Monument, Lea's first settlement

Monument Geronimo Statue
 

Monument Centenial Placque

Jim Cook dugout located behind current Monument Post Office, photo courtesy of the Hobbs News Sun

 

 

 

The township of Monument, recognized as the birthplace of Lea County, as it was the first and is oldest surviving township in Lea County, settled in 1885, named for the white caliche rock monument that marked the location of water. There appears to be two different accounts as to the builders of the rock monument:  location of Monument springs.

In the book, "Boone Boys Frontiersman and Their Great Wild West Show", as told by Pecos Pate Boone, the statue was built by a band  of Indians to mark the location of water.

Shafter, found no indications of people in the area, to include Indians that he was chasing and there was no mention of Native American artifacts, though they roamed this area as evidenced by artifacts that have been  found in the area.

Between 1880 and 1885, buffalo hunters  Jim Harvey and Dick Wilkerson had settled the area and are said to have used the rocks in the winter of 1883 to build a rock cabin at Monument Springs.

Bill Oden, the founder of the Dug Springs ranch south of Monument, later wrote that the house was not completed in late 1884 when he came through. The house was later to be the headquarters of the Hat Ranch.

The Hat Ranch that covered most of the area from the Pecos River to the Texas state line was one of the first and largest ranches in the area.

By 1900 several ranches had been formed, and to serve these ranches on Dec 19th, 1900 the Monument Post Office was established by Jim Cook who had previously opened a small store. The mail was brought from Carlsbad some 80 eighty miles away once a week by horseback.

In 1902 a rock house became the first school with 10-15 people, classes were taught by Mrs. Rice. The following year a one room building was built as a school and classes were taught by Virginia Hendron.

Wagon peddler, Rube Knowles brought his goods into the community thereby giving residents of Monument two stores.

Settlers slowly moved into the area and soon the community of Monument was formed.

The first doctor to the area Dr. Arthur A. Deardoff  hung his shingle in 1907.

Monument School Records

Several of the older families still live in the area and have properties here, although the large ranches were slowly being divided or sold off and eroded by the Homestead Act.

Until the discovery of oil in the area of Monument in 1928, things were slow to happen. Wind, drought and the lonesomeness of the plains caused many a settler to pack up and move.

In the area, several dugouts still remain including what is believed to be the original Jim Cook dugout; located south of the present day post office.

In the township of Monument stands the Indian statue named "Geronimo" by the locals. Some say he is looking westward for water, some say looking for a drink of whiskey, as he was located in front of the Geronimo Hut, a local dance hall.

It appears that Geronimo was run into not once, but twice, thereafter the statue was moved to its present location. Given these circumstances, is there any doubt as to what the bedraggled Geronimo was looking for. In the area, several dugouts still remain including what is believed to be the original Jim Cook dugout; located south of the present day post office.

In the township of Monument, stands the Indian statue named "Geronimo", by the locals. Some say he is looking westward for water, some say looking for a drink of whiskey, as he was located in front of the Geronimo Hut, a locale dance hall. It appears that for some unknown reason, Geronimo was ran into not once, but twice, thereafter the stature was moved to it's present location. Given these circumstances, is there any doubt as to what the bedraggled Geronimo is watching for?

 

 


Monument Springs 2010

Bird ranch house built circa 1908, photo taken in 1985.
McArthur's General Store. Unknown date

Early Monument School. No date or names available

Alexander Windmill and store

 Alexander Store and Windmill 2006, first built as a lumber store, later converted to Alexander's Store. The windmil built in the 1930's supplied water for the area and water a garden.
The windmill finally colasped in 2008.

 

 


Laughlin Ranch Properties est. 1902