We had what they called a hook stop like you don’t see these days.

That’s where a freight slows down just enough  so the brakeman can toss out a mail sack, then  lean way out to hook the outgoing sack off a  pole.

Sometimes it’d be weeks before we had enough mail to justify an outgoing sack.

Not a lot of writers out here.

Once I was riding the ranch fenceline and come across a half-skinned steer lying in the dust.

Looked like somebody thought they killed it, but while they were peeling him he come alive and took off.

The rawhide rope around its neck was Apache, so I guess that’s who done it.

Until ’37 or so there was a group of Chiricahua living in the hills between us and Mexico, a tough bunch who never surrendered.

I heard a story  one of their girls got captured and wound up marrying a Mexican.

What Pegman Saw: Cloverdale, NM

George “Lad” Pendleton was born in Douglas Arizona, and came with his parents to a homestead east of Cloverdale, New Mexico, in a covered wagon when he was three weeks old.  In 1996 he was interviewed by the New Mexico Farm & Heritage Association.


Add Yours
  1. Lynn Love

    Such a lot of period detail here, such a good voice. Was that story about the steer true? Feels true, even if it isn’t. Great historical piece, you’re so strong on these

  2. pennygadd51

    I like the construction of your story. You set up the theme – few writers/hidden history – with a graphic anecdote about the hook stop, then you give us some of Lad’s reminiscences. These are things that were daily reality for the local residents but that never made it into the history books – “Not a lot of writers out here”! Well, you’ve elegantly redressed the balance a little with your story.

  3. James Pyles

    There’s something about a ghost town that summons the past. I looked up the history as well, and in my case, I found a literal ghost. Your tale is well written and thought-provoking as always.

Don't just stand there.