Nymeyer, Fred and Zena

Lea County Families and History, Then and Now, Vol II, 1984

Nymeyer, Fred and Zena Leck

By: Robert Nymeyer   


 Fred and Zena (Leck) Nymeyer came to Lea County after their marriage in Carlsbad on July 5th, 1904. Fred had been raising cattle in the Monument area in association with Zena's oldest brother, Bob Leck. The couple moved into a semi-dugout southeast of Monument on "The Draw", later building a frame house on a high spot there. They had two sons, B.A., born January 11th, 1907, and Robert Bert, born October 19th, 1910.

     Robert Bert was about three years old when Fred moved his ranch to a site four miles west of Eunice. His first remembrance is of the top of a house coming through the sand hills as it was hauled to their new location.

     The ranch, the "Triangle E", prospered. Honeysuckies eventually covered the porch encircling three sides of the dwelling, and a bunk house garage workshop, timber corals, barns and sheds were erected. A bountiful well fed a stock tank which also served to water he summer garden and eventually a large orchard of peach, apple, plum cherry, pear, and nectarine trees. Grape vines and berry bushes flourished. An elevated wooden tank supplied water to irrigation faucets, and piped-in water served the kitchen and bathroom, an uncommon luxury on the ranches of those early days. Fred drilled another water well to augment the water supply for watering the growing herds of Herefords and the orchard and gardens.

     Nymeyer increased his grazing acreage through leasing and purchasing until the ranch comprised several sections. A one room house in Eunice served Zena and the boys during the school week through Robert Bert's fourth grade. He still has fond memories of his teaaches: Miss Ruby Manning, Grace Carson, Lula Marshal and Edith Davis. Nostalgia surrounds the names of schoolmates: Gertrude Turner, Bessie Norton, Joe Gann, Mary Bell Leck, Tommy and Dolly Mustian, Clearance Wright, Leonard Grizzel and Mary McCommack, Fanta Coleman, Wilma Adkins, Benny and Bonny Owens, to name a few.

     Following World War I and the calamitous drop in the cattle market, The Triangle-E plunged into hard times. Fred had over extended during the prosperous war years, borrowing heavily: now he needed more credit to survive. Robert Bert's recollections are fuzzy, but he remembers uncomplimentary remarks about the War Finance Corporation and the Federal Reserve Banks! Finally, in the mid 1920's, Fred had had enough and threw in the towel.  The banks took over the property. A few months later. A few months later oil gushed at Hobbs, and oil money flooded the land. Dozens of wells now pump wealth on what was the Triangle-E.

     The Nymeyers moved back to Carlsbad where the boys had continued the schooling. Fred and Zena eventually divorced, and Fred moved to Longview, Texas where he remarried, engaged in a grocery business, and died December 27, 1942. Zena continued in Carlsbad, spending the later years of her working life at the Caverns. She died on January 6, 1975, at the age of 93, one of the longest continual residents of Carlsbad.

     B.A. received a degree in Architecture from Chicago Tech in 1928, and married Lena Wake in Carlsbad in 1931. The couple had no children. He died in a hunting accident near Carlsbad, April 10, 1933.

     Robert Bert attended the University of Missouri at Columbia, earning in 1938, degrees in Arts and Sciences and in Journalism. The next year, on May 14, he married a Columbia girl, Elizabeth Fleming. Always intrigued with photography, he bought the Davis Studio in Carlsbad in 1951. Both sons, Robert Aaron and Lynn Alan, are now in the studio with him. In 1979 he had a book published, Carlsbad, Caves, And a Camera, relating with 185 photographs his experiences exploring the wild caves of he Guadalupe Mountains in the early 1930'2.

     Remnants of the old ranch still stand west of Eunice, just east of the golf course. The greenery is gone, and what remains of the buildings fall in ruins. Only one wheel less windmill tower stands, and the water tank where the Mymeyer boys caught perch and frolicked on the hot summer days has long since been dry. What some once referred to as "an oasis" has returned to the desert.