|GILILLAND FAMILY STORIES
AUGUST 7, 1888 - JANUARY 25, 1962
by Lola Tucker
Richard Lafayette, known only as Dick L.,even on legal papers, signed Marriage License
And, is Dick L. on tombstone born 7 August, 1888, Mountain Park, New Mexico Territory.
Mexico was not a State at that time and Otero County was not a County until after Uncle Jim
Gililland and Oliver Lee were arrested for the murder of Judge Fountain and his small
died 25 January 1962, in Alamogordo, buried 29 January in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
30 March 1911, Tularosa, Otero County, New Mexico (Territory) Ginevra Madie (not Madie
(Ginevra also Gin) Wood (Not Woods), who was born 5 October 1892, Edwards County,
11 September 1986 in Alamogordo, New Mexico and buried 13 September 1986 in
When he was 13, Dick went to Socorro County and the next year went to work for his
brother, the late Jim Gililland, who was a companion of the late Oliver M. Lee.
He started in the cattle business on his own in 1908. At the age of 19,
when he went to W. C. McDonald, manager of the Bar W Ranch and later first Governor of
after Statehood, to borrow money to buy his brother's share of the Gililland ranch. His
security was about
three saddle horses, a saddle, and a few head of cattle, yet McDonald helped him. I know
my mother said he
bought their Ranch from Ed Brown, her cousin, and Alice and Pete have both confirmed
that. But he bought
more than one addition to his ranch. Pete and I know he bought the Smith Place, which we
think belonged to
his brother, George and later to Jim Smith, and think that is when he got the loan from W.
Years later, R. D. Champion asked him to take the Bradford Goat Ranches, which the bank
and he felt Dick could pay them off, and also pay out his own ranch, which he owed a large
sum on. There
were three of those ranches and a large herd of goats.
L to R: Dick Gililland & Clay Smith 1935
The Gililland ranch house. Taken June 1985
Dick asked Alice and her husband Clay, Dixie and her husband Roy, and Sam, who was
single, if they wanted
to all work together and take these ranches. They agreed. And, with Dick getting the loan
and being in charge,
in several years of hard work, everything including his home ranch was all paid off.
The Ranches were divided up, with Alice and Clay getting Sweetwater; Dixie and Roy
Sam got the LW, and Dick's Ranch was all paid for. Sam had married Ina Ruth by then, and
she wasn't happy
there, so they sold the LW to Dick.
After about forty-nine years of ranching, Dick had developed the land in the San Andres
it was valued at $106,000 when the Government took it over in 1942. It was taken for
about five percent
of the value and is now part of the White Sands Missile Range. At that time, Dick had to
sell all his goats.
He leased several ranches, after being forced to sell most of his cattle, when the
allow him to keep them on the Dave McDonald ranch any longer. This was the last ranch
he was able to
lease. He was forced to sell all his cattle except a few, which he was able to keep on the
south of Alamogordo, just to make him happy. At the time, he sold most of his most of his
cattle. He was
paid $40,000.00 in cash when the buyers had truckers load the cattle. That was a lot of
money in those
days. He took his son-in-law, Hansel Tucker, with him to count the money.
As to what happened with the ranches, that is a long story. The Government had
promised the ranchers
to return the land after the war, but never did. The Ranchers fought for years to get a
which they didn't get. Dick didn't get enough to even look at another ranch.
He worked as a firefighter at Holloman Army Air Base for a while, and was allowed co-use
of the ranch
for a year or so, and thus, returned. Then he was forced off permanently. He leased the
ranch for a while before being forced to sell most of his cattle. the McDonald ranch was
the site of the
first Atomic Bomb test. It was on the George McDonald ranch, only a few miles from
Dave's. This test
had taken place before Dick leased the ranch. That ranch house has been restored and is
part of the
Atomic Bomb sight, twice a year, tour. Dick worked for the police force in Alamogordo for
He was a Deputy Cattle Band Inspector, and at the time of his death, was serving as a
never got over being broken-hearted about losing his ranch.
During his 51 years of punching cattle in Otero and Socorro Counties, he worked with
such men as the
famed western author, Eugene Manlove Rhodes. In 1910 Dick Gililland, a Cowboy, that is
what he always
called himself, on a cattle ranch, not a horse ranch. All ranchers had horses also, but he
never worked on
a ranch that was a horse ranch. Resides as previously mentioned, with his father, William
F. Gililland, 69, and
his mother, Rosetta M., 59, in Estey, Socorro County, Territory of New Mexico, and next
door to his brother,
James R. Gililland, 36.
Dick was a rancher not a laborer. 1920 Dick 29, a cowboy (he would have been insulted to
be called a ranch
laborer); all cowboys had to labor, such as build fences, build water tanks, and all the work
that had to be
done to keep the ranch going.
When I was born in 1925 on the same ranch, it was Socorro County and was all the time I
was growing up. It
is now Sierra County. Don't know just what year it was changed.
Dick loved family gatherings. Dick loved to get together with his family. He would call for
at least once a year, or so it seemed. He would freeze ice cream. Sometimes the parties
would be out at
White Sands. We didn't see some of our first cousins much, if at all.