Jal, New Mexico
Jal, named after the "JAL" cattle brand, that was first registered to Alonzo Edwards in Palo Pinto County, Texas in 1872. The brand was brought into New Mexico by the Cowden Cattle company around 1883 and is recorded in 1915, belonging to the Cowden Cattle Company based in Midland, Texas and operating in the Monument Draw area of what was to become Lea County.
Charles W Justis, with his second wife Mollie, wandered into New Mexico sometime after 1906 and by 1910, he had a small store located on land that had been a portion of the Cowden Cattle Company, JAL ranch.
Justis, applied for and was granted permission to open a post office, which he did on 26 January 1910, operated out of his general store. Charles Justis acted as Postmaster until 1914 when after being appointed Land Commissioner for the area and passed the postmaster possession to his wife, Mollie.
According to James W White's "The History of Lea County Post Offices", Mollie remained Past Master until Charles Justis, again assumed the job temporarily, and then after Mollies death in 1923, Charles left New Mexico and returned to his homeland, Virginia.
In 1920, the Justis Store and Post Office, were one of the few businesses, that remained open. The drought of the last five years had decimated the area.
Jal would remain, no more than a ghost town until the Texaco, then called the Texas Company, discovered oil in the area in 1927, this propelled Jal into Oil boom era.
19 June 1929: Untreated sweet gas is delivered by El Paso Natural Gas to El Paso, Texas from Jal for the first time.. Delivery is through 204 miles of 16" steel line and is the world first long distance pipeline.
Shortly thereafter, the railroad came into the area. People seeking work from all over the country filtered into the area, causing the area to boom, according to the 1930 census.
Travelling south on NM Highway 18, stands the silhouettes of the Jal Cowboy sculptures, marking the early days of Jal and Lea County. A joint venture by Jal businesses and residents, welcoming travellors. Off site link to their creation and history.
Do you have Jal history or early Family history that you would like included in this page, if so, Please contact Erny.