Item #010241 1905 – Letter from the son of a wealthy former Detroit hotel owner informing his family that he had led a pack train through the mountains of New Mexico in hopes of purchasing a sheep ranch. Walter M. Taber.
1905 – Letter from the son of a wealthy former Detroit hotel owner informing his family that he had led a pack train through the mountains of New Mexico in hopes of purchasing a sheep ranch.
1905 – Letter from the son of a wealthy former Detroit hotel owner informing his family that he had led a pack train through the mountains of New Mexico in hopes of purchasing a sheep ranch.
1905 – Letter from the son of a wealthy former Detroit hotel owner informing his family that he had led a pack train through the mountains of New Mexico in hopes of purchasing a sheep ranch.

1905 – Letter from the son of a wealthy former Detroit hotel owner informing his family that he had led a pack train through the mountains of New Mexico in hopes of purchasing a sheep ranch.

Ojo Caliented, New Mexico: 1905. Envelope or Cover. This complete, but unsigned, four-page letter from Walter M. Taber is datelined “Ojo Caliente Taos Co., / New Mexico / Sunday. Aug. 6th 1905.” It is enclosed in an envelope franked with a red 2-cent Washington stamp (Scott #319) that has been cancelled with a Type 2, #3 Ojo Caliente postmark. It is addressed to “Col. Aug B. Taber / Highlands / New Jersey / Water Witch Club”. In nice shape with a short, closed tear at the top margin of the letter’s first page. A transcript will be provided.

In the letter, Walter describes his pack train journey in search of a sheep ranch to purchase.

“It is great sport handling a pack train in the mountains our 4 horses & 3 burrows make quite a train and is a pretty sight twisting along the trail of a thickly wooded narrow valley or up or down a mountain side, our lead burro perhaps 500 yards away and on top of whose pack glittering in the sunlight our bread pans can be seen. First goes our 3 burrows loaded with grub, bedding and working utensils, then comes Jakes the head burro driver, then Tommy Raby, then Martha, then myself, bringing up the rear, in my preferred position where I can see the entire pack train & watch its twistings over the winding trail. These Springs are very good. I have taken 7 baths and shall do so every day until we leave, which we shall probably do next Thursday when we shall go over to Santa Clara Indian Pueblo to see an Indian dance & then we go probably to the Sulphur Springs, where I shall take some more baths. Will let you know later where to address me. . .. Tommy Raby seems to like this country & to be stuck on the store business & is going to write his Father that if he will get the money together for the sheep & store company he will stay out here. The sheep men have all gotten rich this year & all the store keepers are sick or getting so. . .. "

His effort was reported in the Albuquerque Evening Citizen on 15 July 1905.

“Walter M. Taber, a ranchman from near Glorieta was in Santa Fe yesterday en route overland to Taos where he expects to purchase a ranch for the raising of sheep. Mr. Taber with his wife and son, came to New Mexico some time ago from Philadelphia, Pa. for the benefit of heath. Thomas Raby of Philadelphia, is with them, and they are all making the trip.”

. Very good. Item #010241

Walter already owned the famous Pigeon’s Ranch on the Santa Fe Trail which he had purchased from George Herbert in 1887. At the time he bought the ranch, it was being used as an inn with “a bad name as being the rendezvous of gamblers and other tough characters.” Tabor was appointed postmaster of Glorieta in 1906 and distributed mail from the ranch. His Glorieta Mercantile and Livestock Co. also raised sheep in the area as well as in Sandoval County. He served as postmaster in 1918 and died shortly thereafter. His widow lived at Pigeon Ranch until 1926 when she sold it to Thomas Greer, a Pecos Valley Cowboy.

Walter’s father Augustus Bernard Taber was a liquor, wine, and tea wholesaler as well as the owner of the Biddle House, one of Detroit’s most prestigious hotels, from 1861 until the 1890s when he retired. A postally used illustrated envelope advertising the Biddle House, is included. The envelope shows a large image of the Biddle House on the reverse the printed annotation “A. B. Taber Prop.” It is franked with a rose 3-cent Washington stamp tied to the cover by a Detroit postmark. The Water Witch Club was a turn-of-the-century country club that still operates today as an upscale wedding venue.

(For more information, see Alexander’s “Pigeon’s Ranch House. . .. at the Legends of America website, “Pigeon’s Ranch Historic Research Study” by the National Park Service, and various online genealogical websites including ancestry.com.)

Scarce. At the time of listing there are no similar descriptions of New Mexico pack trains for sale in the trade and the Rare Book Hub shows none have appeared at auction. OCLC identifies on personal papers collection held at the University of Texas that may contain a pack train description.

A fascinating description of a 1900s pack train journey through the mountains of New Mexico with a connection to a historic waypoint on the Santa Fe Trail.

.

Price: $450.00