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Happy 100th Birthday

Updated on April 23, 2015
DLeighAlexander profile image

Deborah L. Alexander is an author, business woman, wife to Doug for almost 40 years, a mother of three adult children & a grandmother of 4.

January 6, 1912 - January 6, 2012

January 6 has always been a dual purpose day of celebration in my life. This special date has significance for two specific reasons. First of all January 6, 1912 was the day my grandmother was born. And January 6, 1912 was also the exact date that the state I was born in joined the United States of America. On January 6, 1912, New Mexico became the 47th state in America.

Image: Master isolated images /

Grandma Ada's 100th Birthday

January 6, 2012

Grandma Ada was the functional adult in my childhood. When my parents divorced, I lived with my grandparents on their 90-acre farm located in the valley of Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Their farm was very close to the Pecos River and to the historic site of Billy the Kid's grave. Billy the Kid is a famous outlaw from the late 1800's who was shot, killed, and buried in the Fort Sumner Valley. As a child, I remember people from all over coming to visit our valley just to see the actual place they had read about and heard tales of where Billy the Kid lived, died, and was laid to rest.

January 6, 2012 marks the 100th birthday for both my Grandma and the date when New Mexico achieved statehood.

The Pecos River as it Winds Through the Fort Sumner Valley

Have you ever been to the State of New Mexico?

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A Tribute to My Loving Grandmother

And to the State of New Mexico--HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY

I was born in the small but famous town of Fort Sumner, New Mexico. This is where my Grandma Ada and my Grandpa made their home from the mid-1940's until their deaths. My Grandma Ada was born on the same date that New Mexico became a state. I created this lens to give tribute to her for all the things she taught me, the difference she made by bringing love and function into my life as a child, and providing a foundation for my life that changed my future. Due to Grandma being born on the same date that New Mexico achieved statehood, she was invited to the Governor's mansion for the dual celebration of her birthday and New Mexico's statehood. She was unable to attend but was honored to receive a personal invitation from the Governor.

This lens is also a tribute to the state of New Mexico where my life and history began and includes my happiest memories of childhood in the beautiful valley farmland. New Mexico is home to the city of Clovis where I grew up, made the best decision of my life, graduated from high school, met my husband, and is the city where our three children were born. New Mexico also includes the city of Portales where I went to college and received my business degree. Despite the dysfunctional childhood I experienced in my parents' home, I made many positive memories apart from that and am thankful I was able to use the bad to appreciate the good. I lived in New Mexico during my first 31 years of life, then my husband and I moved our family to Texas to became McDonald's Restaurant owner/operators and begin a new life and experience.

Happy 100th Birthday New Mexico

January 6, 1912 New Mexico became the 47th state in the USA

In 1920, a contest to design the new state flag was won by Dr. Harry Mera of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mera was an archaeologist who was familiar with the Zia sun symbol found at Zia Pueblo on a 19th century pot. The symbol has sacred meaning to the Zia. Four is a sacred number which symbolizes the Circle of Life: four winds, four seasons, four directions, and four sacred obligations. The circle binds the four elements of four together. His winning design is the flag that the state uses today.

The salutation, "I salute the flag of the State of New Mexico and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures," as commonly recited in New Mexico public schools after the United States pledge of allegiance.

Click on the Zia Symbol to order this lapel pin.

The Famous New Mexico Sunset

I have been privileged to travel around the world and personally see many different sunsets from the east coast to the west coast of America and the majority of states in between. I have witnessed Hawaiian sunsets, Canadian sunsets, sunsets on the Mexican beaches of Puerto Vallarta and Cozumel, sunsets in the middle of the ocean while on a cruise ship, sunsets in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, the country of Belize, the Florida Keys, and even Okinawa Japan ... but I have found no sunset (not even in the beautiful state of Texas) comparable in beauty to the rich colors and fiery images to those witnessed throughout my life in "The Land of Enchantment" also known as the great state of New Mexico.

If you have never seen a New Mexico sunset, I would recommend that it be added to your bucket list.

New Mexico Sunsets - From "The Land of Enchantment"

Have you ever seen a New Mexico sunset?

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The Bosque Redondo

Fort Sumner, New Mexico

Fort Sumner was a military fort in De Baca County in southeastern New Mexico charged with the internment of Navajo and Mescalero Apache populations from 1863-1868 at nearby Bosque Redondo.

On October 31, 1862, Congress authorized the creation of Fort Sumner. General James Henry Carleton initially justified the fort as offering protection to settlers in the Pecos River valley from the Mescalero Apaches, Kiowa, and Comanche. He also created the Bosque Redondo reservation, a 40-square-mile (100 km2) area where over 9,000 Navajo and Mescalero Apaches were forced to live because of accusations raiding white settlements near their respective homelands. The fort was named for General Edmond Vose Sumner.

The Real Tombstone - Military Cemetery and Museum of the Western Heritage

click on photo
click on photo

As a child I remember driving by the Billy the Kid cemetery and seeing his tombstone in plain sight. In those days you did not have to pay to see the burial site. But in later years, someone stole the famous tombstone and took it to a town in Texas called Hico. With people seeing the tombstone in this Texas town, it began to be "claimed" that the notorious outlaw was now buried in Texas. However, there is proof in the Fort Sumner Museum that this was not the real truth. The tombstone was returned to the authorities in Fort Sumner. It's location is now more secure and can be seen only by paying visitors at the museum.

All the facts regarding Billy the Kid's known location at the time he was killed by Pat Garrett, the Maxwell home where he died, and the Fort Sumner area where he spent his last days are all in agreement with his burial site in the Fort Sumner Valley. It is also documented by Sheriff Pat Garrett's written authority that the real Billy the Kid is buried in the Fort Sumner grave. This authentic fact only came into question after the tombstone was stolen and doubt was introduced.

Have you ever visited the Old Fort Sumner Museum in the Fort Sumner New Mexico valley?

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Pecos River Dam at Lake Sumner

Find My Book on Amazon

Read more about life in New Mexico in "A Wounded Daughter's Survival"

The Four Corners Point - Have you visited the place where you can stand in 4 states at once?

The northwest corner of New Mexico is unique due to the fact that it is where 4 states touch. This point is where Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico all converge into one point.

Have you been to Four Corners?

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Billy the Kid - A Famous Outlaw from the American Old West

Do you like to watch western TV shows and movies?

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Photo credit: All photos are my own unless otherwise noted.

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid as I Knew Them: Reminiscences of John P. Meadows
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid as I Knew Them: Reminiscences of John P. Meadows

Read the outlaw tale of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett that took place in the valley of Fort Sumner New Mexico.


Your Comments are Welcome Here

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    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 

      4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      A very nice tribute, your grandma Ada is surley proud. Your pictures are fantastic. Thanks :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Nice to have that historical connection! We visited New Mexico several years ago, camping with our kids. Nice state!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      You did a wonderful job bringing all this together making it interesting all the way through the article.

    • DLeighAlexander profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @tonyleather: Thank you for visiting.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Very informative lens about a historically important place in American history. Well done!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Very Interesting lens! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great lens!

    • Bonfire Designs profile image

      Bonfire Designs 

      6 years ago

      This is such a wonderful, thoughtful lens thank you for sharing with us!

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 

      6 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      I didn't do badly on the quizzes 7 out of 10. I was surprised that I missed 3, but those questions were out of my range of experience. (I know: excuses, excuses!)


    • blue22d profile image


      6 years ago

      Well, I did poorly on the quiz and that just goes to show you, I need to visit the state.

    • jolou profile image


      6 years ago

      I really enjoyed my visit to New Mexico in 2011 and would gladly visit again.

    • Inkhand profile image


      6 years ago

      A great lens.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      6 years ago

      You've given us a nice taste of New Mexico, and with a very personal touch. Happy birthday to your wonderful grandma!


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