on the Clear Fork of Sandies Creek, Albuquerque was once believed to have been
in Wilson County. The discrepancy was cleared by a survey in 1914. The town was
only two miles south of where Gonzales,
Wilson, and Guadalupe counties joined. The Handbook of Texas suggests that
the name was "probably" suggested by "South Texans who had fought in New Mexico
under Henry H. Sibley."|
Brothers-in-law Henry S. Hastings and Samuel
McCracken from Mississippi are regarded as the town's first settlers. The town
began in the early 1870s with official recognition coming with the opening of
the post office in 1870. Thirteen short years later it was already fading into
ghost-town status. The post office closed its doors briefly, reopened and then
closed for good in 1883.
The fledgling town had the basic businesses
to survive including a cotton gin, blacksmith, store, saloon and school, but with
no railroad on the horizon, the odds were stacked against Albuquerque's survival.
It did have it's fifteen minutes of fame when John
Wesley Hardin was involved in not one, but two killings.
decline was attributed to the growth of nearby Union,
Texas, aka Union Valley
which was two miles south of Albuquerque. Eventually even the die-hard residents
abandoned the town and by 1912 the town was totally deserted.
by an armadillo hole|
"I have never seen an armadillo hole that big"
Shootings at Albuquerque
Minutes of Fame |
had it's fifteen minutes of fame (x 2) when famous gunfighter John Wesley Hardin
killed a man there. While one source states the shooting was the first in the
famous Sutton-Taylor (that left bodies from Columbus
and that Jack Helms was the victim, actually there were two shootings - both attended
by JWH. Western Historian Charley Eckhard tells the story:
first killing] was a Black State Policeman who was under orders to arrest Hardin
and "not to treat him gentle." The order had been given by State Police Captain
Jack Helms, "who had already been responsible for the murders of several of Hardin's
kin." Actually, he shot two [State Police] but only killed one. That shooting
took place in a general store on the site of Albuquerque in 1868. By 1873 the
State Police had been disbanded. By that time even [Governor] E. J. Davis realized
they were nothing but a band of crooks and murderers."
"Wes was born
in 1853 (which would've made him 15 at the time of the incident). He went on a
cattle drive with Manny Clements (whose name was Emanuel, not Manning or Mannen)
that spring to get out of Texas for awhile after
that [first] shooting."
Wes didn't shoot Helms. He took credit for it after he went to prison to keep
the record of a cousin, who was the actual shooter, clear. When they finally got
Helms, Hardin held the town at bay with a sixshooter in each hand while his cousin
chased Helms around and around a pot-bellied stove, shooting at him as they went.
Believe me, Helms was no loss to the community. Albuquerque had been there a while
in '68, but it did die for sure in '83, after it became obvious that it would
never get a railroad."
Charley Eckhardt, Seguin,
Texas, May 09, 2006
Author and Western Historian Charley Eckhardt, who suggested Albuquerque's inclusion.|
TE Photo April 2006
Dear Editor, I read your story on Union
Valley where it said the population was zero. However, at the time I was there,
about ten years ago, there were still people living in the town. There may still
be. It was not a large population, but still had a few. Nockenut
is nothing but a cemetery now as is (I think) Mound Creek where John Wesley Hardin's
wife Jane is buried. There is no longer a highway sign pointing the way to Mound
Creek, Sweet Home in Guadalupe County
or several other places. I guess that makes them officially ghosts. - Hilda