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Riley, J. W. "Bus"

About | Abstract


Riley comes from a long line of cattle ranchers. He grew up in the Deming, NM area, and discusses ranching in southwestern New Mexico.

Interviewee J. W. "Bus" Riley, male, born in 1924
Date Range 1925-2010
Date & Location October 19, 2009, Unknown
Project Farm and Ranch Folks
Region Southwest New Mexico
Number of Tapes 2
Transcribed June 30, 2010
Download Abstract


Tape 1, Side A

His grandparents moved from Texas to the small town of Badger (now called Hope), N.M. which was named because the townspeople lived in dugouts. The nearest water source was the Penasco River, which they dammed and ran to orchards via canal. Cisterns were eventually dug.

Riley was born in Carlsbad in 1925. His uncle had a large ranch in the Deming area, and his father went to work for the uncle. His father's work for the Grazing Service division of the Civilian Conservation Corps is discussed. In 1937 his father purchased a ranch in the Florida Mountains near Deming. Riley tells how the ranch was acquired, and the particulars of the ranch land as well as improvements to the ranch. He discusses weather, his chores, and briefly talks about the military take-over of land for what is now known as White Sands Missile Range.

Tape 1, Side B

Riley talks about ranch life, gardens, family holidays, family traditions as well as his education, and job at the Bureau of Land Management. He also talks about the fate of ranches around the Riley Ranch near Deming.

Tape 2, Side A

Riley discusses the quality of life on the ranch, and the changes that he has seen over the years. While there are a lot of ranches that have been converted into wilderness areas and wildlife refuges, Riley believes that the ranching way of life will continue. Several people are mentioned for future interviews. He discusses the government's program to kill cows during the drought years and states that the rancher was paid $2.50 apiece. He shares a story of a white cow that he and his cousin thought was a ghost.