On Feb. 5, 1892 George Calvin, Parson Williams and
Conrad Naegle finished negotiations to buy 200 square miles of land
along the Rio Bavispe in northeastern Sonora. The land was owned by
Colonel Emilio Kosterlitzsky and Juan Fenochio who were given the land
by the Mexican Government for their services in the Sonoran Rurales, a
branch of the army. The Agreement signed that day by Kosterlitzsky and
Williams, and seven other Mormons, set forth the price as being
$35,000.00. One third was due Jan. 1, 1893 another third was due
Jan.1, 1894 and the final amount was due on Jan.1 1895.
Two days after, Williams and Naegle Journeyed to look
over the new lands. Soon a group set out from Williams ranch in Cave
Valley Chihuahua, bound for Sonora. The party consisted primarily of
families recruited from around the mountain country around Colonia
Pacheco. Fourteen wagons and over 100 persons made that initial trek
across the Llanos De Carretas and into Sonora by way of the Pulpit
The heavy lumber wagons had to climb to over 6000 feet
over a trail that had known no previous vehicles. Considerable road
building had to be done. Rocks and trees were cleared and dug ways
excavated. The wagons were pulled up the steep slope with ropes and
pulleys and eased down inclines with the trunks of trees dragging
behind. On March 15, 1892 the group emerged from the Pulpit Canyon
into the valley of the Rio Bavispe.
Here at an elevation of 3000 feet above sea level the
Bavispe followed a winding course through sandstone ledges and slopes
of Alluviam At intervals the valley widened into a corner of arable
flood plain called a "Flat" by the Mormons. The Colony lands stretched
for some 20 miles along the river, and in that distance there were 13
"flats" none of which contained more that three hundred acres.
Problems arose as to where to locate the town site. The
first half year was spent in a tent encampment in a place that became
known as Haymore Flat. A tentative town site on a terrace above the
flat was discussed but this plan was abandoned because water had to be
pumped too high. There was considerable indecision and waiting as the
people were unsure what the church authorities would advise. They
tried to raise a crop of corn but this largely failed, and in the fall
of 1892 the settlers broke camp and located individually along the
river or on flats they desired to secure. A town site was finally
located on Christmas day 1893. It was located immediately above the
mouth of the Pulpit Wash five miles downstream from the original tent
camp. The following day, John U. Rancher began surveying the site into
blocks of four acres. Each block was divided into four lots.
Andrew Jenson in his history of Colonia Oaxaca says the
name "Oaxaca " was adopted after a trip to Mexico by Colonel
Kosterlitzsky in August of 1892. He is reported to have brought word
from President Porfirio Diaz that the latter desired the colony should
be named after the state that had produced the most illustrious men of
the Mexican Republic. Benito Juárez and Porfirio Díaz.
By 1895 Williams and Naegle had paid only about half of
the $35,000.00 due on the land. Expected contributions from the
settlers had not been forthcoming., and the colony faced repossession.
Learning of this President Anthony W. Ivins, the president of the
Juarez Stake and the highest ranking Mormon official in Mexico,
aquired authority from the church to secure the lands of the Colony.
In a meeting in Hermosillo, Sonora, on May the 11, 1896 Ivins acted on
behalf of the Church sponsored Mexican Colonization and Agriculture
Company and contracted anew on the balance of the debt owed Fenochio
and Kosterlitzsky. Then the land had to be sold to the individual
settlers to compensate the company.
My wife's grandfather, Patrick Calhoun Haynie recorded
in his journal the Names of those on the purchasing committee of
Oaxaca as: President Anthony W. Ivins, Helaman Pratt, Orson P. Brown,
Patrick Calhoun Haynie, Samuel Lewis, Calvin Anderson, Fred_______?
Austin Wilson, Antoine Ivins, J. C. Bentley, Norman Brimhall, C. J.
Jones, L. J. Jones and Bishop Ballard.
Purchasing committee notations: Purchase price of lot
#1 in Oaxaca is $25.00. No 2 $15.00. First Class farm land $10.00 per
acre. Second $7.00 Third $3.00. Range land per acre .25 cents. People
having no land will pay .50 cents per anum for pasturage. No one shall
cut timber closer than 30 feet from the river.
To learn of the history of the people who lived in
Oaxaca we have to go to the available journals and writings of those
that actually lived there. I will take the writings of Naoma Haynie's
Grandparents and their family to relate some of the experiences of
those people that lived in Colonia Oaxaca.
When Patrick Calhoun Haynie moved to Oaxaca, Sonora he
had some considerable means from living in Colonia Díaz. He set up a
Blacksmith shop and purchased the Las Varas ranch and went to work
building homes for his families and providing for their welfare and
became a stalwart of the community. I will quote from the journal of
his second wife Mary Elma Wilson:
Pa as usual did well in his business. In pay he
received cattle, grain, some cash, and any other usable merchandise.
Being a thrifty hard working man he soon accumulated considerable. He
set up a commissary, a trade business, and a ferry boat. His business
grew and we were all busy helping. Because of the curiosity of some of
our Mexican friends about Pa's family I was passed off as his sister
for awhile. Henrietta was 8 years my senior a bit too young to be
passed off as my mother as she was only 14 years older than her
daughter Rosie. I soon learned to love all members of the family.
Henrietta was very good and motherly to me. She managed the home and I
willingly did all she assigned and asked me to do. We all shared and
shared alike. I never at any time complained or felt to complain of
being deprived of the things that a young bride desires. Henrietta had
shared her husband with me willingly, she was converted to the
principle as was he and I. There was never any enmity or jealousy
between us (if there was we never let it be known). We readily
adjusted and went about our daily lives, doing the best we knew how,
as did many of the others living under the same conditions. We loved
and enjoyed each other and learned to depend on each other. She taught
me many things. I looked on her more or less as a mother
Quoting from the History of Ether Haynie, Son of P.C.
Haynie. Pa was employed by the mining company at the "El Tigre Mine".
They started several mining ventures up there^Å^Å..business men from
El Paso. They had an American man by the name of King in charge of the
mines. Mr. King employed Father to receive the ore that came down from
the mines over a trail to the river. At the river Pa's wagons would
pick up the ore and ship it over to the Railroad in the state of
Chihuahua. When the river was low it could be brought directly to the
wagons. When the river was higher Father had to build a ferryboat to
run on a cable he had strung across the river. He would pick up the
ore that had been left on the other side by the burro pack trains,
"Tajos de Burros". There were sixty burros to each camp driven by
three or four men. Each burro was packed with two sacks of ore and
hauled it to the river bank. Father would transport it across the
river and receive it in a warehouse on the opposite side of the river
ready to be shipped on the wagons to the Railroad. These mines
provided a help in the livelihood for a lot of the Mormon
The produce from the gardens they raised, the cows they
milked, the cheese they made, their chickens and their eggs, every
thing they raised they could ship up to the mines and sell for a very
good price. That plus the freighting helped them to live and get
Many sold meat from their cows and hogs to supply the
mines at a very good price.
One of the first things they did was to find a good
place and build a lime Kiln. haul the lime rock and burn lime for
mortar. Then they sought out clay and sand to make brick for their
houses. They went into the mountains to find the pine trees to saw up
for lumber. They put up a little mill to saw the lumber and some sawed
their lumber by hand with a man on each end of a good rip saw. The
lumber was dragged out of the mountains with mules or burros.
One of the first buildings was of course the church
house that was used for the school as well. Then they built their
beautiful brick homes and had a really nice town.
Esaias Haynie, son of P. C Haynie, was my wife Naoma
Haynie's father. In my association with him he told me many stories of
his life in Oaxaca. He told us the following story: When I was ten
years old Pa took me to the Las Varas Ranch and left me to take care
of the Ranch. I broke my own horses, cooked my own food and milked
some cows for milk. I would set the big pan of milk under the kitchen
window to cool during the night and to set for the cream to raise. One
night I was awakened by the sound of something lapping the milk in the
pan. I got up thinking it was my old tom cat that I had on the ranch.
I walked silently into the kitchen and slapped him and said, "SCAT" as
he jumped out the window it was a big Mountain Lion Instead of my old
Tom Cat. I was so scared I went out the back door and climbed the high
corral gate post and stayed there until daylight.
When I Keith was going to school at the BYU I went to
visit a dear friend of my father's Elder Antoine R. Ivins. As we were
visiting he asked me who I had married and I told him that I had
married Naoma Haynie. He asked whose daughter she was and I told him
she was Esaias Haynie's daughter. He then told me the following story:
I was visiting Colonia Oaxaca as a General Authority and I was staying
in the home of P. C. Haynie. The river was running high and the ferry
boat was on the other side of the river. Pac Haynie took his little
son Esaias down to the river with us and told him to go get the boat.
That little guy just jumped up and grabbed the cable and went hand
over hand across on the cable above the swift, muddy water of the
Dad Haynie had already told us the story so that was a
good confirmation that the story really happened and was true. This
Story happened a couple of years before the big flood.
I will quote again from Grandmother Haynie's Journal.:
Pa engaged in farming, mining, ranching, house building, blacksmithing
and dentistry. He operated the Ferry Boat over the Bavispe River which
ran through the town. He ran a commissary, bought, sold and traded. He
hired a single convert lady, who had come from England, to be his book
keeper. She roomed and boarded with PattyMa. She was a very
intelligent and gifted woman, a beautiful penman, and very efficient
as his book keeper and business helper. We all thought a lot of Elise
Fur. She taught us many things of value. Elise stayed with us for
several years until she moved to Salt Lake City.
Our boys grew up as fine ranch hands and cowpunchers.
They preferred this to farming and they preferred work to attending
school. For this reason none of them went beyond the grades in school
except Osias, Esaias and Elma attended the Academy.
We had a water pump in our front yard under a large
shade tree. This was much enjoyed by all. There had been times that we
had to carry water. We had an open well where there were earthen
shelves where our milk and butter were kept cool. The big clay "Olla"
that hung in the big Mesquite Tree held drinking water and was covered
with burlap and kept wet. When you had extra water in the "Tin" you
threw it back onto the Olla to keep it wet and cool it.
Pa had quite a time keeping some of his boys busy and
out of mischief. "Coon" as Glen Calhoun was nicknamed was considered
rather and easy going fellow. He played the Harmonica well and was
witty and full of fun. He didn't feel inclined to overwork. They often
found him asleep in the furrows. One day they were told to hoe the
weeds out of the garden and it was amusing to watch them appear to be
working and yet be fooling around telling jokes and stories and
killing time. We would yell to them to get to work and get through
before meal time. All at once we heard them holler out. One of them
came running to the house. Lynn's big toe had been cut off by the hoe.
Henrietta rushed to their aid. She picked up the toe, dipped it in
flour and put it back in place on his foot. She kept is wrapped up for
several days and in time it grew back in the exact place without any
complications. No infection occurred. No one could tell it had been
cut off as only a slight skin scar was discernable. The boys were
plenty frightened at the time because they knew that they had put
their parents thru a trying time. Ever after they laughed and told
about it as amusing.
Back in the early days of Oaxaca there seemed to be
some bickering and contention among some of the brethren and they had
not paid as they should. When John Taylor visited the colony in 1894
he told the people that if they did not stop their contention and
learn to live the Gospel as they should that the day would come when
the Jack Rabbits would run the streets of Oaxaca and that there would
not even be a yellow dog to wag it's tail there.
I will write Grandmother Haynie's account of the great
flood that destroyed Oaxaca as a colony and it was never rebuilt:
In November of 1905 the Bavispe river that ran through
the town of Oaxaca became a raging torrent. Our house was near the
river, as was PattyMa's, and most of the others. It happened that most
of the men folk were out working on their farms and ranches. Pa and
brother John Echols were in town and with the help of brother Echols
team and wagon, he and pa worked fast and furious to evacuate the
women and children from their flood-swept homes to safety. Moving them
to our combination school and church which stood on higher ground.
I can just see the terrible sight just as it was then.
The waters came up higher and higher. The walls of my home crumbled.
Bedding and clothing, as well as furniture came out in the swirling,
muddy waters.100 pounds of pretty white home made soap, that was
stored in the attic. came floating out it's window as the roof floated
away. Stands of Bees and hay in the barn and the barn itself, with
frightened chickens perched on the top, were swept away with the angry
waters. Even my piano, that Pa had bought from the mine owner's wife
floated away before my eyes.
In the beginning of the flood the Ferry Boat that Pa
operated across the river broke loose from one end of the cable that
held it in place. It was dangling madly in the flood waters. Pa hoped
to save the boat. He thought if he could retrieve the pulley and
repair the cable it could take the strain of the flood waters. My
eldest son, Esaias was told by his father to do a very dangerous,
courageous, and brave deed, This he did without question. If his
father commanded him to do a task he never faltered. If his father
said he could do it then he could do it. He went hand over hand across
the main cable to the opposite shore. Our supply of tools were in the
shed. He procured the tools and a large hammer and with the extra
weight and clumsiness returned to our side of the river safely. The
cable was repaired and fastened to the other end of the dangling boat.
Hoping that the flood waters would subside and the boat saved. The
flood became more vicious and the waters came higher and higher and
the tree to which the cable was fastened was torn up by the roots and
was washed away as was our precious Ferry Boat. Imagine if you can the
anxiety we all suffered during this ordeal. I stood with my heart in
my mouth praying for the safety of Esaias. He accomplished a very
brave deed only to have the boat swept away in spite of his
Esaias gives the following account of his part in the
rescue work of the flood: I got on my horse and went into the waters
around the houses of the town carrying people to safety on my horse. I
went after sister Naegle and found her standing on her kitchen table
with the water rising very fast around her when I told her to come on
with me she refused saying that she was going to stay right here in
her house. After arguing with her a little I just grabbed her and put
her over my shoulder and rode out of there just before the house was
Again quoting Grandmother Haynie: Spaces were curtained
off in the church house by using sheets. Each family could have a bit
of privacy this way. We spent several weeks living under those
conditions while the men folk busied themselves building new homes or
moved as soon as soon as the muddy flood waters subsided. PattyMa's
12th and last child (Carrie) was born during our stay in the school
house on the 28th of Dec. 1905.
We all spent Christmas here. Pa was working hard to
build Auntie a new home which she moved into when Carrie was a few
days old. My home was a sort of a dugout. One room constructed from
the roof of her house that had settled down when the adobe walls had
melted down in the flood waters. It being on higher ground than was my
house, it's roof did not go down the river. By digging a shallow
cellar under this roof and putting canvas at each end for doors and
windows, I moved into this new home. Six months later Pa moved us to
Colonia Juarez and PattyMa moved into the Las Varas Ranch. It was
located in an Ideal location.
Nothing is left of the history of Oaxaca only that all
of the people moved out and left the town desolate and to be reclaimed
by nature except for two brick homes that were untouched by the flood
Many years later Naoma and I went down to Oaxaca to
spend our Honey Moon letting me meet and get to know my Father in law.
Mother Haynie, Naoma and I drove down in their Model A Ford and spent
about ten days riding the range and visiting with Dad and Mother
Haynie. Dad Haynie was running the Ranch in company with his brother
Ether. The ranch included all of the old Oaxaca purchase. They had
bought it and had run cattle there for many years. When Naoma and I
left Oaxaca we drove the old Model A Ford up the Pulpit Canyon past
the caves and up the old grade past the squeeze, through the Pulpit
Pass and across the Las Varas flats to Dublan. It had been raining but
we managed to plow through the mud and water without getting stuck.
Soon the Haynies sold out and abandoned the ranch and that left Oaxaca
for the Jack Rabbits to run the streets.
S. Keith and Naoma Bowman