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Title: Construction of the Belen Cutoff

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight; William Penner

A brief history of the construction of the Belen Cutoff and its effects.

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (commonly known as the AT&SF) formed in Kansas in the mid-nineteenth century with plans to build a railroad to Colorado and New Mexico. The AT&SF crossed into New Mexico via Raton Pass in 1878 and built south...

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Title: Scholle: A Portrait of a Railroad Community

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight; William Penner

A brief history of Scholle, New Mexico, a railroad community on the Belen Cutoff.

Many communities in east-central New Mexico are relatively new when compared to those in the Rio Grande Valley and other parts of the state. When the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway constructed the Belen Cutoff, it opened an area for settleme...

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Title: Settlement and Homesteading in East-Central New Mexico

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight; William Penner

A brief history of settlement and homesteading in east-central New Mexico.

New Mexico’s population grew during the nineteenth century. Hispano families began to settle beyond the Rio Grande Valley and establish new villages. Some communities obtained land grants from the Spanish or Mexican governments; others settled with...

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Title: There’s What I Call A Triangular System Of Compadrasco

Author(s): Francisco Sisneros (Author); Shawn Kelley (Oral Historian); William Penner (Editor)

Francisco Sisneros discusses his family who settled in the Abo area in the mid-nineteenth century.

The family moved from Casa Colorada on the Rio Grande up to the area of El Arroyo Colorado north of the Abo ruins in about 1854. Somewhere in between, during the time of the Civil War, we know that they were at La Salada, the area south of Abo. We do...

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Title: A Lot Of Our Neighbors Were The Original Homesteaders In That Area

Author(s): Dorothy Cole (Author); Shawn Kelley (Oral Historian); William Penner (Editor)

Dorothy Cole remembers the era of pinto bean farming around Mountainair in first half of the twentieth century.

A lot of our neighbors were the original homesteaders in that area. They stayed through the whole bean field thing. Bill Rogers, he and Vernie Wells, they lasted longer at dryland farming than anybody did, up until probably ’75 or ’76. After the ...

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Title: Anything Was Wrong With The Track We Had To Fix It

Author(s): Fidel Padilla (Author); Shawn Kelley (Oral Historian); William Penner (Editor)

Fidel Padilla talks about working on the Scholle section gang for the Santa Fe Railway near Mountainair, New Mexico.

My father was first at work here in 1919 in Abo and then they hired me after him. He worked for 10 cents an hour. I started to work in 1940 for the Santa Fe Railroad. Then my brother Elfido worked in here. We both worked together in Scholle, Belen. ...

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Title: Wherever The Work Took Us, That’s Where We Went

Author(s): Randy Dunson (Author); Shawn Kelley (Oral Historian); William Penner (Editor)

Randy Dunson talks about growing up on the Belen Cutoff and the experiences his father, a track supervisor for the Santa Fe Railway in eastern New Mexico, had with Navajo work gangs.

The first eight years of my life were spent in a 40-foot wooden boxcar converted for living quarters. Up and down the Belen Cutoff; just wherever the work took us that’s where we went. I made every school between Clovis and Belen, except Yeso. We w...

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Title: They Couldn’t Make Enough Money With The Cows That They Had

Author(s): Al Padilla and Joe Padilla (Author); Shawn Kelley (Oral Historian); William Penner (Editor)

Al and Joe Padilla describe being on their family’s homestead and the diverse ways people made a living.

Joe: See, my dad did all kinds of work. My dad worked for the railroad. He worked for that Sais Crusher, and also on construction of US 60 there. And the reason for that is because they couldn’t make enough money with the cows that they had. For so...

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Title: They Used To Steal The Comanchita And Take Her To One Of The Reyes’ Houses

Author(s): Polly Sisneros (Author); Shawn Kelley (Oral Historian); William Penner (Editor)

Polly Sisneros recalls the dances and religious celebrations and ceremonies that occurred in Scholle and the surrounding areas.

They used to have parties! That was a party town. Oh my God! My dad worked in this pool hall. That’s how come we came to Scholle, because Mr. Brazil wanted my dad to manage the pool hall. They used to have the dances there on a big ol’ patio be...

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Title: You Fed Them And You Fed Them Well

Author(s): Martina Brazil Franklin (Author); Shawn Kelley (Oral Historian); William Penner (Editor)

Martina Brazil Franklin remembers her father, a prominent local sheepman, and growing up in the village of Scholle, New Mexico.

My father Joe Brazil came to this country from the Azore Islands when he was 16. His father had preceded him and gone to California. My father came with a sister, Maria, and two brothers and they went on to California and lived there for a long time....

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