Friday, October 1, 2010

Letters To Myscie: A Western Love Story By Suzanne E. Smith

Part 9 of a Series

In the past weeks we reported on the activity of the Torrence and Merritt Mines, with the Merritt Mine described as a “wonderfully rich property”. 

We join J.E. Smith the week of April 6th, 1883.

Friday night 6th '83
Dear Myscie,
It is quite late so I will only write a few words and finish Sunday. I have had a grand trip this afternoon.  Mr. Waller the Supt. of the Torrence Mining Co came in and invited me to go over to the mines with him.  I was only too glad to go for I have been wishing to go through some mine.  They do not allow outsiders or visitors in the mines here, so I have not had a chance before.  We had a grand good ride and then after we got there he had a man go with us into the mine while he was tending to business.  We went all over the mine.  I wish I was able to describe it to you Myscie, but I am not trained.  We were gone from above ground an hour and a half and were walking all the time, so you can immagine the extent of it's under ground.  I was over 300 feet under ground at one time, and most 400 ft. horasontally [sic] into the mountain like this 

(His sketch shows a 300’ verticle line with 4 horizonal lines running perpendicular to the main; the longest at 400’).  This Plat of the Merrit Mine was photographed by J.E. Smith.  It shows the “Sectional View” of the North Tunnel of the Merrit Mine.
We started from the Engine house with candles in our hands, went down to the "first level" went all over that, then down to No 2, the "second level".  Then the "third level" No 3, and then the fourth No 4.  Saw the boys at work mining and got some mill specimens.  The man that went with us was the Engineer.  He was very kind and told me all about everything. Such things as these I can't write about to make them interesting.  There is so much to tell about but will save it all to talk about when I come back.  I was very tired and dirty when I got home, but I had such a grand good time I tell you.  Mr. Waller I like very much and have made fast friends with him.  He is also Supt. of the "Stamp Mill" here which belongs to the same firm.  I think I shall go to work at the Mill next week.  Mr. Bass and I are going in together soon on something and while we are waiting I am going to work at the mill.  I shall have to work hard.  Sundays & all, but I don't care, it is only what I am ust[sic] to.  I am to get $20.00 a week-good pay, and it will help me out onwhat I want to use next summer or fall.  Mr. B & I bought our carpet for our room today; it is a beaut.  We shall have a cosy room you bet.  We are all going riding Sunday.  I will write you about Sunday night.  I must close now.   Good night

Sunday Evening
Just home and had our supper.  Oh Myscie, we have had the jolliest time.  How many, very many times I have wished you could have been with us today.  Ed engaged the teams last Friday and we had the best time out in Socorro. Geo & Bell  went together with a span of reds, and Ed & Minnie, Ray & I  went in a double carriage with just the hansomest span of blacks.  Didn't we feel grand I tell you.  We started just after dinner and got home at 7.30 in the evening.  I can't begin to tell you about 1/100 part of the things & places we saw and visited. 

There were probably several Livery Stables in Socorro.  The Socorro Transfer (famous for it’s beautifully designed, and painted coaches) was located on what is present day California Street.  The building next to it was where the parking lot is on Manzanares and California, and was a twin to the building in which the Chamber of Commerce is located. 
The Livery Feed Sale and Exchange Stable was located on East Manzanares and was next to Sammis General Merchants.  (Possibly about where the Socorro Electric Cooperative is.)

We stoped in a Mexican village about 10 miles away called "Limitar" for about an hour and visited with a family by the name of Minnette.  Theywere a family from Phil-Pa, and are the only American family in the town of 1500 inhabitants.  Mr. Minnette is in business there in Socorro & in Santa Fe.  They have just a beautiful home.  It is made of "dobe" just like all the rest, but they have it furnished elegantly inside.  They look on all over their farm, and entertained us in grand shape.  Mr. M sang and played for us, it was the first piano I have heard since I came out here.  They then brought on the "wine".  some of their own make and Mrs. M. interested us with some  of her experiences with the natives.  She talks Spanish as well as English, and she says she has splendid nabors[sic].

On the way home, we drove down the "river road" along the bank of the Rio Grande and such beautiful scenery.  Oh Myscie, I shall have so much to tell you about sometime.  I musn't forget to tell you about our visit to the haunted house on our way home.  It is an old Mexican mansion which has been deserted ever since the Mexican war and is said to be haunted; we went all over it and did not get scared once, although it did look dismal in some joints and the doors slammed several times after we went through them.  It's only inhabitants seemed to be bats, doves and birds of all sorts.  Very few of the Mexicans dare to go near the house.  They are a very supersticious people about such things.  In fact, this has been one if not the pleasentest days in N. Mex. I have shared.  Ray says Joe, we must make this day for it is our last and so it is for Earl (Mr. Brey) to come tonight from La Harpe, Ill. he arrives on the mid-night train.  Ray said more than a dozen times this afternoon, "if Myscie & Earl were only here we would have this time all to our selves and would we Ohhhh My have just the jolliest time"  I must stop now.  It is too late to send this off to-night dear Myscie.  I have thought of you so much today.  You are in my thoughts all the time.
With a good night kiss from your loving Joe.
Socorro, N.M. April

Wed Evening
My dear Myscie
Your letter written the 4 & 5th was received this morning.  I am very very tired Myscie or would finish and mail a letter to you tonight .  I have been at work very hard all the week and have felt like turning in very early every evening.  I will finish and mail to-morrow evening (Thurs) Good night
Your loving Joe

Join us next week as Joe joins the ranks of the miners, and how tough it was on him.

All photos ©J.E. Smith

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