Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pancho Villa at the ranch

Well, I won't dwell on the subject of Pancho Villa, but he was at one time a bandit throughout Mexico and and the badlands of west Texas and New Mexico. A hero he was in the Mexican Revolution. Around the time of 1910, the name Pancho Villa was as common as Wheaties, the breakfast of champions, around the breakfast table.

His travels to Deming, NM. were many, for political reasons, coming out of Mexico through or around Columbus, NM. Most times right through the Piepmeier homesteads and the Birchfield ranches with a band of sometimes 50 or more Villistas....fighting men...hard core...cut yer throat...shoot ya in a heartbeat. While the Birchfields didn't tale a lik'n to he visits, he was welcomed at the Piepmeier ranch. Free coffee, chat and blacksmithing. Note: Hanging on my wall is a horseshoe from the ranch that could possibly be from one of Villa's clan....as there were no horses only mules for plowing on the Piepmeier ranch.

Now, the Piepmeiers weren't only farmers in this desolate land, grandpa was a contractor. Built stuff just like old Billy Bob do. In Columbus stands an adobe jail house what grandpa built.

Closer to the mountains, he built a one room schoolhouse of adobe. This structure was torn down for the adobe blocks in the late 50's. He was the first to plaster outside walls of adobe structures in southern New Mexico.

In the town of Columbus, great and grandpa's had a small grocery store. Produce was provided from the ranch.

With Indians still on the rampage and after the Pancho Villa raid in 1916, people were temporarily abandoning their homesteads and ranches for safer ground....the growing little town of Deming was a safe haven. The Piepmeiers rented a little shack right in the heart of Columbus as they had a thriving business...the grocery store.

Grandpa told me many years ago of his first meeting of Pancho Villa. Off in the distance he seen a dust cloud....as the Indians used to say....many horses....many men. The hair stood up everywhere he had hair when the approaching heavily armed riders appeared in his fields. One in particular stood out.
He wore bullet belts crisscrossed across his chest, a huge black sombrero and rode a beautiful "grey" horse. None other than Pancho Villa in the flesh. They chatted for a while....on "da porch" sip'n grandma's bitter coffee and a smile. Although, grandma was probably pee'n her pants. As time went by, Pancho never missed a chance to visit the ranch for more of grandma's coffee and cookies.

Off to the east sat the San Juan Ranch, not more than a 1/2 mile. One of the Birchfield ranches with many head of cattle and horses. Pancho's first visit to the Birchfield ranches was not welcomed by William Perry Birchfield.  Cattle scattered by the small army approaching and all hands were armed and ready for what was to come. Nothing came of the visit, but Pancho stayed clear of Birchfield ranches after that.

More to come....just ya wait and see.


  1. Keep it up BB,, don't you DARE take off and leave us hanging! And BTW, I been through Columbus NM, probably one of those long weekend driving trips we used to do when I lived out in Los Lunas

  2. This is a cliffhanger.

  3. AHHH SO IT WAS COFFEE. I was tryin to build up the story but I dont need to. No one can tell a barn burner like BB. Dont end this story and say he lived and he died.

  4. You are quite the story teller Billy Bob. Looking forward to more.

    Do you know that the love of his life Adelita lived her later years and died in Del Rio?