Folsom Museum News That Was
More information about George McJunkin and the Folsom Man Discovery is on display at the Folsom Museum
Discovered Folsom Man:
A Nomadic Hunter who roamed New Mexico more than 10,000 years ago.
In 1908, after the Folsom Flood of August 27th, a Black Cowboy by the name of George McJunkin discovered a large deposit of bones protruding from the bank of the Dry Cimarron River while riding in Wild Horse Arroyo with a friend, Bill Gordon. Bill took some of the bones to Raton and showed them to Fred Howarth. It was George McJunkin, however, who was convinced that these bones were unusual. An amateur archaeologist, George knew they had to be of some extinct animal. Unfortunately, George did not live to know that he had discovered "Folsom Man." It wasn't until 1925 that scientist determined that George's discovery was one of the most important archaeological finds ever made in North America.
George W. McJunkin, affectionately known as "Nigger George," was W. H. Jack's foreman of the Crawford Ranch. Born on a West Texas ranch during slavery, George belonged to a man by the name of Fergesen, of whom George always spoke very highly.
George's father was a fine blacksmith. In addition to his master's work, he did work for all of the neighbors. His master allowed him to keep the money he earned in that way. Saving his money, he was finally able to buy his own freedom.
When the Civil War ended, George was about 14 years of age. He worked at driving oxen with freighters and later worked for a cow outfit. Never having attended school, George could neither read nor write. Around the campfire at night, the cow punchers taught him to read and write. His first pen and paper were a piece of slate rock and a ten penny nail. After learning to read, George read everything he could get his hands on and was a well-informed man.
As a buffalo hunter, George was a master shot and hunted buffalo with many men employed by big fur companies. When a herd of buffalo was found, each man would kill as many as he could skin by nightfall. With hundreds of men working, the buffalo were quickly exterminated and some meat was saved for their own use.
Later, George worked for Gid Roberds, who raised horses. George went with Gid when he moved his herd to southeast of Trinidad, Colorado. As Gid's sons grew up and George was no longer needed, he kept George on until he could locate other work. When Ben Smith, the Owen's range manager, went to Roberd's ranch to buy horses, he hired George for the Pitchfork Ranch. George stayed for 13 years, then went to work on the Crowfoot Ranch for William "Bill" H. Jack.
An expert bronc rider, George was one of the best ropers and cow hands of this country. When he died, he was buried at the Folsom Cemetery, Folsom, New Mexico.