again, or were late in conception. They wondered whether a lack of phosphorus or calcium, minerals essential to growth and well-being, might be responsible for the situation. (21) The mineral supplement experiment showed that feeding phosphorus and calcium was beneficial and profitable. Watkins also re-examined the results of the cottonseed cake experiment in light of the results of this experiment: although there could be no doubt that the protein supplement provided by the cake was necessary, the phosphorus contained in the cake probably played a major role in maintaining good production. (19; Personal communication, W. E. Watkins.) Watkins also began studies of the two important forage species found on the ranch, black grama and mesa dropseed, analyzing them for protein and mineral content. He discovered that while the protein content of dropseed became negligible after the first frost, black grama retained enough protein to keep cattle healthy through the winter grazing period. (15)

Ranch Studies

A few experiments with seeding of four-wing saltbush also took place on the ranch during the early period of research. The value of four-wing saltbush as winter forage was recognized, so an effort was made to increase the stands on the ranch. In the spring of 1926, four-wing saltbush seed was broadcast in Pasture 12, between headquarters and Selden well; the seed also was planted with a corn planter in a larger plot at the southwest corner of the ranch. (38) This was the first of many seeding experiments that met with little success. Although the tender saltbush seedlings were protected from rabbits, smaller animals helped themselves to them. Another plot in Pasture 12 was seeded in chamisa two years later but the absence of follow-up reports attests to its failure. (37, 11)

1935 Through 1956

Ranch Day Program

From 1938 to 1956, excepting the years of World War II, the College Ranch cooperated with the Jornada Experimental Range each fall to sponsor a Field Day or Ranch Day. On those days, ranchers and interested persons from throughout New Mexico, adjoining states and Mexico were invited to visit the two facilities to view the research in progress and learn the results of completed projects. During the day, visitors traveled in a vehicle caravan, stopping at designated points on each of the ranches where they received oral and written reports about the experimental work that was taking place. The two ranches took turns hosting the noon-time barbecue that was served to the visitors. In 1957 the annual programs were suspended because the ranges had been so depleted by the record-breaking drought during the previous six years. Since then, one Ranch Day program was held, in 1979.

Cattle Studies

In 1936 Watkins began a five-year study of black grama, mesa dropseed, and tobosa gathered at different stages of maturity, to determine the loss or variation of nutrients due to weathering or leaching. Within a year it was apparent that mesa dropseed lost all of its carotene soon after the fall freezes. Black grama, however, retained enough carotene during the winter to satisfy the requirements of cattle. (29) Other nutrition studies during the 1935-1956 period continued work with phosphorus supplements. In 1937, Watkins found the phosphorus content of the forage plants closely paralleled the phosphorus content of the blood of cows receiving only salt. By 1939, a significant number of calf deaths had occurred in the group receiving only salt, indicating once again the importance of phosphorus supplements to cattle production. (9) Another phosphorus experiment was conducted to determine whether the same benefits could be derived from feeding the phosphorus supplement only during the winter months rather than all year round, thereby lowering the cost of production. (Personal communication, W. E. Watkins.) A nutrition study conducted between 1943 and 1949 examined the carotene and Vitamin A content of the blood plasma of range cows. Watkins found the Vitamin A content of the blood plasma of the test cows closely paralleled the carotene content of the forage plants on which they grazed. (50) During the 1934-56 research period Knox conducted many studies of cattle production. Early observations showed that carrying steer calves over the winter during a year of good forage production was an efficient way to increase production. Knox advocated keeping breeding herds to such numbers that they always had sufficient feed, even in years of poor forage production. In years of normal and above normal feed growth, yearling steers could be retained to raise production. (51) By 1941 Knox and Neale had arrived at a means of selecting which steers should be retained during years of good forage production. They found a correlation between weaning weight and weight gain during the following year; calves that were light made better gains as yearlings than calves that were heavy and fat at weaning time. The advantages of carrying steers, particularly light-weight steers, over cows and calves had also been quantified by 1941. (14) In 1945, Marvin Koger began an experiment to determine the influence of type or size of cattle on productivity. From the cows at the College Ranch he selected one group based on compactness. Another group was selected from the heaviest cows. Compact cows were bred to compact bulls, heavy cows to heavy bulls. Although bred separately, the two groups ran on the same range. The remainder of the ranch herd served as a control group. After three years the results of the experiment showed no significant difference in the production of the two groups. (15) From the early 1930s, seasonal breeding was practiced on the College Ranch. Calves are born from March through May; weaning takes place in October and shipping in November. By 1945, ten years of breeding records were available for analysis. Neale used the data to develop a means of predicting cattle production. He found the percentage of calf crop to be dependent on spring and summer rainfall. Similarly, yearling steer gains could be estimated with 100 percent accuracy from rainfall in January, February, March, and April. (24) In 1945 Marvin Koger also began utilizing the 10- year data base to see whether a means could be found for identifying cows that would produce well. He found that first calves were a good indicator of a cow's future production and suggested that first-calf heifers could be culled on that basis. (16, 17) Other studies of the accumulated data on the cattle from the College Ranch revealed a relationship between range and feedlot performance. Cattle that did well under range conditions also made good gains in the feed lot. (21) Another study, to determine the ages of peak production of range cows, revealed ages six, seven, and eight to be the peak. (15) R.L. Blackwell analyzed breeding records from 1935 to 1948 to determine the heritability of certain traits, hoping to establish criteria for bull selection. He found eight traits that were heritable and recommended selecting bulls according to a combination of characteristics, including ability to gain rapidly, good grade, milking ability of dam, and grade of calves or weight of yearlings. ( 15) Blackwell also used records from 21 years to correlate age of cattle to the occurrence of cancer eye. The incidence of cancer increased with age, developing most often after age five. He also determined that a tendency to develop cancer eye was an inherited characteristic. (4)

Range Studies

Revegetation studies were prominent during the 1935-1956 period. K.W. Parker and J.O. Bridges began natural revegetation studies in closed pastures, paying particular attention to the effects of rabbits on brush-invaded range. Later, Valentine and Norris carried on this work. In 1935 Parker built a rabbit exclosure in Pasture 12, with the objective of measuring the impact of jack-rabbit feeding on natural revegetation. The plot protected from rabbits produced a hundredfold as much grass as the plot open to rabbits, strong evidence of the damaging role played by rabbits in deteriorated grassland. ( 10) In 1939, with the cooperation of the Soil Conservation Service, Bridges built exclosures in two types of vegetation, good condition black grama grassland and mesquite-snakeweed type. Three types of exclosures were built at each site: one that excluded only cattle, another that excluded cattle and rabbits, and a third that excluded cattle, rabbits, and rodents. This experiment upheld Parker's earlier findings. (26) Reseeding experiments begun in 1936 dominated the revegetation studies undertaken on the College Ranch during the 1930s and 1940s. (10) Most of the reseeding experiments took place in Pasture 12, which was closed to grazing. The numerous small plots developed in the pasture came to be known affectionately by people working on the ranch as "the farm." Beginning in 1936, using seed provided by the Soil Conservation Service, Parker and later Bridges made successive annual plantings of native and introduced grasses. As visiting ranchers toured the test plots on Field Day in 1939, they could read Bridges' report in their program: "As you can see, the results are not astounding. Results in other years have been better and worse-in 1936 they were considerably better, in 1937 considerably worse, and in 1938 very much better." ... [W]e have not discovered the way to make plants grow in this arid region." ( 6) Nor did future researchers discover a fail-safe way to reseed non-productive range. In 1945 K.A. Valentine spoke optimistically about the results obtained with seeding of two African species, Lehmann lovegrass and Boer lovegrass. ( 40) At the Ranch Day program in 1946 Valentine again spoke about the value of reseeding, pointing out a 33-acre pasture of mixed lovegrasses in which 26 heifers had been grazing for 24 days. He concluded by recommending that ranchers try seeding a non-productive area of their land. (41) Reseeding experiments continued until 1957 but were unsuccessful due to drought conditions. In addition, the drought of the 1950s destroyed the reseeding that was accomplished during the previous decade. While he worked on the Jornada, Valentine made a study of the successional relationship of the mesquite and black grama vegetation types, the same as those occurring on the College Ranch. He found that the Jornada grassland was being slowly but steadily converted to the mesquite sand dune type. Fifty years later this conversion has taken place on thousands of acres of once good and excellent black grama grassland on the Jornada Experimental Range and the College Ranch. In 1940, Bridges established a belt transect in an area extending from mesquite sand dunes to grassland. Within the transect he charted the crown spread of each mesquite plant. In 1953 the transect was recharted. Over the 12-year period, the numbers of mesquite plants in the dune area increased; in the grassland, mesquite plants also increased. The crown size of the mesquite plants had also increased, doubling in the dune area and tripling in the grassland. (28) At Ranch Day in 1949, Valentine discussed methods of controlling mesquite. Early control, by hand-grubbing of the small mesquite plants, was found to be the cheapest and most effective way to prevent stands from becoming established. ( 43) A number of chemical treatments were tested on established stands of mesquite on the ranch. The most promising was 2,4,5-T, a hormone-like chemical, applied as a foliage spray. The researchers performed other tests to determine optimal time of year for application of the spray; sprayings during the period of most active growth appeared to be most effective. (42) By 1951, Valentine and Norris had done some large scale treatments of established stands of mesquite. The large-scale operation was not as effective as the small-scale experiments performed earlier. (27) During the latter part of the 1930s Knox initiated studies of the carrying capacity of rangeland. Knox and his co-workers realized that stocking capacity is dependent upon forage production; forage production is dependent two variables, stand and rainfall. Because forage production varies, stocking capacity also varies. (30) In 1953 an experiment designed to test several methods of estimating annual herbage production was initiated. Growing season precipitation and amount of ground cover, taken separately, were found to be poor indicators of production, but when used in combination with each other gave a fairly good indication of production. (29) Soon after Valentine joined the staff of the animal husbandry department he began making forage utilization surveys in the grassland pastures at the College Ranch. The utilization data presented an opportunity to set mathematical values on the different degrees of use that occurred in the pastures at different distances from watering places. The establishment of these values provided a way to modify grazing capacity calculations. Until Valentine described this method of modification, no allowance for distance from water had been incorporated into procedures for making grazing capacity computations. (48) Using stocking and forage utilization records which were kept through the years, Valentine studied grazing capacity. He found that in addition to the amount of forage in a pasture, the pattern of grazing use also affected the grazing capacity of the pasture. The pattern of use was influenced by the size and shape of the pasture, and the location of water. (44)

The Drought of the 1950s

Drought is a powerful influence on semiarid rangelands. Such lands are nearly always either undergoing drought or recovering from a drought damaged condition. Drought commonly reduces cover of desirable grasses and yields of forage to fractions of pre-drought values. The drought of 1951-1956 was like nothing ever before recorded on the Jornada plain. (21) The most serious effect was the failure of much of the range to recover from the drought because it nearly eliminated black grama, the mainstay of the grassland on the ranch. That factor, combined with the poor seed production and seedling establishment of the black grama that remained, prevented recovery of the range. (Personal communication, K. A. Valentine.) Once black grama is gone from a range area such as the Jornada plain, it is gone for many years-in fact, no one knows how many. Thirty years after the end of the drought, great distances may be walked through the College Ranch without seeing a single black grama plant, where once they could hardly be avoided. Some 10 sections of once good to excellent grassland have undergone this extreme deterioration. (Personal communication, K. A. Valentine.) As researchers at the College Ranch watched the number of years with below average rainfall accumulate from 1949 to 1956, they became more and more concerned about the effect of drought on semidesert range and ways of coping with reduced conditions. As early as 1951, Valentine discussed signs of deteriorating range at the Ranch Day program. (45) Trouble for the rancher caused by drought does not end with the return of regular rainfall. Following drought, the rancher faces the problem of managing the range to bring about recovery. In 1954 Valentine began an experiment to determine the level of grazing use necessary to permit recovery of drought damaged black grama range. Range scientists generally recognized that fifty percent usage of the grass herbage, regarded as being proper for maintenance of good condition grassland, was too heavy to allow for improvement of deteriorated range.

1956 Through 1964

Cattle Studies

In 1954 Ward Repp joined the College faculty, helping W.E. Watkins conduct nutrition studies. They continued earlier studies of protein and phosphorus content of range grasses and undertook studies to establish the relationship between protein and crude fiber content of the grasses. Evidence regarding phosphorus deficiencies in New Mexico range grasses and the importance of providing phosphorus supplements to cattle on New Mexico ranges remained unchanged. (35) Another nutrition experiment, begun in 1959, tested winter feeding of protein and energy supplements to heifer calves and yearlings. Although the weight of the animals increased from the supplemental feeding, calf crops and calf weights generally were as high among the unsupplemented heifers as among those that had received supplements. (25) Blackwell and Knox continued the heritability studies begun in the early 1950s. Statistics obtained from records from 1936 to 1952 revealed that traits that are a function of growth and size are highly heritable and also have strong genetic correlations. Blackwell attributed high heritability values to carcass weight, slaughter grade, and daily gain in feedlot (33,4)

Range Studies

The range studies taking place on the College Ranch during this period of research were dominated by efforts to understand the effects of severe drought and to test methods of enhancing recovery of the range. Valentine and Norris continued their efforts to establish black grama and lovegrass seedlings, work begun in 1950, but which had been unsuccessful due to the drought conditions. The new planting trials were aimed at establishing the most favorable time for desert seeding, but the men continued to be frustrated: good seed germination was usually followed by die-out due to dry periods in late fall and winter. (32) Results of the seeding studies of black grama showed seedling emergence depended upon an above average amount of rainfall during the growing season-in excess of five inches. (35) Mesquite control experiments continued. During the summer of 1961, Valentine and Norris sprayed all of the mesquite in Pasture 2, north of headquarters and Selden road. Little money existed at that time for research help, so the men did the work themselves, assisted by range technician, J.B. Gerard as tractor driver. In 1987, the existence of relatively few mesquite bushes on the sprayed area attests to the success of their treatment. (Personal communication, B. J. Rankin) Experiments in creosotebush control also were initiated during the 1956-1964 period using formulations of 2, 4-D and 2, 4, 5-T, picloram and fuel oil. (47)

1965 Through 1981

From the middle 1960s until the early 1980s, most of the animal nutrition work took place at Fort Stanton. Some experiments comparing the effects of different types of rangeland ran concurrently at the College Ranch and at Fort Stanton. At the College Ranch, research by the animal and range scientists focused on two topics: cross-breeding and grazing studies.

Cattle Studies

In 1966 Holland began a study that marked a new direction for the southwestern cattle industry: crossbreeding Hereford and Brangus cattle. (Personal communication, B. J. Rankin.) Herefords were the traditional breed of cattle run on Southwest ranges. However, Brangus cattle, a Brahman-Angus crossbreed, were known to be more drought-tolerant than Herefords. The Brangus-Hereford crossbreeding study was conducted concurrently at the College Ranch and at Fort Stanton, to test the effects of ranch location on the breeding program. Fifty Hereford and 50 Brangus heifers were assigned to each location. The results of the study suggested that crossbreeding of Hereford and Brangus cattle had good potential for increasing the efficiency of cattle production in the Southwest. The study also suggested that distinctly different climates could affect breeding results. (31) Since the results of the first crossbreeding study were not conclusive, the research was continued and expanded. In 1977 a three-breed rotation involving Hereford, Brangus, and Charolais was begun. In 1981 another three-breed rotation, with Hereford, Brangus, and Simmental, was added. The three breed rotations were undertaken to study the results obtained by crossing with cows that were larger and also were heavier milkers than either the Hereford or Brangus. The studies will continue until five-year calf crop records are available for all rotations.

Range Studies

Experimental work aimed at learning some of the life history characteristics of creosotebush was undertaken by Valentine and J.B. Gerard. They found that plants growing in open grassland produced only about 40 percent as much fruit per plant as plants growing in the main body of the creosotebush vegetation type. In open grassland, cattle and rabbits trample the plants and rip off branches, keeping the plants in a vegetative, low fruiting condition. The researchers also found that low rainfall between January and September increased fruit production. The researchers found that creosotebush could become established and grow in good condition grassland as well as in deteriorated grassland. They also found that invasion of creosotebush proceeded rapidly on sandy soils to the lee of seed-producing stands of creosotebush. (47) In 1967, only a few years before his retirement in 1971, Valentine began a grazing study which would become one of the longest-running studies of its kind in this country. The work has been carried on by Valentine's successor, R.F. Beck. The objective of the experiment is to determine how the seasonal suitability grazing system compares with yearlong grazing in fostering improvement of poor condition range. Three grazing systems are used on three pastures. In 1987, little difference between the systems has developed. However, range condition at the beginning of the study indicated that many years would be required for material improvement in any of the pastures. (3) In 1980 Reldon Beck and Herman Kiesling, Professors in the Department of Animal and Range Science, began an experiment to see whether goats might be used to control the growth of creosotebush and still maintain mohair production. The goats did eat creosotebush, but only after all other forage was nearly exhausted. Overstocking of the experimental area caused weight loss in the animals and considerable reduction in mohair production. New phases of the study were initiated in 1987.

Cooperative Research By Animal and Range Scientists

The long-term grazing study begun in 1967 marked the beginning of more cooperative research efforts between animal and range scientists. Previously, the two disciplines had conducted experiments independently, one looking for changes in the range, the other observing changes in cattle. This grazing study was designed improve the range conditions while maintaining cattle production. Studies of the selectivity of cattle for certain plants by measuring nutritional and botanical diets continued the trend of cooperative research.

Research by Other Departments

From 1968 to 1974, the area around the eastern foot of Summerford Mountain and the playa area east of the College Ranch headquarters were closed to grazing and designated as part of the desert biome in the U.S./International Biological Program (IBP). These two areas, containing a variety of vegetative and soil types, accommodated studies by botanists, zoologists, and soil scientists from other departments in the university. Much of the work was directed by faculty from the Biology Department. In 1982, largely through the efforts of several researchers from the Biology, Crop and Soils, and Fish and Wildlife Departments, the former IBP study areas, plus the area between the two sites, was designated a Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site. This research was principally funded through the National Science Foundation. Since that time, P.J. Wierenga of the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture has undertaken a major soil study on the site. This study involved constructing the world's largest lysimeter, and the facility has been visited by scientists from around the world. College Ranch personnel also cooperate directly with other departments of the university to conduct research. In recent years, graduate students from nearly all areas of the life sciences have utilized the College Ranch for research. Numerous master's and doctoral theses and journal articles about the flora, fauna, geology, and soils of the ranch have been produced from their research.

Chapter 6

Life on the College Ranch

A Historical Perpesctive

Most histories of cattle and ranching deal with the land, the livestock, the men who cared for the animals, and the men who ran the operations. Those topics also dominate the history of the College Ranch. However, in recent years historians have begun to investigate the roles women played in ranching operations. To provide a historical perspective for the changes that have taken place in ranching in general and in the College Ranch specifically, three women who remembered what life was like on the Jornada plains prior to 1926 shared their memories with the author in June and July 1987. At that time Maude Vander Stucken was 103 years old, Maxine Vander Stucken Armstrong was 76, and Ovalo Pierce Pruit was 77. All three women were associated with C. T. Turney's ranching operation on the Jornada Range Reserve and with the Summerford ranch in particular. Maude Turney Vander Stucken was the oldest of Turney's thirteen children. She and her husband, Max, and their eighteen-month old daughter, Maxine, moved from Sonora, Texas to the Jornada headquarters in 1913. Ovalo Pierce was the daughter of Travis Pierce, one of the pool bosses who helped to drive Turney's mixed herd of Herefords and longhorns from Texas in 1901. By the time the Vander Stuckens arrived at the Jornada headquarters, Pierce lived with his family in the foothills of the San Andres mountains, at the Ropes Springs camp of Turney's operation. After Max Vander Stucken bought the Summerford ranch in 1919, Travis Pierce moved there to be the foreman.

The Vander Struckens

The Vander Stuckens traveled from Sonora, in the hill country of central Texas, via train from San Angelo to Las Cruces, in the summer of 1913. The trip took about 24 hours. They sold most of their furniture before leaving Texas, but did ship a few pieces on the train. A big picnic lunch sustained them through the trip because the train had no dining car. However, they did have a sleeping compartment. Caring for an active toddler still in diapers made the trip less than an exciting adventure for Maude. After arriving in Las Cruces, the Vander Stuckens spent some time visiting at the Turney home in Mesilla. When C.T. Turney brought his second wife, Bessie, and their five young children to his Jornada headquarters (a three-room adobe house) in 1904, Bessie refused to stay. Like Maude, she was used to the green riversides of their home in Texas; the Jornada ranch seemed desolate. It was then that Turney bought a two-story house east of Mesilla, which he remodeled and enlarged around 1913 for the younger Turney family. The Vander Stuckens, however, were destined for the Jornada. Maude recalls that she cried "the whole first year" because life was so bleak and lonely. Things picked up, though, when the "government men" arrived and established their living quarters near the Vander Stucken home. The "government men" were several USDA employees who came to the Jornada Range Reserve to do research. These young men also were unused to the isolation of a cattle ranch and enjoyed the company of the Vander Stuckens. While Maude viewed her new home as the equivalent of "camping out," the house Turney had built for his headquarters was quite comfortable by ranch standards. The cookstove warmed the kitchen and each of the other two rooms had a fireplace. Ceilings were high and tall windows brightened the rooms. The Vander Stuckens used only two rooms. Turney lived with his family in Mesilla Park, so he required that one of the bedrooms always be available for his use during visits to the ranch. After Maude got over her crying spell, she spent most of her time cooking. In those days, the cowboys worked for 50 cents a day plus meals. Maude cooked for the cowboys-who numbered as many as seventeen at times-and occasionally invited the government men to dinner, too. It took her a while to adjust the cowboys to what she considered a more civilized and efficient eating routine. Normally, the cowboys left the ranch after breakfast, which was before dawn, and didn't carry a lunch with them because it couldn't survive the rigors of a day on horseback. As a result, the cowboys stopped by the ranch house, expecting to be fed, whenever they were in the vicinity. Maude suggested they try having just one big meal around 5 :00 instead of the interminable lunches and suppers. Eventually, the quality and quantity of Maude's dinners convinced the cowboys of the wisdom of the plan. They even got to "being a little nice" and washed up, shaved, and combed their hair before coming to the table. Although everyone dined on the same fare, dinner was served in the big kitchen in two shifts: Anglos ate first, the Hispanic cowboys ate second. Turney kept his family and hands well fed. He brought crates of fruit and vegetables in season from the farm in Mesilla and Maude made endless cobblers and cookies. Baked sweet potatoes were a staple, along with beans. Of course, beef was plentiful; Maude served roasts, steaks, stews, and liver. She also kept a vegetable garden. Sugar and beans came in 100-pound bags and Arbuckle coffee came in a 50-pound case. Maude always had two pots of strong coffee on the stove. Staples were kept in a lean-to storeroom on the back of the house. Skunks discovered the side pork in the storeroom and helped themselves whenever they had a chance. At night, fresh meat was hung in the windmill tower to keep it safe from cats, dogs, and skunks. During the day the meat was wrapped in a slicker and kept in the "cool box". The kitchen had two kinds of "cool boxes" and both were home-made affairs. A small one, for cooling milk, was built inside the window frame. A shallow metal pan, fastened to the window sill, held several inches of water. Milk cans or jars were wrapped in wet cloths, then set in the pan of water. The breeze through the window created an evaporative cooling effect. A larger box that operated on the same principle was made from the wooden cases that coffee came in and was lined with burlap bags. Water dripped from a pan on the top to moisten the bags. Milk and cream were plentiful because the Vander Stuckens kept Jersey milk cows. Max or one of the cowboys milked in the evening. Maude made butter in a Daisy churn, a 2-gallon covered glass jar with paddles inside and a crank on top. She never had to worry about storing the butter, however, because it was eaten right away. One of Maude's culinary coups was making ice cream. The cowboys told her she couldn't do it, because she didn't have an ice cream freezer, but her ingenuity won out. When Turney brought beef to the headquarters from town, it was packed in ice. Instead of re-using the ice to cool tea, as they usually did, Maude made ice cream. She made a cream mixture, put it in a bucket, set the bucket inside a barrel filled with ice, and the cowboys took turns turning it until the cream froze. Wood from cedar trees fired the cookstove. The men cut trees in the San Andres Mountains and dragged them whole back to the ranch. Pacheco, an old Yaqui Indian, chopped the wood into stove-size pieces for Maude. Mesquite roots were used for the fireplaces because they burned more slowly. Maude had a sewing machine and made all of her clothes and Maxine's. Occasionally she ordered a dress from the Montgomery Ward catalog. Laundry was done in tubs in the backyard. Maude carried water drawn from the faucet in the kitchen to the tubs. She admitted to doing a poor job at laundry and appreciated when Turney took some of the flat items into the laundry in Las Cruces. The family had few clothes and got used to wearing them for a while between washings. Although Turney had put running water in the kitchen, the toilet was outdoors. Maude and Maxine seldom went to town, usually just for holidays. Turney provided groceries, so there was no need to go to Las Cruces to shop. The nearest neighbors were the Pruits, who lived "up in the mountains," east of the Jornada headquarters. Maude recalled going to visit them one day. Beulah Pierce baked a cake in honor of the occasion. The only frosting ingredients she had were granulated sugar and egg whites. Besides the frosting not holding up well in the heat of summer, the flies were so bad it was nearly impossible to move a fork from plate to mouth without shooing away a swarm of flies. Maude left thinking that perhaps her lot at the Jornada wasn't so bad. The isolation of the ranch created problems when Maxine had the inevitable childhood accidents. One time when she was helping Max milk, the cow kicked Maxine and broke her leg. Joe Turney drove Maude and Maxine to town in the Vander Stucken's Overland car. Another time Maxine fell on a rake and split her nose open. Mr. Forsling, one of the government men, and Maude worked on Maxine until Max came home, then he drove the patient to town for repairs. The time Maxine swallowed a Lodge pin, Maude made use of the telephone to call Dr. McBride in Las Cruces. He calmed the worried mother, recommended feeding Maxine lots of Irish potatoes, and assured Maude that the pin would pass safely through Maxine's digestive tract. In 1917 Maude Vander Stucken bought a house in Mesilla Park and moved herself and Maxine to town. It was time for Maxine to begin school and Maude wanted her to attend. The Vander Stuckens had been married for 10 years before coming to New Mexico and they had saved $14,000 during that time. Maude used some of that money to buy the house in town. She remembered how her father tried to convince her not to leave the Jornada and warned her that she'd be lonesome in town, but she refused to let him change her mind. Max Vander Stucken continued to live at the Jornada headquarters, coming to Mesilla Park to visit his family every couple of weeks. After he bought the Summerford ranch, Maude remembered the cryptic phone calls that sometimes came when Max was in town: "The hen is on the nest!" That meant someone was stealing cattle around Tonuco Springs, so Max would head for the ranch. The Vander Stuckens did everything possible to save the Summerford ranch. When the drought hit they began feeding cottonseed meal and cake. Turney bought cake in El Paso, had it shipped by rail to Las Cruces, then carried it in his own freight wagon to a barn in Mesilla Park for storage. Shredded soapweed (yucca) leaves also served as supplemental feed. In desperation, Turney and his kin moved the cattle to pastures in Mexico and Oklahoma to try to fatten them before taking them to Kansas City and Chicago to market. The enormous expense of all these efforts eventually ruined both Turney and Vander Stucken. Vander Stucken stayed on at the Summerford for a short time after the College bought the ranch, then he worked for the College in town until shortly before his death in 1928.

The Pierces

Ovalo Pierce was born in 1910 in Junction, Texas, Beulah Pierce's home town. when Beulah left the Turney ranch during her pregnancy to be closer to medical care and kinfolk. Ovalo was about a year old when they returned to the three-room rock house at Ropes Springs. Life at the ranch camp wasn't as bad as it had appeared to Maude Vander Stucken the day she visited the Pierces. Many aspects of their life were similar to the Vander Stuckens. The Pierces had a garden, chickens, plenty of beef, and a cow to provide milk and sometimes butter. However, the milk cow wasn't a Jersey; she was a Hereford with a calf and was kept in a pasture near the house. Without a windmill tower to hang fresh meat in during the night, the Pierces used a tree. During the day they wrapped the meat in a pillowcase, then in a tarp, and kept it under a bed. The Pierces had fewer fresh fruits and vegetables than the Vander Stuckens and ate a lot of canned corn, tomatoes, and peas. Beulah Pierce had a sewing machine and made clothes for herself and Ovalo. Ovalo doesn't remember when her father became the foreman at the Summerford ranch, but it was probably sometime around 1920, when she was 10 or 11 years old. Living at the Summerford put the family close enough to Tonuco for Ovalo to go to school. Each Sunday afternoon Ovalo rode horseback to Tonuco, 13 miles away, where she boarded in the room behind the schoolhouse with the teacher. She was the only student who boarded of the dozen or so who attended school there. On Friday afternoon she rode back to the Summerford. Maxine Vander Stucken Armstrong, who spent time during the summers at the Summerford ranch, recalled thinking how brave Ovalo was to ride so far alone. When Maxine visited Ovalo they passed the time riding horseback around the ranch, sometimes going far enough to pass by Cleofas' camp at the south end of the ranch. The only shade at the Summerford was that made by the house, so to keep cool the girls went swimming in Summerford tank. Maxine remembered the black oozey slime underfoot in the bottom of the tank. Occasionally Ovalo went in to Mesilla Park to stay with Maxine. She always got homesick very quickly, though, and tried to think of ways to get Maude Vander Stucken to bring her back to the Summerford. The Pierce household ran on a regular schedule. Tuesday was always wash day. On Monday afternoon Beulah and Ovalo drew water from the well and filled the wash tubs in the yard. They also had a cast-iron boiling pot for white clothes, so wood had be gathered for the fire. Ovalo spent many hours foraging for mesquite roots to use for the laundry fire and for the cookstove in the kitchen. Cow chips were another easily obtained fuel. They made a quick, hot fire, but the ashes had to be carried out frequently. Saturday night meant a bath in the washtub and Travis Pierce always observed a day of rest on Sunday. Maude Vander Stucken and Beulah Pierce were contemporaries. They came from small Texas towns where they had been surrounded by friends and kinfolk, so the isolation of ranch life was hard for both of them. Their husbands were gone most of the day and their only companions were their daughters. While Maude took things into her own hands and changed her living situation, Beulah stoically accepted her lot. However, Ovalo remembered her mother was much happier after the family moved to Hatch. Neither Maude nor Beulah participated in many activities related to the livestock. They stayed close to the house and tended to cooking, children, and household chores. Seeing that their daughters got an education was important to both women. Max Vander Stucken and Travis Pierce also had similar backgrounds. They worked as cowboys before they married and continued their careers afterward. Both worked for other men but eventually bought some cattle of their own. They allowed their daughters to accompany them while they did some ranch work and thought it appropriate for the girls to learn to ride a horse. While the next family to live at the Summerford had to contend with many of the same hardships and deprivations that the Vander Stuckens and Pierces experienced, the situation was different. The ranch was an entity unto itself, no longer part of a larger operation. Even though Max Vander Stucken owned the Summerford ranch, it was still run as part of the Turney operation. Under the ownership of the College, the ranch became more of a family operation where everyone participated to some extent in the day-to-day chores of raising livestock.

College Ranch Families

Two families have lived at the College Ranch: the Lewis Carr family from 192? to 19?? and the Calvin Bailey family, from? to? .

Home Sweet Home

Lewis Carr laughed when he remembered his initiation to the old ranch house. The first night he stayed at the ranch, Max Vander Stucken and Pacheco were still living there. They provided a cot for Carr to sleep on. During the night, Carr felt something crawling across his body. When he jumped out of bed howling, Vander Stucken and Pacheco had the laugh. What Carr had assumed was a rattlesnake was only Pacheco's pet bullsnake that he kept to control the mouse population. However, Carr's concern about rattlesnakes was not unfounded. The first year the Carrs lived at the ranch headquarters, he filled one cigar box and half of another with the rattles from snakes he killed on the ranch. Bertha Carr lived in constant fear for herself and infant Claudie until Carr put a hail-screen fence around the yard. The Carrs had a dog, Queen, that saved them all from many snake surprises. Queen killed every snake she found, but she always barked until someone came to investigate before dispatching her victim. Carr finally had to shoot Queen when she developed symptoms similar to rabies; an autopsy showed, however, that the symptoms were due to the accumulation of snake venom in her system. Another faithful animal friend, she was buried next to Ace's plot. The rock walls that Carr built around both houses at headquarters now keep most wandering snakes away from the living quarters. However, the Baileys still are watchful for it isn't unusual to find snakes around the headquarters buildings. During the early years, illumination in the ranch house came from kerosene lamps. The next step up was Aladdin lights, still kerosene-fueled, but with a mantle that provided brighter light than a simple flame. Butane lights came next and then Carr put in an electric generator. The ranch was not tied in to El Paso Electric service until November 1967. Carr decided to bring the bathroom indoors during World War II. Unable to obtain a bathtub, he built his own out of cement; it was so big "you could dive into it." A fine set-up for a swimming pool, but not so fine when it came to filling the tub with hot water. They couldn't heat enough water to take the chill off the cement, much less fill the tub! Never daunted, Carr filled some of the space at the back of the tub with a couple of boulders, cemented over them, and ended up with a more sensibly-sized tub. Later he set a conventional bathtub inside his homemade tub, cementing around the new one to create a built-in effect.

Educating the Children

The Carr's two children, Claudie and Margie, went to school in Hill. They boarded with several families there-the Brookresons, the Cunninghams, and the Flemings-and paid $25 per month for the favor. The children came home on weekends. Later, Carr fixed up an old Chevy truck that Claudie drove as far as Radium Springs, where he and Margie caught the school bus that took them to Hill. Tire rationing during World War II made the trip to school especially difficult; the third-grade tires Carr was issued just didn't hold up on the rough ranch road. Claudie had so many flat tires that Carr finally resorted to using the ranchman's network of influential people to convince the rationing agent, a priest in Las Cruces, of the Carr family's need for first quality tires. In 1961 Margie moved back to the Carr home with her children. At that time she still had to drive the children to Radium Springs to catch the school bus, but the school district paid for her mileage. By the time the Bailey children started school the bus came within two miles of their door. The bus they meet at South well, on the Jornada Experimental Range, takes Becky to Highland Elementary School and Scott to Sierra Junior High School in Las Cruces. Both Bailey children participate in extra-curricular activities and Debra Bailey runs the same kind of chauffeur service for them that many other suburban mothers run.

Women's Roles

Bertha Carr helped Carr with his ranch work whenever he needed an extra hand. She often helped with branding, as did their children. Carr now looks with some amazement at the photograph of young +Claudie holding down the rear end of a calf that was being branded, and wonders how he ever thought a boy that small could handle the job. For the most part, however, Bertha was a housewife. She felt quite lucky when she got a gasoline-powered washing machine to replace the scrub-board she had been using before. She kept a garden and went in to Las Cruces to buy groceries about once a month. in addition to housework and child-rearing, Bertha had many artistic hobbies that filled whatever spare time she had. She loved to putter and make things out of materials she found around the ranch. She was also an accomplished horsewoman and participated in ribbon roping events at rodeos. Debra Bailey is also a housewife, but in addition to those duties, she operates a successful quilting business from the ranch headquarters. Her degree in home economics from NMSU has served her well. Although Debra helps with ranch chores when called upon, she steers clear of one cow who developed a strong antipathy to her. The cow had to be assisted with a difficult birth and Debra held the cow's head during the process. As soon as the calf dropped, the cow headed for Debra, who managed to escape, not unscathed, over the fence. When they met again, some time later, the cow remembered Debra and tried to repeat her earlier performance. Debra made another hasty retreat, convinced of the wisdom of keeping her distance.

Ranchers Have Fun, Too

In spite of working long days, sometimes from before dawn to after dark, Carr had time to have fun, too. The entire family participated in family rodeos, held in local arenas, on weekends; the rodeos were always a good opportunity to show off Ace's skills. Carr also became involved in horse racing after he started breeding his own horses. He often left the ranch around noon on a Sunday, after making the rounds of the pastures and taking care of regular chores, and drove to places like Magdalena and Ruidoso to watch his horses race. Both Bertha and Lewis Carr loved to dance. From the earliest years of their courtship they danced, even though Carr's strongly religious parents frowned on the activity. After they moved to the College Ranch, the Carrs went to "cowboy" dances at Cutter, Engle, Hillsboro, and Hot Springs (Truth or Consequences). The children went along and were put to bed on the edge of the dance floor. They usually got home in the wee hours of the morning. Carr sometimes just changed clothes and started his regular ranch day without any sleep. As a result of his love for dancing and good times, Carr started his own band. He played a washtub-a homemade instrument that took the place of a bass fiddle. The band always had a fiddler and Claudie played the tenor banjo until he went into the Navy. Carr's position in the band didn't slow Bertha down a bit; she still danced every dance.

Neighbors and Hands

Neighbors and hands often were one and the same. Carr made a point of hiring people who lived nearby, such as the Littons, the Smiths, the Husts, the McCorkles, and Bill Shaw. One cowboy Pacheco could be called a neighbor because he worked on nearly all the ranches in the area. His name recurs again and again in the history of the College Ranch. Carr said Pacheco's given name was Estevan Colmanero, and he always introduced himself by that name. However, Henry Summerford called him Pacheco, and that name stuck. Colmanero told Carr that Mexicans could not drink in Hispanic bars in Rincon. One night, however, when Summerford was drinking in a bar in Rincon, he came outside, and called to Colmanero, who was drinking there with his friends. He said, "Come inside, Pacheco, come inside and have a drink with me." And from then on, Colmanero was Pacheco. Pacheco worked for Summerford, he worked for the Vander Stuckens, and he worked for Carr. He was an all-around hand: fence rider, cowboy, cook, and the happiest woodcutter in the county. Both Maude and Carr remembered Pacheco always whistled while he chopped wood. Carr said that whenever Pacheco ran out of other things to do around headquarters, he took a team of mules and a wagon and went searching for mesquite roots for the Carr's cookstove. Sometimes he excavated an entire sand dune to get wood. According to Pacheco's oral autobiography, he was a Yaqui Indian from northern Mexico who had been abandoned by his parents. He grew up wild, eating whatever he could find in the desert After making his way to the United States he had many jobs, usually working on ranches, but also doing such things as working on the railroad and driving a double ox team to deliver salt from the Carlsbad area to Fort Selden. Only Cleofas knew how old Pacheco was; they had compared notes and decided Pacheco was several years older. Carr said he believed Pacheco was 106 when he died at his home in Tortugas, near Las Cruces. He still had all of his teeth and all of his hair. Carr never knew Pacheco to be sick and he never used medicine. He recalled one effective remedy Pacheco used for a bad barbed wire cut: he rubbed a handful of dirt and manure picked up from the ground in the corral into the wound. Pacheco always wore all the clothes he owned, winter and summer. He never seemed to be uncomfortable. Under his brush jumper, a waist length denim jacket, he wore two flannel shirts and winter underwear. He usually wore two pairs of pants, too. He could roll a cigarette in the highest wind and never licked the paper to seal it, just folded the end back. Pacheco's main companion was a cat; perhaps the cat was the only being who could endure Pacheco's shifts of mood. Pacheco never worked at the ranch for more than a few months at a stretch because he became so hard to live with that Carr didn't want him around. When that happened, Carr sent him into town to work at the College barns for a while, until he felt better. Carr recalled that Pacheco only spoke English to Bertha and the Carr children; when he talked to Carr he pretended he only knew Spanish. For all his idiosyncrasies, Pacheco was an institution on the Jornada plains. Carr occasionally hired hands to help him build fences. He hired J.R. "Rob" McCorkle, a Las Cruces man, to dig post holes in caliche for $2 per day. McCorkle worked with a crowbar and a tin cup to dig the holes and called it a good day if he finished one or two. Rusty Hust, who worked at the ranch from 1935 to 1942, was the only long-term help Carr had. From 1935 to 1942 Hust lived with his wife and two children in a tiny house that Carr had moved from campus to Selden on a cotton wagon. Although they added an adobe room to the frame house, Babe Shaw, a neighbor who visited the Hust family, recalled that the ceiling was so low adults had to stoop. Other improvements at the Selden camp included a garden, a garage and a chicken house. Selden also provided the only telephone connection between the ranch and the outside world. Since the main telephone line ran along the county road just west of Selden, it was an easy matter to establish a line to the house at Selden. From Selden to headquarters Carr built his own telephone line, strung on short insulated poles that followed the fence lines. If Carr needed to make a phone call, he called Hust to relay his message, then Hust made the call for him. The telephone system worked so beautifully (except when it rained) that music played on the Carr's phonograph and transmitted by the phone line was clearly audible at the Selden house. Cleofas, another legendary character associated with the College Ranch, fell into the category of neighbor rather than hand. He lived in a one-room rock house in Cleofas Canyon, near the well bearing his name, for 15 to 20 years after Carr came to the College Ranch. Shortly before his death he moved to Doña Ana. Cleofas had a garden that he hand watered with water drawn from his well. Beyond what he raised, his diet consisted primarily of tortillas and cactus prepared in a variety of ways. When the goats he tended weren't foraging in the canyons, they stayed near the rock house in an ocotillo corral. Carr recalled that Cleofas had been bitten by rattlesnakes many times. His cure was to make a bundle of needle-pointed Spanish dagger leaves, which he used to puncture his flesh over and around the bite, then he sucked the blood from the wound. (Ovalo Pruit described a similar remedy applied to calves suffering from snakebite. However, in addition to drawing the blood with the stiletto-like leaves, they also poured kerosene on the bite.) Not every neighbor was a good neighbor. Carr had problems with cattle rustling, just as Max Vander Stucken did; he also had to control trespass grazing. One neighbor was guilty on both counts. When Carr discovered two of his missing cattle on the other side of the Rio Grande, grazing in the neighbor's pasture, he went to town to discuss the situation with Sheriff Felipe Lucero. After learning who the culprit was, Lucero told Carr to be at the river the next morning to catch his cows when they swam across the river. Lucero's word was good. Early the next morning the neighbor prodded the two cows into the river so they could swim back home. Carr cured the same neighbor of pasturing his animals on the College Ranch. After finding the neighbor's cattle on the College land a number of times, Carr herded the trespassing animals south to Hill. He was careful to stay within the ranch boundary until he got to Hill, where a friend had a pasture adjacent to the ranch boundary. After Carr got the animals into the pasture, they were impounded by the justice of the peace. The fine for impoundment was 50 cents per head per day, enough of a deterrent to make the unscrupulous neighbor think twice about using the College pastures. Bailey had a full-time assistant living on the ranch until 1986. A number of men filled this position and lived with their families in the original Summerford house. After that time Bailey depended on graduate assistants and work/study students to help him with the ranch work.

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