THE GRANT THAT MAXWELL BOUGHT
Facsimile of Number 225 of the Original 1952 Edition
By F. Stanley
The History of the Maxwell Land Grant in New Mexico and Colorado. Includes bibliography.
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The Maxwell Land Grant was an immense parcel of land in New Mexico and Colorado with a history that began when the area was a colony of Spain and ended only in the twentieth century. In this volume, published originally in an edition of 250 numbered and signed copies, F. Stanly (pseudo. Father Stanley Francis Louis Crocchiola) takes on the task of telling the complex story.
In his foreword, Stanley says: “Look in vain for another section of land in the nation that produced so much comment from the press or absorbed the attention of the entire world. Because of this bit of land a Supreme Court Justice almost lost his life; a president of the United States wanted to horse-whip a man; a minister was looked upon as a killer; a cattle man became a killer; vigilantes rode into the night burning and killing; and the Anti-Grant War was waged in two states taking more lives than the Lincoln County War that brought Billy the Kid his fame.”
Stanley has been faulted for his scholarship and for stylistic flaws that are probably reflections of the speed it took him to publish the amazing number of books and pamphlets he produced. His narrative is chatty and anecdotal, with few of the accoutrements of establishment history. Still, he has mined newspapers, trial transcripts, and a variety of documents to produce a broad account of the area. He includes chapters on ghost towns as well as “living” towns, the railroads, Indians on the grant, and a full chapter on Clay Allison, whom Stanly regarded as a more interesting character than Billy the Kid. The original edition is probably the scarcest of Stanley’s books.
“An easterner by birth but a southwesterner at heart, Father Stanley Francis Louis Crocchiola had as many vocation as names,” says his biographer, Mary Jo Walker. “As a young man, he entered the Catholic priesthood and for nearly half a century served his church with great zeal in various capacities, attempting to balance the callings of teacher, pastor, historian and writer.” With limited money or free time, he also managed to write and publish one hundred and seventy-seven books and booklets pertaining to his adopted region under his nom de plume, F. Stanley, The initial in that name does not stand for Father, as many have assumed, but for Francis, which Louis Crocchiola took, with the name Stanley, at the time of his ordination as Franciscan friar in 1938. All of F. Stanley’s titles have now reached the status of expensive collector’s items.
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