Longtime editor of CNJ looks back on Clovis

Don McAlavy: Local Columnist

When I worked at Chick Taylor Press in the 1950s I was lucky enough to type up longtime Clovis News Journal editor Jack Hull’s columns. He was retired then and writing his column, “Caught in the Round-Up.”

Here’s one of his columns:

“I’m an old-timer in this country, a real old-timer. I date way yonder to the infancy of Clovis. I’m Jack Hull, born 1888 in Texas (don’t hold that against me) and my folks and I came to Clovis in 1907. I virtually grew up with this burg and it’s my home town. I saw it grow from just a townsite, with a few hardy souls as its founders, to its present proportions … and, as you might suspect, I live very much in the past, with many interestin’ memories of those early days.”

“To give you an idea of just how far back I go, I can best explain by sayin’ that I knew C.H. Hinton when he was the Santa Fe Railroad agent. He had his office in a boxcar beside the track, a boxcar from which the wheels had been removed.

The Nelson Construction Co. was putting in the foundation for the Harvey House and the railroad was buildin’ the line west toward Belen. Dolly Yossett ran a boardin’ house featurin’ those family-style meals. Mrs. Dug Hammond ran a similar family-style boardin’ house at Mitchell and Second streets. Second Street in those days was known as Otero Street.

Charlie Steed and Clayton Reed had a real estate business, first building erected in Clovis near where Montgomery Ward was later. Daddy Holman was postmaster and held forth in a little building located where Charlie Scheurich had his office for many years. A sister of Mrs. Jess Newton of Texico was a clerk in the post office in Clovis. Big Sam Holland ran a wagon yard on the spot where the City Hall now stands. (It now houses the fire department.)

Tom Pendergrass was a barefoot kid runnin’ around the streets. I saw Gus Von Elm fatally wound old Childers in a gunfight at the White House Saloon. Heberer was our undertaker and he was right smart of a poker player.

G.A. Campbell and Sadie his wife moved over here from Texico, where G.A started in the ice cream business with a hand freezer and 10-foot counter for his customers. I thought Sadie was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, and brother she was a good-looker.

R.C. Reid, Charlie Scheurich and Chas Iden had a grocery store where Hotel Clovis was later built. There were many homesteaders, of course, who were even earlier settlers than we town birds. They fled before Clovis was even located as a townsite.

Do you remember the gray-headed Judge H.D. Terrell who was our orator. He was the toughest judge we ever had. One time he ran up middle of Main Street after a horse thief, who was being convicted in the judge’s court, caught him and dragged him back to court and sentenced him to hard labor. Then there were Coke Buchanan the town marshal; Harry Armstrong, editor and owner of the Clovis Post, which newspaper invited you to get down and hitch. But the first editor was Arthur Curren who had the weekly Clovis News.
And then a little later there was a new crop of settlers, among them Joe Wilkerson, Cash Ramey, Gus Bryan, Doc A.L. Dillon and many more.

I’m tellin’ of all of this because Thursday the city starts its celebration, an annual event, honoring these Pioneers. (Of course that was the annual Pioneer Days that Jack had help start.) I hope there has been an arrangement to have all those early day settlers to register. I sure would like to see a list of those yet alive. I’ll be back next week.”

At 74, died of a heart attack on Oct. 12, 1962.

Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at:
dmcalavy@telescopelab.com