The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

A look back at Decembers past


December 4, 2019

I collect historical tidbits that interest me from area newspapers. Here are a few from Decembers past:

• Dec. 1, 1971: Tucumcari District Attorney Vic Breen was shot to death outside his home by a mental patient Breen helped commit to the state hospital.

• Dec. 1, 1915: The Clovis Woman’s Club appointed a sanitation committee to ensure the city’s livery stable was cleaned out twice a week. Club minutes also tell us, “Mrs. Anna Janes reported that the box supper will be December 8, proceeds of which will be used for the library fund. Be sure to bring your husband and remind him that his bids are to be very generous.”

• Dec. 2, 1935: Freedom Newspapers founders R.C. Hoiles and C.H. Hoiles of Santa Ana, Calif., announced they had purchased the Clovis Evening News-Journal from Mack Stanton. The paper evolved into the Clovis News Journal, losing its hyphen in 1990, and changing publication cycle from afternoon to morning in 2002. Freedom sold the Clovis News Journal to Clovis Media Inc. in 2012. Today the paper is called The Eastern New Mexico News and publishes Wednesdays and Sundays.

• Dec. 9, 1881: Rachel V. Smith, who became an original member of the board of regents at Eastern New Mexico University, was born in Grandview, Texas. She moved to New Mexico in 1910 and was county superintendent of schools in De Baca County. She died in March 1960 at age 78 while visiting Hong Kong.

• Dec. 10, 1943: Portales Lions Club was established with 18 charter members.

• Dec. 13, 1951: A water tank exploded in Tucumcari, killing four and spilling more than a million gallons of water. Investigators blamed the tragedy on a faulty rivet.

• Dec. 20, 1964: “Ben Casey” made its debut in the Sunday Clovis News-Journal color comic section. The comic told the story of life in a large metropolitan hospital. It replaced “Red Ryder” whose artist had retired the strip.

• Dec. 21, 1911: An ordinance was passed declaring prostitution illegal in Tucumcari. Violators faced a $25 fine and 30-day jail sentence, according to Debra Whittington’s book, “In the Shadow of the Mountain.”

David Stevens writes about regional history. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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