Road marker features pioneer woman

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

A new roadside marker on west Route 66 honors a local pioneering woman’s legacy.

More than 20 residents and family members attended a dedication Thursday of a historical marker honoring Yetta Goldsmith Kohn.

“I am touched they have chosen to recognize my great-great-grandmother,” said Yetta Julee Coffman.

Coffman is the daughter of Yetta Bidegain, Kohn’s granddaughter.

“I am honored my grandmother was considered and selected for this marker,” Bidegain said. “I truly appreciate everyone that come out to celebrate the dedication with us.”

Coffman and her mother were present during the ceremony. Coffman read a portion of her great-great grandmothers history to the crowd.

“There is so much more I could tell you about this strong woman,” Coffman said.

Kohn was a cattle rancher and businesswoman who settled in Montoya in 1902. She and her sons developed businesses on the land — a mercantile, bank, land company, and cattle ranch known today as the T4 Cattle Company.

Today the T-4 Cattle Company is still being operated by Kohn’s descendants.

The marker is part of the New Mexico Historic Women’s Marker Initiative. The initiative’s goal is to recognize women who helped shape the state’s history.

During the 2006 legislative session, funding was approved for 54 historical markers for historic women of New Mexico.

Fast facts

• Yetta Kohn was born March 9, 1843 in Bavaria, Germany, as Yetta Goldsmith.

1858: She married Sammuel Kohn and lived in Levenworth, Kan. Later she moved to Cherry Creek (present day Denver), and eventually settled in Las Vegas. N.M. The she opened a hide trading store.

1883: She purchased 1/14 interest of the Martito Lopez De Chavez Lands within the Montoya Land Grant. The family sold the business and moved to La Cinta (near present day Conchas) and opened a general store. With her three sons and daughter, she formed Yetta Kohn and Co. which later became known as the 4V ranch. Kohn deeded the land to Louis Salzbacher and moved back to Levenworth.

1902: She and her family purchased a mercantile store in Montoya, and later opening a bank to expand the mercantile. She bought sections of land with profits earned, and eventually traded the Mercantile for land owned by the Vidal Ortega family. The accumulated land later became the T4 Ranch which is still run by her descendants today.