New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum Home Page

Hamilton, Judge

About | Abstract


Brief history of arrival and life in Cedarvale, N.M., area.

Interviewee Judge Hamilton, male, born in 1924
Date Range 1924-2007
Date & Location August 4, 2007, Old Post Office in Cedarvale (now Helen Lolind home)
Project Rural Lifeways
Region Central New Mexico
Number of Tapes 1
Transcribed June 9, 2009
Download Abstract


Tape 1, Side A

The Cedarvale area began planning for a reunion in 1982. Prior to 1982 families would camp in RVs at the schoolhouse, and the idea to have a reunion was brought forward. The first reunion was held in 1983 with 350 people in attendance. The reunion has been held every two years since that time. The tape is turned off and restarts with the interviewer discussing his family.

The consultant was born in Lake Arthur, N.M. His father had begun farming at Cedarvale, but drought forced him to look for work in Lake Arthur until he could make enough money to plant another crop in Cedarvale.

His father had purchased the homestead in 1922. In 1926 the family had not made any money, so the family moved to Las Cruces until enough money could be made to return to farming in Cedarvale. That year, the consultant's mother died, and one year later, his dad and the six children returned to Cedarvale. On the return trip over the Organ Mountains, Judge's grandmother was killed when the horses bolted, overturning the wagon. Judge's father took her body to Salem and buried her beside his wife. His father was able to make a crop and stayed in Cedarvale. In total the family held 960 acres of land. The consultant's father later remarried; however, that marriage only lasted for three months. When Judge was sixteen years old, his father married again.

Judge recalls that all of the children had chores to do, such as dishes, washing, and ironing clothes. When the family returned to Cedarvale in 1927, Judge would go to school with his sister. His father had kept his sister out of school for two years to look after Judge, and the school finally told him that she should return to school and bring Judge with her. Judge was four years old at the time. In 1928 he fell at school and broke his arm. It did not set properly, and has been crooked ever since. He does not recall what he did while he was at school with his sister.

He attended the Cedarvale School through ninth grade, and then went to school at Corona, but attended only a few months before quiting. He says, "I knew more than the teacher did." He served in the military for two years, and then returned to the farm "to get rich." In 1946 or '47, he recalls that he planted eleven sacks of beans and harvested only nine, and realized he would not get as rich as he thought he would. He left for Albuquerque and worked as an apprentice carpenter. He worked for the same company for twenty-six years and served as general superintendent for the last fifteen years he worked.

He retired at age fifty-two in 1976 and lived in Arizona for eight years. His wife died in Albuquerque in 1994, and he now lives in Truth or Consequences. He recalls the burning of the Harper Store in Cedarvale in 1940, which was never rebuilt, and remembers that in 1942 all the young men went to war.