Following the trail of one very tough old man through New Mexico’s back country
You say about the Box Canyon….
“I’ve heard that there are two graves along the road dating from Nana’s raid, but have never seen them.
There’s a shrine off the highway, the site of a mysterious and notorious murder a few years ago, but I
don’t know what the shrine itself commemorates. A little way past the abandoned Water Canyon
roadhouse, look for a turnoff south to Water Canyon Campground.”
I go to box canyon frequently and will endeavour to keep an eye out for these graves. May I ask your source? Did they see these graves or just hear about them?
I’d have to dig back into my notes to find where I read or heard about those graves. Could have been from a talk with an archeologist in the Socorro BLM office some years ago, but I can’t remember her name offhand. Or I might have heard it from Bob Roland — I’ll check with him.
I expect the graves would be very difficult to find except to a trained eye. The old railroad line and then the paved road closely follow the grade, but the wagon road likely deviated to one side or another to access springs or tanks along the way.
Another interesting question is: who’s buried in these graves, if they exist? According to the accounts I read, there were five victims killed along the Socorro-Magdalena road by the raiders. The bodies of the two local Hispanics, (Juan de Dios Baca and his son) were likely collected by relatives for burial in consecrated ground, while the merchant Van Epps also probably had friends or relatives to see him properly interred. The teamster and the traveler who was camping with Van Epps were more likely to have been buried close to where they died and left there if there was no one to claim their remains.
I spoke yesterday, Friday, to BLM archeologist M. Papirtis in Socorro. He said there is no graves that he knows of associated with the Raid east of Magdalena. Mr. Baca, Mr. Papiritis said, was killed north of Datil on the Zuni to Acoma trail. This attack on the Wagon was detailed in “No life for a Lady”, Agnes Cleaveland’s book. Ms. Cleaveland goes into detail in her book about seeing the destroyed wagon on said trail.
Thanks for some very good information. I’m currently traveling and so unable to dig into my notes, but I’ll do so when I return home. The burned wagon referenced in “no life for a lady” was on Alamocita Creek north of the Datils.
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