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Historically Speaking: Of Easter past

Photo Courtesy of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives The caption on the photo reads, "340th Military Police from the POW camp attending Easter Sunrise Service at Bottomless Lakes" — date unknown.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Janice Dunnahoo

Special to the Daily


Since it is Easter weekend and churches are closed, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at Easter in the past, some poems, some advertisements and historic Roswell churches. We can all draw on the strength of our past.

Roswell Daily Record

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Saturday April 8, 1920


Bordering the highway

This week journey along,

Bluebonnets blossom

To the red bird’s song.

The butterfly breathes,

Spreads it’s velvety wing,

And lights on the shoulder

Of shimmering Spring.

Standing stately and tall,

Like a poet’s white dress,

Lilies open for Easter,

Down close by the steps.

A silver lined cloud

Floats across the blue sky;

Nature’s voice cries aloud

‘Ye shall never die.’


Roswell Daily Record,

March 29, 1923


Easter is waking in blossoms of spring.

Easter is calling the old earth to sing,

Easter is breathing through color and bloom

The triumph of life and decay of the tomb.

Easter is thrilling the heart of the world,

While petals of lilies are gently unfurled.

The violets are peeping through purple and gold,

And deep in their fragrance the message is told.

Easter is drawing life’s shadows away,

As it breathes in each heart-’Christ is Risen Today.’


Roswell Daily Record

April 20, 1908


A Typical Easter Sunday

in Roswell

“Easter dawned bright and warm in Roswell, encouraging those who had bought their new spring toggery to attend church. While the service was in progress the clouds gathered, settled and broke, and a regular downpour of rain and hail came just as the various churches were being dismissed. Those who went out of shelter either got wet or ran to places of safety. The rain interfered seriously with the Easter after-service parade, but it did much good to crops and gardens, even if it did spoil a few artificial flowers.

“At the churches, the services were all appropriate and beautiful. Each church had a large congregation some being filled to the doors. The only out-of-town minister heard was at the Episcopal-Methodist church where Dr. Samuel Blair, of Albuquerque, superintendent of the New Mexico mission of that denomination, preached on the ‘Cross and the Crown.’

“The members of Rio Hondo Commendery, ‘Knights Templar,’ coming in a body by special invitation, to hear the address. There were 18 Knights present in uniform. The sermon was a powerful one and a special interest. Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery, the singing evangelists, contributed brilliant numbers in the musical program. All the churches had special musical programs, and reports from each indicate that all were of high standard.

“The Catholic Churches had special Easter services and music, and the Salvation Army had a special program. In the morning, the children of the Presbyterian Sunday school gave an entertainment.”

Roswell Daily Record

April 19, 1919

Easter Sunday In Roswell

“The first peaceful Easter in five years will be celebrated in a joyous spirit by Roswell people tomorrow. With the war ended, with a large number of service men here or on the way home, our people will express their joy in Easter hymns and anthems. Easter music will constitute practically all the evening services at the several churches. The young people’s societies of the city will hold an Easter Sunrise Prayer Service at the E.E. Reed home, 1210 N. Main. The Victory Liberty Loan parade will move from Central School at 11 o’clock Easter Monday. This parade will formally open the week’s intensive drive planned by the Women’s Liberty Loan committee. Every home in Roswell should be represented in the victory parade. Show your patriotic gratitude! Take up the torch!”

Roswell Daily Record

April 5, 1904

Beautiful Display

“The beautiful Easter display that Mrs. J.P. Church had in the grocery window at the Joyce Pruitt store from the Alameda greenhouse was one of the finest displays of flowers ever seen in the city. She sold the flowers readily and they brought good prices. The Easter lilies were simply dreams and the carnations were as pretty as any ever raised anywhere. Mrs. Church is to be congratulated on her enterprise in making it possible for the Roswell people to secure such beautiful flowers.”

Roswell Daily Record

April 24, 1905

“Save your Easter hat to wear to the strawberry and ice cream entertainment, Smith building, N. Main St., Monday afternoon and evening. Fresh berries. Pure cream. Homemade ice cream and cake.—Parsons’ Sunday School Class”

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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