Archive for the 'Mesilla Plaza' Category

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Did Billy the Kid Stay at La Posta in Mesilla?

“Best history of Mesilla.”

“La Posta: From the Founding of Mesilla, to the Corn Exchange Hotel, to Billy the Kid Museum, to Famous Landmark” consists of 5 sections:

  • Chapter 1 is a history of Mesilla, beginning with its founding in 1850 by Rafael Ruelas.
  • Chapter 2 gives the original and early ownership of all the properties around the public square in Mesilla, identifying previously uncertain locations such as the Butterfield Overland Stage location.
  • Chapter 3 is a history of the Corn Exchange Hotel, founded in 1874, the most famous hotel in New Mexico at the time. Almost all the major participants of the Lincoln County War stayed at the hotel.
  • Chapter 4 is a history of the Billy the Kid museum and its founder, Mesilla pioneer and impresario George Griggs.
  • Chapter 5 is a history of La Posta, Mesilla’s most famous landmark.

“Mesilla is full of Billy the Kid history. It’s where he started off rustling with Jesse Evans and it’s where he was tried and convicted of murder. At one point, rumor has it, he even stayed at the Corn Exchange Hotel (along with many of the other heavy hitters from the Lincoln County War).”

“For someone who grew up in the area of Mesilla, it’s nice to have a well-researched book about the area — and the giant photographs don’t hurt either (honestly, I love to see photos that take up the whole page so you can actually make out the detail)….”

“And the thing I was most excited to see is a photo of the hotel registry where the name of “William Bonney” is scrawled on the page. I knew this registry had existed at one point but I always thought it was missing…. There is some debate as to whether or not Billy the Kid really signed the book, which the author goes into, but what would Billy the Kid history be without a little controversy.”

Billy the Kid Outlaw Gang Newsletter, Winter, 2013

See also:
Billy the Kid’s Grave
Mesilla Museum Display
Billy the Kid Display – Mesilla
Saving the Pat Garrett Marker
Billy’s DNA
Old Mesilla Courthouse
Billy the Kid
Butterfield Overland Stage

 

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Mesilla Museum Display

The opened this evening with a dedication ceremony featuring the Mayor of Mesilla and many Mesilla citizens. A welcome part of the opening ceremony was a display of some of the materials being collected for the Mesilla Museum, which will emphasize the history of Mesilla, including it’s role in the saga.

Billy the Kid was tried in the courthouse on the Mesilla plaza in April, 1881 for two killings. He was acquitted of the killing of Andrew A. “Buckshot” Roberts, which occurred on April 4, 1878. He was convicted of the killing of Sheriff William Brady, which happened a few days before, on April 1, 1878.

The sentence for the killing of Sheriff Brady was death by hanging, to be carried out May 13, 1881. That didn’t happen, of course, because Billy the Kid escaped from the Lincoln jail 15 days before he was to be hung. The hanging was to be carried out in because that’s where the killing of Sheriff Brady had occurred.

The most intriguing item on display this evening was the barber chair where Billy the Kid was given a haircut before his trial. The chair is privately owned and was being displayed only for the ceremony.


The chair was manufactured in the early 1870s. It was re-covered in the 1980s, before the current owner acquired it. The reupholstering covered up several bullet holes that were in the chair, of unknown origin.

The permanent display in the center includes numerous historical Mesilla photos.

Here’s a photo of the original San Albino church, which was torn down when the current church was constructed in 1908:

Here’s a photo of the consecration of the new San Albino church in 1908:

Here’s a picture of the Mesilla plaza in 1900. The first San Albino can be seen in the distance.

Here’s a picture of the Fountain Theatre taken about 1930:

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See also:
Billy the Kid’s Grave
Did Billy the Kid Stay at La Posta in Mesilla?
Billy the Kid Display – Mesilla
Saving the Pat Garrett Marker
Billy’s DNA
Old Mesilla Courthouse
Billy the Kid
Fountain Theater – History

 

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Mesilla Plaza – No Smoking

The Mesilla Plaza is a smoke free zone.

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Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Mesilla Plaza – Christmas

Taken this evening on the Plaza, looking toward San Albino.

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Monday, October 16th, 2006

Cafe Don Felix

Chile rellenos any one?

Cafe Don Felix is located opposite the southwest corner of Mesilla plaza. Sit on the patio at night and enjoy our great fall weather and great food.

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Saturday, September 9th, 2006

Thunderbird de la Mesilla


This is believed to be the oldest brick building in New Mexico. It sits at the southwest corner of Mesilla plaza. The sign on the front wall gives a quick history of the building.

“This is the oldest documented brick building in New Mexico.

Augustin Maurin (of French descent) initiated construction in 1860 using burned brick from his own kiln. He was murdered by robbers in his adjoining apartment in 1866.

The heir, Cesar Maurin, came here from France to claim the property. He died of natural causes in 1868.

Frenchman Pedro Duhalde, a former Mesilla saloonkeeper, moved in and was himself murdered by robbers.

Now owned by Tiburcio Frietze, after having been used as a general store, residence, saloon and town hall, the building remains in good condition.

Original, hand-hewn vigas, supporting a low, irregular ceiling, join with the old brickwork in creating a fitting background for the gift items displayed.

The Dona Ana Historical Society finds this building worthy of preservation and commends Mr. Frietze for his part in its care.”

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Monday, September 4th, 2006

Old Mesilla Courthouse

The Old Mesilla Courthouse is now a gift shop.


As indicated by the sign, the Courthouse dates from 1850.


Here’s a photo of the courthouse after it became the Elephant Butte Saloon, taken some time in the 1920s. The walls appear to be brick, but the bricks are painted, not real, except for the distinctive decorative brick along the roof, which you can see in both the old and the new photographs. Notice also that the corner of the building has been sliced off to make the current entrance.

See also:
Billy the Kid’s Grave
Did Billy the Kid Stay at La Posta in Mesilla?
Mesilla Museum Display
Billy the Kid Display – Mesilla
Saving the Pat Garrett Marker
Billy’s DNA
Billy the Kid

 

Saturday, September 2nd, 2006

Mesilla Plaza — Satellite View

Here’s a satellite shot of the Mesilla plaza.


You can see clearly the octagonal bandstand located in the center of the plaza. San Ablino is located north of the plaza, just above the three rows of parking cars.


Mesilla bandstand.

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Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Billy the Kid

Still standing in the southeast corner of the Mesilla plaza is the courthouse and jail where Billy the Kid was tried and sentenced to death by hanging.


The only authentic picture of Billy.

Billy had been captured December 23, 1880.

On March 28, 1881, he was transported to Rincon by train and from there to Mesilla by wagon for trial for the murders of Andrew “Buckshot” Roberts and Sheriff William Brady. The indictment for killing Roberts was a federal indictment. The indictment for killing Brady was a territorial indictment. The territorial district court handled both jurisdictions, with the federal cases tried first.

His trial for killing “Buckshot” Roberts began on March 30, 1881. The case against him in this trial was thrown-out on the grounds that the killing took place on private land, not public land, and the federal government thus had no standing to prosecute.

The trial for the killing of Sheriff Brady began April 8. The judge presiding, Judge Bristol, dismissed Billy’s defense attorney from the Roberts trial, probably because of the change in jurisdiction, and appointed John D. Bail and Albert Fountain to represent him.

On April 13. the jury brought in its verdict: guilty. The judge then sentenced Billy to death by hanging, to be carried out on May 13, 1881 in Lincoln, New Mexico.

In an interview later that day in the Mesilla News, Billy said the following:

“Well, I had intended at one time to not say a word in my own behalf, because persons would say, ‘Oh, he lied’; Newman gave me a rough deal; has created prejudice against me, and is trying to incite a mob to lynch me. He sent me a paper which shows it; I think it a dirty, mean advantage to take of me considering my situation and knowing I could not defend myself by word or act. But I suppose he thought he would give me a kick down hill. Newman came to see me the other day; I refused to talk to him or tell him anything; but I believe the News is always willing to give its readers both sides of a question.”

“If mob law is going to rule, better dismiss judge, sheriff, etc., and let all take chances alike. I expected to be lynched in going to Lincoln. Advise persons never to engage in killing.”

Three days later he was taken to Lincoln. It was from the Lincoln courthouse that Billy escaped on April 28, killing two deputies.

See also:
Billy the Kid’s Grave
Did Billy the Kid Stay at La Posta in Mesilla?
Mesilla Museum Display
Billy the Kid Display – Mesilla
Saving the Pat Garrett Marker
Billy’s DNA
Old Mesilla Courthouse

 

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

More on Gadsden Purchase

The Gadsden Purchase was signed in Mesilla on November 16, 1854. This is reflected in the Mexican name for the Purchase, the Treaty of Mesilla. A bronze plaque in the Mesilla plaza commemorates this agreement between the two countries.


Following the signing of the treaty, the Mexican flag was lowered and the American flag raised. The people of Mesilla, who had previously been citizens of Mexico, became citizens of the United States. The agreements between Mexico and the inhabitants of the Gadsden Purchase area were respected by the US Government, including all land grants made by Mexico that were eventually adjudicated as valid.

Las Cruces, which today adjoins Mesilla, was just outside the Purchase area, being already part of the United States.

See also:
Rough and Ready — Butterfield Stage Stop

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