Letter to R. Montano - February, 1881.   Posted by Marshal.Group: 0
 GM, 13 posts
Tue 2 Jan 2018
at 21:30
Letter to R. Montano - February, 1881
February 11, 1881

The Office of the Territorial Governor
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Dear Mrs. Montano,

I am in receipt of your letter, addressed to me in January of this year. I must ask your forgiveness for the delay in my reply, but be assured that it is not due to insensitivity toward the concerns you expressed in your epistle. Rather, I have taken the time to consult with elements of our military and others who are familiar with recent events in Lincoln County to better familiarize myself with the situation prior to making an answer to you.

Mrs. Montano, I assure you that I am sympathetic to the grief that has been visited upon Lincoln due to the recent murder of Mr. John Tunstall. For such a capable man to lose his life at such an early age is always a tragedy, but it is clear to me that you and many other citizens of your fair town thought very highly of Mr. Tunstall, and believed him to be a man dedicated to the betterment of his community. I have no doubt that his contributions the area will ensure that he is well remembered for many years to come.

However, I must emphasize that in my communications with Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady and with Captain Melissa Ayuso, commander of our forces in Roswell, neither have intimated concerns about the range war that you allude to in your letter. Sheriff Brady has been open with me about his concerns regarding a handful of known lawbreakers in Lincoln County, but he has expressed his assurance that he and his deputies are more than capable of contending with the miscreants in question. As to the death of Mr. Tunstall, Sheriff Brady has stated to me his certainty that the ill-fated rancher fell victim to a handful of outlaws who were on the prowl, seeking out a potentially well to do victim to accost. I have every confidence that, in the end, the law in Lincoln will be able to bring the perpetrators to justice.

As to your insinuations regarding the character of Lawrence Murphy, Mrs. Montano, I can say little. I have it on good authority from individuals of sound character here in Santa Fe that Mr. Murphy is well respected and has been upright in all of his business dealings with the merchants of this city. I have heard some stories relating to the lost wagon train that you spoke of, of which Mr. Murphy was the only survivor. Nothing that I have been able to ascertain has suggested any manner of foul play on Mr. Murphy’s part in that tragedy, only that he was blessed to escape those horrible circumstance with his life.

I will agree that the Capitan Mountains remain largely unexplored and are a continued source of questions for many who have settled in New Mexico. However, some of the stories that you mention remain rightfully within the realm of folklore, Mrs. Montano. I do not mean to speak in any way derisively, ma’am. I believe that it is human nature to try to explain events in which the truthful facts allude us. However, I remain convinced that the murder of Mr. Tunstall, and any unrest that might have accompanied it, is entirely the result of the bad acts of men of low character, nothing more.

Nonetheless, even with the skepticism that I have expressed in this reply, I want you to be confident that maintaining order in New Mexico and ensuring the safety of all of the citizens who reside here is the highest priority of this office. To that end, I have taken steps to make certain that I am kept abreast of all that transpires in Lincoln County and, should future events warrant it, will be able to intervene to prevent further tragedies. In the meantime, I would encourage you to express all of your concerns to Sheriff Brady, who I am convinced will act in the very best interests of Lincoln and her citizens.

I remain,

John S. Mosby
Acting Governor
Territory of New Mexico