By Don McAlavy: Freedom columnist
W. H. Duckworth, owner of the Duckworth Drug Company came to New Mexico in the year, 1908 headquartering out of the city while traveling his territory. In 1910 he became manager of the Southwestern Drug Store and remained in that capacity until 1922.
Duckworth served his state as lieutenant governor in 1921 and 1922 while M. C. Mecham was governor. Following his term in the service of New Mexico he looked after his varied business interests until 1928 and for the four years following, when he was associated with his brother in the automobile business.
In 1934, Duckworth opened the Duckworth Drug Store located at 310 Main Street, centrally located to serve the community. He served as a member and secretary of the State Board of Pharmacy from 1917 to 1921, resigning at that time to become lieutenant governor. He was reappointed then in 1923.
In 1937, Duckworth had the honor of receiving the bronze plaque award of the American Druggist for service to pharmacy, one of just three in the State of New Mexico.
In the point of service, he was the oldest registered pharmacist in the city, having been registered since October 1911 . . . this accounted for the fact the Duckworth Drug Store is built around its prescription department which was, at all times, under the personal supervision of Duckworth.
In addition to the drug and drug sundries found at the Duckworth Drug Store was another outstanding department, Indian Curios and Gifts . . . Indian curios made by New Mexico and Mexican Indians. One of, if not the largest, of its type in the Eastern section of New Mexico.
Six families were dependent upon the Duckworth Drug Store for their living, placing this firm definitely among the “Builders of Clovis”.
Another old timer directing an important department of this modern drug store was Slaughter Murray . . . the fountain and lunch department.
Slaughter had offered his fine drinks and foods to Clovis since 1914. Much of the success of the Duckworth Drug Store in Clovis went, not only to Mr. Duckworth, but to Mrs. Duckworth, who worked hand-in-hand to serve the public.
A statement by Duckworth fits definitely the title of this series of programs “Builders of Clovis”. . . here it is “Unbounded faith in the continued prosperity of Clovis and Curry County was responsible for my return to the drug business in Clovis. For during good times and bad times . . . under Democrat or Republican administration alike I have never ceased to believe but what New Mexico and Clovis held more for me of all the good things than any other place and that I would remain here to help build both the community and myself.” (Yes, the great Duckworth served Clovis all his life!)