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A Cowboys Life

Ranchos De Taos
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James William Powell

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Dad received a new job as a District Brand Inspector for the state of New Mexico in the county of Ranchos de Taos and a few surrounding counties.   We moved to Taos, New Mexico early summer of 1953 I think. 

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We moved into an old house, that they called ( The Leandro Martinez House). It was located next door to the (Pascual Martinez House) It is situated in the Ranchitos district on the west bank of Taos River about two miles from the Taos Plaza, it is the oldest and largest of a group of three houses in the area owned by the Martinez family. It was at one time the headquarters of a 10,000 acre ranch, part of the land grant made in 1788 by the King Of Spain to Don Antonio Martinez.

In 1972, as part of its Spanish Culture Program, the Kit Carson Foundation acquired the hacienda and three and one-half acres of the original land grant.  In May, 1973, the National Park Service designated the hacienda as a Registered National Historic Bulilding, which qualified the hacienda to receive funds through the National Preservation Act to aid in its restoration.  The hacienda is open daily through out the year except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

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We rented and lived in the "Leandro Martinez House" from spring of 1953 to fall of 1954. In the picture at top are Betty, Mom (Delcie) Jim, and Sherry Powell.  The second picture is Mom (Delcie) and Sherry Powell.

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These are the only pictures I have showing that we lived in the "Leandro Martinez House"  The window to the right was Sherry's and my bedroom.  I could sit or lay down in that big old window and look out. The walls and windows in the house were 32 inches thick.

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This picture is Betty, Jim, and Sherry Powell showing off a horse that Dad found, but we made him our horse at the time. 

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This was the pond that we would run the snakes out of, so we could go swimming in the summer time.  What daring kids we were.

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We had the Taos River running out front of the house that we would play in to cool off. That water was cold coming out of those mountains. We had fun looking at all the rocks trying to found us some gold out of them there hills.

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Mom had to go and get Dad out of the Hotel La Fonda a lot as there was a bar inside.  This was one way for Dad to keep up with what was going on around town. Which was important you know in his line of work.

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We enjoyed the Indian dances they would have in the town square. The Mexican Fiesta's were great to, they had music and food and dancing  in the streets. We would walk to town two miles every Saturday to see a cowboy movie and walk back.  Funny it didn't seem that far when we were kids. The Kit Carson National Park was also a place to go see.

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Next door to the "Pascual Martinez House" was the "Leandro Martinez House" build in 1862. It is now a mound of dirt under the two trees you see in the picture.  The neglect and deterioration of this artistic landmark is sad. In the autumn of 1962, the remaining woodwork was purchased and removed by Larry Frank for his remodeling of the Upper Morada at Arroyo Hondo.  

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The "Pascual Martinez House" is designated as a registered "National Historic Building" in May, 1973. In the picture is Larry Joyner, Jim and Melinda Powell, and Betty (Powell) Joyner. Jim and I had to come back to see our old Fort that we use to play in. Jim had found an old trumpet in a feeder bay in the old fort one day and he would go around blowing on that thing trying to make music.  To bad, we did not keep up with that old trumpet.

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Jim Powell, and Betty Joyner sitting on the old well that we use to try and push each other into.  Of course the rock wall around it was not there when we were there. What fun we had in that old fort.  It is a life time full of  memories.  It was an adventure that we cannot forget and we enjoy to this day going back to reminisce over our youth.

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The old town of Taos has become a tourist attraction, and the Angel Fire Ski Resort east of town draws a lot of skier's as well as the Taos Ski Valley north of Taos.

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The Rio Grande Taos Box Canyon has become famous as one of the most thrilling whitewater runs in the West. 

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Not to forget about the Taos Pueblo Indian Village.  Today Taos Pueblo stands as the largest existing multi-storied Pueblo structure in the United States for nearly 1000 years. 

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