Redmesa Home

Redmesa is in the Southwest corner of Colorado about 30 miles from the New Mexico border. It was settled by many of my relatives, including my grandparents on my Mother’s side, and other Mormon families, and a ward was formed. Redmesa lies in a valley some 15 miles from the beautiful LaPlata Mountains and has rolling hills on the East and the ‘dry-side’ on the West. On the East are many rolling hills and traveling south, it goes down in altitude gradually toward New Mexico. Redmesa is a dry place where the farmers struggle every year for water for the crops, which usually fail. Times were, and still are, very hard there. Almost everyone that was there when I was a child has moved away and most are ten times better off for having moved. However, some relatives are still there and struggling.

The Church members built what was called the ‘Meeting House’; one room with a state at the East end and a half basement. We held all Church meetings and also all the social life of the community there when I was a child. At various times there was a store across from the Church, but none is there now. However, this old store played an interesting part of my history.

Through the fields on the East side of the ‘Church House’ through what we called our ‘ten acres’ and up the rise, was the house in which I was born. My parents and grandparents had migrated to this barren valley and homesteaded several hundred acres of ground. My maternal grandparents, Emma Barker and William Willden, built a home on the South and my Dad built a four room house on the North. Much work went into planting an orchard, lawns, wild pink roses, lilacs (which froze nearly every Spring), and shade trees, especially many cottonwoods. There were a few of the natural pine trees left on our place and lined the front gate. Between our place and my grandparents was a fence with an orchard on both sides and a large gate on which we always took a few ‘swings’ before proceeding through the orchard.

When I was small Grandpa and Grandma lived in a sort of shanty house of about four rooms which later became part of the barnyard when they built what seemed to me to be a spacious two story house of Dutch Colonial design further up the rise. In front of their front fence just south of the house was a pond for watering the animals. The road wound around this pond, but we didn’t have to worry about traffic because civilization ended with Grandpa’s acreage and ours.