In western New Mexico in 1905 there rode a notorious outlaw from the Mexican border named Henry Coleman. With a Colt .45 strapped to his hip, Coleman (alias Street Hudspeth from the well-to-do Texas family) came to be either despised as a deceitful rustler and ruthless murderer or admired as a man of honor and great courage, a popular and charismatic cowman who was fast with a gun. No one seemed indifferent.
In less than a decade, Coleman, who was fluent in Spanish and popular with many of the Hispanics of the area, became as famous in the western part of the state as Billy the Kid was in Lincoln County. Sheriff Elfego Baca of Socorro County, who was careful not to confront Coleman, referred to him as the last of the “bad men of New Mexico.” Especially spellbinding are the recollections of how Coleman came to be associated with several murders. Also intriguing is how he died so violently at the hands of a posse of cattlemen in October 1921.
From her ranch on Largo Creek, not far from where Coleman was said to have committed more than one murder, Eleanor Williams worked hard to interview anyone who had known him or had any knowledge of his daring deeds. Williams first published Coleman’s story in the New Mexico Electric News, a monthly electrical co-op magazine, from 1964 to 1965. Award-winning historian Jerry Thompson edited and annotated it with additional historical context; also included is a short biography of Williams by her daughter, Helen Cress.
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Published by University of North Texas Press