|GILILLAND FAMILY STORIES
|DIXIE CLOMA GILILLAND TUCKER
BY G.L. Tucker
Dixie Cloma Gililland was born on June 30, 1917 in Hot Springs, New Mexico (which is
now Truth or Consequences) to Richard Lafayette Gililland and Ginevra Madie (Wood)
Gililland. They lived in the San Andres Mountains on what is called the Home Place. She
attended school in several places. They were San Marcial, Hot Springs, Albuquerque,
Tularosa, Bear Den and the Ritch School. She never did graduate except in the 8th.
grade at Tularosa. She had a sister, Alice, a brother, Sam, then later came Pete, Jess and
There was a young man showed up in the San Andres from Texas. His name was Roy
Eugene Tucker. He worked on several ranches in the area and trapped. One of the
ranchers he worked for was Uncle John Wood who raised horses. There were dances on
the platform at Millers Ranch. Everyone in the area came. They danced all night.
Between seeing Roy working once in a while, and the dances, Dixie became very
interested in him.
They got married on September 27, 1934, in Tularosa, New Mexico. They still lived in the
San Andres. They went in with Richard (Dick) Gililland, Clay Smith and Sam Gililland to
buy several ranches that had been repossessed by Mr. Champion in Tularosa. They split
the ranches up with Dick keeping the Home Place, Sam took the LW, Roy and Dixie took
Grapevine, and Clay and Alice took Sweetwater.
They raised and herded goats at Grapevine along with a few cows and horses. On
September 8, 1935, Roy Eugene Tucker Jr. (Jr.) was born in Tularosa. On March 17, 1937
Leon Patrick Tucker was born in Hot Springs. On December 23, 1940, George Lafayette
Tucker (G.L.) was born in Tularosa. (Aunt Lola put on the birth announcements to call him
In 1939, Leon died from diarrhea and was buried in Tularosa. Dixie never got over him.
In 1941 the United States Army wanted the Ranches and a bunch of other ranches to
practice their bombing for World War II. The Ranchers moved off. Roy and Dixie loaded
the pickup with their yearly crop of mohair and along with Jr. and G.L. they started to
Tularosa. It started raining and when the came to Mexican Tank Draw, they got stuck and
was stuck all day. They finally walked to the Home Place and spent the night. The next
morning, with help and horses they finally got out.
They moved into Tularosa and put Jr. in school. Roy worked at the Fire Department at
Holloman Air Base, farmed in Tularosa with a team of mules and ran cows at Three Rivers
where they leased part of the Quatro Amigos Cattle Co. from Truman Spencer and his
On September 1, 1942 Cloma Jane was born in Tularosa in the same house she lives in
In 1949 they moved to the Three Rivers Ranch they had leased.
On November 24, 1949 Gineva Gertrude was born in Alamogordo at Uncle Hansel and
Aunt Lola's house.
They spent their time building up their herd of cattle. During the drought of 1954, 1955,
and 1956 there was not much feed for the cows. Roy had bought some calves for the
roping clubs in Alamo, Tulie and Cloudcroft. They were Brahman and Brahman cross. He
kept the heifers to stock on the Ranch, and sold the steers. Dixie told him not to put her
brand LTC on them ugly long eared Brahmans. She would keep her white-face cattle.
When the drought broke, she said sell the white-face left and start putting her brand on
some of the Brahmans, as they made it through the drought better than the white-face.
They kept improving the herd and added Santa Gertrudis Bulls to put more weight on
In 1959 and 1960 they built some feed pens north of Tularosa to wean their calves and
hold cows that needed feed. They put in scales so they could weigh and ship from
there. A lot of ranchers in the Sacremento Mountains trucked their calves there to
weigh and ship them.
They moved to Tularosa by bits and pieces. They had a railroad house moved there. In
1962, Roy had surgery and needed to be close to a phone and town. They had G.L. bring
a table as he came from the Ranch, the chairs, until they got moved and stayed there.
On one occasion, there was a Brahman cow on the lift in the pens. Roy devised a
britchen to put on the cows on the lift and would pick them up with his front-end loader.
This Brahma cow was on the hook. When she got on her feet, she was ready to fight.
Roy got Dixie to get in the loader bucket so she could reach down and unhook the cow,
and he could back away from her and she wouldn't fight at them and go back down. Dixie
was wearing a dress that day. When he went to raise the bucket and back up, he hit the
wrong lever and dumped her out with the cow. She went to the house. Later when they
were talking golf, and about teeing off, he said that's what Dixie did. She teed off and
went to the house.
They also raised another boy, Lee Correa during the time he was in High School in
In 1963 Jr. came back to run the ranch as Roy's health was starting to fail. Roy died in
1975. He died on March 30, 1975. Dixie continued living there. She kept Roy's horse and
fed him for years until he died. The best we could figure, he was over 40 years old. She
Dorsey Bonnell from Otero County State Bank, came to the ranch and took pictures of the
brandings. He painted the works and the bank put it on their calendar in 1975.
Dixie traveled to Hawaii with G.L. and Karon. She had never flown in an airplane. She
didn't like the flight much, but really enjoyed Hawaii. After that, she and her sister Alice,
(After Alice lost Clay in 1975) traveled all over the country, both by car and airplanes. She
really enjoyed traveling and visiting. If there was a go, she was ready. She helped with
the cow works at the ranch until it was sold in the late 1990s. She did the branding.
She lived by herself until her health became bad and she moved in with Cloma Jane. She
died there on January 23.2002. She really enjoyed life until her lungs got so bad she was
on oxygen all the time. She never smoked, but evidently by breathing the smoke from
branding, smoke from campfires, dust and whatever else, her lungs were like she had
worked in coalmines.
There are people most every day that remark on missing her and her stories of growing
up, ranching and her travels and just visiting.
She had several visits with the Old Wild Man at Grapevine. At first he scared her, then
she got to where she would feed him when he came by. He wandered all over the San
Andres and usually brought news from other ranchers.
People in the San Andres Mountains area knew about the "old wild man" and wondered
how he survived. He would go to goat camps or houses when no one was home and
take food, but never all of it. He would sometimes find someone at home, but only
wanted to eat and leave. He had long hair, a shaggy hat and clothes, carried a bedroll
and water canteen with a bailing wire handle that he never turned loose.
One day my dad, Dick Gililland, and my husband, Roy Tucker, wee out riding and looked
over a ridge and saw cows running. They thought there must be a mountain lion over
there to make a kill. They went over there and saw this mans tracks. They trailed him
down the draw. It was the "old wild man". He saw them coming and laid down in a ditch,
they said, like a little quail hiding. They didn't bother him.
When I was first married, I was at a goat camp by myself and looked up and this man was
standing at the door looking in. He was scared as I was. He had been coming by when
we weren't home and taking food, but he never would take all of it. On this day he said to
me, "I would like to get something to eat". I built a fire in my wood cook stove and made
him a meal. After he had eaten he filled his water canteen and went on his way.
He met Roy around the hill and they had a short visit and he went on. He laid his pack
down to rest but never turned loose of the water canteen.
In about four years he came by again. We were living at another place and by now we
had two little boys, but they didn't seem frightened by the "old wild man". Again I fixed
him a meal and he went on his way.
Sam, my brother, said he was told the "old wild man's" body was found in the San
Augustine plains near Magdalena, after a cold winter.