Over a century ago, my ancestors left White Oaks, Lincoln County, New Mexico, with all of their possessions looking to settle in the upper Rincon Valley. The Lunds were a prospecting family. Patriarch Fletcher Lund was Canadian, hailing from Port Perry, Ontario. He and his family had been mining for gold in White Oaks since the 1880s. Fletcher and his wife, Eva, also ran a large hotel in White Oaks during the gold boom.
They arrived in Northern New Mexico in 1904 wanting their children, Ethel and Guy, to get a formal education at the San Francisco de Asís Mission in Ranchos de Taos. Ethel Lund was part of the first class to graduate high school at the mission in 1909. The family lived on a farm in the upper rim of the Río Grande Canyon. To make a living, they grew acres and acres of pinto beans.
They moved to Taos in about 1919 when their ranch home burned to the ground. Fletcher and Guy Lund owned a butcher shop in town and owned mines outside of town as well.
In Taos, their closest friends were cowboys, American Indians, merchants and artists. The Lunds lived on what is now called Civic Plaza Drive. Their home was decorated with fine paintings, American Indian rugs, pottery and an old stone matata for grinding corn; most are still in the family.
The Lunds' granddaughters, Margaret Louise and Eva Adelaide, share memories of the Lunds' home life in Taos:
"The Hindes family lived next door to my grandparents' house facing Main Street. Mr. Hinde had a blacksmith shop facing the alley. On the other side of the Lunds' home was an empty lot, which Ila McAfee and Elmer Turner bought in 1924. On the other side of the Turner home was the power plant, run by Mr. Burke. My mother’s brother, Guy Lund, also lived nearby.
"From the beginning, Ila and Elmer became part of the Lund family. As children, we were instructed to call them Aunt Ila and Uncle Elmo.
"Taos was just a little town with dusty unpaved streets then. And across the road from where my grandparents lived there were open fields of alfalfa and clover. Taos was unknown. There were no tourists, and Ila often drove us down to the Pueblo to watch the [American] Indian dances.
"By invitation, I followed Ila everywhere and on the streets we talked to everyone. I realize now that many of the people we spoke to were 'famous' original Taos artists. Also, after Uncle Elmo’s nap, I was invited into the studio because I was always enthralled by the smells, the paintings, the butterfly collection, the Gramophone, Sanka the cat and all of the visitors.
"My grandmother (we always called her 'Grandmary') did many things to help make a living. She often served evening meals to couples. She had a reputation as a fine cook. Grandmary was a seamstress, grew flowers for the flower shop and often baked bread for sale by order. I was allowed to take a gift loaf to the Turners and one to the Phillips (Bert Phillips, co-founder of the Taos Society of Artists, lived just across the alley). Grandmary always cautioned me not to stay and bother them. I am sure that I always did.
"One of my playmates was Elizabeth Couse, the daughter of Irving Couse (the other co-founder of the Taos Society of Artists). We walked everywhere together — just exploring — and the two Burke girls who lived at the power plant were also my companions. We especially liked to wade in the irrigation ditch all the way to the Pueblo. To this day the sight of orange, oriental poppies and the smell of cilantro remind me of those times. Both plants grew in profusion on the banks of the irrigation canal." — Margaret Louise
"I had to stay with my [Lund] grandparents four summers in a row, and let me tell you, Grandmary kept me busy. She raised flowers in her own yard — she grew bachelor buttons and carnations. She had a very large garden with rows and rows of flowers. She would whip up little bouquets of flowers and sell them.
"They lived in a huge 2 1/2 story house in Taos. I slept in the attic when I visited. Grandmary’s lilac bush came clear up to the attic window. During one visit, the circus came to town and set up nearby. I was able to see all of the action from my attic window. There was a giant cherry tree in the side yard, and I sat in the top of the tree eating cherries all day long." — Eva Adelaide
Fletcher Lund died in Taos in 1943. Eva Lund then relocated to Fort Stanton, New Mexico, where she lived with her daughter and her family until her death in 1953.
Ethel Lund remarried to James H. Howard, a Capitan, New Mexico, pioneer and cattle rancher from Texas. Ethel and James raised four children and three granddaughters. Ethel Lund is recognized as the first birth registrar in Carrizozo, New Mexico. She died in 1984.
Lund Street in Taos is named after Fletcher Lund and his family.
Guy Lund was drafted to serve in World War I in June of 1917. Upon his return from the war he married Ora Seats in 1921 in Gallup, New Mexico, where they lived. In 1931, Ora and Guy Lund set up home in Taos near Guy's family. They resided there until 1941. Guyora Lane in Taos is named after Guy and Ora Lund. It intersects with Lund Street. The word "Guyora" is actually Guy and Ora's names put together.
In 1941, Guy and Ora Lund relocated to Questa where Guy owned a local general store until his death in 1959. Sometime after Guy's death, Ora left New Mexico to live with her family for the remainder of her life.
Guy and Ora Lund never had children together. Guy Lund had a son out of wedlock named Tranquilino, born to Leociada Valencia of Arroyo Seco. Tranquilino Valencia (Lund), his wife, Luisa, and their five children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren still live in Ranchos de Taos and the surrounding area. Leociada Valencia was known as "La Enjaradora," or "one who plasters."
The following is written by her grandson, Robert T. Valencia:
"My grandmother passed away in 2010 at 98 years of age. She was a strong woman of Hispanic descent. She worked hard and loved her children with all she had. She was a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in her mid-70s. Aside from this, she lived a full life.
"She was 5 feet, 5 inches tall with long black hair like the American Indian women in Taos. She had a beautiful caramel skin tone. I remember her braiding her own hair and having two huge braids, one hanging to the left and the other, to the right. Her eyes were as clear as the clearest sea — the prettiest blue eyes I have ever seen. Most Hispanic women in Taos have dark eyes but not her, she was a true Spanish woman.
"She developed a mud mixture to plaster the church walls that consisted of all natural materials. The mixture has been passed down to my father and to me and my brothers, and we still use this mixture today.
"My brother, Phillip, owner of Mountain River Plastering & Renovations, uses the same mud to give properties in our area an authentic finish just as our grandmother did over a century ago."
Donna Kout Ikard, the Lunds' great-great-granddaughter, resides in the Gulf Coast area of Texas near the southernmost point and was spared by Hurricane Harvey.