Saturday morning we headed 25 miles east to Cimarron, a town celebrating its 150th anniversary this very day. Here's Susie, at a site overlooking Eagle Nest Lake along the way. This was a favorite vacation locale when she was a youth in northern NM. We really love the plains and mountains of northeast NM.
At the Cimarron UMC , Rev. Matt Gary presented a vivid and riveting history of the Methodist church in this area, centering on the Rev. Franklin Tolby, who became pastor for the Cimarron and E-town churches in 1874 and who was murdered in 1875. This presentation was attended by many in the Cimarron community as well as by us Heritage caravaners. Tolby's murder was never solved, but suspicion focused on supporters of the owners of the Maxwell Land Grant. Tolby sided with the settlers and Indians who lived on the Land Grant -- people whom the owners wanted to evict. The violence escalated and came to be known as the Colfax County War.
After a church-provided lunch -- more good Methodist food -- we held a re-enactment of the Tolby memorial service. Rev. Larry Costillo-Wilson, from Albq, who has done a lot of Harwood research, played the role of Harwood and gave a eulogy. We then processed, following a riderless horse led by a local cowboy, to the cemetery where a new stone has been placed on Tolby's grave. Masonic gravesite rites were performed. That was impressive. Gave us all a chance to re-live history.
The final heritage installment was a visit to the Aztec Mill, now a museum that captures a lot of area and era-history. Of Methodist interest is the tale of Rev. Harwood performing a secret wedding of the land baron's daughter, Virginia Maxwell, to an Army officer stationed in Cimarron. It was after word of his role in this marriage, strongly opposed by the bride's parents, got out that Harwood was threatened. Thomas Harwood, shown below, visited us on the top floor of the mill where the ceremony took place and told us that tale.
That completed the day. Had a nice drive home, great scenery, ample clouds, some rain.
Rob and Susie