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Historically Speaking: Victory Gardens and Billy the Kid’s unlucky day

Photo Courtesy of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives and New Mexico Magazine Victory Garden in Albuquerque, 1945 — person unknown.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Janice Dunnahoo

Special to the Daily


I ran across a couple of articles recently — while researching something else — that I thought would be fun to share here. Though they are totally unrelated in subject and time, they are both very much related to New Mexico and our history here. They both came from 1945 issues of New Mexico Magazine, so I put in a call to the current editor of the New Mexico Magazine, who very graciously allowed me to share both articles with you. I also have included an article from the Clovis News Journal, in relation to the first.

Victory Gardens were an integral part of our defense during World War I and II. They were planted in back yards, on small farms, and even in city parks. Together, with the use of food rationing stamps, they helped reduce the pressure on the public food supply. Not only did they help in the war effort, they helped the morale of the American public, to know their daily efforts were helping the country and its defense. Following are the two articles on Victory Gardens.

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New Mexico Magazine

April, 1945

Back Cover

“‘Victory Gardeners Called to Arms!’

“Approximately one family in every three in New Mexico raised a Victory Garden in 1944. While it is not possible to know exactly how much food was produced on these 43,000 war gardens, the saving in transportation alone was immense. This is shown by figures for Bernalillo County, where 4,000 city and country gardeners raised more than 1,000 tons of vegetables. If this produce had been shipped in it would have required two trains of 40 or 50 cars each. The advantage, however, is greater than that. Icing and shipping cuts down the vitamin value of vegetables as a headwind reduces mileage of an automobile, ship, or plane. It would have required three or four thousand tons of shipped-in vegetables to equal in vitamin content the 1,000 tons that Bernalillo County gardeners put on their tables.

“Your Victory Garden helps to relieve the nation’s hard pressed transportation system and also greatly enriches the diet of your family”

Clovis News Journal

Clovis, New Mexico

May 3, 1944

“‘Help Bring Our Fighting Men Back Sooner’

“Make ‘Food Fight For Freedom’

“Here’s one way you can help get this war over more quickly. Just be sure you produce and conserve as much food as possible. Share food employee square. For food is a powerful weapon of war. It is helping us win the battles with less loss of life … Food will play an even greater part in the days to come.

“Help bring your loved ones back sooner by doing these four things:

“1 Produce Food

“Practically every one of us had a victory garden last year, and no matter how small our crop was, it did help. Plan to make that crop bigger this year. Uncle Sam is asking for twenty two million victory gardens in 1944 … two million more than last year.

“2 Conserve Food

“Today with America’s great canning industry working overtime feeding our armed forces and the hungry nations of the earth, the vital task of raising and preserving food for our own American families is, to a great extent, passing into the hands of homemakers. Can fruits and vegetables.

“3 Share Food

“Make it your business to find out why food is so necessary to winning the war. Share the food supply willingly with your Armed Forces, your allies, your neighbors. Be ready to substitute plentiful foods for scarce foods on your menus — even though this means changing the eating habits of years.

“4 Play Square With Food

“Pledge yourself to accept rationed foods without giving up ration stamps … And pay no more than top legal prices. If everyone cooperates, prices will go down, and everyone will be able to get a fair share.”

Changing from Victory Gardens, we’ll go back in time a bit, to one of my favorite subjects, Billy the Kid. It seems he had a bit of problem with Friday the 13th too, or maybe it was more Thursday the 14th.


New Mexico Magazine

June, 1945

Page 15

“‘Billy the Kid’s Unlucky Day’

“Friday, the 13th, was to have been Billy the Kid’s unlucky day. It was the day on which he was supposed to hang.

“Strangely enough, it was on 13 April that he was sentenced by Judge Warren Bristol to be hanged on Friday, the 13th of May.

“He managed to stretch his luck a couple more months by escaping from Lincoln courthouse where he was held prisoner. But he missed death on the 13th by only one day, for he was killed by sheriff Pat Garrett on July 14, 1881 at Pete Maxwell’s house in Ft. Sumner.

“The official sentence reads as follows:

“‘Territory of New Mexico’

“‘Third Judicial District Court’

“Be it remembered that at the March, 1881, term of said judicial district begun and held at La Mesilla, N.M., and on the 15th day of said term the same being the 13th day of April, 1881, the following judgment and sentence was pronounced by the court upon William Bonny, alias Kid, alias William Antrim.

“It is therefore considered by the court here that the said defendant William Bonny, alias Kid, alias William Antrim be taken to the county of Lincoln in the third judicial district of the territory of New Mexico by the sheriff of the county of Dona Ana on her in the third judicial district of the territory of New Mexico by the sheriff of the county of Dona Ana in said judicial district and territory and thereby him delivered into the custody of the sheriff of the said county of Lincoln and that he, the said William Bonny, alias the Kid, alias William Antrim, be confined in prison in said county of Lincoln by the sheriff of such county until on Friday, the 13th day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty-one. That on the day aforesaid between the hours of nine of the clock in the fore noon and three of the clock in the afternoon, he, the said William Bonny, alias Kid alias William Antrim, be taken from such prison to some suitable and convenient place of execution within said county of Lincoln, he, the said William Bonny, alias Kid, alias William Antrim be hanged by the neck until his body be dead.

“Grant Maxwell”


Janice Dunnahoo is chief archivist at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives. She can be reached at 575-622-1176 or at jdunna@hotmail.com.


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