The Trial of Oliver Lee
June 13, 7 p.m.
Historian and author W. Michael Farmer will join us for this month’s Culture Series and discuss the trial of rancher Oliver Lee. Admission to this presentation in the Museum’s Theater is free.
The long simmering Tularosa basin range war between big cattle companies and small operators boiled over when the attorney for the Southeastern New Mexico Livestock Association, Albert Fountain, and his 8-year-old son Henry, disappeared Feb. 1, 1896 and were never found. Rancher Oliver Lee, fast and deadly with a gun, and a leading Democrat, was immediately assumed to have murdered Fountain, a leading Republican legislator, newspaper publisher, Indian fighter, and leader of a local military unit that wiped out Texas gangs invading southern New Mexico.
The ensuing investigation and trial featured many famous characters in New Mexico history, as well as a circus-like atmosphere. The end result was an 18-day trial that was deliberated for less than eight minutes and a mystery that endures.
Farmer combines 10-plus years of research into 19-century Apache history and culture with Southwest-living experience to fill his stories with a genuine sense of time and place. A retired Ph.D. physicist, his historical novels have won many awards.