John Dodson Robertson, Settler and builder of 1st post Office in Dodson, Quay Co., NM
Eliza Clarissa Robertson--1st Postmistress of Dodson, NM
Copyright © Billie J. Richter
"In 1888, being advised to take an invalid son to New Mexico [from Alvarado, TX], he [John] started in a wagon following the Ft. Worth & Denver RR. which was then under construction. Passing Amarillo, which at the time consisted of only 2 or 3 shacks and a boxcar for a station. At Tascosa they turned into New Mexico, where they entered a valley of wonderful possibilities and grand scenery. They passed Mesa Rotunda, with its many caves, and found a location in the Charco Valley, where they built a cabin of pine and cedar logs. This was 140 miles from Amarillo--their nearest railroad point, and there were only two other families in the whole community. It was a "health country", but occasionally there was a death; there was no doctor, preacher or priest.
[John's wife] Mrs. Eliza Clarissa Robertson conducted several funerals as best she could, one of them being for a neighbor living 40 miles away. At another time she was called to visit a sick lady 60 miles away, and thus she served her people, far and near as doctor, nurse, minister, and midwife, and she was the postmistress. On one occasion they were returning from Liberty, their post office 23 miles away, and were attacked by a large pack of wolves. Mrs. Robertson shot into the bunch, which checked them, and by plying whip to their horse managed to escape.
Later he [John]built a large and substantial rock house, hauling the doors, windows, flooring and shingles from Amarillo 140 miles away.
During the summer months he followed his trade, and worked two seasons for the big syndicate "A. I. T." ranch on the Texas plains, and spent one season building coke ovens at coal mines in New Mexico.
More settlers came into the valley, and the need of a post office was met by the appointment of Mrs. Robertson as Postmistress, and she named the Post Office Dodson [in Quay Co., NM], Mr. Robertson’s middle name. (The writer finds the place yet on the map, about 20 miles southward from Tucumcari.) Mrs. Robertson had to drive 20 miles to the nearest Justice of the Peace to make her bond as Postmistress, and the post office was in her home.
While Mr. Robertson was away at work, as above stated, Mrs. Robertson and children were alone most of the time, but had good neighbors, even the cowboys proved to be quite gentlemanly and kind to them. Some of these were graduates from eastern colleges, and one was the son of a well known Texas U. S. Senator."
Submitted by Billie J. Richter
Posted here with permission from Billie J. Richter.