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Legendary Figures





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Throughout history, legendary figures have frequented the area surrounding Double E Ranch and NewMexico Cabin Rentals. Become one of them!

Gila Cliff DwellingsLong before the time of Columbus and Coronado there were people living in southwestern New Mexico.  Hunting and grinding artifacts dating back 10,000 years have been found near Headquarters.  The region was home to the Mimbrenos, an advanced pre-historic Indian culture. Highly artistic, they are known for their  exquisite black-on-white pottery featuring nature motifs. 

The Mimbrenos made their homes farming and hunting along the Gila River and Bear Creek, living in pit houses, shallow caves and small cliff dwellings. Earlier Indian cultures most certainly lived in the area. Limited evidence of hunting by the earliest inhabitants (9500-6000BC) has been found in several highland areas. Widespread evidence of the Archaic Culture,  which is considered part of the Cochise Culture dating from 6000 BC to 300 AD, has been found in the region.  

A visit to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is well worth the drive and makes a great 'day trip'. Make sure you spenda little time in Pinos Altos, as well!


GeronimoThe Chiricahua Apache ranged throughout southwestern region and knew Bear Creek, the (HEE-la) Gila River and the Gila Wilderness well.  Many local ranches, town, missions and small mining stakes suffered heavily from raids in the 18th century.  Among these Apaches was Mangas Coloradas (literally "red sleeves"), a leader destined to become an important chief. 

A young member of his tribe was Goyathlay ("one who yawns") - Geronimo - who was born in 1829 (?) somewhere around the headwaters of the Gila River.  Geronimo, Mangas Coloradas and Victorio would form a powerful union that would resist American expansion until Geronimo's surrender in late 1886.

The Double E Ranch is included in an area which was once part of the Gila  Apache Indian Reservation,  established by the U.S. Government in 1853.  In 1878, the Apache Nation turned the grant back to the U.S. Government.   

After the Civil War, one of these early settlers, Joseph Hooker, and his descendants   put together one of the largest working cattle ranches in Grant County, New Mexico, comprised of nearly 70,000 acres.  Located 4 miles from the town of Gila, along beautiful Bear Creek, the Ranch stretches into the southwestern edge of the vast Gila National Forest.

Local legend has it that Geronimo and his band stole some pretty good mares from surrounding ranches, killing  the colts to keep them from following.  A group of ranchers took chase, following the trail to the base of the mountains near Turkey Creek where they found a mare with  her throat cut, still bleeding out.  The  ranchers decided right then the horses weren't worth THAT much, after all!  Everyone turned and headed back for home. 


Billy the Kid

Henry McCarty, aka, William Henry Bonney, aka, Billy the Kid, was born on November 23, 1859, most likely in New York City. His parents’ names are not known for certain but his mother was thought to be Katherine and his father perhaps Patrick. History then traces Billy to Indiana in the late 1860s and Wichita, Kansas in 1870.

His father died around the end of the Civil War and at about the same time, Billy's mother contracted Tuberculosis and was told to move to a drier climate. On March 1, 1873, Catherine McCarty married a man named William Antrim, who moved the family to Silver City, New Mexico, where Billy's mother is thought to be buried.

McCarty was 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) tall with blue eyes, blonde or dirty blonde hair, and a smooth complexion. He was described as being friendly and personable at times, and as lithe as a cat. Contemporaries described him as a "neat" dresser who favored an "unadorned Mexican sombrero".


Madam MillieMildred Clark Cusey (later deemed, “Madame Millie”) was born near Kansas City, Kansas. She was sadly orphaned at an early age due to the death of her parents and temporarily separated from her ailing older sister. Millie’s life was then filled with hard times. Once, when Millie got into trouble, she appeared in court before Judge Harry Truman, one of many politicians she was to meet again later in life.

Her sister was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and prompted a move to the southwest where Millie worked as a “Harvey Girl” to support the two of them. Bearing the brunt of medical bills, she quickly learned that she could make money faster by turning tricks. This would ultimately lead to a wild life and career in prostitution as she traveled throughout the West.

Eventually, she settled in Silver City on Hudson Street (very close to where the Visitor Center now stands). A true entrepreneur, she sent her "girls" to stroll Bullard Street, downtown, handing out punch cards "buy 10, get 1 free".

She contributed heavily to local charities, had many friends in high places. Her business was closed down in 1968, but Millie remained in the area (retiring in Santa Clara) until her death in 1993 at the age of 87. Millie was buried by her husband’s side at the Fort Bayard National Cemetery in Grant County.


Ben Lilly, HunterBen Lilly (1856 – December 17, 1936), nicknamed Ol' Lilly, was a notorious big game hunter, houndsman and mountain man of the late American Old West. He remains famous for hunting down large numbers of grizzly, cougars and black bears.

A mix between a transcendentalist spirit and an ardent Christian, he is described as an unfathomable Southern wild character. He was a stern practitioner of simple living and outdoor freedom, roamed and hunted from Louisiana to Arizona and from Idaho to as far south as Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico, and was a subject of American folktales. He guided oiler W. H. McFadden and President Theodore Roosevelt in hunting expeditions, whom he intrigued and who wrote about him.

He was arguably the most prolific hunter of apex predators in the history of North American hunting and also the last active mountain man of the historical American Southwest.[1] He was not a conservationist but made important contributions of fauna specimens and naturalistic observations to American institutions and museums. He was a contradictory character and his exploits have been consistently exaggerated to folktale proportions, and most records are oral, bona-fide, Americana transcripts.

Pecularities, Humor and Quotes:

Anyone can kill a deer but it takes a man to kill a varmint." — by varmints he meant bears, mountain lions, and wolves.

"Property is a handicap to man."

"I never saw a man with his face shaved clean until I was a big boy. When I saw him I thought he was a dead man.... walking about, and I was mighty scared."

Updated January, 2017


Double E Ranch, LLC

New Mexico Department of Tourism

Debbie & Alan Eggleston
















































































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