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

By David Stevens

Pages past, May 2: Tulips everywhere, and a recluse dies


Last updated 5/1/2021 at 3:31pm

On this date ...

1956: Portales High School had captured its first district baseball championship. The Rams swept a doubleheader from the Roswell Coyotes to secure the crown.

Portales won the first game, 3-2, before walloping Roswell in the nightcap, 13-2.

Ken Dunaway tossed a two-hitter in the first game, and Jim Vardeman followed with a five-hitter. Butch Duren hit a 350-foot home run for the Rams.

1966: Old Don Buford, who for 38 years lived under ground near the Western New Mexico community of Quemado, had died in a friend’s home.

Buford, 77, died in the home of Dorris Simpson, where he spent about five days a month. Simpson leased land from the World War I veteran.

When not living with Simpson, Buford lived in an 8-foot deep dugout, covered with logs and packed dirt, United Press International reported. His place measured 12 feet by 16 feet.

“He just wanted to live up there,” Simpson said. “He felt like it was his home.”

The headline announcing Buford’s death, on the front page of the Clovis News-Journal, read, “Recluse Dies; Leaves $44,000 Fortune Behind”

Simpson said Buford had homesteaded the land, about 1,600 acres in Catron County, which was worth an estimated $32,000. He had about $12,000 in a bank account, friends said.

Simpson said Buford lived off of a $78 monthly veteran’s pension as well as the money he received from leasing his land. She said his diet consisted mainly of potatoes and beans and “some home brew he made from corn and wheat.”

Buford spent much of his time reading newspapers.

“He was quite well-read,” Simpson said. “He could answer any kind of question you’d want to ask. I believe he went to college when he was young.”

New top cop in Portales …

1946: Hubert Corzine had been named Portales’ police chief, succeeding Tom Cardin, who resigned to go into private business.

Corzine was an ex-soldier and had been authorized to select his own patrolmen, according to The Portales Daily News.

Garden clubs show off …

1956: Portales’ Memorial Building had hosted the district flower show. Twelve area garden clubs displayed their best blooms, The Portales Daily News reported.

“Tulips and iris were everywhere, in a rainbow of colors and a variety of sizes and shapes, and the plant specimens ranged from native cactus to exotic orchids,” according to the newspaper.

Pages Past is compiled by David Stevens. Contact:

[email protected]


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