Leslie Pattison helped build Curry County

Leslie Pattison died in 1979. He was a gentle man, soft spoken, one of the kind who helped build, as did his brothers and father, Curry County.

Leslie came to Curry County with his folks the year New Mexico was made a state. His father was Will H. Pattison.

They came from Indiana. There were six boys: Forest, Orville, Dean, Cecil, Kenneth and Leslie. Kenneth drowned as a boy in a lake east of Clovis.

Forest, Orville, Dean, and Leslie spent most of their lives farming in, or near, the old Claud community. I didn’t know Leslie and Dean as well as I did Forest and Orville. My folks lived a half-mile east of the Orville Pattisons.

I knew Orville’s two boys as I grew up with them, Hoyt and Buell, and the two boys would come to our house and my mother would fix breakfast for them as they like my mother’s good pancakes. I lived out on our farm for 13 years until my mother, brother, sister and myself ran off to Clovis in 1943 as my Dad became too mean and he never lived with us again.

My Dad worked at times for Orville and Forest. Forest got one of the first self-propelled combines in the late 30s or early 40s and my Dad ran it.

I usually went with my Dad when he went to work for Forest, just to see and get to play with their adopted daughter, Shirley. Shirley was two years younger than myself, but she was my first girlfriend.

Leslie farmed between our place and Clovis, west of Pleasant Hill. In the 1940s my Dad’s brother, George came to New Mexico and after some time looking around, went to work for Leslie.

Leslie told me awhile back that Uncle George was the best and fastest “shocker” he’d ever seen. (To you city folks a “shocker” is one who, after the row crop of maise or “high-gear” was cut and bundled and tied with binder-wine, came along and shocked or stacked the bundles with the grain up off the ground. The shocks looked something like teepees with from six to 10 bundles in each).

I tried to get Leslie to write down his history for the Curry County History Book, but he didn’t think he could say anything too interesting. (He was on the 1916 Clovis High School football team.)

My sympathies are with Thelma, his wife, and his daughter, Janice. Only one of the Pattison brothers was alive the last I heard, and that is Cecil who lived near Belen. I didn’t know him.

My first girlfriend, Shirley Pattison, grew up and moved to Hot Springs, N.M. with her folks. When I got out of the Army in 1954, I went up there from Fort Bliss and spent most of the summer prospecting for gold and such with Forest and some of his friends. I didn’t find any gold, and Forest didn’t find any gold and I didn’t get the girl. She married someone else.

But we are still friends.