Prisoners of War in New Mexico Agriculture
Abstract of Interview
TAPE NUMBER: RG2000-106
OF BIRTH: March 25, 1927
OF INTERVIEW: August 5, 2000
OF INTERVIEW: Merrell residence, Cotton City, New Mexico
OF INTERVIEW: NMF&RHM_X____OTHER_____
OF TAPES: One
ABSTRACTED: April 27, 2001
OF RECORDING (SPECIFY): Good
AND CONTENT NOTE: Prisoners of war from Camp Lordsburg, and a branch camp in
Duncan, Arizona, were transported by Merrell and his father to area farms and
ABSTRACT (IMPORTANT TOPICS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE):
1944, Merrell’s father, Orison, began transporting prisoners of war (POWs)
from Camp Lordsburg to Virden area farms (a distance of thirty-five miles).
In 1945, he started transporting POWs from a POW branch camp at Greenlee
County Fairgrounds in Duncan, Arizona. He would transport thirty to forty
prisoners every morning and be accompanied by guards.
war was nearly over, but the POWs were willing to work, to stay busy.
They picked and hoed cotton, potatoes and onions.
They got acquainted with the farmers and their labor was needed. POWs
brought their lunches. They were
German POWs. He says they were not told not to talk to them.
was their family’s business; thirty-five miles an hour was top speed, the
roads were narrow. Farmers paid his father and him for transporting the POWs
through the Duncan Valley Potato Growers Association. He also hauled produce.
labor came before the bracero program, though some Mexican American
families in Virden worked side by side with the POWs. Farm boys were let out of
school in the afternoon to pick cotton in 1943, but not with the POWs.
camps were well administered. He joined the service in 1945; upon his return,
his father purchased many items from the then demobilized camp.
Later Merrrell bought a building from an Arizona Air Base, moved it to
Duncan, and lived in it. He recalls
no incidents from the POW camp, but feels the POWs were very helpful to
Return to list of oral history consultants
send questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rio Grande Historical Collections * New Mexico State University Library MSC 3475 * P.O. Box 30006 * Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003-3006 ** Telephone: 505-646-3839 FAX: 505-646-7477