Lea County Mysteries

Should anyone have knowledge regarding a mystery listed on this page, a family or historical mystery pertaining to Lea County that you would like to submit, please email Erny or Lea County historian David L. Minton.


Famariss Loading Rack

The Famariss Refinery was located in Monument, New Mexico, supposedly built from the scrap pile of the adjacent Warren Pet. Plant. The refinery was in operation until 1980. Throught it's lifespan the facility produced millions of gallons of fuel.

Some of the workers were: Bill Hart, Plant Supervisor; Alva Pate, Operation Supervisor, Jon Joy, Shift Foreman, Darrell New, Shift Foreman, Erny Long, Boardman, Burly Jackson, Welder.

If you have historical knowledge of this plant and the people that worked their please contact Erny.


Medlin Lynch

Who is this man? The shorter man is Medlin Lynch.

The photo was taken about 1962 at the Denton Processing plant, east of Lovington, New Mexico on the Plains Hwy. If you have information regarding this photo please contact David L. Minton or Erny Long.

Rejected Lover Kills Himself:
Hobbs, News Sun, April 24, 1939

Eunice High School Janitor Writes Suicide Note To His Sweetheart

     Because his love for his sweetheart was not recipricated Nealus G. Estes, 27, shot and killed himself at Eunice last night.
Two notes written to "Pearl" were found in his pocket, one saying, "I begged and pleaded for my life - but you wouldn"t listen." The notes were worn and frayed indicating Estes had been contemplating suicide for sometime.
     Estes was janitor of the high school at Eunice, where he had lived for the past two years. He shot himself about ten o'clock last night on the Eunice school grounds, sending two slugs through his heart with a .32 automatic pistol.
     A coroner's jury returned a verdict of suicide following a inquest held at Eunice last night before Faugh H. Bowden, J.P. and ex-officio coroner. The jusry was composed of A.D.; Balden, W.R. Baydstun, R.W. Wilkson, W.F. Turner, Ralph McWorther.
     One of the suicide notes said: "The last words on earth to Pearl. I begged and pleaded for my life, didn't I? But you wouln't listen. But it is too late now. I am at rest. But you will go with me to where I am laid beneath the sod. I want to be laid in Whitlow Cemetery in Arkansas just as close to my father as I can be put. And God bless you and I hope you much happiness. So long honey, Pearl"
Nealus Estes
"P.S.- I am tired of living."
     The body was forwarded today to Hoxie, Ark., Estes' former home.
He is survived by two brothers, Felix and George Estes of Eunice and by his mother, another brother and three sisters, all of Hoxie.
Carpenter Funeral Home was in charge.

Who was, "Pearl"? Family historians are trying to identify this person. She may have also worked at the Eunice school. Should you have any information regarding this mystery please contact: Erny

William H. Embrey, dissappeares.

William and son, Elmer, were travelling by car from Mills Co., TX to work in the oil field for Standard Oil Company around 1930. Enrote, they stopped near  Hobbs, NM., and William wandered away and his son never found him.
William was known to carry a little money in his bibbed overalls to play cards.
William, shown in this 1925 photograph taken @ 1925 in Texas.
William would have been around 60 years old and 5'9' in hiegth.

Anyone having knowledge of what may have happened to William is can contact Erny or David.

Know any these people, when or where the photo was taken in Hobbs, New Mexico. Please contact Erny with any information.



Travelling south on New Mexicio State Road 8, approximately 1 mile south of Oil Center, New Mexico, on the left side of the road is the crumpled wreck of what was originally a 1951 Ford Custom Club Coupe. The wreckage has been there for at least 40 years. I believe the vehicle was involved in a fatal crash and was pushed to the side of the road where it has remained. Should anyone have any information on the wreck please contact Erny.

Missing Bicentennial Time Capsule

Twenty-four years after it's burial in 1976, a time capsule buried by the Mills Elementary sixth grade class was scheduled for opening. Former student Tony Young, remembers his class recording a tape for the capsule, thirty-three years ago.

Young, now a resident of Illinois, had returned to Hobbs, New Mexico and was curious if the time capsule had been recovered an opened.

Searching through old newspaper archives, questioning school officials and friends, many remembered the time capsule, but, no one could remember if it had been recovered and opened.

Young is scheduled to return to Hobbs in January 2010 with hopes of discovering the time capsule or information regarding the opening of the capsule.

Should anyone have knowledge of the whereabouts of the capsule or if it was recovered and opened, please contact Tony or Erny.


Who is Kenneth?

Located in the  Lovington, New Mexico cemetery on the Nolan plot. There is no record of this child being buried, when the headstone was placed there, or by whom?

Only the childs name, "Kenneth" his age "11" and "8th" grade. any infomation regard If you have infomation regarding this headstone, please email Dave or Erny">

Snyder Ranch Crew

Do you recognize any of these men? The Snyder Ranch Crew photo was taken between 1946 - 1952. Listed in the picture are: 1.?, 2. Mark Smith. 3.?, 4. Dan Berry, 5.?, 6. Sylvester "Syl" Hooper, 7. Leonard Daniel, 8.Tom Green, 9.?, 10.?, 11. Ed Love, 12.?, 13. Alva "Frog" Marley 14. Dan Houston, 15. Toehead Bingham, 16. Joe McDurmett  If you can identify any of these men, please Contact Erny



July 17th, 1936. The Hobbs Daily News reports: State police and county officers investigate the disappearance of William Jennings Bryan Mayhall of Monument, New Mexico.

Missing veteran, William Jenning Bryan Mayhill, returns from Albuquerque Hospital, after reading he was robbed.

Jal, New Mexico, May 22nd, 1936. Hobbs Daily News reports: Sign Painter waits for train, Bows Head to Track to Die.

An unidentified man, a sign painter by trade, apparently tired of living, ended his life yesterday at 1:30 PM under the south bound Texas & Pacific train.  A tattoo of an "Oriental Dancer" on left arm with the words, "Manilla" and tattoo on his right forearm, "In memory of my mother" are the only identifying marks.

If you have any information on this person please contact Erny

Where's Jack? A a 1930 forceWhere's Jack? A a 1930 force to be reckoned with, a cigar smoking, gun packing lawmen Jack Seay of the Lea County Sheriffs office.Know the whereabouts of this man?


In July of 1932, Deputy Jack Seay of the Lea County sheriff’s office went to the Silver Rooms in Hobbs to talk to some men about counterfeit bills that had been passed there. As he entered the room, he was ambushed and shot through the hips, with the bullet causing much damage internally. Jack survived and was in and out of Veteran's hospitals for the next several years. Jack may not have been his legal name, but that is what he went by.  His wife was the former Mary Little. On the 1930 Census, Jack is 40 years old and lists his occupation as Chief of Police in Jal NM.  Mary Seay is 32 years of age. It is believed that Jack died in the V.A. hospital in El Paso, Texas in the early 1950’s, Mary died sometime before Jack.  I am trying to locate the final resting place of Jack and Mary Seay, if you have knowledge of Jack Seay's history and burial site, please email eam.net">Erny.

Deputy Jack Seay died in 1959, he is buried wife his wife Mary Little who died in 1951, both buried in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Have a local mystery that you would like added to this page. Please email Erny

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