Last week, Linda Moore, Director of Tucumcari Historical Museum, invited me to drop by the museum to meet some people who were going to present a photograph to the Tucumcari Historical Research Institute.
When she said they were descendants of the Walkers who settled at what became known as Walker Mountain, I knew I wanted to meet them to listen to what they could add to our history of the area.
Daisy Walker Palmer, Ph.D., and her brother and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. L.E. Walker had brought a picture of Bonita School to add to our collection. Bonita School was one of our early schools that was similar to the recent inventions called portable classrooms. In other words, the school building was moved to more convenient locations as the population shifted. You can now see that picture as you visit the museum.
Dr. Palmer is doing research on the Walker family and is going to write a book that will contain much history of our area. She and her relatives wanted to see the area first hand in order to understand more of what their forebears had said about this country. They also wanted to see the cave at Walker Mountain to view the Walker names. They were very eager to talk about our area, our people, and our heritage.
When we were putting together the 1985 Quay County History, Mrs. Rua Parker gathered much of the history of Quay Valley and helped to locate many of the people who had once lived there. She invited several of us to explore the Walker Mountain and Saddleback Mesa areas. She showed us the cave and gave an oral history of most of the sites we viewed. She was one of our natives who was proud of our heritage and wanted to preserve as much of our history as she could. She did a fabulous job.
For those of you who may not know where Walker Mountain is located, you need to take a trip on SR 209 if you have twenty or thirty minutes to spare. As you round the curve and head toward Quay you will see Mesa Redondo on the east side of the road before you go over the rise by Lynn Hudson’s place. Walker Mountain is southwest of her house. It really is a pretty formation and certainly invites camera buffs to try their skills. A few miles farther also on the west side of the highway is Saddleback Mesa. It, too, calls the camera buff as do all the mesas in our area.
You can envision the small schools in the area and can imagine the children walking, riding their horses, or going in various horse driven conveyances to spend the day at school before returning to their homes in the late afternoon. You can also understand why a number of people want to see where their ancestors settled in order to understand them a little better.
At the moment, you can see a little green grass and some wild flowers beginning to show off. If you aren’t interested in history, just enjoy the surrounding beauty and think quiet thoughts.
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.