Pioneer Boykins left mark on eastern New Mexico

By Ruth Burns: PNT Correspondent

Sid Boykin was one of the cowboys of the early days on the Llano Estacado who made the successful move from the ranch to the business world.

According to Col. Jack Potter, Boykin made his first trip to New Mexico in 1881 with Old Man George Taylor, when Taylor moved the Boot-Bar cattle from Texas. They arrived in December at the Hondo and turned the cattle loose with Jimmy Sutherland’s herd.

Sid went back to Sweetwater, Texas, and stayed that winter and then came with Jim Newman to the DZ Ranch in the spring of 1882.

Sid worked for the DZ until 1892 and then started in business for himself on a little spread southeast of Portales. He and Lizzie Walters MacDonald were married in 1895.

Most cattlemen settled wherever there was room, without the formality of land papers, but Sid filed on his place. He ran about 300 cattle under the “SW” brand and did most of the work himself. His brother, Frank “Babe,” lived with him until 1897, when he married and moved to a place near the sandhills.

Potter and Dan McFatter, DZ cowboy, both agree that Lizzie MacDonald was living at the DZ and working as a cook when Newman bought the rights at the DZ from Andy MacDonald, her husband Will’s brother.

She had been raised Lizzie Walters down near the Ruidoso, where she had been a witness to the Lincoln County War.

She remembered participants on both sides of the conflict, including Billy the Kid, as they often stopped at the Walters’ home for a meal.

Her father, along with many of the more peaceable settlers along the Hondo, did not wish to take sides in the dispute, as they had friends on both sides.

In about 1896 Newman fired my step-grandfather, Bob Wood, from the DZ, as he was wont to do every so often. Bob went and lived with Sid and Lizzie until Newman relented and hired him back. Bob always spoke kindly of Mrs. Boykin’s hospitality and her good cooking.

At a time when most ranches had no milk or butter, Sid always kept a milk cow at the house. Lizzie kept chickens and had a nice little vegetable garden. In those days there were no crops in the country at all except for those at Sid’s and at the H-Bar.

In 1898 Sid built a bigger house, but he only lived in it two and one-half years. When people began crowding in with the coming of the railroad, Sid wasn’t satisfied.

He moved his cattle south of Tucumcari and soon bought the ranch on the Frio Draw near the De Oliveiras and Rheas. He and Lizzie lived in a dugout for several years and then built a nice rock house.

Sid prospered in the cattle business and in 1913 he bought into the First National Bank of Clovis. In 1915 he, along with A. W. Skarda and S.A. Jones, bought controlling interest in the bank.

Sid and Lizzie built a house at 400 Sheldon St. in Clovis, which still stands today. My mother, Rose White, was a frequent visitor in their home, where Lizzie was known for her hospitality and her delicious coconut cakes.

Sid never lost his love of ranching and still owned the ranch on the Frio at the time of his death. He passed away in 1933 and Mrs. Boykin in 1952.

Don McAlavy has an informative article on the Boykins in the “High Plains History Book” by McAlavy and Harold Kilmer, available in local libraries.

Ruth Burns has taken her information from the research and interviews of her mother, Rose “Mrs. Eddie” White. She may be contacted at rwburns11@gmail.com