LYBROOK TRADING POST
Navajo name. TO NAAlInI
(Waterfall, name of place); Kin #igaiI (White House, name of
Location. Rio Arriba
County, NM, on north side of route NM 44 (Cuba-Bloomfield highway)
and its predecessor, state route 55. Dates. Early
Owners, managers. Will
Lybrook built the trading post in early 1920s and operated it until
his death in 1935; heirs sold his accounts to Jim Counselor (see
Counselor’s Trading Post). The store continued operating as an
they built the store, the Lybrooks had a log cabin home just north
of where they built the store, and after the store was built the
cabin served as a storeroom. The trading post and living quarters
were in a large 3-story cut stone building with trading area in the
middle of the ground floor, kichen and den adjoining, and bedrooms
and baths on both lower and upper floors. Water was piped from
Escrito Spring, a Navajo sacred place; one wonders how much Navajo
clientele the store had if, as reported, the Lybrooks actually
mounted a human skull on the water tunnel from the spring. After
Will Lybrook’s death in 1935, the building no longer served as a
store but only as an inn, and burned in 1966.
See surname index. Will Lybrook was a nephew of RJ Reynolds,
tobacco magnate. Will and his wife Lottie came to Farmington from
Oklahoma in 1918. Older brother Sam came later and ranched in
Lybrook area. Sons of Will and Lottie are Bob, Richard, and Sam.
Related enterprises. The
Lybrooks also ran cattle in the surrounding land.
Sources. Atteberry 1990;
BIA plats; Marshall 1997:38-39; McNitt 1962:303n. PHOTOS:
Atteberry 1990 (inn in 1960).
LYBROOK MERCANTILE (MAUZY
Navajo name. TO NAAlInI
(Waterflow, name of Place)
Location. Rio Arriba
County, NM, on south side of route NM 44 (Cuba-Bloomfield highway).
Owners, managers. In
1955, Jim Mauzy, with backing from Richard Wetherill jr, bought some
deeded land along route 44 and built the store; he had previously
worked at Escrito Trading Post. The Mauzys moved to Bloomfield in
1967 so their children could go to school, and started a dry goods
store there. They sold the Lybrooks store to the F.T. Akinses, who
in 1969 sold it to Roland “Buddy” Spicer (BitsIIts’IIn Nt#’iz,
Hard Head). In 1977-78, Spicer sold the store to Al Chapman (owner
of Escrito store just west) who still owned it as of the 1990s.
original and still current store is a 1955 cinderblock building.
Other buildings have been added since 1955, including a laundry and
See surname index. Jim Mauzy’s parents were homesteaders around
Lindrith. Mrs. Akins’s father was an oilman in Farmington,
originally from Oklahoma.
Since mid-1970s the store has also had a laundry and auto shop.
Sources. Eddington and
Makov 1995:122; Marshall 1997:39; Kelley 1974-75 field notes (Jim
Mauzy and Mrs. Roland Spicer interviews) and 1980 field notes (Mrs.
Jim Mauzy, 7/24/80; Jim Mauzy 7/30/80; Gayle Cayaditto 8/5/80).
PHOTOS: Kelley 1974, roll TP 1 fr 3 (1974).
MADDOX: See Castle Butte
MADISON AND McCOY
Ca 1900-1920 store
somewhere near White Rock or between there and Crownpoint, linked to
McCoy ranch in White Rock area. See also Crownpoint.
MAHA TRADING POST
(N of Seba Dalkai near Finger Point Rock)
Around 1920, Charley Naha (Hopi)
got permission from local Navajos to run a TP near Finger Point Rock
NE of Seba Dalkai; the wind blew the roof off and he abandoned it
after one year (NN Library, Navajo Land Claim Collection, Navajo
Statement 271). This post is probably the same as an old store of a
Maha or Naha along an old wagon road from the lower Jeddito Valley
to Polacca recalled by Harris Francis; this road is probably the one
shown on Gregory’s 1916 map between Winslow to Keams Canyon.
Navajo elders of Leupp also recall a wagon trader of the 1930s whom
they called Hastiin Máa, who worked for Hubbell (Kelley and Francis
field notes, 9/16/05 group interview, Leupp Senior Citizens).
Hastiin Maa may have been Charley Naha or, perhaps more likely,
Albert Naha, who worked at Lorenzo Hubbell Jr.’s Keams Canyon post
in 1913 (Colby 1972).
MANCOS CREEK TRADING
POST (also Tanner Mesa Trading Post)
County, CO. The most recent store was along the current
Shiprock-Cortez highway, route 491, where the road crosses Mancos
Creek. Earlier stores were east on Tanner Mesa (pre-1923), then at
the base of Tanner Mesa (ca 1920-1926), then about 1.5 miles west
along the old Mancos-Bluff road down Mancos Creek to the San Juan to
Aneth and Bluff.
on Tanner Mesa; ca 1920-1926, base of Tanner Mesa; 1926-early 1940s,
1.5 miles west of recent location; early 1940s-ca 1990s, along
current route 491 (Shiprock-Cortez highway).
Sometime between 1904 and 1919, Joseph Baldwin Tanner had a post on
Tanner Mesa. In 1919, Frank Pyle (of a Mancos area ranching family)
and Jim Belmear bought this store, which served a few Navajo
families who summered on Tanner Mesa; Pyle and Belmear abandoned it
in 1923. Meanwhile, with backing from T.H. Akin of Dolores, Pyle
built the Mancos Creek Trading Post near the base of Tanner Mesa.
In 1926 Pyle sold this store to Dan Tice of Farmington and Sam
Walker of Cortez. The store was operating in 1939 when Roscoe McGee
and his father, Joseph Carr McGee, bought it (a W.E. McGee was
listed at Mancos Creek in the UITA membership list of 1936). In the
1940s, Roscoe McGee’s father-in-law, George Bloomfield, held an
interest and so did another son-in-law of George Bloomfield, Raymond
Blair. In the 1960s, Roscoe and his wife Ruth sold to his brother
Jewel McGee and Jewel’s son Lavoy.
Architecture. In 1939,
the “old” store was by the river, a small building, probably of
frame construction, with a pitched roof. Roscoe McGee built a new
store building along the Shiprock-Cortez highway. There was a guest
hogan outside the store. This store was a small stucco building
with a pitched roof. It continued in use until it closed around the
1990s. By 2005 it had been razed.
Related enterprises. Ca
1920, Joe B Tanner had a ranch in Cortez along with the store at
Mancos Creek. For McGees ranching and other enterprises, see Red
Historical notes. 1920s,
1940s-1960s. Clientele was mostly Navajos, some Utes.
1962:310. NAU-UITA, Claudia Blair, Marilene Blair, Ruth McGee, Joe
Tanner III, Stella Tanner interviews; UITA 1936. PHOTOS:
NAU, PH.98.21.14 (Old Mancos TP, 1945; there is also a new Mancos TP
photo that shows very little of the building). Thanks also to
June Head and Halene West, 6/30/05; Janice Helmick, 10/11/10. NOTE:
Also to be consulted, Frank Pyle oral history interview at
Center for Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College, Durango.
name: Kin Hóchxộí (Ruins)
McKinley County, NM, about 20 miles west of Gallup on north side of
Puerco River at the intersection of Ft Defiance-Zuni wagon road
(dating pre-1864) and the AT&SF Railroad (dating 1881). (The
overland mail stage road linking Santa Fe NM and Fort Whipple, AZ,
ran down the south side of the Rio Puerco, and a stage station,
“Cook’s Ranch” was along that road across the Puerco from
present Manuelito, where the Ft Defiance Defiance-Zuni wagon road
crossed.) Manuelito quickly replaced Defiance Station as the
railhead for Ft Defiance. In 1920s interstate highway route 66
passed alongside the store.
Dates. 1881 – c 1963
Post office: 1881-1974
(not always in the trading post)
Owners, managers. The
Manuelito trading post seems to have been established with the
coming of the transcontinental railroad in 1881 by a man named
Brown; next year partners Steven Aldrich (former cavalryman in
Apache Wars) and James Bennett took it over, the same year that
Bennett established a post farther west along the railroad at
Houck’s Tank. By 1883, Bennett had sold his share in the
Manuelito store to Elias Clark. Within the next couple of years,
Aldrich and Clark set up two posts in the mountains north of Ft
Defiance near present Crystal and Tsaile. After Clark withdrew from
the partnership in the mid-1880s, Aldrich established another post
still farther north at Round Rock, with a Navajo partner, prominent
Navajo leader Chee Dodge. Dodge also had a share in the Manuelito
trading post during the time that he was Aldrich’s partner at
Round Rock (late 1880s-1911). Charles and Lucie Cousins apparently
managed the post in 1903-1905. The wagon road north from Manuelito
connected this string of posts and goods were freighted along it.
some time after Dodge left the partnership, Aldrich may have had
George McAdams as a partner. Aldrich operated the Manuelito post
until his death in 1921. Mike Kirk, who had perhaps a year or so
earlier bought out McAdams’s interest, took over the store and ran
it until his death in the early 1940s. After that, the post may
have operated discontinuously. Mike Kirk’s son, Dean, apparently
took over briefly, but then set up another store a couple of miles
east, which seems to have been a jewelry workshop rather than a
general merchandise store and operated into the 1950s (see separate
entry below). Later owners or managers of the Manuelito trading
post included AP Gonzales, who apparently bought the post in 1945,
and John P Wall in the 1950s. The store closed by 1963 after
Interstate 40 was built and bypassed the post.
The appearance of the post seems to have changed little over its
history, to judge from various historic photos compared to its
current ruined appearance The post began as a one-story, flat roofed
masonry structure with entrance on its long side facing the railroad
track to the south. It was longer and stuccoed but otherwise
similar in the 1920s and in the 1940s, though by then it had an
addition to the side housing the exhibit space and accessed by a
driveway from route 66 north of the building. Today the post is a
roofless, rambling ruin of flaking stucco and crumbling local yellow
sandstone, inside a tract of private land.
relationships. Mike Kirk was a brother of John Kirk, a Gallup
banker and wholesaler (see “Related enterprises” below); the
Kirks were related to a wide network of Navajoland traders,
including Schillingbergs (the Kirks’ mother was a Schillingberg)
and cousins Ben or Anna Harvey (Borrego Pass) and Rob or Jannie
Cassidy (Lukachukai, Chambers).
enterprises. In the 1880s and later, Chee Dodge got ranches at
Tanner Springs, AZ and Crystal, NM; in 1913 he made the first of
several loans to the famous trader Juan Lorenzo Hubbell, Sr, of
Ganado, AZ, and for many years held a mortgage on the entire Ganado
real property, its water rights, and accounts receivable.
Kirk had previously traded at Chinle and Coyote Canyon northeast of
Gallup. His brothers owned a wholesale house in Gallup, a trading
post that they bought from George McAdams in 1920; one brother was
also a Gallup banker. Kirk Brothers wholesale house was established
after several general merchandise wholesalers there had gotten most
of the trade in Navajoland. The core of the Kirk Brothers’
clientele was a far-flung network of posts owned by various
relatives, and they specialized more than did the other wholesalers
in wholesaling raw materials for jewelry as well as the finished
jewelry. Like the other traders in the Kirk Brothers network, Mike
Kirk had silversmiths working at the trading post and also supplied
local smiths who worked at home. Mike Kirk sold much of this
jewelry at wholesale to other stores. The location along the
railroad and later along route 66 also offered an opportunity to
sell jewelry and other handicrafts to tourists. Presumably for the
benefit of the tourists, Mike Kirk also exhibited a pre-Columbian
Anasazi mummy (one would expect the display to have deeply offended
his Navajo clientele and cost him their business, but if so, it was
not enough to close the post). In later years, Mike Kirk’s wife
Caroline Olson Kirk ran the store while her husband traveled around
the US with Indian runners and dance teams.
Historical notes. Chee
Dodge was the first of a group largely ignored by historians,
traders who were themselves Navajo. Chee Dodge also was Chairman of
first Navajo Tribal Council, 1923-28, and served again as chairman
near the end of his life, 1942-46.
According to McNitt
(1966/1957:192), the Hyde Exploring Expedition opened a post at
Manuelito in 1901, but no other source mentions this store. The
1901 journal of George Pepper (Pepper 1901; thanks to:
Rebecca Vallette), the archaeologist supervising excavations at
Pueblo Bonito that the Hydes funded, lists the Hyde Exploring
Expedition stores that McNitt (1957:191-192) also mentions except
for Manuelito; Pepper’s journal also says that “Henry Dodge
(Chee) sells all his blankets to the expedition. Has a store at
_________.” The name so frustratingly omitted could be either
Manuelito or Round Rock, the other Aldrich/Dodge post at the time.
Perhaps this connection beteen the Hydes and Dodge led McNitt to
conclude that the Hydes had a post at Manuelito.
Anderson 1864; Kirk 1979; Kelley and Francis 2006, 2008; Van
Valkenburgh 1941:90; Mitchell 2003 (1978):16n18; McNitt 1962:249;
Cousins and Cousins 1996:15; Bedinger 1973:116; Kirk 1979; Julyan
1996:219; Berkholz 2007:163; GLO cadastral survey plat; Arizona Good
Roads Association 1987 (1913):93; NAU-UITA, John W and John D
Kennedy interviews; NN Land Office, BIA plat book; NMBD 1921-1950;
Rittenhouse 1989/1946:91; Spears 1993. See also citations in text.
Thanks also to:
the late Fred Adakai (interview of 11/7/04. PHOTOS:
MNM negatives 16477 (c 1890) and 176978 (nd); HUTR # 9343 (c 1921,
published in Blue 2000:168); Kelley roll TP1, frame 1 (1974); Spears
1993 (1993); Kelley and Francis roll KF04-11, fr 15-17 (2004).
Kirk Trading Post
Navajo name. See
Manuelito Trading Post above
McKinley County, NM, along old US route 66 about 2 mi northeast of
Manuelito Trading Post.
Dean Kirk, son of Mike Kirk’s wife Carolyn Olsen Kirk from a
previous marriage, opened the store after Mike Kirk died. He
employed a lot of local silversmiths at this post, and the post
evidently quit selling general merchandise after 1954 to specialize
many smiths who worked for Dean Kirk included Lenny Parker and Fred
The trading post building is the east wing of what is now (2004) the
Manuelito Mission. It is an adobe, Pueblo-revival style building.
Kirk was stepson to Mike Kirk of Manuelito Trading Post.
Sources. NAU-UITA, John
W. and John D. Kennedy interview, 1998; Kelley and Francis field
notes, interviews with Leona Parker 10/26/04 and Fred Adakai
11/7/04; Rittenhouse 1989/1946:161; Spears 1993. PHOTO:
MANUELITO’S CAMP, NAVAJO CITY
Navajo name. Ch’il
Haajin (Black Patch of Plants)
McKinley Co., NM, c 4 mi NE of Coyote Canyon, possibly along a
military horse trail or wagon road between Fort Wingate and Fort
Lewis, CO (see Fort Wingate entry for more details).
NOTE. In 1870, Stover
and Coddington had a license to trade at Manuelito Spring; the
partners seem to have traded at or near Ft. Wingate as early as
1869, and J.Lorenzo Hubbell, Sr., may have clerked for them at Ft.
Wingate in 1872 (Van Valkenburgh c 1938; McNitt 1962:201-202n,
217-218). Possibly as early as 1876-78, Hubbell established a post,
his first, at Manuelito Springs, a populous place with Navajo farms,
where pre-eminent leader Manuelito had a home. When Hubbell moved
west to the Leonard post at Ganado in 1876-1878, he “sold out his
interest at Manuelito Springs” (Blue 2000:37, 40). He did
apparently trade at Manuelito Spriings (“Manuelito’s Camp
(Navajo City)”) until 1881-82 (McNitt 1962:203-204; Colby 1972).
Charles Baker (Nadlohii, The Laugher) received a license to trade at
Manuelito’s Springs in 1898-99 (AHS, Van Valkenburgh Papers, MS
831, Folder 146). Available sources do not say whether any of these
posts occupied a building or were housed in tents.
MARIANO LAKE TRADING
Hóteel (Wide Lake)
McKinley Co., NM, along an “old stage road” that approximates
current route N49 (Berkholz 2007:80). The route appears on the
original US General Land Office survey plat of 1881
T16N, R14W) as the “Great Navajoe Trail,” plotted about a
quarter mile S of the future trading post location. US military
sources as early as the mid-1800s mention the “Great Navajoe
Trail” as a route well-beaten by Navajo livestock raiders to the
Rio Grande Valley and also used by their Hispanic and US military
pursuers (Correll 1976:307; Rice 1970/1851). The route also appears
as a wagon road on Gregory’s 1916 map.
Berkholz (2007:80) offers the following ownership history,
embellished here with the other sources cited. The post was
established c 1890 by Charles Weidemeyer (see also Ft. Defiance and
Chinle; he was later a founder of the Gallup general merchandise
wholesale firm Gallup Mercantile Co. [McNitt 192:237]). Wiedemeyer
seems to have kept the post until at least 1912, having Charles and
Lucie Cousins (see Chi Chil Tah, Vanderwagen, Cornfields, Nutria,
Chinle, Manuelito) as managers, 1907-1908 and 1911-1912 (McNitt
1962:282n; NMBD 1907-8, 1911-12; Cousins and Cousins 1996:15;
Zimmerman 2010; Kelley 1974 field notes, Merle Moore interview).
Available sources tell
nothing about owners from then until 1932, when owner B.D. (Dee)
Westbrook let the local Navajo chapter organization use the post for
meetings (BIA-AAR, Eastern Navajo Agency, 1931). In 1936, Westbrook
sold the store to E.W. Zimmerman, who ran it until 1944 (NMBD 1941;
Kelley and Francis field notes, Norman Ashcroft interview 3/29/11).
Local Navajo resident and future chapter president Clarence Warner
worked in the store for Zimmerman, apparently serving as virtual
manager, and tutoring Zimmerman in trading practices and in the
Navajo language (Zimmerman 2010).
The next owner was Dan
Christensen (see Rock Point and Pinedale) in 1944, who formed a
partnership in 1946 with Charles Ashcroft (see Dinnehotso), which
continued until Ashcroft died in 1957 and his son Norman took over
(NMBD 194, 1950; Kelley and Francis field notes, Norman Ashcroft
interview 3/29/11). Norman Ashcroft ran the store until 1967, then
sold it to Kieth, Phil, and Cal Foutz, who were succeeded by Merle
and Rosella Moore, who were there by 1974 (Kelley and Francis field
notes, Norman Ashcroft interview 3/29/11; Kelley 1974 field notes).
After the Moores left in 1992, local Navajo resident Marie
Westmoreland and her husband, Charles, took over for a year or so,
closing the post in 1993 (Kelley and Francis field notes, local
Navajo residents 11/18/10).
Zimmerman (2010:6) describes the store complex as it was during his
family’s 1936-44 tenure:
The Mariano Lake
Trading Post was constructed out of logs. ..
Behind the post was our
home, which was made out of rock. The home had 4 rooms: a living
room, a dining room, a kitchen, and a bedroom. There was an
“outhouse” out back. A warehouse was added to the west. It had
a concrete floor and the walls appeared to be made from adobe. A
Delco power plant was in an enclosed shelter to the southeast of the
store. There was a barn to the east that was used to store hay and
The inside of the
store contained high wooden counters arranged in a U-shaped
configuration. As I remember it, groceries were on the west side
and dry goods on the east. The trading area was about 10 ft by 15
ft. The store had an open area at the front where the Navajos could
meet and greet each other around a pot bellied stove. At the back
was a large safe that contained cash, valuables, and pawn. An old
time, hand-pumped, gas pump was located in front.
dating from the Zimmermans’ tenure show the post as a building of
horizontal logs with a pitched roof and an adobe (?) wing abutted to
it, presumably the warehouse.
The post as observed in
2004, shortly before it was torn down, was a rambling multi-room
one-story structure that incorporated the store area, living
quarters, and store-rooms. This is pretty much how Kelley remembers
it from 1974, too. The building consisted of a south-facing adobe
(?) room with viga ceiling and cinderblock wings on both east and
west sides, plus a northeast wing extending north behind the eastern
cinderblock wing. The south-facing adobe (?) room could be the
warehouse abutted to the log building in the Zimmerman photos; if
so, the log store must have been replaced by the eastern cinderblock
wing. The whole building was stuccoed, and it was difficult to tell
what the underlying wall fabric of the northeast wing was –
probably masonry. This NE wing was probably the Zimmermans’
living quarters, as it seems to have been also in 1974, when Merle
Moore said that those living quarters were the original building
(Kelley 1974 field notes). The store and ware-rooms in 1974 were
the adobe (?) and cinderblock rooms in the south-facing row; the
cinderblock rooms flanking the adobe(?) room must postdate the
Also observed in 2004
were a small lumber shed or barn NW of the store, a masonry cellar
SE of the store, corrals farther SE of the buildings downslope, and
a poured concrete slab c 4x4ft S of the store, probably the footing
for the Delco power plant. There was also a well hole N of the
Charles Weidemeyer was the son of John Weidemeyer and nephew of
William Weidemeyer, who traded in Ft. Defiance, St. Michaels, and
Gallup. Christensen: see Rock Point, Round Rock. Ashcrofts: see
Dinnehotso, Querino Canyon; Foutzes: see Fruitland: Progressive
Historical notes. During
World War II, Zimmerman and other local traders took local Navajo
men to work at the Fort Wingate Ordnance Depot, where they worked on
building bomb-proof shelters for the munitions (Zimmerman 2010).
Sources. Cited in text
MARIANO LAKE: Dee Westbrook
In 1936, after he sold the
Mariano Lake Trading Post to E.W. Zimmerman, Dee Westbrook moved
down to Route 66 at Continental Divide, where he operated a tourist
business called something like “Buck and Squaw.” When it burned,
he moved back to Mariano Lake, where his older brother, rancher I.K.
Westbrook, had a section a couple of miles NNW of the trading post.
There he hastily assembled a small post from railroad ties, where he
traded (and bootlegged) until c 1940. Later, Charles Ashcroft of
the Mariano Lake Trading Post bought the property. Nothing
reportedly remains of the store building (Kelley and Francis field
notes, Norman Ashcroft interview 3/29/11; Van Valkenburgh 1999/1941;
McKinley County grant books).
The following is taken
from Kelley (1985:22-23):
Mariano’s store is
an early twentieth century trading post situated east of Chaco
Canyon near the prehistoric Pueblo Pintado rin, a so-called Chacoan
Anasazi outlier. The rock-walled trading post consisted of four
rooms, two with corner fireplaces and one with a large fireplace in
the middle of one wall. Nearby were several corrals of palisade
construction and possibly a shed. Trash in the dump outside the
store and littering the surface of the site consists mainly of
pre-World-War-I glass, with some cans, wire, metal scraps, and
broken pottery of Rio Grande Puebloan and New Mexico Hispanic
manufacture. A vandalized Anasazi ruin just north of the trading
post might have the building stones (Wilson 1977:22; Brugge
1974:Site C-6 [see also Brugge 1986:51]).
As far as I can tell
from the somewhat contradictory ethnographic research that has
accompanied the local archaeology (Brugge 1979:57; York 1980; Kelley
1982a:196), around 1906 a Hispano named Mariano approached several
local [Navajo] headmen for permission to build a store. One of
them, Mr. Slim [Hastiin Ts’OsI], consented, and Mariano set up
shop along a wagon road near a dug will in Chaco Wash. He
reportedly hauled stone for the building from Pueblo Pintado.
Mariano maintained only a meager stock of groceries and traded for
only a few years. When he vacated the store, Mr. Slim moved in.
Mr. Slim was one of the largest stockowners in the region and
probably used the building as a commissary for the Navajo and
Hispano herders who worked for him, as well as for living quarters.
It was evidently he who added the corrals and shed where wagons were
kept. Another member of Mr. Slim’s family was a blacksmith whose
main service was to fix the rims of wagon wheels. The large
fireplace inside the store was a forge that this man might have
used, if Mariano himself hadnot used it earlier. According to
ethnographic sources, a hogan … was also present, but the
structure was not recorded archaeologically. Mr. Slim’s family
abandoned the site in 1918 when Mr. Slim died from drinking poisoned
whisky that he had bought at a nearby trading post, the Pueblo Alto
McELMO CANYON and
EAST McELMO CREEK: Miscellaneous stores
See also Ismay
Several small stores
were located in McElmo Canyon and East McElmo Canyon in the early
20th century, possibly on an old mail route from Aneth to
In East McElmo Canyon:
– Ern Hall Trading
Post, about 7 mi S of Ismay in SE/4 (?) Section 34, T34N R20W,
Montezuma County, Colorado. Store dates ca 1940 and was a crude
masonry structure built into the cliff. Supplies came from Cortez
and clientele included both Navajos and Utes. (NN Museum, Milton
Snow Collection, photo NE-18-167; Navajo Nation Facility Management
– Billy Meadows
Trading Post, on south side of East McElmo about 3 mi above the Hall
TP, Montezuma County, Colorado. Store dates 1913-late 1930s. Billy
Meadows built it and ran it until not long before he died ca 1935;
he quit after he was beaten up (by Navajos?). The store had a
clientele of Navajos and Utes, both raising sheep and goats in the
area. Merchandise came from Cortez. Dick Wilson took the property
and ran a “shack type” store, buying some of his merchandise
from the Hall TP and selling to Utes. Store closed when Wilson
died. Wilson’s wife Elnora stayed on and reportedly became
eccentric, according to other local traders who would check on her
periodically. She reportedly sometimes shot at passersby and once
Navajos put her in the store well (a passerby pulled her out).
(Baer 1979; Forrest 1970:202-203).
– George Edmonson
store in East McElmo canyon, operated 1936-1938. Operated ca
1936-1938. Sold produce from farm to Navajo clientele.
In McElmo Canyon,
posts may have belonged to:
-- Johnny Taylor, near
Ute Mountain, where Joe Lee bought cattle in 1906; Lee may have
bought cattle at Round Rock this same year and drove them to
Colorado for sale (Lee and Richardson 1974:56)
– Joseph Heffernan, who
traded at McElmo (also Aneth and Four Corners) before moving to
Oljeto in 1921, and who helped daughter and son-in-law build Ismay
Trading Post in 1921 (Moon 1992)
– WL Mountz and Jack Jecque
(Jaquez?), store below Ismay on Cahone Mesa, below Thomas Billy
homesite, operated in 1930s-1940s. Supplies from Durango.
– Edmonson store and mission,
ca 1-2 miles east of Ismay.
-- Holley TP ca 2-5 miles toward
Aneth from Ismay, old Dobie School.
Thanks also to:
Halene West 6/30/05; June Head, 6/30/05, 7/10/05; Chester Tozer
6/1/05; Stewart Hatch 7/7/05; Robert McPherson 5/18/05; Harold
MEADOWS TRADING POST
San Juan Co, NM. Location uncertain, described as on the San Juan
on the south side of the San Juan north of Ship Rock pinnacle, about
12 miles east of the Four Corners; this would be around the mouth of
Little Shiprock Wash. Wagon trails connected the store to Navajo
Springs Agency north on Ute Mountain Reservation and a freight road
ran up the river to Shiprock and Farmington.
Dates. 1900-1908 or
Owners, managers. Billy
Meadows (NAA’ TsohI – Big Eyes – or NE’Eshjaa’ – Owl)
built the store in 1900 and ran it throughout its brief history,
evidently as an outpost for the Hyde Exploring Ezpedition. Around
1907 he and his family abandoned the store and moved to the
Montezuma Valley, then to East McElmo Canyon.
Meadows daughter Allie Meadows
Baer, born at the trading post, remembers the
“signatures” and the
Arbuckles coffee. The coffee would come in little packages, about
one pound, and would be in the bean … Each of these packages had a
“signature” on it and you would redeem them for gifts. Our
mother would always get pollows, sheets, curtains, table clothes and
we kids would get toys and other things … (Baer 1979)
Workers. Clerk Joe Hatch
and sheepherder Eugene Wright; also local Navajos hired to drive
sheep to Farmington for sale. John Hunt freighted.
Architecture. The store
building (including living quarters) was a long, single-story
building with walls of upright logs washed down the river and a
pole-and-dirt roof, a red corrugated iron storehouse for wool and
grain, and a round stockade corral. Mrs. Meadows had a hand-cranked
washing machine. The legendary San Juan River flood of 1911
obliterated the store.
Related enterprises. Hyde
Exploring Expedition: see Pueblo Bonito Trading Post. Between
stints as a trader, Meadows freighted between Bluff and Shiprock,
including for Bruce Bernard of Shiprock.
Meadows was originally from Texas and had been a cowboy at Socorro
and Magdalena. The post was tied to the Farmington wholesaler Hyde
Exploring Expedition, a venture that reportedly raised the capital
it needed to start an Indian trader supply house by looting Aztec
Ruin (the Hydes were also involved in excavating at Chaco Canyon).
Trader Wilkin at Sanostee, another Hyde store, had his sheep driven
north up Little Shiprock Wash to combine with Meadows’s sheep,
with the combined herd then driven to Farmington.
Baer 1979; Forrest 1970. Thanks
also to June
Head 6/20/05 and Stuart Hatch 7/7/05.
Current church was once
a trading post (Dawson 2005)
Navajo name. Naakai
Bich’ah (Mexican Hat – name for rock itself)
Juan County, UT, along old road between Bluff and north end of
bridge (originally called Goodridge bridge) across San Juan River at
By 1882, a bridge spanned the river near the location of the present
bridge and here, in that year, Emery Goodridge located the first oil
claim in the area. Gold prospecting began in the area in 1893 and
oil development boomed between 1907-1911, continuing at a slower
pace until about 1930 (Valle 1986:1-12).
Several posts have
operated at this location from ca 1900 to the present/recent times,
most with histories too sketchy for detailed entries (but see also
separate entries on Mexican Hat: Mexican Hat Rock TP and Mexican
Hat: San Juan TP). Navajos were only part of the clienteles that
these posts served. Other (for some posts more important) clienteles
included early gold prospectors and oil developers, as well as more
recent rafters and other tourists.
By 1901, gold and oil
prospector Emery Goodridge had a rudimentary post in a tent, later a
building (Valle 1986:16). Remains of a store are reported “beyond”
the old Mexican Hat trash dump west of the old airstrip (Oshley
2000:91), which seems to be the location of early oil settlement, at
least in the late 1920s, and the home of Art and Medora Spencer
(Valle 1986:16; see separate entries for Mexican Hat Rock TP and
Mexican Hat: San Juan TP); one wonders of the old store remains
beyond the dump could be the Spencers’ place. These remains may
be those of the early Goodridge store (or maybe not). Next seems to
have been the Mexican Hat Rock post, 1911-1931, established by John
L. Oliver (see separate entry). Next seems to have been the San
Juan TP, 1920s-present (see separate entry).
The Nevills family
lodge and store seems to have been next. In 1921, Billie and wife
Moe Nevills had a home near the Oliver store. Billie Nevills came
from California to Mexican Hat in 1917 as an oil property promoter;
his wife and children stayed in California long enough for son Norm
to complete a year at Claremont College (Valle 1986:11). In 1938,
Norm Nevills built the “Mexican Hat Lodge” on a rise north of
the San Juan river that included a trading post and 3 cabins. One
building (perhaps the post?) was a one-story, flat-roofed, masonry
structure with vigas). It was on the north rim of the San Juan
River canyon overlooking the San Juan Trading Post at the north end
of the bridge. Norm Nevills at the time was a famous and fearless
river runner who offered raft trips for tourists. He died, not on
the river but in a plane crash, in 1949 (Valle 1986:10-11, 16-25,
38; PHOTOS: Valle 1986, frontispiece; NAU.PH.99.6.46, 1950).
In 1955, Myron Ferrea
(see also Baby Rocks TP – Ferrea may have had something to do with
uranium mining in the area) established another post, the “Mexican
Hat Trading Post,” north of the San Juan River canyon on the SE
side of US route 163. Tom and Kay Knight operated it from 1969 to
sometime after 1986. Ca 2000 it was owned by Navajo Susie Burch and
non-Navajo husband Phil. It closed in 2008 and was north of the
present Hat Rock Inn (Valle 1986; Bowyer 2004 (PBS video); Kelley
field notes 1974; Kelley and Francis field notes 1/27/09).
From 1974 to
present/recent, Doris and Howard Valle have operated Valle’s
Trading Post and trailer park on the SE side of US 13, north of the
Knight post. This business seems to have been mainly a tourist
facility (Kelley and Francis field notes 1/27/09).
During the 1970s the
Halchitah Chapter of the Navajo Nation, on the south side of the San
Juan River across the bridge from Mexican Hat, operated a
cooperative store, which sold gas and groceries (Kelley and Francis
field notes, Jon Colvin interview, 10/25/05).
MEXICAN HAT: Mexican
Hat Rock Trading Post
Mexican Hat Miscellaneous. The post was about 2 miles north of the
bridge over the San Juan and half a mile west of the river and
Mexican Hat Rock, just west of present route US 163 (Westwood
1992:16; Valle 1986:20).
1911, John L. Oliver (“Tsiiyah Hochxo’ii” [Tsiiyaa Nichxo’ii?]
– Dirty Nape) built the post, apparently managed by Arthur Spencer
Tsoh – Big Whiteman) from 1914 to at least 1917. In 1926, John
LaRay (Ray) Hunt and Martha Hatch Hunt leased the store from Oliver.
In 1931, the Hunts left the store, and Oliver tore the building
down (Oshley 2000:76-77, 90-91, 100, 103-106; Holiday 2005:60,
338n38; Westwood 1992:16-17; Valle 1986:16-25).
Hunt’s younger brothers Jim and Emery helped with the store and
herding (Valle 1986). Navajo Oshley and his wife also herded for
the Hunts (Oshley 2000:100).
Store complex had 1 bedroom, kitchen, storage room, and store itself
(Oshley 2000:91n81). Photos show wood frame building with false
front and another building behind (probably living quarters) with
gabled roof. In 1920 the store was described as a one-room wooden
shack built from lumber salvaged from “gambling dens” that
appeared in the area in the early 1900s at the beginning of the oil
boom; Oliver had a big cellar under the store for perishables and
the Hunts used it for live chickens (Valle 1986:17). PHOTOS:
Oshley 2000:75 (1917) and 90 (nd).
search this document for surname.
Hunts also raised sheep on surrounding range (Oshley 2000).
Historical notes. The
Hunts got wholesale merchandise from Aiken Mercantile in Dolores,
CO, in exchange for the sheep that they got in trade from local
Navajos; other merchandise came from Bluff (Oshley 2000).
Sources. See citations
MEXICAN HAT: San
Juan Trading Post
Mexican Hat Miscellaneous. The post is at the north end of the
bridge, on the west side, on a ledge overlooking the river.
1920s-early 1930s?(Spencers/Bowens); 1937-present (by early 1970s,
business was a motel with curio store only).
Around 1921, Art and Medora Spencer (formerly managers of Mexican
Hat Rock TP; see separate entry) had a house near Goodridge Bridge,
where they stocked shelves in one room for trade. In 1928 they sold
to Cord and Gussie Bowen (Gussie’s father was early local
prospector Augustus Honaker). The Spencers moved up near the present
town dump (see Mexican Hat Miscellaneous entry; their house may be
the old building noted there) (Valle 1986:16; Moon 1992:33; Westwood
1992:16-17). In 1937, Dan Tyce built a store in this location (no
details on what happened to the Spencer building). The Nevills
family had a competing business on the canyon rim above, and
harassed Tyce so that sold the post to Meritt Smith, who sold to
June Powell, who sold to Ray Hunt (formerly of Mexican Hat Rock TP)
around 1939-40. (That the Nevills enterprise was probably for river
tourists, not the Navajo trade, suggests that the San Juan Trading
Post was similarly tourist-oriented.) Sometime between 1944 and
1947, Ray Hunt moved to Chilchinbito TP and sold the post to his
brother Jim, who added a motel and restaurant. Jim Hunt died in
1973. It is unclear whether he still owned the enterprise at that
time but in any event at that time the enterprise catered to
tourists. Later owners, 1973-83, were Barney Walker, then Jerry
Baum; 1983-present, Mark and Julie Sword (Valle 1986:16-25; Berkholz
2007:20; Oshley 2000:91).
Tidbits from the literature are as follows. Spencers used one room
in their house for trade. Ray Hunt lived on the site in a tent,
built more permanent living quarters in 1940 (Valle 1986:21); which
suggests that whatever Tyce built in 1937 didn’t include living
quarters – so was Tyce living in the Spencers’ house that had
one room for sales, and if so, why didn’t Jim Hunt live in it
too?. Jim Hunt and wife built 21 motel rooms with living quarters
above the store. PHOTOS: Berkholz 2007:19 (recent).
Hunts: Do keyword search on surname for this whole document.
Tourism seems to have supported owners from 1937 on.
Bowen had a car and got merchandise from Cortez to trade with
Navajos (Valle 1986:16).
Sources. See citations
Navajo name. NaakaiI
BitO (Mexican’s Spring)
Location. In McKinley
County 5 mi W of the old Gallup-Fruitland Mormon freighting road
that became route 666. Into the 1930s there was also a summer store
in the mountains NW at DlOO’ Ndzi#gai BitO (Squirrel Springs),
where most clients moved during the season; this summer store was on
the east side of current route N30 across from the current windmill.
Dates. Ca 1915 - 2004
Owners, managers. A
store was operating here under a license in 1915. Local Navajo
resident Walter Bitsie used income from his extensive sheep and
cattle holdings to establish it, hired neighbors to build it, and
operated it into the 1930s along with a summer store in the
mountains to the NW. At some time in its early history, non-Navajo
Edward Vanderwagon ran the store and later the manager was Hispanic
Ernest Garcia. (Garcia dug the well in the wash behind the store,
thus giving rise to the placename.) The store burned ca 1930. In
1934, Albert Arnold Jr, Navajo son of non-Navajo trader Albert
Arnold Sr at Tohatchi, applied for a license to operate a store at
Mexican Springs after his trading post burned down (the Arnolds
apparently had an interest in Bitsie’s store and that is the one
that Arnold Jr’s license application refers to). The license was
denied because a co-op was planned. Meanwhile the Cattle Growers
Association, which as a Navajo owner did not need a license, rebuilt
the store with Garcia managing it. In 1939, the Mexican Springs
chapter used a loan from the Navajo Tribal government to invest in
the store and turn it into a co-operative, managed by Ernest Garcia.
The Cattle Growers Association still had a role in running the
store until 1947-48, when the Association disbanded owing to
disputes about the Association’s annual October cattle auction.
From ca 1940 (early-mid 1940s?) into the 1950s (?), a local Navajo
couple, Lamar and Alice Etcitty, owned and operated the store. By
1950, the non-Navajo Junker family of Gallup ran the store. By
1974, owners were non-Navajos Cliff and Rosa Miller. By 1982, the
store seems to have been closed, but was operating again by 1996,
with a PO and a Navajo owner, Leslie Phillips Jr. This store was
closed by 2004 and burned the next year, despite the chapter’s
hope to take the building from the Navajo Nation government (owner
of all trading posts buildings according to current standard lease
terms) and restore the postoffice in it.
Workers. Joe O’Brien
and other local men built the original store for Walter Bitsie and
Joe O’Brien hauled merchandise from Gallup Mercantile by wagon.
original ca 1915 - early 1930s store burned and the site seems to
have been levelled, since no evidence remains; it was just S of the
store that succeeded it. Traces of burned sandstone foundation and
ashy soil are in the area. The second store burned in 2005, and
foundations remain. The second store was of masonry, originally
with a flat roof; by the 1970s a pitched roof had been added and
probably several rooms. The summer store building was a small log
cabin, foundation still visible.
BIA 1933 map; Eddington and Makov 1995:137-138; Gregory 1916 map;
Kelley 1974 field notes; Julyan 1996; M’Closkey 2003:141; McNitt
1962:242n13; Mercurio and Peschel 1998:37; Newcomb 1966:179; NMBD
1941, 1950; Paquette 1915:10; Parman 1976:267-268; Van Valkenburgh
1941. Thanks also
to: Ethel O’Brian,
9/6/05; Pat Morris 9/19/05; Ernest Bitsie 9/30/05. PHOTOS:
NN Museum, Snow Collection, NE 18-11 (1942); Kelley and Francis roll