Homesteader instrumental in progress of eastern plains

By Don McAlavy: Freedom columnist

Arthur Worthington Cameron Sr. was born Nov. 15, 1852, in Augusta, Iowa, to Catherine S. Kelly and William Cameron. He was named for his two uncles, Arthur and Edward Worthington. He grew up and was educated in the Augusta schools.

In 1875, Arthur moved to Missouri where he married Martha Alice Ambrose, on Jan. 19, 1881. There were four children born in this union.

They farmed their land located in Brazito, Missouri, Arthur was also a Justice of the Peace.

In 1904, after 24 years of farming in Missouri, Arthur and Martha packed up and headed for the Territory of New Mexico to homestead on the rolling prairie.

On the 360 acres they planted wheat, maize, broomcorn and other row crops. In 1908, Mr. Cameron was appointed postmaster and Cameron became the only Post Office between Grady and San Jon.

Mail was driven out from Clovis and called the Rural Star Route 1. It was located near the intersection of CR 44 and CR 0, and was made a part of Curry County when county lines were re-drawn.

With a homestead of a sturdy four room house, corrals, hen houses, windmill and post office, Cameron was now on the map.

On these high plains water was at a minimum. To get water, wells had to be dug by mechanical means.

Arthur was the first to hire a drilling rig to come out and get water from a 400 or 500 foot well. He was also the first to open a grocery store. This made it convenient for the women to hitch up their teams to a wagon filled with water barrels, drive up to the Cameron store and post office, fill the barrels from the fresh pumping well, buy needed goods, and pick up mail and send letters anywhere in the U.S.

The first radio in that part of the country was purchased by Cameron, and he often invited neighbors to share in the enjoyment and hear the latest news. They could often pick up the tolling of the hour by Big Ben in London.

In 1935, when Mr. Cameron’s health began to fail, his daughter-in-law, Laura Elda (Enloe) Cameron was appointed postmaster.

By this time, Cameron’s oldest son. Arthur Worthington, Jr., and his family had joined the elder Camerons, and were managing the farm. Laura continued maintaining the post office until 1940, where it had been moved to Wheatland in Quay County.

As the community began to move to urban areas, the Cameron post office was discontinued and eventually moved to Grady.

Arthur passed away on Aug. 29, 1935 at his home. His wife, Martha, had died only nine months earlier, on Dec.1, 1934.

They were both buried in the Blair Cemetery at Wheatland, New Mexico. Arthur Sr. was an honest man, played an important role in the development and progress of the open prairie in eastern New Mexico.