|SAM WILSON GILILLAND
July 22, 1914 - July 23, 1990
by Jerry Neal Gililland
Taken from a video interview with Sam on October 10, 1989
Sam' life before marrying my Mom, is pretty much told by Alice and Dixie, so I'll begin with
dad, 23 years of age, and mom 16 years of age, when they got married in 1937.
Mom and Dad in 1938
Sam was born in 1914 at his grandparent's, William Franklin and Rosetta Moore Gililland,
10th. Street in Alamogordo, New Mexico, where the Shell Service Station is now. Sam has
six siblings, and talked about a little red-haired sister who died when he was in the third
On December 27, 1937, while attending school in Tularosa, New Mexico to get his
diploma, Dad married my Mom, Ina Ruth Cansler.
Their first home was in the San Andres Mountains on the LW Ranch. Sam truly enjoyed
herding goats, and because grazing was much better in other parts of the country,
they sold the LW to Dick Gililland, his father, and purchased a 22 sq. mile piece of property
on the Lava Beds, near the Phillips Ranch. It was their understanding that this land
was not part of the bombing range. They did really good there. Sam, with the help of
Pat Withers and his son, were building a house (with running water) out of red tile
brick, and just the way Mom wanted it. Sam was about 30 years old at that time.
During the day, Dad would herd his angora goats, and would come in at times to help
with the the house. Dad said he trained the dogs to guard the goats so that he
could leave them, and could help with the building of the house. Even though this
property was not
part of the bombing range, the government took it anyway. They had to sell the goats for
about $2.50 each ( market price after the government took over was about $40-$90 each),
mohair for .32cents a pound (market price after the government took over was about
$5.00 a pound).
My Dad and my Mom were very saddened over losing their place on the Lava Beds, and
were never the same again. They were never paid for the ranch by the government.
After that, and prior to buying Uncle Amnon's place in Tularosa, Dad went to work for the
Fire Department out at Holloman Air Force Base, but that didn't work out. He even tried
the Army, but was told he could do the country a lot more good ranching, etc. than by
rifle in the Army.
Sam worked out a deal with Uncle Amnon, sold some things, and was able to come up
with a down payment on Uncle Amnon's place. They had a few cows then, and sold
the milk to the store. Dad, at that time, was also the Water Boss in Tularosa.
Cleo was 8 years old, Bill was 6 years old, Jerry was 3 years old, when Carolyn Sue, our
little sister who was barely 14 months old, crawled out of the truck while with Sam, Bill
and Jerry (Sam was doing Water Boss work) and fell into an irrigation ditch and
drowned. Roy and Cara were not born yet. I'm not sure Dad and Mom ever recovered
Carolyn Sue Gililland
In 1955, Tularosa and the Tularosa School Board (Jack Hobson a member) were in need
of some property to build school buildings and a football field. So that year, Mom and Dad
their place and purchased the Ed Sander's Place on Higuera Street in Tularosa,
New Mexico. Mom still lives there today. Jess, Sam's brother, helped Dad a lot with the
Once, Jess was milking one of the old cows from the Ranch, "One" was her name, and she
was very hard
to milk. Uncle Jess told Sam, "I'm sure glad she has some good hand holds so I can rear
Roy was born the year after Carolyn Sue died, 1950, and Cara was born in 1962 when Mom
was 41 years old. Mom often said that having Cara that late in life was a
Another thing that was so hard on Dad and Mom was the fact that Cleo, who had survived
cancer as a girl, about 12, was diagnosed with cancer again when she was in her thirties.
Cleo died in her home on August 3, 1975 at the age of 34 from an accidental
gun shot. This was another tragedy Mom and Dad never fully recovered from.
Cleo May Gililland Poindexter
Mom and Dad separated and then divorced after that. Dad started hauling mobile
homes all over the United States, while Mom remained on the Sanders Place.
They both remarried. Dad quit the hauling business, and went to work for both the County
City of Alamogordo until he retired, but still farmed and had horses.
While interviewing Dad, he must have mentioned not less than fifteen times, "If the
government hadn't taken our Ranch away from us, and without paying us
for it". It is very apparent Dad was still grieving over the fact that their Ranch had
been taken away from them.
Until the day Dad died, he had never stopped loving Mom. And even though
he was hard on us kids, we knew he loved us as well. Ranching, horses and
goat herding was his life. He missed that dearly after they lost the Ranch.
Towards the end of his life, in 1987, dad bought a horse, Smart Hempen. Smart Hempen
was a Palomino Stallion coming from a good blood line; his mother was
Sweet Dixie-her father was Dixie Man; his father was Hempen-whose father was
Go Man Go. When Dad got so sick he couldn't ride Smart Hempen any more, us kids
made sure Hempen was always within eyes sight of Dad's house.
by FKG for Jerry
He never said "I Love You", there were times we thought he wanted to.
And words never came easy, except in a rage, And that too, withered with age.
Games there were plenty, The "name" game for one.
We heard "your brother's mother" and "your mother's son".
He called her "sweetheart" and "darlin", and never gave up trying.
Her heart back, he would one day win, but she only left him crying.
Thrilled for the moment, harmonica he could play.
"Can you name this tune"? We would hear him say.
Play days, weren't any, as best we can remember.
Cow work from dawn to dusk, from January thru December.
A chance to sneak away, we tried a time or two.
Fun greater than the risk, punishment we surely would go through.
Young Sam, fair skin, red hair, meaner than a cob.
Leather strap, sticks, bailing wire, all tools we call the "rod".
Old Sam, wrinkled, white hair, renewed love for life.
One July, wisp away, body's breath, us kids, and last but first, child bride.
Time has run so swiftly, since our father's timely passing.
And there's never a day goes bye, that someone's not heard asking.
"Remember when dad would"? "Recall how he used to"?
Years and years of memories, good and bad, And yes, he finally said "I love you".
|GILILLAND FAMILY STORIES