Ranch on the Ruidoso: The Story of a Pioneer Family in New Mexico

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Wilbur Coe grew up and now lives on the famous Coe Ranch which his father founded almost a hundred years ago. And the story he tells about himself and his family and the vast acres on the Ruidoso River that are a part of all their lives reflects the essence of the American Southwest. The Coes were pioneers in the New Mexico Territory, among the earliest settlers to come from the East over the Santa Fe Trail. In 1871, led by Wilbur’s father, Frank, and his Uncle Al, they came by wagon train from Independence, Missouri, to Fort Union, New Mexico Territory (the railroad in those days had not reached even as far west as Fort Dodge, Kansas), Frank staved, and by the time his brother returned to launch a freight outfit Frank had been a frontier hand, buffalo hide hunter, and market hunter. Both brothers eventually homesteaded ranches. They were caught up in the bloody Lincoln County War. They were thrown together with such almost legendary figures as Billy the Kid and Buckshot Rogers. They lived the classic “Western” experience. And as times changed, as the West became less wild, as Frank Coe stocked his land with fine blooded beef cattle and set out an apple orchard, the ranch flourished. Wilbur Coe knows that land and that history as no other man. He knows it from his youth there as a ranch hand, from the stories his elders told, and from his own passionate interest in the ranch which under his skillful management has prospered so remarkably. To read his story is to meet an extraordinary American family, to sojourn at once in an authentic American past – and a delightful present. For here, as well, is a charming picture of life at Glencoe today, where hospitality is unbounded, where Wilbur and Louise Coe’s gift for graceful living is superbly combined with that Coe family quality that has been described as a toughness of spirit and body to equal “live oak bound with rawhide.”


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