Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Pages past, April 23: Newspaper: Clovis named for a king

On this date ...

1909: No document is known to exist that ties the naming of Clovis to the first Christian King of France. But a Clovis newspaper on this date made the claim in a poem, most likely written by Pony Post Editor Harry Armstrong.

It ended like this:

“Old Clovis has a namesake now —

“A city in New Mexico,

“A city of three thousand strong —

“And founded scarce two years ago

“One time two towns who rivaled her —

“Melrose was one, and Texico —

“Grew clamorous for railroad shops,

“And worried all New Mexico.

“Then Clovis, like her dad of old,

“Saw that their wranglings were in vain;

“She seized the Sword of Enterprise

“And slashed their foolish hopes in twain.”

1951: A Clovis teenager was recovering from injuries suffered when his motorcycle collided with a car on the Portales highway.

Harold Kilmer, 18, of 1010 Sheldon St., suffered a fractured right arm, lacerations of the scalp and scattered abrasions, police said.

He was thrown through the car’s windshield after the car turned in front of him.

Kilmer “was badly dazed” and told the doctor he could remember only that he had been riding a motorcycle, the Clovis News-Journal reported.

1956: San Angelo stood atop the early standings in the Southwestern League with a 4-1 record.

Four teams were a game behind at 3-2. The Clovis Pioneers, under the leadership of player-manager Frank Benites, were off to a 1-3 start, but heading into a home stand.

1962: Clovis High’s baseball team was in second place in District 4-A.

The Wildcats, 3-1 in loop play, trailed only Carlsbad, which was 6-0.

Portales was in fourth place with a 3-3 record.

Clovis was led by pitching ace Jimmy Reynolds, while right-fielder Guerry Byers led the team in hitting at .379.

1971: An early morning fire burned out of control for more than two hours, destroying Ealy’s Furniture Store at 209 Main in Clovis.

Apartments upstairs were also destroyed. All occupants were reported safe, though several were seen coughing and rubbing smoke-irritated eyes; none had time to salvage their belongings, the Clovis News-Journal reported.

Constance Ealy Jones, the building’s owner, estimated losses between $100,000 and $150,000. Cause of the fire was “electrical,” according to Fire Chief Joe Maddox, who declined to elaborate.

Radio disc jockey Jerry Welch, on his way to work just before 7 a.m, saw smoke coming from the furniture store and called the fire department; he then attempted to rouse residents in the apartment.

“The fire attracted a great number of spectators, most of them lining the walls of businesses on Main Street,” the CN-J reported.

Hotel Clovis across the street had to close its ground-floor coffee shop for two days because of the smoke.

1975: Pat Burns, the son of Portales Mayor Mike and Ruth Burns, was in critical condition at an El Paso hospital following a hang-gliding accident.

Burns, a student at New Mexico State University, was injured when a wing on his glider collapsed as he soared off of a hillside. He suffered a fractured pelvis and thigh in the 30-foot fall, according to media accounts.

Burns recovered and is in Clovis this weekend for a family estate sale.

1997: Jerry Nuzum, the first Clovis native to play in the National Football League, died in Monroeville, Pa. He was 73.

Nuzum, a 6-1, 200-pound running back, played four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, from 1948 to 1951, scoring 10 touchdowns and compiling more than 1,200 yards in total offense.

His best season was 1949 when he rushed 611 times and scored five TDs. He had one run for 64 yards, a career best, and also caught four passes that season for 81 yards and two touchdowns.

Pages Past is compiled by David Stevens and Betty Williamson. Contact:

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