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    Lincoln County Wars: Feliz Cattle Company Map and Abstract of Title. The Feliz Cattle Company was organized by a group of prominent men of Lincoln and Dona Ana Counties including James J. Dolan, Joseph A. La Rue, Numa Reymond, Emil Fritz and J. B. Mathews. They all filed on public land under the provisions of the U. S. Government Desert Land Act, securing title to their individual claims. Once a patent was issued to the land, a warranty deed was drawn, transferring the property in the name of the Feliz Land Company. There are two components to this lot. One is an "Abstract Title of Feliz Cattle Company's Lands in Chaves County, formerly Lincoln County, New Mexico." It has frosted tape repairs to separations to the folds (on the exterior) and opens to 23" x 14" size. Issued on April 6, 1900, it has twenty-six entries for owners, past and current, for this property. The names include: James J. Dolan, Joseph La Rue, Henry A. Fritz, Charles P. Fritz and Emil Fritz. The other item is a 41" x 16" onion-skin "Rio Felix" map. Plots of land associated with the Feliz Cattle Company are highlighted in colored ink. The inscribed names include: Emil Fritz, John P. Dolan, Caroline F. Dolan, Numa Reymond, James J. Dolan, J. R. La Rue, Henry A. Fritz and others. There is some separation at the folds with tape repair. The overall condition is very fine.

    The Lincoln County Wars that occurred in New Mexico in 1878-1879 are legendary for their intensity, brutality, cast of characters and high drama, made all the more compelling through the association of William H. Bonney, a.k.a. Billy the Kid. For those unfamiliar with the story, we suggest some on-line research or a book on the subject. No brief summary can do it justice. However, for the purpose of some background information that relates to the artifacts we are offering, we submit the following. The conflict related primarily to control of business interests in Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory. This entailed retail dry goods, banking, ranching and government contracts for provisions for both military installations and Native Americans confined to reservations. Emil Christian Adolf Fritz (1832-1874) was a German immigrant who served in the Union army. After the war, he went into partnership with another Union veteran, Lawrence G. Murphy (d. 1878), opening a dry goods store (L. G. Murphy & Co.) in 1866 at Fort Stanton. They sold this business for $8,000 and later opened a larger establishment (the "House") at Lincoln, New Mexico. They took in another partner, John Riley, and retained James J. Dolan (1848-1898), hired as a clerk at Ft. Stanton in 1869, following his discharge from the army. Lacking significant competition, they sold supplies at exorbitant prices and paid nominal amounts for cattle that they needed to fulfill their government contracts. They were suspected of buying stolen cattle from rustlers, some of which originated from the holdings of John Chisum. They were in cahoots with state officials and local law enforcement officials who acted as insulation from complaints by ranchers and Indians. Their operation was known as the Santa Fe Ring and seemed impervious to dismemberment. In 1874, Emil Fritz died of kidney failure while on a trip to his native Germany. The following year, Murphy, acting in his official role as Probate Judge, appoints William Brady to handle the Fritz Estate. When Brady resigns, the administrators of the Estate, Charles Fritz and Emilie Scholand, hire Alexander McSween as attorney and agent. McSween collects Emil Fritz's $10,000 life insurance money and converts it to his own use. In 1877, staked by John Chisum, Englishman John Tunstall enters the scene and opens a rival store in Lincoln, J. H. Tunstall & Company. He is joined by McSween who, it is assumed, buys into the partnership using the Fritz insurance money. Dolan tries to pressure Tunstall to leave, without success. Further pressure is applied by the Jesse Evans and John Kinney gangs who rustle Tunstall's cattle. Tunstall, in turn, hires away Murphy employee Dick Brewer to serve as his foreman, as well as taking on hired guns Doc Scurlock, Charlie Bowdre, Frank and George Coe, Frank McNab, Ab Saunders and Billy the Kid, among others. The "House" manages to get a court order to seize Tunstall's assets (originally targeted against McSween, but including Tunstall in error). After efforts by Sheriff William Brady to execute the court order, Tunstall is murdered on February 18, 1878. Billy the Kid witnesses the killing from a distance. The killers are identified as Jesse Evans, William Morton and Frank Baker, allegedly acting on orders from Dolan. After a brief stint in jail and armed with warrants, Billy joins a deputized posse, known as the Lincoln County Regulators, to hunt down the perpetrators of the cold-blooded execution. This event marked the beginning of the Lincoln County War in which nineteen people were killed. On March 6, 1878, the Kid and his fellow Regulators capture Tunstall's killers Morton and Baker. The two are "dispatched" three days later, along with Regulator William McCloskey who had opposed the action. This comes to be known as the "Blackwater Massacre." Two other men implicated in the murder, Tom Hill and Jesse Evans, are shot the same day at a different location during a botched robbery. On April 1, 1878, Sheriff William Brady and one of his deputies are ambushed and shot dead by the Kid and several of the Regulators. Three days later, they kill rancher Buckshot Roberts (listed on their warrant as a suspect in Tunstall's murder) at the Battle of Blazer's Mill, but not before Dick Brewer is killed and four Regulators wounded. On April 29th, a gunfight at the Fritz Ranch results in the death of Frank McNab and the wounding of Ab Saunders. U. S. cavalry troops join Dolan men and trade shots with Regulators in the streets of Lincoln, adding a new element to the conflict. On July 19, 1878, McSween's house with the Kid inside is set on fire by the new Sheriff. The Kid manages to escape, but McSween gets his just desserts as he exits the burning building. The arrest warrant issued to the posse hunting down Tunstall's killers is ruled illegal, thereby criminalizing the actions of its members. Although an amnesty was later offered to many of the group, it does not apply to Billy. He and his gang engage in horse stealing and general mayhem before the law-abiding citizens of Lincoln County hire Pat Garrett as sheriff. On December 20, 1880, Garrett kills Tom O'Folliard in an ambush, but the Kid escapes. Garrett catches up with him and Charlie Bowdre the following July and finishes off the pair of them.
    James Dolan, as mentioned, was one of the principals of the war. Besides his alleged implication in the murder of John Tunstall, he was involved in two other homicides. He killed Hilario Jaramillo on May 9, 1877, but pleaded self-defense and was acquitted of the crime. After the killing of Alexander McSween in July 1878, McSween's widow hired Huston Chapman as her attorney in the matter. Chapman was murdered on February 18, 1879 and Dolan was accused of the crime, but the case was dropped with the help of powerful friends. Dolan wound up buying the Tunstall property.


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    Auction Dates
    December, 2012
    11th-12th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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