My Photo
Location: Wake Forest, North Carolina, United States

Friday, February 16, 2007


December 26, 2006
Burrell Thomas Holmsley died twelve years ago. He was cremated and his ashes scattered in the vicinity of the Cornudas Mountain. Bobby and Pat Jones, owners of the Cornudas suggested that a marker be placed in their family cemetery because they knew how much Tom, our dad, loved that land and that their families had been friends for many years.
Dad lived at the Cornudas when he was ten and eleven years old with his sister Mary and her husband Joe Neely in 1903 and 1904. This was a defining time in his life. Memories, sentiments and emotions always drew him back there. Many times he took family and friends to see the pile of rocks where Indian pictographs are still visible and where once the Butterfield Stage ran. He showed where the garden was planted, the cave where the well supplied sweet water, where the house and store house were located.

For those of you who have the Holmsley Trail book you can read what Dad wrote about his adventures there. See pages 34-41

About a year ago our brother, Tom, saw Bobby and Pat Jones again and they reminded him about the marker. This prompted Tom to pursue the project. He and his wife, Mary, designed the marker and we want to thank them for all the time and effort it took to see that everything was done well. They even had men go out to the Cornudas ahead to place the marker in cement.

On December 26, 2006, an absolutely gorgeous day, a caravan of twenty one people drove the two hours from El Paso to the ranch. Along the way a herd of ten or twelve Antelope ran alongside the car then sped up to cross over the road in front of us. The Antelope did this three times before running off over the hill.

A big pot of Cowboy coffee cooked over an open fire was waiting for us when we arrived. The Joneses are wonderful hosts. After a sumptuous picnic lunch was eaten near the cave where the well is, Bob, Bobby and Pat, told of the history that has happened at these rocks. They told stories we had heard and stories we had not heard, then they took us all on a tour of the rocks and pointed out many of the pictographs and signatures of people who had been there in the 1800’s. One of Daddy’s brands, T H, is carved into one of the rocks.

There is an area where the rocks are smooth as glass. Samples were sent to be analyzed and revealed that Mastodon hair is embedded in the rock as a result of being rubbed smooth by these animals.
The Joneses host a community celebration on the Fourth of July. Fiddlers come and play inside the cave because of the perfect acoustics.
Pat Jones talking with Doris Gurss. Bob and BobbyJones, the father son, tour guides and history buffs. This picture was taken inside the cave. The well has been updated and is still usable.

At the marker, Mary Brown read an anonymous poem which reflected our thoughts and feelings about our dad.
On a lighter note, Scott Whetstone, now a man, allowed Mary to read what he had written in Holmsley Trail when he was six years old. Life marches on.
In case you don’t recognize Sonny, he had just finished his tour as Santa all over Hudspeth County

Family members who enjoyed the day were Ken and Libby Biedermann, Frances Stenicka, Bill and Mary Brown, Tom and Mary Holmsley, Sonny(Tom) and Winnie Neely, Ray, Betsy and Scott Whetstone.

Daddy had taken Boy Scouts camping at the Cornudas and they never forgot the experience. A few of them and Tom have remained friends and they always wanted to go back. This day was their dream come true. Two of the Scouts were Lester Lieberman who brought his wife Cherryll, and Tony Galindo. Other special friends were Hugh and Sally Jameson, Ralph and Carolyne Navar, Rollo and Doris Gurss
. The best pictographs are on Betsy’s shirt.

Pat Jones, Cherryll and Lester Lieberman, Frances S. and Scott Whetstone experience the joys of a camp fire.

Sonny(Tom) Neely, Frances Stenicka, Mary Brown, Libby Biedermann, Tom Holmsley, Betsy Whetstone.

This was a very Blessed day. I count it a gift from the Lord. The weather was perfect. The food was delectable and being with loving family and friends was icing on the cake.


Blogger Wilson said...

I was googling and found this post. I'm curious as to your Holmsley/Neely connection. My Neely forebears settled in Comanche, and 26 or 27 years ago I went to Sierra Blanca to visit some of the Neely clan out there...

4:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home