Friday, November 2, 2007
The Fever is Breaking
It's the weekend so I only have four more work days until I hit the road and can cure this fever for good....ah... well, for this time anyway.
After some further research and help from the Western History department of the Denver Public Library I have found that my earlier hunch on the whereabouts of Uncle Dick's toll gate was incorrect. I was in the right area but not far enough south.
The library provided me with the map above, with the notation that Wooten Ranch, which today is still a working ranch, is the site of Uncle Dick's original home and the toll gate to his Raton Pass toll road. My original hunch was about a mile north of this location.
The information the library provided said the original house was destroyed in 1905 and rebuilt by James Ownby. If you look at the Google Earth map to the left you can see first that that topography matches up with the library map. You can also see that there are a number of buildings at the ranch. (Click on the picture to enlarge it.) I hope one of them is the house that James Ownby reconstructed! I'll let you know next week for sure.
The other thing marked on the map is the grave site of Cruz Torrez. Not much can be found on the web about this grave other than Cruz was murdered in 1863. In reading Uncle Dick's autobiography however, I learned that Cruz (whom he identifies as Juan Torres) was a corporal with the 1st New Mexico Cavalry, on a detail escorting about 150 wagons to the south. There apparently was a feud going on between the corporal and three privates and the privates murdered Torres just outside Uncle Dick's house. Uncle Dick heard talking in the night and what he described as the "death cry" of Torres when he was struck in the head with a rock. Uncle Dick found the man's body the next morning and rode to the army camp to report it. The three privates were arrested and they confessed to the murder. Two of the murderers were hanged in Las Vegas, NM and one was sent to prison for life.
The Google Earth picture shows a dirt road that goes right by the site so I think I'll try to get there and see the headstone "in person".
Finally, there is a possibility that this disease I have is contagious. It seems as if it might have spread to Guitar! I swear, I didn't do anything on purpose but I was talking with him today and there's a possibility that he may just have to "take the cure" with me....I'll let you know.
Thanks for visiting.