Pages Past— April 22

On this date …

April 17, 1970: A tornado struck the McAlister community, causing an estimated $1 million in damages, but no injuries.

The Church of Christ sustained the most damage, losing its roof and glass from the windows. Officials also said fences, windmills and irrigation systems in the region were destroyed.

McAlister-area residents were without power for more than eight hours overnight.

April 18, 1965: Two federal prisoners who escaped their guards near Santa Rosa were captured about two hours later in a roadblock set up three miles west of Tucumcari.

Ronald Leslie Hopwood, 25, of Phoenix, and Paul David Carte, 19, of Oakmont, Pennsylvania, were being transported from Phoenix to St. Louis when they made their bid for freedom. They overpowered two guards and took them, along with a third prisoner, to an abandoned farm house off of US 66 and handcuffed them.

The prisoners then fled in the car being used to transport them.

One of the guards had an extra handcuff key, freed himself and hitchhiked into Santa Rosa, where he alerted authorities to set up the road block.

Hopwood and Carte offered no resistance when recaptured, the Tucumcari Daily News reported.

April 19, 1975: Six members of a Logan family were found shot to death in their home.

Quay County law officers identified the victims as Robert McFarland Jr., his wife Kathy, three daughters, Michelle, 6, Ann, 4, Cindy, 2, and a son, Robert III, 3 months.

Police the next day said they believed McFarland, 32, killed his 25-year-old wife and their children before claiming his own life.

“That’s about the only way it could have been,” Sheriff James Knight said.

A pistol was found near McFarland’s body, The Associated Press reported.

The family operated the McFarland Bros. Bank in Logan. The bank was founded by McFarland’s grandfather and an uncle in 1904, AP reported.

Their bodies were found by McFarland’s father, Robert McFarland, who had gone for a visit.

April 20, 1965: Porter Randolph of Tucumcari posed for a photo with a 62-inch long rattlesnake he said he caught and killed at Ute Lake. Randolph said the snake had 14 rattlers and was “one of the largest” he had seen in Quay County.

It’s their business …

April 18, 1940: Dunn’s Funeral Home, which had been established in 1907, offered “superior free city ambulance service” by calling 184. The funeral home also provided pipe organs and soloists for funerals and sold monuments.

Transitions …

April 18, 1965: The daughter of a prominent Tucumcari family, her husband and their 2-year-old daughter were all killed in a plane crash near Plaquemine, Louisiana.

Richard Baker, 27, was flying the plane that crashed into a cow pasture. Baker, his wife Phyllis and their daughter Evelyn all died. Officials said they were returning home to Lafayette, Louisiana, from a visit in New Orleans.

The Bakers had been married in Tucumcari in September 1959. Phyllis, a 1958 Tucumcari High School graduate, was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Parker of Tucumcari.

Pages Past is compiled by Editor David Stevens. For more regional history, check out his weblog at:

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