By Donald Gene Hadley





      This chronology arose out of a longstanding interest of mine in the history of Jal, New Mexcio. I was born in Artesia and raised in Jal from the age of three (1939).  I added to my knowledge of the city, its citizens, and landscape during research for a book titled Oilpatch Kids, Raised in a Corner Amid Cows, Oil Rigs, and Jackrabbits: Tall Tales and Reminiscences of the Class of 1954, Jal High School. This book was informally published in 2004. Individual chapters were written by Dr. Marilyn Burke (’55), third child of Jal’s school Superintendent, J. L. Burke, Jr., two Jal teachers and coaches, Mart Cope and Jack McEwen, extant and former (Marjorie Petty Brown and Leland Davis, son of former Mayor George E. Davis) members of the class of 1954 and relatives of three, who have passed away, David Pyeatt of Hobbs for his father, Melvin, Velma Tatkenhorst of Lubbock for her brother, Olan Cody, and Kathy Whitworth of Flower Mound, Texas for her sister, Carlynne.     

      As the title indicates, the chronology begins with the earliest settlers based on published sources and my personal experiences, and carries through the main boom years (meaning oil and gas exploration and production) to about 1970, with the exception primarily of Jal’s mayors and officers of the Chamber of Commerce which carries to 2007.

      The main sources of data are listed broadly at the end of the chronology. Specific sources are listed in (or after) each entry date. To simplify the text, most references are abbreviated; for example, The Jal Record (TJR) or Lea County Genealogical Society (LCGS). For all Jal High School graduates, I list their graduation dates (if known) in parentheses following each name; for example, Dr. Marilyn Burke (‘55). To give a sense of the events at the time of their occurrence, I have written the entry dates in the present tense.      

      In addition to Jal, I continue to have a deep interest in all of Lea County’s communities. Perhaps the primary reason is because for four years while attending Eastern New Mexico University, I made the two-way drive each weekend from Portales to Jal to work Saturday and Sunday as a lab technician for El Paso Natural Gas Company. This weekly trip and work funded my education. I am forever indebted to the El Paso company. Along the way, I came to know intimately the sign to Cooper, derelict White, Nadine, McDonald, and Crossroads, and all of the small and major towns in between. Better general histories of Jal or the county such as Austin and Hinshaw’s books, the two county genealogical volumes, and the book on the schools by Jordan, Brooks, and Mauldin are not likely to be written soon, but I hope this synoptic history adds to their contributions, and perhaps sparks better-done chronologies for some of the other Lea County towns.           

      One of Jal’s best known, and to me, haunting landmarks is Custer Mountain, located eight miles west of Jal along route 128. I am delighted to have permission to include with this chronology both a poem about the mountain and its ancient inhabitants by Dr. Jenie Lee Burke, Jr. and the accompanying lovely sketch of the mountain and its setting by Mr.  Roy Butler of Hobbs.   

     This chronology was originally published by the Lea County Tribune, Hobbs, and is reproduced on this website with my permission and that of the Tribune’s owner and publisher, Judy Hanna. For those who have read the Tribune’s articles, you will note a number of edited changes and additions to this version, including specific references at the end of each entry date and other editing changes to provide consistency in the text and references.  



      Many individuals and institutions have assisted me with: newspaper and library resources, various Jal schools and Ex-students data, family histories, their warm hospitality, research of cattle brands, permission to use their published material and/(or) to walk on their land. I sincerely thank them for their generous help. They are: Velma Taylor of The Jal Record; Roxie Swain(’67); Mayor Claydean (’57) and Marshall Claiborne (’56);  Mayor Fred Seifts and his staff; Kim Harrison (’77) and Durene Lawson (’58) of Jal schools; Dorothy Brame, Joyce Smith (’70) and Beth Speed of the Jal Woolworth Library; Dave Goin (’54); Willard Lewis, Jr. (’54); Marilyn (’55), Beverly (’47), Jenie III (’49) and Ilene (’58) of the Burke family; Roy Butler; Bill Brininstool (’44) for the 1966 50th Anniversary issue of The Jal Record; Senator Carroll (’54) and Bobbie Leavell (’56); Elena (’56) and Bill Grobe(’54); Lucy Kiker; Jack (’46) and Minnie Hedgpeth; Sarah Rebecca Smith;, Becky Jo Smith (’53); Karen Norwood (’70); Brian Norwood (’75); Sharon Bailey Wise of the Hobbs Library; Debbie and other staff of the Lovington Library; Beth Reed of Lovington; Sue Gibson-Grafe and Linda Carter of the Rusty Pipeliners’ News; Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Glass of the Dinwiddie Ranch; and Rosie Eletha (Cooper) McCoy (’38) of Vernon, TX. I thank  Judy Hanna and her staff of the Lea County Tribune, Hobbs, for publishing this chronologic history of Jal. I also very much appreciate the assistance, advice, and good humor of my wife, Clair, during the course of preparing this chronology.

      In this website format, Mr. Erny Long of Monument, New Mexico has graciously agreed to publish my Jal Historical Milestones. I am deeply grateful to him for this and very much appreciate his efforts and assistance.      



1880’s: Thomas and Leeann Beckham begin homesteading and ranching about seven miles southwest of Jal. Their sons W. L. (Bill) and J. A. (Mont) split the ranch and move their headquarters a short distance from the original homestead in 1915. Bill’s ranch later becomes the Anthony ranch, while Mont’s ranch continues today as the Beckham Ranch, Incorporated, principally through his son Monteray (Sam) and his (Sam’s) son Monteray (Monty) Jr. TJR, 13 June 1991, Rancher’s Day Supplement, p. 15; Sarah Rebecca Smith, LCGS, 1984, p. 181; Sammie Beckham, LCGS, 1984, p. 200-201; Bill J. Beckham, LCGS, 1984, p. 250-251).  

1880’s ?: John Albert (Jack) and Nancy (Beasley) Lawrence settle in southeast New Mexico Territory. In 1881, they sell their ranch and brand (J.A.L.) to the Cowden Cattle Company. Kit Manis, LCGS, 1984, P. 118.  

1883: Walter Colquitt Cochran moves to “Jal Ranch” in 1883. He establishes ranching operations in Monument Draw, coming from Palo Pinto County, Texas. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 5.   

1885: Walter C. Cochran moves his ranching operations to the future permanent location of the city of Jal. [Author note: This location is about 0.25 miles northwest of the present-day intersection of Highways 128 and 18 in a small grove of Hackberry trees. The site later comes to be known as Muleshoe Watering and Hackberry Draw, taking its name in part from the Muleshoe cattle brand of the Cochran Ranch]. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, and Waters (1953).                            

PRE-1886: John A. Lynch establishes an open-range cattle ranch in southeast New Mexico territory and west Texas. Ranch headquarters are in Monument Draw, about six miles east of present-day Jal. Lynch uses his initials as his cattle brand J A L. A. Q. Cooper, TJF, 1939, Vol.1, No. 29A, p. 3; Hinshaw, 1984; Seidman and Seidman, 1992; Sarah Rebecca Smith, 1984, p. 176-194; Raymond F. Waters, HDNS, 01 Nov. 1954, p. 1, 5). 

1886: Cowden Brothers of Midland, Texas purchase the John A. Lynch cattle and brand of  J A L. They establish ranch headquarters at the Lynch ranch HQ in Monument Draw  or build their own ranch headquarters in the area. Other sources of the J A L brand  (and name for the community) are: Pettit, 2006; TJF, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 3; Sarah Rebecca Smith, LCGS, 1984, p. 176-179; TJR, 13 June 1991, Rancher’s Day Supplement, p. 2, 4; TJR, 22 September 1966, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1; Kit Manis, LCGS, 1984, p. 118; and Julyan, 1998, p. 175-176. [Author note: In my research, most authors attribute the origin of the J A L brand to John A. Lynch, but Dave Goin’s data (last paragraph this chronology), and Michael Pettit’s book and others do not support this view. We know that the J A L brand was registered in Midland County, Texas in 1895 by Geo. E. and J. M. Cowden (see below), and presumably, it was brought to southeast New Mexico. Did John A. Lynch ever make it to New Mexico as A. Q. Cooper states? Pettit (p. 133) and others suggest that James Alonzo Edwards is the J A L brand source. Edwards did register a JAL brand in Palo Pinto County, Texas, but so did several others. Manis asserts that her father John Albert Lawrence is the brand’s origin. Two problems arise with this evidence. One, she shows the brand as follows J.A.L. with periods after each letter, and two, she states that the Cowdens named Jal after/from Lawrence’s brand. I have found no evidence to support either of these comments. Further, no J A (no crossbar) L brand has been registered in either the Jal area or broader New Mexico (Vander Laan and Fleming, 1988). Thus, the precise origin of the Jal brand remains a mystery. A search of the brands registered in all counties between Palo Pinto County, Texas and southeast New Mexico might offer clues. A Jal brand of sorts is registered in the New Mexico Brand book by Jo Ann Brininstool with the three letters connected, the brand vertical, the A crossed, and a lower right backstroke (Laan and Fleming, 1988, p. 142). In summary, several photographs exist of the “JAL Outfit” cowboys and herds, but none available to this writer show a cow with the brand splayed across its entire left side. Lastly, it is not clear to me why any rancher would brand his cattle with letters on the animal’s side of the size said to represent the J A L brand; namely, occupying the bulk of the cow’s left side? Of the Palo Pinto County, TX records shown below the J. A. Edwards cattle brand shows no location, J. A. Lynch is left hip, and the four other JAL cattle brands – J. L. Whitley, Wm. W. Rose, M. E. Rose, and C. M. Rose are all on the left side, but with no specific location or brand size.]     

1895: Shown below is the Jal brand registered by Geo. E. and J. M. Cowden at Midland,  Midland County, Texas. Sarah Rebecca Smith, LCGS, 1984, P. 178.  


1897: Colonel C. W. Merchant and J. H. Parramore purchase the TAX Ranch from Frances (Frank) Divers, who had previously bought the property temporarily called the Dug Springs Ranch from buffalo hunters Louis and Guyat Faulkner. Parramore and Merchant stock the ranch with cattle from their herds on the San Simon River, Arizona. In 1901, the two men terminate their partnership, at which time Merchant assumes ownership of the broad, open-range New Mexico lands. Merchant establishes ranch headquarters close to the site of the original springs purchase, which is about 17 miles northwest of Jal. In 1911, he incorporates the ranching operation as C. W. Merchant and Sons, Inc. and shortly thereafter as the Merchant Livestock Company. The ranch has been  known generally as the San Simon, apparently taking its name after the River in Arizona. It sits in an oblong, northwest-trending depression or swale of about twelve-miles length and a nearby parallel ridge portrayed on some topographic and geographic maps of the area. Geologically, a swale, is a slight linear depression in generally flat terrain. Bates and Jackson, 1980; Sarah Rebecca Smith, LCGS, 1984, p. 179-180; Merchant, 1975; Burdett and others, 1990, p. 110-111; TJR, 13 June 1991, Rancher’s Day Supplement, p. 8; and USGS, 1978.

Early 1900’s: A school is established in Monument Draw, six miles east of the future city of Jal at the site of the Cowden or Jal ranch. The school takes the name of Jal, probably about 1910 at the same time the post office is designated Jal at this locality. The teacher at this school, and possibly the only one, is a man by the name of Dave Curry. The school has seven to eight children originally. Jordan and others 1991, p. 81-88; Hobbs Daily News-Sun, 08 May 1940.  

1902: Millard Dublin’s parents, Charlie Albert Dublin and Roberta Martis Dublin move to the Jal area and purchase land about four miles southeast of the future town. Millard ranches all his life in the Jal area and is complimented by Tom Linebery “as a man you would want to ride with”. TJR, 13 June 1991, Rancher’s Day Supplement, p. 7.   

1906: Large influs of homesteaders into Lea County and Jal area. Open-range ranching begins sharp decline. Cowden Land and Cattle Company cease operations. Waters, R. F., Hobbs Daily News-Sun, 1953. 

1909: John Penn Combest moves to the Nadine area of Lea County with his parents and sisters. In 1916, he acquires the Deep Wells Ranch from the Cowden brothers. Known as Penn, he marries Frances Henry Stewart in 1940. Frances has two sisters in Jal, Pearl McKeown and Nell Kemp. In the early 1950’s, El Paso Natural Gas Company purchases land from the Combest’s on which to build their Plant No. 4. Penn’s brother, Hammon,  is also a well-known figure in Jal. Nell Henry Kemp, LCGS, 1984, p. 210-211.    

1910: James Monroe Cooper and Mary Leaora (Wyant) Cooper move with their family to southeast New Mexico from Pyote, Texas to a location about six miles north-northwest of the future town of Jal. James and Mary Leaora had ten children, and of them, one of their sons, Samual (Sam) Rose Cooper and his wife Jessie Mae (Gray) Cooper, move with their family to the Lea County locality in 1914. The small settlement, which subsequently blooms, becomes, Cooper, New Mexico, named after James Monroe and Mary Leaora Cooper (`38), the original founders. A post office (see below), several homes, a general store with fuel, a school, and a cemetery are established. Sam and Jessie remain in the community, raising eight children. Of them, Clyde and Fred become prominent ranchers in the Jal area. Rosie Eletha (Cooper) McCoy (`38) of Vernon, Texas is the only living sibling. Sam and Jessie raise livestock, chickens, and small crops on the ranch and Sam freights goods to and from Pecos, Texas for many years, together with various odds jobs which he took in the Jal area. Jessie is Postmaster of the Cooper Post Office from 1920 till 1936. Glen Gillett, LCGS, 1984, p. 15; TJR, 13 June 1991, Rancher’s Day Supplement, p. 6; Fred Cooper, LCGS, 1979, p. 256-261, p. 15; Elena (Cooper) Grobe (’56), pers. comm., 2004; Rosie Eletha (Cooper) McCoy (’38), pers. comm., 2007.    

1910: Charles Wesley Justis and Mollie Justis establish a homestead, a store, and a post office (officially recognized in 1910) in Monument Draw, near the New Mexico territory (established 1850) and Texas state (statehood 1845) frontier. Charles and Mollie bring their four children, Hugo, Buena, Basil, and Webb with them. In 1916, the post office and store move to the community of “Jal”. Eventually, the entire family moves from Jal, although later, both Hugo and Webb return to become successful businessmen and local politicians. [Author note: The date 1910 from evidence in 1947 and from the well-established Justis operation in Monument Draw, suggests that Charles Wesley and Mollie were there sometime before 1910, possibly the 1880’s.]. Melba Taff, LCGS, 1984, p. 221; Julyan, 1998, p. 175-76.   

1910: W. F. (Bill) Scarborough begins acquiring land in Winkler County, Texas and future Lea County, New Mexico. The land holdings become The Frying Pan Ranch, which later comes under the management and ownership of the Scarborough’s daughter, Evelyn, and her husband Tom Linebery. Readers of this chronology are urged to read Linebery & Friends of the Frying Pan Ranch by Jim Harris, a fine portrait of the Scarborough and Linebery families and friends. Harris, 2001; TJR, Rancher’s Day Supplement, 13 June 1991, p. 5; Tom and Evelyn Linebery, LCGS, 1984, p. 252. 

1910: The Justis post office in Monument Draw is officially designated Jal by a “Letter,  National Archives and Records Service to Mrs. Edwin W. Hogue, Subject: Dates of establishment of certain post offices in Lea County, New Mexico, March 6, 1972.

                        Post Offices                         Establishment Dates

                              Jal                                        July 6, 1910”

The Lovington Daily Leader, February 4, 1973.   

~1910: Charles W. Goedeke and Ida Goedeke establish a ranch about two miles north of Rattlesnake Flat, which is approximately eighteen miles west and a bit south of the future town of Jal. They add to their ranch, and for a time, live on the Diamond Half Ranch of the Johnson family. The Goedeke’s obtain mail from Ochoa. In 1972, Ida sells the ranch to the Dinwiddie Cattle Company. Benchmark Maps, 1999, p. 56-57; Judy Cullins, LCGS, 1984, p. 216-217, 243; TJR, 13 June 1991, Rancher’s Day Supplement, p. 10; USGS, 1978.   

1910: “Jal” Post Office is established. Postmasters and Postmistresses are Charles Wesley Justis (July, 1910) and Mollie Justis (October, 1914), Charles Wesley Justis again (May, 1923), Wilber Stuart (May, 1923), Helen Childress (July, 1935), Evelyn Goodner (May, 1953), Evelyn (Goodner) Frame (November, 1954), and Edwin Shiplet (August, 1955). Post office moves to Jal in 1916. Glen Gillett, LCGS, 1984, p. 15.     

1912: Caddie Lucile Scruggs, age 12, dies and is buried on 19 September 1912 on land subsequently to become the Sam and Jessie Cooper homestead and ranch. Caddie is the first person to be buried at the site. She and her family are in route to a drier climate by covered wagon because of her tuberculosis when she passes away. The locality later becomes the Cooper Cemetery after the plot is donated by the Cooper family for that purpose. TJR, 08 April 1954, Vol. 5, No. 2, p. 1; Lanning, 1972, p. 3.   

1912: Jesse and Delza Humphries move to the Jal area with their daughter Eloise. They establish a homestead and ranch about 1.5 miles south of what becomes El Paso Natural Gas Company Plant No. 2. Their brand is HH. Marylyn Meleski and Cona McKoy, LCGS, 1984, p. 220, 235.   

1912: The Cooper School is built in a small community homesteaded by James Monroe and later his son Sam and family, located about six miles northwest of Jal. Some students were schooled from Jal when it closes during the 1920-1923 years due to inclement weather in the area. Action by the Lea County Board of Education closes the Cooper School in 1933, sending some students to Eunice and the others to Jal. Cooper School employs the following teachers: Edith Davis, Jennie Henderson, Lina McCaw, Florence Bales, Sadie McCaw, Mary Doss, Ruth Medlin [of Ochoa], Eunice Lovell, Mrs. N. Jackson, Mr. I. Manley, Emma Caraway, Lillian Bilbrey, Ethel (Bell) Travis [Sister-in-Law of my sister Elsie Hadley Travis (deceased). The Travis family are Tatum pioneers], Eula and Sivolah Bass, Mrs. Fowler (Sarah Elsa Hainlin) Hair, and Flora Farnsworth. Settlers, some of whose children attend the school, are: five Cooper families, Curry, Knight, Whithers, Johnson, Langford, Davis, Eaton, Black, Woolworth, Harrison, Ward, Dinwiddie, Callison, Hunter, Fowler and Gerrald Hair, Acuff, Coats, and Smith. Jordan and others, 1991; Glen Gillett, Sarah Rebecca Smith, Neal Hoyt Fellers, Ann Etta Black,  Iva L.Riggs, Joanne Miskulin, Annis B. Hollis, Myrtis Watkins, Martha W. Harris, and Carrie Belle (Travis) Smith, LCGS, 1984, p. 18-21, 187, 217-218, 221-223, 226, 242-243, 489-491; TJR, 13 June 1991, Rancher’s Day Supplement, p. 5, 6, 9, 10, 11.   

1913: George Tillman Buffington and Lucy Ellen (Hicks) Buffington and family begin homesteading and ranching about nine miles northeast of Jal. Son Jesse ranches, works for the Cowden Cattle Company, and delivers mail from Kermit to the C. W. Justis Post Office six miles east of the future town of Jal. The mail delivery requires two days for the round trip each week. With hard work and abundant fortitude the Buffingtons succeed in ranching here for over fifty years while many homesteaders left during hard times. The Buffingtons are strong advocates of education and build the first “Jal” school on their ranch. Neighbors include, among others, the Green, Floyd Stuart, Wimberley, Hair, Charlie Moore, Justis, and Knight families. Nada Ruth Buffington (`41) and Martha Baulch (`70), LCGS, 1984, p. 208.     

1914: William M. Dinwiddie and his son George C. Dinwiddie begin homesteading and ranching in the Jal area, arriving from Nolan County, Texas. George marries Clara Belle English in 1916 in Kermit, Texas with the lucky Number 13 marriage certificate. Their son, W. D. (Jiggs) is born one year later and the Dinwiddie Cattle Company takes root for a lifetime of Jal family-partnership ranching. W. D. (Jiggs) Dinwiddie, LCGS, 1984, p. 213; TJR, 13 June 1991, Rancher’s Day Supplement, p. 3.      

1914: John Ambrose Ellis Knight III and Lillie Mary (McQuerry) Knight and daughters Blanche and Luna migrate to the Jal area. They begin homesteading and ranching about seven miles northeast of Jal. Blanche becomes a prominent Jal business woman and civic activist, marrying Loyal Jefferson Calley. John builds a five room house on the ranch, and name the ranch, The Flying E. Iva L. Riggs and Joanne Miskulin, LCGS, 1984, p. 222-223; 248-249; TJR, 13 June 1991, p. 10.  

1914 (July): Cooper Post Office is established and operates until it discontinues in March, 1919. Mail service is reinstated in December, 1922 and remains in service until the post office closes with mail to Jal in July, 1938. [Author note: no record is available for lack of mail service in the closed years]. Postmistresses who serve are Ada Hunter (July, 1914), Ada E. (Hunter) Thomas (October, 1918), and Jessie Mae (Gray) Cooper (December, 1922) to closure. Glen Gillett, LCGS, 1984, p. 15.      

1914: Charles Wesley Justis is appointed New Mexico Land Commissioner and resigns as Jal Postmaster. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 5.  

1914: Post Office Has Many Moves: Mrs. Charles Wesley [Mollie] Justis is appointed Jal Postmaster and serves until she passes away in 1923. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 1, 5.  

Pre-1915: Ochoa School, located 15 miles west-northwest of present-day Jal, is originally called Alexander School. About 1918, it is named Ochoa by a Mr. Wilmoth, a local merchant. The school functions until students transfer to Jal in 1936. In 1941, the buildings are sold to Earl Goedeke, a local rancher, and then, officially in 1944, the school combines with Jal. Teachers at the school are: Lytie and Martha Woolworth, Mrs. Bob Williams, Mattie Gilham, John Hair, Emma Caraway, Vera Bigby, Ruth Medlin, Mary Barnes, Ora Medlin, Barbara Forrester, Grace Fairweather, Sara Holmes, and Mrs. Russell Jones. Students of local families include: Alexander, Woods, Brininstool (Carl), Pearson, Medlin, Page, Warren, Wysong, Crowley, Goodson, and Allison. Jordan and others, 1991, p. 146-149; Mettie Jordan, LCGS, 1984, p. 18-21.  

1915: Joseph (Joe) Wilson Pearson and Willie Elizabeth (McNiel) Pearson move to southeast New Mexico with family and various livestock and fowl. Joe and Willie are persuaded to move to New Mexico by Charlie Ross. The family settles on land in the

vicinity of Ochoa. The first year, the Pearson girls go to a school between the homestead/ranch and Ochoa [author note: this school with no name given is not identified in the Jal area historical record from my research]. The children next go to the Ochoa School and then the San Simon School. Neighbors include the Alexander, Bear, Jones, Holland, Page, Langford, Geodeke and Brininstool families. Alvin and Calvin J. Pearson, LCGS, 1984, p. 228-229; Jordan and others, 1991, p. 146-149, 179-181.   

1915: Fowler Hair and Sarah Elsa (Hainlin) Hair begin homesteading about seven miles northeast of Jal, establishing the Circle A. Ranch. His parents, John William Hair and Martha Evangeline (Carr) Hair are early southeast New Mexico pioneers with ranch headquarters about one mile south of Fowler and Sarah. Sarah teaches school briefly (1929-‘30) at Cooper, New Mexico School. Fowler and Sarah raise two daughters in the Jal area, Ida Harriette (Hair) Fellers (’41) and Ada Mae (Hair) Rosebrough (’43). Both girls attend Eastern New Mexico College, Portales, do graduate studies afterwards and teach in Jal, Lovington, and in other cities. Ida’s husband, Neal Hoyt Fellers (`36) graduates in the first class from Jal High School (1936) and is elected first president of the Jal Ex-Students Association. TJF, 14 November 1946, Vol. 1, No. 5, p. 3; 22 May 1947, Vol. 1, No. 16, p. 1; Sarah Rebecca Smith, Ida Harriette (Hair) Fellers (`41), Neal Hoyt Fellers (`36), and Ada Mae (Hair) Rosebrough (`43), LCGS, 1984, p. 194, 215-216; 217-218; 230; TJR, 13 June 1991, p. 11.  

1915: Clyde Woolworth and Martha Woolworth file on land to homestead about six miles northwest of Jal. Some of their seven siblings and their mother, Clara, either live with them for a time or invest in land nearby and remain in the area. The discovery of oil and gas on the Woolworth properties enable them in later years to establish the Woolworth Trust in Jal and the founding of the Woolworth Library and Senior Citizen’s Annex, both facilities of great benefit to the community and southeast New Mexico. Sarah Rebecca Smith, LCGS, 1984, p. 176-195; TJR, Ranchers Day Supplement, 13 June 1991, p. 5;  Woolworth Library Brochures courtesy Karen Stevens (Norwood) and Brian Norwood, 2003.    

~1915: Jal School in Monument Draw is abandoned. Jordan and others, 1991, p. 81-87.  

1915-1916: A new [Jal] school is built on the Buffington ranch and present-day Dollarhide Rd. The school serves Buffington, Knight, Wimberly, Justis, Eaton, Stuart, Mosley, and Williams families and others. Nola Grace Harrell is the first teacher. It functions as a school at this locality for about one year. Jordan and others, 1991, p. 81-87.  

1916: C. W. Justis moves his General Store and Jal Post Office to a site near Muleshoe Watering and Hackberry Draw. At about the same time, a new school considerably larger than the Monument Draw [and Buffington] schools is constructed at the same locality as the Justis general store and post office. [Author note: This locality is the present site of the Hilltop Inn and the date may be considered as the founding of present-day Jal due to the move of the officially-named post office to the city’s permanent location]. Jordan and others, 1991; TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 5; TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Section 1, 11 p. and Section 2, 12 p.    

1916: John Hall (most common usage) Medlin begins homesteading and ranching in the Ochoa area. Ochoa, a small early-1900’s homesteading settlement is established about 15 miles west-northwest of the Jal. Hall’s wife, Bessie Gertrude (Jones) Medlin, and six children arrive in Jal in 1917, housed in the home which would be dismantled and reassembled at the ranch a year later. Daughter, Ora Mae, went to school at Ochoa and following a college education, she taught two years at Ochoa, one year at White, and several years in Jal. Ora married George E. Davis, Jal businessman, and mayor of Jal for two years (see below). Beulah (Medlin) Baird and Annis B. (Medlin) Hollis, LCGS, 1984, p. 226; TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 1.   

1917: Ochoa Post Office begins service. Postmasters/mistresses are: Joseph Willmoth (April, 1917), William Page (May, 1918), and Cora Jones (December, 1936). The post office ceases service in 1940 with mail to Jal. Glen Gillett, LCGS, 1984, p. 15.  

1917: Following the creation of Lea County on March 7, 1917, when it is separated from Chaves and Eddy Counties, Jal’s School is designated No. 19 in School District No. 33, Eddy. Other schools and communities in Lea County from the time of formation of the county and their durations of operation to the time of establishment of the five Municipal School Districts in 1952 are shown in the first figure (map) below; for example, Jal, 1910-1952. Beneath this figure is a figure (map) showing the thirty six Lea County School Districts shortly after the establishment of Lea County (13 August 1917). These districts were disbanded in 1952. [For the interested reader, Lea County is named for Captain Joseph Calloway Lea, who is the first mayor of Roswell and the founder of the New Mexico Military Institute.] MLCBOE, 13 August 1917; Hinshaw, 1984, p. 138-146; Mettie Jordan, LCGS, 1984, p. 19-21; Jordan and others, 1991, p. xxii, xxiv. 





1918: The Lea County Board of Education orders that the Jal school house be moved from its present location [Hilltop Hill?] to the following described location: Two acres on the N.W. Corner of the 8.W. ¼  N.W. ¼ Sec. 20 T. 25 S.R. 37 E. N.M. P.M. MLCBOE, 01 August 1918. [Building may be the white wooden building shown in the photograph at top of p.189, Sarah Rebecca Smith, LCGS, 1984; p. 82 of Jordan and others, 1991].  

1918 or Earlier: Henry Chance and Henry Croft, Chance’s father-in-law, establish Custer Mountain School. They plan to name the school Pleasant Valley, but a school west of Monument is previously given that name. Other names applied to the school are Mims and Fightin’ Holler. The Mims name derives from a Mr. Mims (full name not known) who claimed land in the area. Squabbling over the school’s name is eventually resolved in favor of Custer Mountain, an area landmark butte eight miles west of Jal. Eleanor Gardner is the only known teacher. She instructs children of the Dinwiddie, Price, Medlin, Mims, Croft, and Dillard families. Jordan and others, 1991, p. 25-26. Because Custer Mountain is one of Jal’s enduring landmarks, the artwork of the mountain by Roy Butler and the poem by Jenie Lee Burke, Jr. are repeated below from The Best of Burke & Butler, 1980, p. 27; Greater Llano Estacado Southwest Heritage Magazine, 1971; Jordan and others, 1991, p. 26.       









      Used with permission of the Burke children and Roy Butler.  

1919: San Simon School is founded. [Author note: This date is uncertain, as other opening dates are mentioned by the same authors noted here, these being 1924 and 1927]. The school is located on the southern half of the San Simon Ranch, which is twenty-four miles northwest of Jal. The school apparently functions until 1936, at which time the students transfer to Jal along with those from other small schools in the area. The following teachers, thought to have taught at the school are: Barbara Forrester, Rose Scheure, Rose Brininstool, Mayna Adams, Ella Cook, Eula (Marley) Bass, Violet (Wood) Hite, Vester Hill, Bertha Forrester, Bertram Barnes, Charles Stoneman, Bessie Ross, and Sarah Young. Students from the following families attended the school: Pearson, Scheure, Harold, Brininstool, Langford, and Cooper. Jordan and others, 1991, p. 179-181; Mettie Jordan, LCGS, 1984, p. 18-21; Merchant, 1975.     

1921: Carl Swinger Brininstool and Effie Brininstool move from Childress, Texas to begin homesteading on land that becomes their XL Ranch, about 22 miles west-northwest of present-day Jal. Carl files for a section of land on the site in 1916. Carl and Effie raise one daughter, Joyce (‘41), and two sons, Carl (‘43), and Bill (’44). The children attend Ochoa school and all graduate from Jal High School. Bill takes over ranching operations after Carl Swinger dies in 1956. TJR, Rancher’s Day Supplement, 13 June 1991, p. 12;  Effie Brininstool, LCGS, 1984, p. 205, 247.  

1923: J. A. Stuart is appointed Jal Postmaster [present-day Jal], and serves until his death. Following the death of Stuart, the post office is moved. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol.1, No. 29A, p. 1, 5.   

1926: Jal school closes for four years prior to this date due to a lack of students. The school teacher this year is Miss Ora Mae Medlin, and now (1939) Mrs. George Davis. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 1. 


1926: William Henry (Bill) Brininstool (’44) is born and is raised in Lea County. Following graduation from Jal High School, he marries Jo Ann Mitchell. After working for El Paso Natural Gas Company for a brief period, he and Jo Ann purchase several businesses in Jal, including The Jal Record from Floy Wynn in 1965. Bill takes over operations of his parents XL Ranch in 1956, and later serves as Lea County Commissioner from 1981-1985. Both are active in local, state, and national affairs and organizations, and are recipients of several awards. Bill is on the Jal City Council, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Outstanding Citizen of Jal, and Rancher of the Year. Jo Ann is active in the American Cancer Society (ACS), a member of the State Board of Directors, and is Chairwoman of the New Mexico ACS Public Information. LCGS, 1984, p. 247.  

1927: The Texas Company No. 1-A Rhodes, located six miles southeast of Jal is the  first oil and gas well completed (November 4) in the Jal area of Lea County. Myers, 1973, p. 535; TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, p. Sec. 2, p. 2.   

NDAT: Following the death of J. A. Stuart, Mrs. Peter Bish (Anna) is appointed Jal Postmistress and continues to serve as of this paper edition. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 5.   

1927: Jal’s first school in the community, the two-room building located at the southeast intersection of present-day highways 18 and 128 is moved to the permanent campus [south and east of East Utah Ave. and Property Streets]. Two new teachers are hired at this time, Miss Ruth Fuqua (Principal) and Mrs. Alda Mae Weaver. [Author note: this date and move appear to be in conflict with the 1918 school-move date, which may have been the move of the school from the Buffington Ranch to Hilltop Hill near Muleshoe Watering]. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p.1, 8.  

1927: “Jal, the Newest Oil Town in New Mexico. Jal, New Mexico, a trading point for the ranchers located in the southeastern part of Lea County of the [State of New Mexico] will make a strong bid for some of the oil business of that part of the country. Jal is located six miles northwest from the Rhodes well of the Texas Production Co”.      “A few weeks ago, Jal could only boast of a general store, a post office, a school building and a telephone line. Recently, however, the Jal Townsite Co. was organized and the subdivision made. Last week, the first building was started which will be occupied as a restaurant by R. D. Atkins and son, says the Pecos Enterprise. The town was founded several years ago by C. W. Justis”.

      “Jal is on the main highway from the oil fields of Winkler County, Texas, to Lovington and will soon be one of the logical trading points of that section, if a major oil pool is opened in southeastern Lea County.” The Lovington Leader, 12/2/27:1.  

1928: William (Bill) John George Fink and Hazel A. (Bish) Fink first go to New Mexico (Pearl) to do a contract drilling job with Bill’s dad on the Record Ranch, arriving Thanksgiving Day, 1926. Pearl, a small community [then] about twenty miles west of Hobbs, takes its name after the given name of the Postmistress, Pearl Roberts. The area develops into a small oil and gas field of the community name, but begins to decline after the mail and school are routed, respectively, to Monument and Lovington in 1929. In 1928, the Finks move to Jal where Bill begins work for Roy Stovall, who is contracted to drill Sholes No. 1. Bill spends a career in the oil business, and another eight years in cable-tool contract drilling, having learned the work from his dad in Pennsylvania. After forty-two years, bill ends his career (1964) as production manager for Tenneco Oil Company. Hazel is hired temporarily as the Jal schools secretary in 1942, but remains in the job for twenty one years. Bill Fink, LCGS, 1984, p. 216; Benchmark Maps, 1999, p. 56-57; Jordan and others, 1991, p. 150-152; Julyan (1998, p. 260).  

1928: El Paso Natural Gas Company (commonly called EPNG) is founded in 1928 by Paul Kayser and H. G. Frost. Initially, it is called El Paso Gas Utilities Corporation, but since it is more of a pipeline company, Kayser and Frost incorporate it in Wilmington, Delaware as El Paso Natural Gas Company. Miss Catherine Martch, fresh out of El Paso Business College, is hired as EPNG’s first employee. Martch remains with the company for forty-two years. Mangan, 1977, p. 42-46.  

1928: The Jal Post Office is moved from the 1916 site to a place closer to the center of Jal, and into a building which now houses McAllister’s Bar. TJR, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 5.  

1929: Dick Herwig serves as Jal’s first known mayor. The terms of his appointment or election are not clear, nor the exact length of his tenure. He appears to have served until Loyal Jefferson Calley becomes mayor in 1937. Austin, 1976; JMO, 2007; Iva L. Riggs, LCGS, 1984, p. 222; RPN, June 2007. 

1929: George Edward Davis (b. 22 February 1895, Stillwater, Oklahoma) graduates from Oklahoma A & M College in 1916. In 1929, George resigns from the City Service Oil Company in Carlsbad and moves to Jal to buy the City Service station there. One year later, he marries Ora Mae Medlin, a pioneer school teacher in the Jal area. They raise four sons, George Medlin (’49), Leland Elbert, Jimmy and Gary Glenn, all of whom attend university and Jal schools except Gary Glenn. George and Ora return to Kermit for retirement in 1976 after moving away from Jal earlier. Ora Mae (Medlin) Davis, LCGS, 1984, p. 211-212, 216.

1929: Homer Pender and Byrta Mae Pender move to Jal with their two sons, Robert Barton (’44) and Albert Barry (’50). Homer is a gauger for the Texas Pipeline Company, which becomes the Texas-New Mexico Pipeline Company. Homer states that he “pipelined the first tank of oil out of Lea County on 01 May 1929 “. He and Byrta build the first brick building in Jal, own and operate a variety store, and establish the first department store (Penders) in Jal. Homer Pender, LCGS, 1984, p. 229, 254; JMO, 2006, RPN, June, 2007.  

1929: El Paso Natural Gas Company produces natural gas for the first time in the Jal area from five wells, including the first oil/gas well drilled in southeast New Mexico, The Texas Company [Texaco] No. 1-A Rhodes. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 2; Mangan, 1977, p. 52.  

1929: 19 June: Untreated sweet gas is delivered to El Paso from Jal for the first time by El Paso Natural Gas Company. Delivery is by a 16 inch steel pipeline (manufactured by A. O. Smith, Milwaukee, Wisconsin) over a distance of 204 miles and is the World’s first long-distance pipeline. Mangan, 1977, p. 46, 53.   

1929: The first water system in Jal is established by Roe Newberry and operates for several years. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 8.  

1929: The following teacher’s applications [Jal] are approved subject to filing of proper Grade of Certificate:

Ora Mae Medlin……………………….…District 19 (Jal)……$110.00/mo.

Alda Mae Weaver………………………..District 19 (Jal)……$110.00/mo.

S. H. Winn……………………………….District 19 (Jal)……$125.00/mo.

Amy Winn………………………………..District 19 (Jal)……$100.00/mo.

MLCBOE, 05 August 1929.  

1929: The Texas and New Mexico Railway Company begins laying rail from Monahans, Texas to Lovington, New Mexico. Freight service begins June 1930. Passenger trains run for about two years in the 1930’s with service reinstituted for military troops and recruits during WW II. Diesel electric engines replace the steam (coal-fired) engines in the 1950’s. Freight service continues today. JMO, pers. comm., 2007; Freda Farr Earnest, LCGS, 1984, p. 17-18.   

1930: Aca Elmer Turner (b. 15 November 1898, Merkel, Texas) returns to New Mexico and Jal, beginning a career in 1939 as Lea County Deputy Sheriff for twenty three years. Previously, he came to New Mexico in 1910 with his parents, William Francis (Frank) and Elsie Bell (Tennie) Wimberley Turner and six siblings to homestead property three miles north of Eunice, which Frank had filed on the previous year. Due to drought and blizzards, the family moves back to Texas in 1921 with the exception of the oldest son, Hester. Elmer, as he is generally known in Jal, is a noted presence in the community.   Katie Gertrude (Turner) Hamlin, LCGS, 1979, p. 325-329.   

1930’s: Notable El Paso Natural Gas Company officials in the Jal area are: C. L. Perkins, Hugh F. Steen, Paul Wright, R. W. (Lazy) Harris, Estin Scearce, George (Gus) E. Kendrick, F. T. Bailey, H. P. Hogan, and T. J. Crutchfield. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 3. 

1930: Two new teachers added to the Jal school: Mr. and Mrs. S. H. Winn. TJF, 07 March 1950, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 8.  

1931: Single, Roger Van Bramer arrives in Jal from Houston, Texas to begin work for El Paso Natural Gas Company. Roger batches with James Bennett at Bennett’s homestead, four miles southwest of Jal until both become permanent EPNG employees. According to Roger, James Bennett lived with the Van Bramer family previously in Santa Rita, New Mexico, in Denver, Colorado, back in Texas, and then left the family for Jal in 1922. Roger marries Ercell Bagby in 1934. They raise three children in Jal, Comilla Joyce (’55), David Roger (’58), and Jo Rita (’62). Roger later becomes an EPNG Superintendent and an early member of the Jal schools Board of Education when Jal becomes an independent school system in 1952. Harrison, pers. comm., 2003; Swain and others, 2005, p. 91;  Roger van Bramer, LCGS, 1984, p. 19, 238-239.     

1931: Construction of El Paso Natural Gas Company Plant No. 1, four miles southwest of Jal at the settlement of Bennett, is completed. TJR, 22 September 1966,  Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 2.

1932: S. H. Winn is appointed Jal [school] Principal. [Author note: no terms of the appointment are specified in the minutes of the Lea County Board of Education or date of the action]. MLCBOE

1933: Jerold Jack (Joe) Smith purchases the Will Gerald Ranch northeast of Jal and later other ranches in the adjacent area after he and Sarah Rebecca (Brown) Smith and young daughter Rebecca (Becky) Jo move permanently to Jal in 1936. Joe taught classes in Jal and coached the football team to its first (unclassed) state championship in 1939. Sarah Rebecca taught in the Jal schools for many years and has contributed to Jal’s history. In 1945, the Smith’s bought the Knight’s Flying E Ranch, which continues to remain in the family. Sarah Rebecca (Brown) Smith, LCGS, 1984, p. 235-236, 248-249; TJR, 13 June 1991, Rancher’s Day Supplement, p. 10).    

1933: Ross Owens elected second Jal school Principal. MLCBOE, 05 June 1933.  

1933: Ross Owens resigns as Jal school Principal. Resignation accepted, MLCBOE, 7-8 August 1933.  

1933: School at Cooper discontinued. pupils sent to Jal and Eunice for 1933-34. MLCBOE, 7-8 August 1933.  

1933: J. L. McCrory is elected principal of Jal school, District 19. MLCBOE, 7-8 August 1933.  

1933: A small cottage is built on [Jal] school grounds for the superintendent’s  home. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 8.  

1934: J. L. McCrory’s resignation is accepted. W. J. Pointer is elected Jal school Principal for 1934-35. MLCBOE, 06 August 1934.  

1934: Morris C. Whitworth (’36) at the age of seventeen moves to Jal with his parents, Judson Monroe Whitworth and Jessie America (Rhodes) Whitworth and brother Bob. Judson is assigned to manage the Acme Lumber Company store in Jal. Morris completes school in Jal and marries Dama Ann Robinson (’36) in May 1935. After several moves in the area with Acme Lumber Company and a tour in the Navy during World War II, Morris and Dama and three young daughters, Carlynne (’54), Evelynne (’55), and Kathrynne (’57), return to Jal, and soon purchase Judson and Jessie’s family lumber company (about 1950). Active in civic affairs, Morris is elected City Councilman in 1949, Chairman of the Jal Chamber of Commerce for six years (1960-1966) and Mayor for 1982-1988. Like several in her Jal High School class of 1954, Carlynne graduates from Eastern New Mexico University. She is musically adroit, and loved by all she touched. Evelynne marries, and Kathrynne gains world-wide fame as a golfer, a golf promoter, and a golf administrator. Morris, Bob, and Dama all serve as officers of the Jal Ex-Students Association. TJR, 25 July 1957; TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1; Kathrynne Ann Whitworth and Morris C. Whitworth, LCGS, 1984, p. 241; Oilpatch Kids…, 2004, p. 154-156; Swain and others, 2005, p. 74, 95.    

1934: Prior to 1934, a football game is played in Jal known as “Outlaw Football”, which consists of local young men from El Paso Natural Gas Company and other companies. However, in 1934, the city decided the Jal school should have a team, and one was fielded for the first time in that year. Personal communication from Morris Whitworth to Roxie Swain, 2003.  

1934: Pearl (Henry) McKeown and C. T. (Jack) McKeown arrive in Jal and soon after, open a variety store and later add family ready-to-wear clothing to the business. A new (department) store is built in 1961, and continues to operate into the 1980’s. Two daughters, Faye (’38) and Kathleen (’39) graduate from Jal High School and attend  university. Faye marries Wayne Bryant and Kathleen (Kate) marries Ernest (Red) Butler. Both husbands are sons of Jal pioneers. Pearl (Henry) McKeown, LCGS, 1984, p. 224-225.   

1935: We request that Mr. Trumbull act as Principal of the Grade school at Jal. MLCBOE, 08 February 1935. 

1935: Mr. Burke is accepted for Principalship [Superintendent] of Jal school. MLCBOE, 01 May 1935, The J. L. Burke Family, LCGS, 1979, p. 308-313; Sarah Rebecca Smith, LCGS, 1984, p. 187-191; Marilyn Burke, Oilpatch Kids…, 2004, p. 4-9; Swain and others, 2005.  

1935: Mr. Burke’s contract is approved to begin July 1st, 1935. MLCBOE, 15 July 1935.  

1935: Jenie Lee (J. L.) Burke, Jr. and Joyce Ester (Gross) Burke come to Jal in 1935 via a short period in Hobbs where J. L. was both educator and administrator in the Hobbs High School. Beverly Jo (’47), the oldest child, is born in Amarillo, Texas prior to the Burke’s arrival in New Mexico. She is followed by a son, Jenie III (’49), and daughters Marilyn (’55) and Nancy Ilene (’58). As accomplished musicians, both J. L. and Joyce impart a love of music and the arts to their children. Active in educational affairs both in Lea County and at the state level, J. L. brings distinction to the Jal school system. He serves as Superintendent of that system from 1935 to 1962, and within a year of his appointment, he witnesses the graduation of Jal’s first high school students (1936). Among his many achievements and honors, J. L. writes the Jal school song, Jal Blue and Gold, is instrumental in establishing the Llano Estacado Heritage Magazine, has the Jal Junior High School named for him, and is involved in founding the College of the Southwest in Hobbs where he serves as President for seven years. As a lifelong violinist, Joyce participates in the creation of the Winkler County Orchestra in Kermit, Texas and also performs in Jal. With a schedule overwhelming for most men, J. L. still finds time to write and publish inspiring poetry. LCGS, 1979, p. 308-313; LCGS, 1984, p. 208; Sarah Rebecca  Smith, LCGS, 1984, p. 187-192, Marilyn Burke, Oilpatch Kids… ,2004, p. 4-9.        

1935: The following [administrators] and  teachers are unanimously approved for the school year at Jal:

                          Superintendent…………..…J. L. Burke, Jr.

                          Principal High School…….S. Odie Ludlow

                          Principal Grades…………....Ben Lawrence

Teachers: Glenna Keller, Ruth Carmichael, Mrs. C. C. Henry, Bessie Ross, Mrs. W. D. Stafford, Alma Lee Caudle, Mrs. Mae Denny, and Loraine Fellers. MLCBOE, 21 August 1935.   

1936: During summer of this year, a new brick high school building and a combination auditorium and hardwood-floor gymnasium are completed. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 8. 

1936: Lea County school Districts 18 (Cooper) and 19 (Jal) are ordered consolidated and hereby designated as the Jal School District No. 19. MLCBOE, 07 May 1936.  

1936: The following teachers [and administrators] for the 1936-37, District 19 [Jal] School Year:

                                    Mr. K. B. Walker, Principal High School

                                    Mr. Ben Lawrence, Principal Grade School

MLCBOE, 28 May 1936.  

1936:  Jal High School graduates its first students. The nine students are: Burna Ed Bailey, Carol Christian, Virginia Davidson, Dick V. Hadley [no relation to this author], Jay W. Johnson, Gwendolyn McGehee, Rex Miller, Mary Lou Pyeatt, and Hoyt Fellers. Jay Johnson is Valedictorian; a salutatorian is not recorded. Dr. Rupert Richardson, Vice-President of Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Texas, gives the commencement address. In 1936, the entire high school consists of forty-six students. Harrison, pers. comm., 2003; TJR, 07 September 2000, Vol. 53, No. 41, p. 1, 5; Sarah Rebecca Smith, LCGS, 1984, p. 189; Swain and others, 2005, p. 110. 

1936: Rubert Madera and Loys (Smith) Madera establish a ranch in the vicinity of Ochoa. The ranch is named the Pitchfork (its brand) in 1951, and is operated by the family for 47 years. Rubert, an avid flyer, flies their children, Bert and Mildred (Milly), to Jal school daily, weather permitting. Both Rubert and Loys are active in local, county, and state government and associations and groups. He serves as a Lea County Commissioner for two terms, is a member of several state and national livestock associations, and is a member and active in the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Loys is a board member of the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center (Hobbs) and is active in the Lea County Cactus Cow Belles. Patricia Madera and Loys Madera, LCGS, 1984, p. 225, 246.   

1937: El Paso Natural Gas Company drills its first producing gas well, and completes its first gasoline extraction facilities at Jal Plant No. 1. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 2. 

1937: Loyal Jefferson Calley serves as Mayor of Jal. His precise dates of service are not known, but is probably until 1939 when H. H. McAllister becomes mayor. Loyal’s wife  

Blanche (Knight) Calley is a prominent Jal businesswoman and civic activist. JMO, pers. comm., 2006, 2007; Iva L. Riggs, LCGS; 1984, p. 222; RPN, June, 2007.   

1938: More classrooms, a library, and a study hall are added as the high [school] building is enlarged. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 8. 

1938: Charles Wesley Justis dies [Author note: Justis could be considered the founder of “Jal” since his Post Office, first located in Monument Draw, is the first official use of the term “Jal” in a geographical or community sense]. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 1, 5.   

1938: The Jal Flare is published from 18 August 1938 to 1946. The paper’s name is determined by an open contest of names submitted by Jal citizens. TJF, 22 August 1938, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 1(?). [Author note: After 1946, Jal Flare is published, but I found no  copies (microfiche) of The Jal Flare beyond 1946. The 1938-1946 paper is prefaced by the word “The”, marking the difference in the two papers].   



Schilling Coffee…………….………………..….27c/lb  

Bananas……………………………….…………1c each

Carnation Milk…………..3 large cans…………19c                                         

Everlite Flour………….…..48 lb sack ……. $1.83

Roast Beef……………………………………….18c/lb

Ground Beef……………………………………..15c/lb

TJF, 25 August 1938, Vol. 1, No. 2.  

1938: Publication of El Paso Natural Gas Company news- The Pipeliner- is first published, August 1938. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 2.  

1938: The Panther Track


      “This is the first issue of THE PANTHER TRACK for the school term of 38-39. The purpose of this paper is to give the students and people of the community a general idea of what is happening in the Jal High School.

      We wish to thank The Jal Flare for so kindly giving us a page in their paper.

      The Jal school is rapidly expanding and it is our hope that this paper will keep abreast and improve also”.


                         Editor……………….……………………..Carl Murray

                         Assistant Reporter………………………Dorthea Booth

                         Special Reporter…….……………………..Margie Carr

                         Special Reporter…………….…………Margie Marshal

                         Special Reporter………………………..Madora Hughes

                         Senior Class Reporter…………….…….Bernard Neville

                         Junior Class Reporter.……………………..….Bill Zahn

                         Sophomore Class Reporter……………..Elton Blackwell

                         Freshman Class Reporter…….…….……….David Jones

                         Eight Grade Reporter…………..……….Teddy Sousares

                         Seventh Grade Reporter………………….……---

                         Typist………………………….……Kathleen McKeown

TJF, 29 September 1938, Vol. 1, No. 7, p. 4

1938: The Jal Flare, Mrs. Wayne Cheek, Editor. TJF, 06 October 1938, Vol. 1, No. 8, p. 2. 

1938: El Paso Natural Gas Company completes construction of its first dehydration plant at Jal Plant No. 1. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 2.  

1938: Jal’s first golf course is established about six miles northeast of town on the Buffington Ranch. [Author note: What happens when the ball lands in a prickly pear?] TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 2.     

1938: The Jal Gassers baseball team is formed and includes, among others, George (Gus) Kendrick, Jimmy Lewallen, R. W. (Lazy) Harris, A. A. (Abie) Cohn, Arthur Bothe, C. L. Perkins, and Henry Pool. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 6. 

1938: Jimmy Taff Lewallen and Camille Lillie (Ward) Lewallen arrive in Jal from Gouldbusk, Texas with their two young sons, Jerry Lee (’54) and Billy Clyde (’56); Linda Nan (’60) is born two years after arrival in Jal. In addition to a garage, which they owned and operated, they contracted school-bus service for Jal schools for 42 years from 1940. [Today, Jerry lives in Albuquerque with his wife Francis Louise (Reynolds, ‘56) Lewallen, and  Billy and Linda Hill still live in Jal.] JF, 31 October 1946, Vol. 1, No. 4, p. 6? Jimmie Lewallen, LCGS, 1984, p. 224.  

1938:  The Rex Theater is built in October by the R. E. Griffith and Theater Corporation of Roswell. Mr. C. C. Coldwell purchases the theater on 03 May 1945. Emilu Lou Betty begins management of the theater at that time. On 11 May 1955, the theater is sold to Bruce Wilkerson and Morris Woods and is still owned by Wilkerson when it burns to ashes on 08 July 1962. Roxie Swain, pers. comm., 2001.    

1939 (June): H. H. McAllister becomes Mayor of Jal. [Author note: previous publication gave his name incorrectly as H. W. McCallister]. JMO, 2007; TJF, 07 Mar 1939, p. 1, 8 (see below); RPN, June, 2007.    

1939: “TURNER GOES INTO OFFICE WITH OWENS”. Aca Elmer Turner, Jal Deputy Sheriff, is sworn into office along with his new boss, Sheriff Horace Owens at Lovington this week. TJF, 05 January 1939, Vol. 1, No. 20, p. 1.   

1939: “THE WHO AND WHY OF THE NEW JAL FLARE”. With this issue, new publishers take over the management of The Jal Flare. The new publishers and editors of The Jal Flare, Stuart and Emma Jackson Long, have had several year’s experience operating papers in Kermit and Austin, Texas. TJF, 05 January 1939, Vol. 1, No. 20, p. 1.   


Fox Rig and Lumber Company

Ike Bergolofsky Dry Goods

Jal New Stand, W. M. Knesbeck, Proprietor

Slim & Shep, Brunswick Billiard Parlor

Corner Gas Station

Shorty’s Gas Station

The Jal Flare, Published in Jal, Lea County, New Mexico every Thursday by the Flare Publishing Company. Subscription rates, one year by mail, $1.50. Stuart Long, Editor, Emma Jackson Long, Associate Editor.

Wm. Cameron Co., Inc.

Woolworth Hotel, Jal’s First Hotel, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Bish [Proprietors]

TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 1-8.   

1939: “MRS. A. Q. COOPER RECALLS INCIDENTS OF EARLY JAL”. Dugouts made first homes here, and man who gave Jal its name disappeared. [Author note: Mrs. A. Q. Cooper states she was Sisters-in-Law to John Cowden of the Cowden Brothers Cattle Company and W. C. Cochran, owner of the Bar Two Muleshoe Ranch at Muleshoe Watering]. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol.1, No. 29A, p. 3.   

1939: “WATERWORKS  JOB FINISHED IN JIG TIME”. New City System to be Celebrated. Now, Therefore, I, H. H. McAllister, Mayor of the Town of Jal, do Proclaim Wednesday, March the Eight, Nineteen Hundred and Thirty-Nine, as: 


                                               CELEBRATION DAY

                                        And do declare a holiday for the

                                                     City on that day.

                                                Seal of the Town of Jal                  

                                               H. H. McAllister, Mayor

                                        TOWN OF JAL, NEW MEXICO        

A 75, 000-gallon steel water tower has been erected as part of the new Jal water system. The black tower is erected at the highest point in Jal, and serves as a beacon to [anyone] approaching the city. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 1, 8.  

1939: “MAN WHO GAVE JAL ITS NAME DISAPPEARED”. He was J. A. Lynch, who gave the Jal ranch its brand of “J” on the shoulder, “A” on the side, and “L” on the hip, sold his holdings to the Cowden Brothers, and left the country, presumably going back to the East. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A, p. 3. 

1939: “GAS FROM JAL EL PASO CO. PLANT SUPPLIES 27 TOWNS. CAMP HERE IS LARGEST IN WORLD”. “Included as a suburb of Jal, so to speak, is the largest camp of its kind in the world, El Paso Camp and Bennettville. The El Paso Natural Gas Company has built a mammoth permanent plant about two [four] miles out of Jal”. TJF, 07 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 29A. 

1939: “EUNICE MEN BUY CASH GROCERY”. “Ben Coleman and O. V. Alexander, operators of grocery stores in Eunice and Oil Center, this week purchase the Cash and Carry Grocery from Fraini and Farinelli. The new store’s name will be Cash Grocery and Market”. TJF, 23 March 1939, Vol. 1, No. 31, p. 1.  

1939: “SHANTY TOWN GETS MANY NEW HOUSES”. Bennettville of the El Paso Camp- still called Shanty Town- will soon have outgrown its name. Improvements underway. Benson Grocery store to be enlarged”. TJF, 20 April 1939, Vol. 1, No. 39.

[Author note: Bennett Post Office most likely establishes the name for the small settlement located about four miles south-southwest of Jal. However, the post office name almost certainly derives from the name of a man known as Preacher Bennett who establishes himself in the earliest days of the community (1930’s). Julyan (1998) states in Place Names of New Mexico that the origin of the name for Bennett is unknown. But, Austin (1976) refers to Bennett (the settlement) and Preacher Bennett (the man) essentially in the same breath (so-to-speak), and my experience accords with Austin, the U.S Postal Service designation, and my personal knowledge about Preacher Bennett in my youth in Jal. He was a household name in my family and many in Jal].   

1939: Board sidewalks are condemned by the City Council and must be replaced within a short period due to their fire-hazard potential. TJF, 06 April 1939. 

1939: Miss Creed and K. B. Walker wed. Louise Creed, a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University, and K. B. Walker, a graduate of North Texas State Teachers College, Denton, are married Saturday in Roswell. Mr. Walker is principal of Jal High School and Miss Creed teaches sixth grade in Jal. They return to Jal on Sunday following the wedding. TJF, 13 April 1939, Vol. 1, No. 34 p. 2.  

1939: “PANTHERS READY FOR HOT SPRINGS”. Businesses Will Close At 2 for Game. Jal’s Panthers meet Hot Springs’ Bulldogs here Wednesday at 2 p. m. for last game on [the regular] schedule [Jal wins 13-0]. School dismisses at noon for holidays [Thanksgiving] and all businesses will close from 2 to 5 p. m. Coaches J. J. Smith and Tom O’Donnell say the men are ready to go. TJF, 29 November 1939, Vol. 2, No. 14, p. 2.  

1939: “PANTHERS TO PLAY IN ARTESIA FRIDAY. SILVER CITY TO BE FOE IN FINALE”. Owing to Las Cruces and Roswell ending the season tied 6-6. Jal, untied and unbeaten, faces Silver City in the Gateway Bowl on Friday. Later, the tied or undefeated teams of Las Cruces, Roswell and Raton decline to play Jal’s fair offers of determining the state champion on the field. Still, the Raton Tigers continue to claim the State Championship. TJF, 07 December 1939, Vol. 2, No. 15, p. 1.     

1939: “STATE ACCEPTS PANTHERS AS CHAMPIONS. TEXAS CHAMP CHALLENGED TO TILT”. A challenge to the Texas champion-to-be for a bi-state title game in the Cotton Bowl or Sun Bowl hung on Texas doorknobs as the Panthers sacked up the New Mexico title. It was a 14-6 conquest of Silver City in Artesia Friday which gave Jal the championship. Four Texas games are yet to be played to determine the Texas victor. TJR, 14 December 1939, Vol. 2, No. 16, p. 1, 2.  

1939: “LUBBOCK DECLINES GAME WITH PANTHERS”. J. L. Burke challenges the Texas Inter-scholastic League champions of Lubbock High School to play Jal. In response to Burke, the Lubbock HS Superintendent states: “It is with regret that I decline your invitation”, observing that “it is against Texas Inter-scholastic policy to play post-season games”. [Author note: in 1939 no state class system existed in New Mexico]. TJF, 28 December 1939, Vol. 2, No. 18, p. 1. The 1939 Jal football state champions are shown below.    



IN FRONT: Manager Benny Stephens (`43)

FIRST ROW: Bill “Tuffy” Carson (12), Oscar Large (13), Bill Moore (17/`43), Lester Frank Hamlin (10/`43), Roy L. Tabb (23 or 28)

COACHES: Joe Smith, Tom J. O’Donnell

SECOND ROW: Richard Laurance “Dick” Benton (32/`41), Kelly Foster Neville (20/`41), Gene Key (35), Thomas Brock (22/`41), Jerome Donald “Torchy” Justis (26/`41), William Everett “Jack” Erwin (21/`42), James L. “Lefty” Stephens (24/`41)

BACK ROW: Odis Pharr (25/`40), Billy Brooks (28), T. C. Young (29/`40), William Marvin “Bill” Zahn (34/`40)-QB, Roy Carleton “Pansy” Jeter (23/`40), R. L. Robinson (33/`40), Hudie C. “Pretty Boy” Bagley (37/`40), Olen Lee Elliott (31/`40), Kendall C. Houston (36/`40), Roscoe Buck “Junior” Scott(30/`39), James Loyd “Shine” Grider (27/`40).

Harrison, 2003; TJR, 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sect. 1, p. 6; Sarah Rebecca Smith, LCGS, 1984, p. 191; Smith, 2003.  

1940: “THE HISTORY OF JAL HIGH BAND BY ELTON BLACKWELL”. On 01 September 1936, Mr. Burke introduces R. L. Meyers [Jal’s first school band conductor] to the student body. By the end of the year, twenty-five students are performing. Marching begins at the start of the 1937 school year, and in 1938, with nearly seventy members, the band begins playing for football games. The first school uniforms are proudly provided to the band members in the spring of 1938. At the state contest in Las Cruces in 1939, the band wins a first division in marching. During the competition, the following members win honors: Iva Lee Calley (twirling), Benny Stephens (solo cornet), and Walter Anderson (drum solo). TJF, 09 May 1940, Vol. 2, No. 36, p. 2.   

1940 (May): “BENNETT POST OFFICE OPENS”. The following Postmistresses serve until the post office is discontinued with mail to Jal in March 1957: Callie Marshall (May, 1940), Cleo Galle (December, 1940), Annett Murray (October, 1945), and Doris Rose (January, 1951). Glen Gillett, LCGS, 1984, p. 14.  

1940: Clarence Luther Armstrong and Opal Maxine (Heslep) Armstrong move to a Skelly Oil Company home location five miles northwest of Jal for a job with the company. Both are Jal school-bus contractors and are active in local, state, and national associations and organizations for many years. All three children, Wanliss Eugene (Gene) Armstrong (’52), Barbara Maxine (Smith) Armstrong (’55) and Virginia Kay (Cadenhead) Armstrong (’59) graduate from Jal High School. Clarence Armstrong, LCGS, 1984, p. 199. 

1940: Jal’s first golf course is established in 1938 and is relocated to its present [and permanent] location on the north edge of Jal. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 2.  

1940: “MADERA ELECTED OFFICER OF TEXAS-NEW MEXICO PILOTS”. Meeting in Hobbs, the Texas-New Mexico Pilots Association is formed. B. F. Hines, Hobbs, and Malcolm Madera, Jal, are named temporary president and secretary, respectively. TJR, 11 April 1940, Vol. 2, No. 32, p. 1.  

1940: G. M. Shiplet is appointed teacher and athletic coach of Jal schools. The following year, he marries Beatrice Hawkings, of Lovington and both begin teaching and coaching [G. M. only] in Jal schools. On retiring, each receives the state Educator-of-the-Year award after teaching more than thirty years in Jal. Bea Shiplet, LCGS, 1984, p. 232.   

1940: “ACME LUMBER CO. SERVING OIL MEN, RANCHERS, AND CITY. BUILDERS OF THE PERMIAN BASIN”. Yards in Jal, Eunice, Hobbs, Seminole, Odessa, Monahans, and Kermit. J. M. Whitworth, Mgr., Jal. M. C. Whitworth, Mgr., Monahans. TJF, 11 July 1940, Vol. 2, No. 45, p. 3.               

1940: Construction of El Paso Natural Gas Company Plant No. 2, located approximately 5 miles northeast of Jal is completed. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 3.  


1940: Charles Albert (Butch) Boyd and Anne Ruth (Leuschner) Boyd move to Jal with their four children, Clifford Andrew (’44), David Audley (’47), Eleanor Ruth (’49), and Martha Ann (’54). The Boyd’s purchase the Bender Grocery in 1941 and over the years partner with several Jal merchants, but probably were best known for the B & B Food Market. Ruth graduates from Baylor University in 1923 and teaches health and science in the Jal schools and becomes the school librarian, serving from 1947-1963. She is known both county and state-wide for her library expertise, and in 1967 following her career with Jal High School, she is asked to assist with the establishment of the Jal Public (Woolworth) Library where she continues to serve until 1974. Both Eleanor and Martha Ann graduate from Highlands University. TJF, 31 October 1946, Vol. 1, No. 4, p. 1-8;  Clifford, David, Eleanor (Boyd) Salvo, and Martha Ann (Boyd) Lasater, LCGS, 1984, p. 203-204.    

1940: D. Webb Justis serves as Mayor of Jal. D. Webb is the son of Charles Wesley and Mollie Justis, early Jal pioneers. [Author note: I have published elsewhere that D. Webb Justis serves as Jal Mayor from 1940-1948. But, copies of newspaper articles which are in my files, and I subsequently reviewed, show that George E. Davis was mayor in 1946 and 1947, and, therefore, probably served for the period 1946-1948. As a result, Justis will be shown as serving 1940-1946]. JMO, 2007; RPN, June, 2007.    

1940: Otho G. and Wilma L. Clary move to Jal with three children, Glenna Pearl (’48), Otho Gilder (’53), and Gerald (‘59), to work in the oil business and later (1948) to own and manage the Purina Feed Store. LCGS, 1984, p. 209-210.  

1941: THE JAL INFORMER. Publishes school and city news for Monday, 31 March 1941, p. 1-4 and lists most Jal businesses and their employees, such as El Paso Natural Gas Company, Acme Lumber Company, Woolworth Hotel, and so forth. TJI, 31 March 1941, Vol. 1, No. 3, p. 1-4.   

1943: Clyde Raymond Leavell and Mabel (Fields) Leavell move to Jal from Texico, New Mexico, following living in Clovis. Clyde is transferred with the New Mexico Ports of Entry Department. In 1950, Clyde resigns from the Ports of Entry position and goes into private business in Jal, which includes insurance and auto sales. Clyde is active in city, business, and civic affairs and becomes the City of Jal Judge, Justis of the Peace, and Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce. Mabel is the Star Route mail contractor for 30 years, from 1948 to 1978, and still lives in Jal. The Leavell’s raise three children, Carroll Harris (’54), southeast New Mexico State Senator, Larry Dale (’61), and Clydene Jewell (Earnst) Leavell (’62). TJR, 20 April 1950, Vol. 1, No. 12, p. 1, TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1, 8; Mabel Leavell, LCGS, 1984, p. 223; Oilpatch Kids.., 2004, p. 110-114.   

1943: Willard Eldon (Ikey) Lewis and Frances Almedia (Clements) Lewis move to Jal after early pharmacy business in Hobbs and Eunice. They purchase a local drug store from Ralph Baird located on the north side of the Goodner building on Main Street. A new store is built at the corner of Main Street and East Utah Ave. in 1950, and contains a soda fountain like the first store, which becomes one of the favorite hangouts for Jal students. Ikey and Francis are active in civic affairs, Ikey serving as Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for two terms, 1948 and 1950. Two children, Willard Eldon Lewis, Jr. (‘54) and Almedia Linda Lewis (‘59) are raised in Jal and graduate from Jal High School. After twenty-seven years of drug-store business in Jal, Ikey and Frances sell the business to C. L. Sinclair, Jr. in 1970 and retire to Ruidoso. TJR, 20 April 1950, Vol. 1, No. 12, p. 1, Oilpatch Kids…, 2004, p. 116-17; Willard E. Lewis, Jr., pers. comm., August, 2007.   

1944: It is resolved that Lea County Rural School Districts No. 19 (Jal) and No. 38 (Ochoa and San Simon) be consolidated as one district, No. 19. MLCBOE, 02 August 1944.  

1945: El Paso Natural Gas Company Plant No. 1 is redesigned and its gas and gasoline processing procedures are changed. TJR, 22 September 1966, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 3.

1946: “EL PASO CAMPS MAKE PROGRESS”. Eleven houses have been completed and twenty one houses are under construction at Camp No. 3. Nine new houses have been built at Camp No. 2. JF, 03 October 1946.   

1946: “FUNERAL SERVICES FOR MRS. BUFFINGTON”. Services were held for Lucy Ellen Buffington on September 27. Her husband, George T. passed away in 1933. In 1915, the Buffington family settled in their ranch home six miles east of Jal. [Author note: This ranch site would have been near the location of the former John A. Lynch  ranch (?), the Cowden ranch, the C. W. Justis store and post office, and other nearby homesteaders]. JF, 03 October 1946, Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 1.  

1946: “NEW FOOTBALL FIELD UNDER CONSTRUCTION”. Mr. Walker, coaches Shiplet and Miller, and Mr. Burke surveyed the new field and track. El Paso Natural Gas Company donated a bulldozer for leveling. The regulation field will be bound by a 440 yd. track with bleachers on each side. JF, 03 October, Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 3.   

1946: “RANGE CONDITIONS ARE GOOD”. S. R. Cooper says: “on his ranch ten [six] miles northwest of Jal, grass is better than it has been for several years”. Fowler Hair, northeast of Jal, states: “my outfit is in the best shape it has been in twenty years”. Rainfall totals recorded by the Weather Bureau for Jal for the year through September are 7.87 inches. TJF, 03 October 1946, Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 1. 

1946: “HERE’S NEW CITY DIRECTORY”. This directory is published by the Jal Flare, Jal news published bi-weekly by the Journalism Class of Jal High School. At the time of publication, George E. Davis is Mayor and Blanche Calley, Clerk.

                       Mono Awalt................................................Editor

                       Naomi Robinson Peacock...........Assistant Editor

                       Frances Pearce…………………...Society Editor

                       James Curtis……………………….School News

                       Hal Betty…………………………...Sports News

                       Lloyd Joiner………………………..Sports News

                       O. M. Stewart…………………………...Advisor

                       Irvin Curry………….……………….....Reporter

                       Chloe Fulmer……….………………….Reporter

                       Jack Palmer……….……………………Reporter

                       Bud Westbrook….……………………..Reporter

                       Jackie Whitley….…….………………...Reporter

 JF, 31 October 1946, Vol. 1, No. 4, p. 1. 

1946: “ANTELOPE SIGHTED”. A small herd of Pronghorn antelope is recently seen near Cooper. “Sam R. Cooper said the herd probably strayed from the Sandsamone [San Simon] Ranch, their usual range”. JF, 14 November 1946, Vol. 1, No. 5, p. 1.   

1946: “JUNIORS HOLD OPEN FORUM”. Hal Betty proposes a canteen to help students occupy spare time. Jimmie Curtis advocates formation of a student council. The following week, Mr. Walker announces plans for the implementation of a student council, following the drafting and acceptance of a constitution. JF, 12 December 1946, Vol. 1, No. 7, p. 1.  

1946: George Edward Davis serves as mayor most likely until 1948 when Leamon A. Beaird becomes mayor. The Jal Flare of October 1946 does not specify his term of service and he is also mayor in 1947, suggesting that he continues until Beaird begins his tenure. JF, 31 March 1946, Vol. 1, No. 4; James Davis and Leland Davis, pers. comm., 2007;  RPN, June 2007.  

1947: “PROCLAMATION: JAL, NEW MEXICO, 3-6-47. TO ALL CITIZENS AND RESIDENTS OF JAL, NEW MEXICO”: You are hereby notified that the week of April 12th to 20th inclusive is hereby designated as “Clean Up” week. Signed, Geo. E. Davis, Mayor. Attest: Blanche Calley, Town Clerk. JF, 06 March 1947, Vol. 1, No. 12, p. 4.   

1947: Miss Iva Lee Calley and Mr. William L. Justis are married Friday 21 March, uniting two of Jal’s oldest pioneering families. The bride is granddaughter of John Ambrose Ellis and Lillie Mary Knight, who arrived in the Jal area in 1914. The groom is the grandson of Charles Wesley and Mollie Justis. JF, 27 March 1947, Vol. 1, No. 13, p. 2.   

1948: El Paso Natural Gas Company, Keystone Field Plant, the company’s largest gas treating plant is built and located about 12 miles southeast [in Texas] of Jal.. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Sect. 1, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 3. 

1948: The Jal Chamber of Commerce is founded and C. R. Fussell is elected first president. TJR, 22 Sep 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1.  

1948: The parents of Raleigh R. Sims and Edy B. May come to the Eunice area of New Mexico to homestead in the early 1900’s. Raleigh and and Edy meet and marry on 16 June 1912. After a period in the Eunice area, the family moves to Seven Rivers, New Mexico to farm, but return to Eunice in 1930, which they consider home. After graduating from Eastern New Mexico University in 1948, Minnie Bell, the fifth of the six children, teaches in Jal for three years. She and Jack Day Hedgpeth marry and raise two daughters, Janet Lynn (’69) and Peggy Jean (’71) in Jal. Jack and Minnie Belle continue to live in Jal and remain active in civic and social affairs of the city. Jack came to Jal in 1943 and graduates from Jal High School in 1946. After attending Abilene Christian College, he returns to work for El Paso Natural Gas Company for 33 years. Dorothy (Sims) Gregory, Jewel (Sims) Griffin, and Minnie Bell (Sims) Hedgpeth, LCGS, 1984, p. 233-235.     

1948: Willard Eldon (Ikey) Lewis is elected President of the Jal Chamber of Commerce in November. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1 

1948 (May): Leamon A. Beaird takes the reins as mayor of Jal. Either he or his successor, J. T. Brady may have been Jal’s first elected mayors. JMO, 2006, 2007; RPN, June 2007.  

1949: The Board of Directors of the Jal Chamber of Commerce is composed of Louie Edward (Ed) Mabe, Jr., George Edward Davis, Estin A. Scearce, Jenie Lee Burke, Jr., Raymond L. Beaver, and Leamon A. Beaird. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1. 

1949: El Paso Natural Gas Company builds four new plants in the Jal Division at [named] Dimmitt, Goldsmith, Keystone Mainline- located 10 miles south of Jal, in Texas- and Wasson. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 2.   

1949:  George Blocker and Bess (Myrick) Blocker move to the Jal area, purchasing, together with George’s brother Bill, the Buffington and Justis ranches about eight miles northeast of Jal. Both George and Bess are active in business, in community, and in political affairs in Jal, in Lea County, and at the state level. George serves as the Jal and Lea County State Representative in Santa Fe during 1957-1973, previously as a Lea County Commissioner for 1953-1955, and as Chairman of the Jal Chamber of Commerce for 1955. They raise two sons in Jal, Gary Neill (’54) who graduates from Eastern New Mexico University and then returns to Jal, becomes active in business and community affairs and George Christopher, Jr. III (’57), who becomes an accomplished golfer. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1, 8; Bess Myrick Blocker, LCGS, 1984, p 11, 202-203); Oilpatch Kids…, 2004, p. 17-20. 


1950: Jal is incorporated. A Jal website indicates that Jal is incorporated in 1928, which seem more nearly correct than 1950. JMO, 2006; Phyllis Eileen Banks, 2002, jalnewmexico.com website, click on Jal- New Mexico’s Finest Corner. 

1950: “THE JAL RECORD IS FIRST PUBLISHED ON 09 FEBRUARY 1950, VOL. 1, NO. 1”. Floy Ann Wynn is Owner and Editor. J. B. Baum is the paper’s first subscriber. TJR, 09 February 1950, Vol. 1, No.1, p. 1.  

1950: Jack Day Hedgpeth (’46) and Minnie Belle Sims are married in Jal, Friday, 07 April 1950. TJR, Vol. 1, No. 8, p. 5.   

1950: “EARLY MORNING FIRE DESTROYS CACTUS BAR ON EAST MAIN ST.”. Business Formerly Known as Maxine’s Bar. Managed by Roy and Rena Privott. TJR, 20 April 1950, Vol. 1, No. 12, p. 1.  

1950: Willard Eldon (Ikey) Lewis returns by election as President of the Chamber of Commerce, having first been elected in 1948. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1. 

1950: Leamon A. Beaird returns as mayor. Clyde Leavell is reelected City Police Judge without opposition. Morris Whitworth returns as Alderman, Ward 1. Other officials returned or newly elected are: John W. Blocker, Ward 2; John T. Brady, Ward 3; and Homer G. Sapp, Ward 4. TJR, 20 April 1950, Vol. 1, No.12, p. 1; JMO, 2006, 2007; RPN, June 2007.  


1950: “MISS STELLA SULLIVAN AND TEXAS MAN TO WED SATURDAY”. Sullivan, Grade School Principal here for last seven years, to wed Dr. James E. Boswell of Greenville, Texas on Saturday in Lovington. TJR, 01 June 1950, Vol. 1, No. 17, p. 8. 

1950: “JAL GETS NEW CITY HALL, CONTRACT BIDS END 17TH”  [July]. TJR, 13 July 1950, Vol. 1, No. 23, p. 1.  

1950: “JAL MAN DRAFTED FOR ARMED SERVICE”. Don Lindsey, one of seven Lea County Youths awaiting induction. TJR, 19 October 1950, No. 1, No. 37, p. 1.   

1950: Located about 4 four miles northeast of Jal, El Paso Natural Gas Company, Plant No. 3 is constructed. Also this year, El Paso Natural Gas Company plants are constructed at [named] Hobbs, McElroy-Crane, Monument, and Sealy-Smith. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 2. 

1951: Dr. J. T. Brady occupies the mayor’s chair. JMO, 2006; RPN, June, 2007.   


                      Mrs. Sam Beckham……………………President

                      Mrs. Walter Anderson……………Vice President

                      Mrs. Morris Whitworth…………….Co-Secretary

                      Mrs. Floyd Stuart (’41)….…………Co-Secretary

                      Spencer Ely…………………………….Treasurer

Richard Arnold Goodner (’42), the first President (Pro-tem) is accredited with promoting the organization of the Ex-Students Association here. TJR, 01 November 1951, Vol. 2, No. 39, p. 1 and TJR, 25 September 1952, Vol. 3, No. 31, p. 1.   

1951: “JAL’S FORMER BOYS AND GIRLS ARE COMING HOME”. Huge Assembly of Ex-Students Are Expected For Event. J. J. Smith, Former Jal Coach, Will Be Principal Speaker Friday Evening. TJR, 25 October 1951, Vol. 2, No. 38, p. 1.  

1951: The Jal Country Club is organized with grass greens and watered fairways. Gidd Faircloth is hired as the club’s first golf professional. He is followed by Al Forrester, Hardy Loudermilk, Bill Eschenbrenner, and Pat Dolan. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 2.  

1951: The Jal Gassers baseball team is accorded many honors during their reign, but most satisfying is the championship win of the Baseball Congress of West Texas and Southern New Mexico in 1951. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 6.  

1952:EPNG SPREADS WINGS CONSIDERABLY SINCE 1929”. Building Fourth Gasoline Plant in Jal Area. TJR, 28 February 1952, Vol. 3, No. 1, p.1.      

1952: Homer Pender is elected President of the Chamber of Commerce and Clyde Raymond Leavell is elected Vice President. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue,  Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1. 

1952: El Paso Natural Gas Company Plant No. 4, the company’s centralized LPG [Liquefied Petroleum Gas] fractionating plant for Plant Nos. 1, 2, and 3, is constructed and is located about 10 miles north of Jal. TJR, 22 Sepember 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 3.  


1952: “JAL’S EX-STUDENTS TO CONVENE HERE FOR THIRD ANNUAL HOMECOMING”. The Jal High School Ex-Students Association was organized in the fall of 1950. Richard Arnold Goodner (‘42) is first President (Pro-tem) and Donna (Mrs. C. L.) Klepper (‘41) as Secretary-Treasurer. The first Homecoming was held 03 November 1950 at which time the following officers were elected for the 1950-`51 term:

                       Neal Hoyt Fellers (’36)………………..President             

                       Carl Murray (‘39)………………..Vice President

                       Floyd C. Stuart (’41)…………………..Secretary

                       Morris Whitworth..................................Treasurer

TJR, 25 September 1952, Vol. 3, No. 31, p. 1. 

1952: The forty former school districts in Lea County are officially reorganized into five independent municipal school systems during the year prior to the termination of the Lea County Board of Education in December of this year (see figure below). The five new municipal districts are now Eunice, Hobbs, Jal, Lovington, and Tatum. Examples of the former numbered districts under the jurisdiction of the Lea County Board of Education are: No. 18, Cooper; No. 34, Crossroads; No. 22, McDonald; No. 2, Monument; No. 38, Ochoa, and so forth. Jordan and others, 1991, p. xiv, xv; xxvii, LCGS, 1984, p. 18-19; GLESH, Vol. 12, No. 2.   

1953 (June): Homer Pender is elected mayor and serves until March 1954. JMO, 2006; RPN, June, 2007.    

1953: Clyde Raymond Leavell, by election, becomes the fourth President of the Jal Chamber of Commerce with George E. (Gus) Kendrick elected as Vice President. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1.  

1953: In November, George Blocker reported that Eddy County makes the Jal to Carlsbad highway the No. 1 project in the state and removes the [unpaved road] from the Farm to Market list. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1. 


1953: Becky Jo Smith (’53) wins the American Junior Rodeo Association Championship for the second year in a row. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 6.  

1953: “GOVERNOR EDWIN MECHEM TO DEDICATE NEW JAL AIRPORT” at Sunrise Breakfast, Saturday, 20 June 1950. TJR, 13 June 1953, Vol. 4, No. 15, p. 1.  

1953: “C. A. (BUTCH) BOYD IS CO-OWNER [with George Blocker] OF B & B FOOD MARKET”. TJR, 18 June 1953, Vol. 4, No. 15, p. 1.  

1953: “EX-STUDENTS ASSOCIATION ORGANIZED FALL OF 1950”. Richard A. Goodner elected President pro-tem. Hoyt Fellers (’36) elected first full President for 1950-’51. Mrs. Sam Beckham served as President for 1951-’52. The following officers were elected for the 1952-’53 school year:

                        Bob Whitworth (’42)………………….President

                        Spencer Ely………………………Vice President

                        Clyde Cooper………………………….Treasurer

                        Clara Lou Clements……………………Secretary

                        Dama Whitworth………………………Secretary

TJR, 08 October 1953, Vol. 4, No. 30, p. 1.  

1953: “CUNNINGHAM BROTHERS ELECTED TO HEAD JAL EX-STUDENTS ASSOCIATION”. John Wiley (’45) is elected President and his brother Wallace (’48) was elected Vice President for the 1953-’54 term. TJR, 15 October 1953, Vol. 4, No. 13, p. 1.  

1954: “CONTINENTAL OIL COMPANY’S BELL-LAKE NO. 1 CATCHES FIRE, SATURDAY 13 MARCH 1954”. An attempt to extinguish the flames about one week later by Myron Kinley, famous Houston oil-well fighter, fails due to a wind shift. Roaring gas well opens big pool in Delaware Basin. TJR, 18 March 1954, Vol. 4, No. 52, p. 1.  

1954 (April): T. M. Pierce serves as Jal Mayor until April 1955. JMO, 2006; RPN, June, 2007.   


1954: “C. M. SPRUILL PURCHASES MODERN GROCERY AND MARKET FROM TONY AND BETTY HURTA, 19 June 1952”, Second Anniversary, 19 June 1954. TJR, 17 June 1954, Vol. 5, No. 12, p. 1.    

1954: Clyde Raymond Leavell keeps his desk for a second term as elected President of the Jal Chamber of Commerce. Board members at this time of the chamber are: Fred A. Thigpen, Dale H. McCoy, and N. A. Dyer. Efforts to secure a medical doctor for Jal were on the chamber agenda. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1.  

1954: Of Jal sports lore, The Jal Gassers basketball team must be mentioned. The precise birth of the team is not known to this writer, but players involved took to the courts for some time in the early 1950’s, perhaps before. Among the stars are Jal High School “Professors” and students of noted athletic ability, and are: Jack McEwen, Bud Hendrickson, Ernie Miller, Mart Cope, Alton Fuller, Harold Gaddis, Johnny Miller, Gilder Clary, Buddy Phillips, and particularly, Truman Gaskin at 6’4”. This team wins the AAA State Playoff Championship three years in a row from 1952-1954. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 6.  

1954: Jal High School graduates a class of twenty-eight. Most are shown below in the class photograph, together with their class sponsors, G. M. Shiplet and Beatrice Shiplet.  In the photograph below it, fifty years on, the class is shown again at its 50th  reunion, 18-20 June 2004, in Pecos, New Mexico at the home of Alvis and JoAnn McDonald.  


FRONT ROW: G. M. Shiplet, Olan Addison Cody, David Mack Goin, Carroll Harris Leavell, Charles Andrew McGaha, Leonard Dale Webb, Jerry Lee Lewallen, Jackie Lee Graves, Beatrice Shiplet

SECOND ROW: Donald Gene Hadley, Patricia Joyce Whiteley, Earnestine Jo Anne Hill, Carlynne Sue Whitworth, Juanita Scott, Charlotte Naomi Teeples, Doris Laverne Swain, Martha Ann Boyd, Ronald Dean Hadley

BACK ROW: Willard Eldon Lewis, Jr., Melvin Lee Pyeatt, Stanley Max Putman, Alvis E. McDonald, Billy Douglas Grimes, Ted Foster, Jr., Gary Neill Blocker, Billy Don Stanley, Jimmie Don Terrell    

NOT SHOWN: Jeff R. Coates, William Jarvis Grobe, Joyce Pate, Herschel Weldon Teeples

Read all rows, left to right 


FRONT ROW: Billy Don Stanley, Willard Eldon Lewis, Jr. Carroll Harris Leavell, Ted (“Foghorn”) Foster, Jr., Donald Gene Hadley

SECOND ROW: Alvis E. McDonald, Betty (Dorminey) Banks, Doris Laverne Swain Phillips, Martha Ann Boyd Lasater (with glasses), Patricia Joyce Whiteley Morrison, Charlotte Naomi Teeples Foster, Gary Neill Blocker

THIRD ROW: Leonard Dale Webb, Earnestine Jo Anne Hill Ward, Charles Andrew McGaha (with hat), Stanley Max Putman (behind Martha Lasater), Jerry Lee Lewallen, (with porkpie hat), David Mack Goin, Willian Jarvis Grobe

AT REAR (ELEVATED): Billy Douglas Grimes, Ronald Dean Hadley

Read all rows, left to right  

1955 (May): Fred A. Thigpen becomes Jal’s Mayor for a lengthy tenure until February 1963. [An unknown gap exists in the mayorship between February 1963 and March 1964.  [Author note: An Acting mayor may have served during this interval or else, Thigpen possibly served until about March 1964]. JMO, 2006; RPN, June, 2007.  

1955: George E. (Gus) Kendrick occupies the chair of President of the Chamber of Commerce with N. A. Dyer ably assisting as Vice President. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8.  

1955: George Blocker is elected to fill the unexpired term of President of the Chamber of Commerce when Gus Kendrick resigns. During the year, the chamber brings Dr. John O’Loughlin to Jal as physician of the newly completed clinic. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8.   

1955: Becky Jo Smith wins rodeo honors again, this time winning the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Championship for the second year in a row. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 6.  

1955: Chris Blocker, Doyle Dunn, and Ronnie Beaird win the Class B State Championship of golf. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8 and TJR, 12 May 1955.  

1956: N. A. Dyer dons the president’s hat of the Chamber of Commerce, and under his watch a large sign is erected on highway 18 at the south entrance to Jal proclaiming, Jal, Gas Capitol of the World. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1 p. 8. 

1956: The El Paso Natural Gas Company incorporates its principal subsidiary in [Odessa] Texas. The new company will produce plastics, synthetic rubber, fibers, and fertilizer. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1.   

1957: Highway 128 from Jal to Carlsbad is completed and jointly dedicated by the Chambers of Commerce of the two cities. Officials from the state, Lea County, Jal and Carlsbad witness the ceremonial opening as Governor Edwin Mechem cuts the ribbon. As many as 1,500 people attend the event. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8.   

1957: Kathrynne Whitworth (`57) wins New Mexico’s state golfing title for women for the second year in a row, having captured the title and honor last year. She turns pro after this year’s state title. TJR, 25 July 1957; TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. l; Kathy Whitworth, LCGS, 1984, p. 241.   

1958: Kathy Whitworth (’57) plays her first professional tournament- The Titleholders- at Augusta, Georgia. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1.   

1958: Clyde Raymond Leavell is elected for a record third term as President of the Chamber of Commerce. Jerrell Young serves as Vice President. During this period, the Chamber circulates a petition for a bond issue of $250,000 for a Jal hospital. The petition is contested, but later resolved and supplemented by widespread local donations. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8.  

1959: Jerrell Young becomes President of the Chamber of Commerce with the chamber custom of the Vice President rising to the previous president’s position, but resigns during the year to move from Jal. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8. 

1959: C. C. Walker is elected to fill the remainder Young’s term. Young was instrumental in guiding the city through the difficulties associated with the approval and siting of the new Jal hospital. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8.

1960: Morris C. Whitworth is elected Chamber of Commerce President. He is greeted with new office furniture and equipment and under his tenure, institutes merchant workshops, a map of the city, and brochures on “The Story of Jal”. TJR, 22 September 1966, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8. 

1960: The Jal Panthers coached by Harold Wickersham are the state high school football champions, defeating Navajo Mission, 76-0. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8.  

1961: Coached by Harold Wickersham, the Jal Panthers win the State Football Championship for the second year in a row  by defeating Gallup Cathedral 53-0. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 6.  

1961: New chamber president, Russell Sadler guides the acquisition of another    physician for Jal to provide additional medical support for its new twelve-bed hospital, completed on 16 April. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8.  

1962: Kathrynne (Kathy) Whitworth wins her first professional tournament- the Kelly Girl Open- in Ellicott City, Maryland and subsequently gains an outstanding number of honors, among which are the most wins of any golfer in history (man or woman) with eighty-eight titles to her credit. She is the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s (LPGA) leading money winner for eight years, player of the year seven times, winner of six major titles, President of the LPGA for three years, and much more. Kathy Whitworth, LCGS, 1984, p. 241; TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1 , 10; TJR, 08 August 2002, p. 4; USA Today, 24 June 1999, p. 12C.  

1962: President and Vice President, respectively, of the Chamber of Commerce for the year are Rowland Kemp and R. F. Williams. They begin work to obtain a dentist for the city and print an additional 5,000 city maps for distribution. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 1, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8.   

1963: R. F. Williams moves up to President of the Chamber of Commerce and David Audley Boyd (’47) is elected Vice President. Dr. Bob Smith opens Jal’s first dental clinic. During the year, a newcomer program is enacted, under which, 108 new families are welcomed to Jal. Harrison, 2003; TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8;  Swain, and others, 2005. 

1964 (March): John Blocker wins the hearts of Jal citizens and takes over the Mayor’s Office for a “presidential sitting term” of four years until January 1968. JMO, 2006; RPN, June, 2007.  

1964: Dr. Elwood Schmidt serves as Chamber of Commerce President. Howard Denton is Vice President. In town for the last session of the Action Course in Practical Politics instituted in 1960, are Governor John Campbell and U. S. Senator and former GovernorEdwin Mechem. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8. 

1965:  Howard Denton succeeds Dr. Schmidt as Chamber of Commerce President. Roslyn Watkins is chamber manager. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8. 

1966: Jal lays out an ambitious program of events to celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversary of its founding in 1916 for the three day period of Friday through Sunday 23-25 September.   Ex-Students registration is Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Panther Gymnasium, followed by other events, a parade at 2 p.m., the traditional Crowning of the Homecoming Queen, Miss Roxie McMahan (’67), the Jal vs Wink football game, and an Ex-Students dance from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. A packed schedule of activities continues on Saturday and Sunday, including among other activities, a barbeque and an all-comers street dance on Saturday with sky diving and matched roping events staged on Sunday. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 1; Swain and others, 2005.      

1966: During this anniversary year, Carroll Harris Leavell (’54) is chosen as President of the Chamber of Commerce. Carroll follows in his father’s footsteps, who served three terms- the most to date (1953-54, 1958) - as chamber president. Serving with Carroll is  manager Kathy Foster. TJR, 22 September 1966, Anniversary Issue, Vol. 16, No. 52, Sec. 1, p. 8.  

1968 (February): Donald Bradford Gillit (’47), Jal’s first Jal High School graduate to capture the mayor’s job, begins his tenure until February 1972. Harrison, 2003; JMO, 2007; RPN, June, 2007; Swain and others, 2005.    

1972 (March): Louis V. Bays, Jr. takes the seat as Jal’s Mayor until February 1974. JMO, 2007; RPN, June, 2007.   

1974 (March): Gary Neill Blocker (’54), a close relative of former mayor John Blocker is the second Jal High School graduate to become Jal’s mayor; Gary serves until February 1982. JMO, 2007; RPN, June 2007.    

1982 (March): Morris C. Whitworth becomes mayor and holds the office for six years until April 1988. JMO, 2007; RPN, June, 2007.  

1988 (May): Blackie Ellison is elected Mayor of Jal and serves until February 1989.

JMO, 2006; RPN, June, 2007.  

1989 (March): Following Blackie Ellison, Jim Pierson serves as Jal’s Mayor until March 1994. JMO, 2006; RPN, June, 2007.    

1994 (April): Billy Webb (’70) is Jal’s Mayor to March 1996. JMO, 2006; RPN, June, 2007.  

1996 (April): Claydean Claiborne and Jal High School graduate (’57), becomes Jal’s first Lady Mayor and its longest serving to March 2006. JMO, 2006; RPN, June, 2007.  

2006 (April): Fred Seifts, serving the City of Jal for twenty-five years, rounds out his service with one final year as mayor until July 2007. TJR, 19 July, 2007, Vol. 61, No. 34, p. 1; JMO, 2006; RPN, June, 2007.     

2007 (February): This month, I asked my good friend and Jal High School classmate, David Mack Goin (`54) if he would be willing to check the cattle brands registered in the Palo Pinto County Court House, Texas. Dave and Glenda live in Graham, Texas, about forty miles from Palo Pinto. He did so, and here is what he found (see also the photocopy records presented below): 

J. A. Edwards    Brand J A L    No.614       May 6, 1872           Location not specified          

J. A. Lynch        Brand J L 7     No. 2381    March 7, 1881        Left hip     

C. M. Rose         Brand J A L    No. 3971    August 20, 1888     Left side 

M. E. Rose         Brand J A L    No. 3970    August 20, 1888     Left side 

Wm. W. Rose     Brand J A L    No. 3699    June 14, 1886         Left side 

J. L. Whitley       Brand J A L    No. 4648    March 27 1897       Left side  

All brands are registered in Palo Pinto County except Whitley (Brazos PP (?) Co) and Lynch, which could be from the writing Erry or Pasque counties, both dittoed from the brand entry above. Neither Erry nor Pasque are Texas counties, if I have interpreted the spelling correctly. Also, in the Lea County Tribune issue, I show the Wm. W. Rose brand number as 3499, not 3699 as above. The 3699 number seems to be more nearly correct. Since it is difficult to decipher the Lynch county of registry, that poses a problem. Moreover, the middle letter of the brand given could be either one of the following: 4, L, reverse J, or reversed upside down 7 (see below). Bear in mind that brands come in many versions. The best interpretation, however, I believe is J L 7. All of the A’s above are normal with crossbar; none are open as is generally accepted for the J A L brand. Since the brands were written by hand in the record book, an open A could easily have been depicted. Finally, two additional points from the above information concerning the J A L brand: one, except Lynch, none of the above names equal JAL initials or a likely would-be derived brand (again, the Lynch brand above is on the left hip), and two, none of the brands are located on the left shoulder, left main body, and left hip, which is a generally accepted placement of the Jal brand on Lea County cattle. John A. Lynch, the leading candidate for the JAL brand, thus appears to have come from Palo Pinto County, Texas, but his registered brand does not spell his initials nor JAL. Therefore, the source of the brand appears murky relative to Jal, both as to name source and to county or place where it arose. 

In summary, the Cowden’s (Pettit, 2006) state their Jal brand was purchased from J. A. Edwards. But four other Palo Pinto ranchers have the brand, which seems to contravene branding policy. And, the Cowdens registered the Jal brand again in Midland County, Texas (Smith, 1984) which would also seems to violate state branding policy. Why did neither the Cowdens nor Lynch (if Lynch ever was in New Mexico) register the J A L brand in New Mexico Territory when they went there? The New Mexico Livestock Board was functioning (1887) during the time of their ranching operations. Please note, the Cowden brand registered in Midland does show the open A or upsidedown V in the handwritten text and no crossbar at the top of the J (see 1895 entry date).   

In summary, from the information presented in this chronology, I can only offer observations; no concrete solutions come to my mind yet regarding a clear, unequivocal origin of the brand J A L and its usage in New Mexico.      



2007 (July): Lorenzo Chacon becomes Jal’s mayor. TJR, 19 July 2007, Vol. 61, No. 34, p. 1.   


Austin, Orval, 1976, Jal, New Mexico, Tough as an Old Boot: Jal, The Jal Record, 123 p.  

Bates, R. L. and Jackson, J. A. (Editors), 1980, Glossary of Geology: Falls Church,         Virginia, American Geological Institute, 2nd Edition, p. 631.  

Benchmark Maps, Staff, 1999, New Mexico Road & Recreation Atlas: Medford, Oregon,96 p.  

Brininstool, Bill, 2003, The Jal Record Issues for 22 September 1966: Personal Communication (pers comm.). 

Burdett, W. H., Cheser, Elaine, Kiipcak, M. D., and Suttle, A. B., 1990, The Roads of New Mexico: Austin, Shearer Publishing, 128 p.  

Burke, Jenie Lee, Jr., and Butler, Roy, 1980, The Best of Burke & Butler: Hobbs, Privately Printed, Superior Printing Service, Inc., 32 p.    

Davis, James, and Davis, Leland, 2007, Mayoral data for George Edward Davis: Personal      Communication.  

Goin, David Mack, 2007, Records of Brands, Palo Pinto County, Texas: Personal Communication, 9 p.  

Greater Llano Estacado Southwest Heritage, NDAT, Volume 12, No. 2, GLESH

Grobe, Elena Cooper, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007: Cooper Family History: Personal Communication.  

Hadley, Donald G., 2007, Mayors of Jal: Rusty Pipeliners’ News (RPN): El Paso Natural Gas Company/Meridian Oil Incorporated, Online at www.RustyPipeliner.com, and printed copy, June 2007, p. 7.  

Harris, Jim, 2001, Linebery & Friends, of the Frying Pan Ranch: Hobbs, Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center, 266 p.  

Harrison, Kim, 2003, Data of Jal High School Graduates: Personal Communication.  

Hinshaw, Gil, 1984, Lea, New Mexico’s Last Frontier: Hobbs, The Hobbs Daily News- Sun, Third, Edition, 292 p. 

Jal High School Class of 1954 and Coauthors, Burke, Marilyn, Cope, Mart, McEwen, Jack, Tatkenhorst, Velma, Davis, Leland, Brown, Marjorie Petty, Pyeatt, David, and Whitworth, Kathrynne, 2004, Oil Patch Kids, Raised in a Corner Amid Cows, Oil Rigs, and Jackrabbits, Tall Tales and Reminiscences of the Class of 1954, Jal High School: Herndon, Virginia, Informally Published, 161 p. 

Jal Mayor’s Office, 2006, 2007, Personal Communication (JMO).  

Jordan, Mettie, Brooks, Connie, and Mauldin, Lynn C., 1991, Lea County Schools: Hobbs, Privately Printed, 213 p.   

Julyan, Robert, 1998, The Place Names of New Mexico: Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, 2nd Edition, 385 p.  

Laan, Deanna Vander, and Fleming, Robert H., 1988, 1988 Brand Book of the State of  New Mexico: Santa Fe, No Publisher Indicated, 612 p.  

Lanning, Virginia Curnutt, 1972, Cemeteries, Lea County, New Mexico: Hobbs, Virginia Curnutt Lanning, 136 p.    

Lea County Board of Education, Minutes, Various dates (MLCBOE).  

Lea County Genealogical Society, 1979, Then and Now, Lea County Families: Lovington, Lea County Genealogical Society, Volume I, 580 p. (LCGS).  

Lea County Genealogical Society, 1984, Then and Now, Lea County Families and History: Lovington, Lea County Genealogical Society, Volume II, 539 p. (LCGS).    

Lewis, Willard Eldon, Jr., 2007, Lewis Family History: Personal Communication.  

Mangan, Frank, 1977, The Pipeliners, The Story of El Paso Natural Gas: El Paso, Guynes Press, 354 p.  

Merchant, Lawrence, 1975, The San Simon: Carlsbad, Nichols Printing, Inc. 160 p.  

Myres, Samuel D. 1973, The Permian Basin, Petroleum Basin of the Southwest, Era of Discovery, From the Beginning to the Depression: El Paso, Permian Press, 708 p.  


Hobbs Daily News-Sun (HDNS

Jal Flare (JF

The Jal Informer (JI

The Jal Flare (TJF)  

The Panther Track (TPT

The Jal Record (TJR)

      1966, Anniversary Issue, 22 September 1966, Volume 16, Number 52, Section 1,

      11 p., Section 2, 12 p. 

      1991, Rancher’s Day Supplement, 16 p.

      Many other issues and articles (see individual entry dates) 

The Lovington Daily-Leader (TLDL

Pettit, Michael, 2006, Riding for the Brand, 150 Years of Cowden Ranching, Being an Account of the Adventures and Growth in Texas and New Mexico of the Cowden Land & Cattle Company: Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 306 p.  

Seidman, Carrie, and Seidman, Tracy, 1992, Brands Forge Red-Hot Heritage: Santa Fe, New Mexico Magazine, November, 1992, p. 78-85.  

Smith, Sarah Rebecca, 2003, Jal History: Personal Communication.  

Staff of the Office of  Mayor, Jal, Personal Communication, 2006 and 2007. 

Swain, Roxie McMahan, Cooper, Bert, and Stephens, Brenda McMahan, 2000, Jal Public Schools Y2K Reunion, Student/Teacher Directory, Classes of 1936-2000, Jal, New Mexico, September 1-3, 2000: Jal, Privately Printed, 226 p.  

Swain, Roxie McMahan, Cooper, Bert, and Stephens, Brenda McMahan, 2005, Jal Public Schools Reunion 2005, Student/Teacher Directory, Classes of 1936-2005, Jal, New Mexico, September 2-4, 2005: Jal, Privately Printed, 165 p.   

Swain, Roxie McMahan, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005, Data, Jal history and schools: Personal communication. 

U. S. Geological Survey, 1978, Topographic map of Jal, New Mexico-Texas: Reston, Virginia, U. S. Geological Survey, Scale 1:100,000.  

Waters, Raymond F., 1954, Baker Flats, Murphy’s Chapel, Harmony – Just Memories Now: Hobbs, Hobbs Daily News-Sun, 01 November 1954, p. 1, 5.  

Courtesy of:

Donald G. Hadley   

12211 Westwood Hills Dr.

Herndon, VA 20171

703-758-1335                                                                                               dghadley@hotmail.com