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David A. Remley Papers

Identifier: MSS-763-BC

Scope and Content

The majority of this collection consists of photocopies of articles, clippings and documents from various sources on the Bell Ranch, its owners and managers, as well as the cattle industry and agriculture. The research material, research notebooks and drafts cover each chapter from the book: Montoya Land Grant, John S.Watts (owner), Wilson Waddingham (owner), Arthur J. Tisdall (general manager), Charles M. O'Donel (general manager), and Arthur K. Mitchell (general manager). The correspondence includes letters from Mattie Ellis, wife of George F. Ellis, Bell Ranch manager from 1947- 1970, and Carlos F. Stoddard, Jr., grandson of E. G. Stoddard, first president of the Red River Valley Co. The microfilm contains research material from various institutions. There are oral interviews with Bill Wood and Barbara Plummer, Mark Wood's daughter. Mark Wood was Mitchell's wagon boss at the Bell Ranch. The interviews were conducted in Tucumcari, New Mexico on August 23 and 24, 1989. Although the majority of Remley's primary source material came from the Red River Valley Company Records, he collected this material from institutions and individuals outside of the University of New Mexico.

There is a small amount of research, correspondence and drafts for other Remley writings: an article on Edward Abbey and the forward to the Culley book Cattle, Horses & Men of the Western Range.


  • 1790-1991
  • Majority of material found within 1821-1947


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution. Copies of original material from the Huntington Library may not be reproduced.

Biographical Information

David A. Remley David A. Remley was born in California in 1931. He received his PhD in American Literature and History from Indiana University in 1967. He taught American literature and American Studies at the University of New Mexico. His writing career includes the books: Crooked Road: The Story of the Alaska Highway (1976) and Bell Ranch: Cattle Ranching in the Southwest, 1824-1947 (1993) as well as articles on American literature and the American West.

Bell Ranch The Bell Ranch was a ranch of more than 700, 000 acres located in eastern San Miguel County about 50 miles northwest of Tucumcari, New Mexico. It was originally two Mexican land grants, the Baca Location No. 2 and the Pablo Montoya Grant of 1824. After the war with Mexico in 1846-1847, the Pablo Montoya heirs applied for confirmation of their grant. John S. Watts who led the confirmation process took a large part of the grant as his legal fee; he also acquired the adjoining Baca Location No. 2. Watts later sold a major part of this property to Wilson Waddingham. By 1885, Waddingham and his ranch manager, Michael Slattery were running large herds of cattle on the range with little regard to sustainability of the land. By 1893, overstocking and grazing of stock from other ranches combined with drought to leave the range severely overgrazed. Waddingham had to sell the land due to financial problems. In 1898, E.G. Stoddard, president of the New Haven Bank, founded the Red River Valley Company to buy the Bell Ranch. From then until 1946 this company, headed first by Stoddard and after 1923, by Julius G. Day, survived the ups and downs of the cattle markets of the 1920s and 1930s. In 1932, Bell Ranch manager Charles O'Donel retired, but stayed on as vice president of the Red River Valley Company. Philip C. Garrett replaced him as ranch manager. Garrett's tenure was short. He was succeeded by Albert K. Mitchell, who managed the Bell Ranch from January 1, 1933, until the Red River Valley Company sold it in 1947. The Bell Ranch was broken up into seven smaller ranches. Mrs. Harriet E. Keeney bought the headquarters unit consisting of 130, 855 acres and acquired the rights to the Bell brand. She asked George F. Ellis to manage the "Old Bell Headquarters" unit.


4 boxes ( 3.74 cu. ft.)


Collection consists of research material used for the book: Bell Ranch: Cattle Ranching in the Southwest, 1824-1947.


Follows the order of the chapters in Remley's book, Bell Ranch.

Related Archival Material

Red River Valley Co. Records, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico (Remley's main primary source used to write the Bell Ranch book) George F. Ellis Papers, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Charles M. O'Donel Papers, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico

Separated Material

Original audiotapes stored in B3.
Finding Aid of the David A. Remley Papers, 1790-1991
For Approval
Processed by T. S. Reinig
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131