I've been thinking a lot lately about one of my ancestors, my great-grandmother Emily Butterfield Parker. I have a few stories handed down about her history. She was born in 1845 daughter of Captain Nathan Parker and Polly Butterfield, and she was married at age 16 to James Chamberlain who took her from her home in Vermont and sailed with her from New York City to San Francisco through the Isthmus of Panama. The Transcontinental Railroad had not yet been built so it was the only way to get there other than horse and wagon. They moved to Long Valley and ran a Wells Fargo Express Station until Mr Chamberlain died in 1874 leaving her a widow with four children. She then married Mr. George F. Mustard, a Stagecoach driver from Susanville, California in 1876 but he died the following year. She stayed on to work the Wells Fargo Station for several more years. It was called Chamberlain Station (Willow Ranch) and was located in what is now the city of Doyle, California. Eventually, she returned to her home in Vermont and in 1879 married Legh R. Wellman and had two more children, one of whom was Theda, my maternal grandmother. She also became stepmother to Legh's son from a previous marriage. Mr. Wellman died in 1898 and Emily remarried once again, to a Mr. Henry Smith, and lived happily until his death in 1921. Emily lived on until 1928. I would sure love to sit down and have a cup of coffee with her! Can you imagine the stories she could tell? I think we would have a lot to talk about. Traveling through this desert landscape I often think about what it must have been like for people like her in that era to travel in this harsh desert landscape and try to make a life. I may have just caught the ancestry bug! Dexter and I took a nice long walk around the park this morning. The wind has stopped and the sun is shining but it's still cool. The temperatures are supposed to warm up into the seventies tomorrow and Saturday. I can't wait! I didn't have my Nikon camera with me but wish I had when I saw this cool bird up in the bushes along the Rio Grande. I snapped this photo with my phone just for identification. He's a Phainopepla according to the app "Merlin" I've been using for bird identification. I'll have to spend some time down by the river with my Nikon to see what I can capture.
I ran into town this afternoon and stopped by the Bureau of Land Management office hoping to get some information on public lands in the area. Unfortunately the gentleman on duty was too busy to talk to me, so I picked up a few brochures and I'll try again another time. That was a bit disappointing!
On my way home I passed a resale shop, Turnabout Consignment Shop, and popped in to find a few bargains. I'm stocking up on shorts and t-shirts getting ready for the warmer weather! The owner Teresa was most helpful and almost everything I found was 50% off. If you live in the Las Cruces area it's worth a stop.
I spotted this cool sculpture in a public park on my drive back home. I'll have to go back when I have more time and see what it's all about. I couldn't linger because Dexter was waiting for his supper and there's some things you just can't be late for.