The Herd Book takes a look at the pioneering people who helped bring Albuquerque into the modern era ”Albuquerque Journal


ALBUQUERQUE, NM – A local genealogy enthusiast has gathered years of research into modern pioneer families in Albuquerque in one book.

The French mortuary at Fifth Street and Central Avenue in 1907. Chester T. French, the founder, drives the car. (Courtesy of the Stewart family)

The book, “Stories of Early Albuquerque” by Rosemary McNerney Winkler, tells the story of the families who helped bring the city into the modern era. McNerney Winkler is a member of the Albuquerque Genealogical Society, and has been writing about these families for The Quarterly group publication since 2013. The book can be found on Page 1 Books, Treasure House Books in Old Town and Organic Books in Nob Hill.

“I was so in love with the stories,” she said. “They were so awesome.”

The arrival of soldiers in the region after the Mexican-American War in 1848; the advent of the railroad, which went to Albuquerque in 1880; and the influx of tuberculosis patients seeking a cure in the early 1900s brought people to New Mexico from across the country and around the world, creating what today is a unique cultural story as “Stories of Early Albuquerque” explore.

“Stories of Early Albuquerque” was compiled and edited by Rosemary McNerney Winkler and published by Copper Ave. Press. It is now available at local bookstores.

McNerney Winkler said the company asked him to prepare a book to celebrate his 50th birthday. The Albuquerque Genealogical Group was established in 1972 and helps people research their family history.

………………………………………….. …………..

Some of the families in the book have very recognizable names, such as Girard, Lovelace, and Montgomery, while others are not so well known. But all of them are historically significant.

Take for example the Ong and Collins families.

The NGOs were one of the first Chinese-American families to settle in Albuquerque. They were the founders of the famous New Chinatown restaurant, which remained open until 2003. According to the book, Wing Ong followed his father to America in the early 1920s.

John Collins circa 1880. He was an emancipated slave who served in the United States Army and eventually settled in Albuquerque. (Courtesy of Brenda Dabney)

He returned to China to marry Won Lin, whom he chose from a group of photos. The two returned to America, via San Francisco in 1928 and a few months later they made it to Albuquerque, which was a culture shock for Won Lin, who had never known a climate like New Mexico. . But they stayed and had eight children, three boys and five girls, whom they raised here. They opened a family grocery store and eventually got into the restaurant business.

Meanwhile, decades before the Ong family arrived, John Collins became one of the first African-American businessmen to settle in Albuquerque. Collins was born into slavery but emancipated at the age of nine. He served in the military and was stationed in New Mexico. He decided to make it his home.

Collins and his wife Melissa founded a tour company, Collins Freight Lines. He would take people to the mountains of Sandia and Manzano on camping trips in a giant cart. While there, he would sometimes dig up evergreen seedlings and, with his permission, plant them on the University of New Mexico campus. The trees can still be seen today on the corner of the university and the center.

The book also explores the story of Chester T. French, the patriarch of a family who has helped people say goodbye to loved ones for over 100 years. French opened French Mortuary Inc. in downtown Albuquerque in 1907. He made all the coffins himself and founded the Sunset Memorial Park. He moved to New Mexico from Tennessee in 1904 with his brother, who had tuberculosis.

The Edmund G. Ross family is adorned on the cover of the book. Ross was governor of New Mexico while it was still a territory. Ross was opposed to slavery and as a young man he wrote an article denouncing the death penalty, claiming that black people are often the victims. When school officials asked him to remove it, he refused and was denied his diploma. Throughout his political career, he would find himself at odds with powerful men as he insisted on doing what he felt was morally right.

McNerney Winkler said she focused her research on families who settled in Albuquerque after 1848, the year New Mexico became a territory, as the Genealogical Society of New Mexico focuses almost exclusively on them. ancient Spanish settler families who started arriving in the area centuries earlier.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.