Editor’s Desk: Moncus’ death means lost history

Eastern New Mexico lost one of its more knowledgeable historians Monday with the passing of Lynn Moncus in Quay County.

She was 79.
Moncus co-edited “Quay County: 1903-1985” and wrote “Quay County, New Mexico 1903-2003.” She also edited and published “Sadie Didn’t Want to Go Pioneering,” a novel written by her grandmother.
But her newspaper columns — “Comments from the Canyons” — reached the most area residents as she reflected on life around her and often remembered her childhood as the daughter of Quay County Sheriff Claude Moncus.

The column started in 1964 and continued until her illness forced its retirement a few weeks ago.

The Moncus family has had a presence in Quay County for more than 100 years, beginning with her grandparents’ departure from south Texas in 1902 when they headed northwest with plans on settling in Arizona.

Moncus told Albuquerque Journal reporter Fritz Thompson in 1999 that, “someone rode into their trailside camp and told them about good ranchland between Fort Sumner and Tucumcari near the southern escarpment of the Caprock.”

Those canyons provided the backdrop for many of her family stories from pioneer days.

Lynn Moncus said she was born in Clovis, but stayed only the required two weeks in Lancaster’s Clinic before returning to her family’s beloved canyons.

“I have nothing but good memories of pioneer times,” Moncus told Thompson. “They were hard times, but we were all equal.

“We were all grubbing for a living. And even if some people were at war with each other, if one got hurt or in trouble or got sick, you went over to their place and brought in the crop or branded cattle or whatever needed to be done.”

From the Editor’s Desk was compiled by Clovis News Journal Editor David Stevens. Contact him at: