|Near Springer, New Mexico|
French, New Mexico is a former settlement named for Capt. William French, who came to the US from French Park, Ireland, in 1883. He settled first in Grant County, then moved to Colfax County, where he became a prominent land-owner. French was the author of Recollections of a Western Ranchland, 1883-1889. He organized the French Tract, a group of farms with French as its center, but litigation over water rights doomed the enterprise. This lack of irrigation water, the community of French being overshadowed by nearby Springer and Maxwell, and the decline of rail transportation combined to doom the settlement, which never had more than 250 residents. Captain French eventually moved to England, where he died. Today the community of French survives only as a RR siding.
George Barrett and his wife Lydia Halstead Barrett were among the 250 farming residents. My great grandmother, Eleanor Van Dusen Bowen, remembers that her grandfather's farm was located outside of the small town of French. The town of French is not too far away from Springer. George Barrett died in 1923 in Miami, New Mexico after the French Tract settlement failure. Miami not shown on the map below is located about 10 miles west of Springer.
|Colfax County, New Mexico 1895|