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Howard S. Beacham papers

Identifier: Ms-0349

Scope and Contents

The Howard S. Beacham papers consists of papers and photographs relating to his professional career. The materials have been divided into two series, Papers and Photographs. Included are reports from Beacham’s time as Sheriff of Otero County, as well as his time as a prohibition agent. In particular, reports, evidence and photographs regarding the Pete Brazel (alias Wayne Scott) case of 1936 and his alleged involvement in the Lorius murders is well documented. The photographs and clippings in the scrapbook document Beacham’s career as a prohibition agent during the 1930s. There is little personal material available.


  • 1932 - 2001

Conditions Governing Access

Open. All materials in this collection are available for research under supervised conditions in the Research Room.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyrights associated with materials in this collection have not been transferred to New Mexico State University.

Biographical / Historical

Howard S. Beacham was born January 27, 1883. In 1907, he traveled to Cloudcroft, NM where he began employment at the Virginia Hotel as a cook. He met Juanita Chase, daughter of the owner of the hotel, in Cloudcroft. They married April 14, 1909 in El Paso, TX. The Beachams and Juanita’s mother and step-father, the Joneses, then moved to Alamogordo, NM where they managed the Southwestern Hotel. The Beachams then ran the Alamogordo Hotel from 1913-1917. Beacham remained in the restaurant business until he was elected county Sheriff in 1920. His enforcement of Prohibition brought him to the attention of federal agents and he became a federal Prohibition Agent. He had five counties under his jurisdiction: Otero, Chaves, Eddy, Lea and Lincoln. He was not renominated in his last term (1921-1923) as Sheriff but he continued to work as Prohibition Agent until 1933 when the Volstead Act was repealed. Beacham was then reelected sheriff in 1935 and 1937. In 1937, he left law enforcement, and returned to the restaurant business, running the Plaza Café in Alamogordo. He would also serve as municipal judge and justice of the peace. He died March 9, 1963.

Sources: “Howard S. Beacham, Otero County’s Eliot Ness,” Southwest New Mexico Historical Review January 2000: 49-52.


3 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Personal and professional papers dating from the 1930s of Howard S. Beacham, Otero County sheriff, federal prohibition agent and restauranteur from Alamogordo, NM.

Processing Information

Maura Kenny, February 2005 and updated by Jennifer Olguin December 2021.
Guide to the Howard S. Beacham papers
Maura Kenny, February 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA