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Ancestors & descendants of Walter Lightfoot of the Terriroty of New Mexico

WALTER LEE LIGHTFOOT - was born in the Territory of New Mexico in 1900 He was the son of John and Dora (Carter). As a boy, he worked around his father's blacksmith shop in Duncan and at the age of seventeen, he took his first real job in a garage in Douglas having watched the early-day automobiles being repaired in his father's blacksmith shop.

His mechanical knowledge and experience in forging led to a job working for Phelps Dodge and worked all through Mexico mining in his spare time after he moved to the Globe-Miami area. He worked in that area as an auto mechanic for about twelve years and then moved to Phoenix and worked for Anchor Body & Steel and later for Utility Trailer Company.

Some of his ornamental iron work included the Goldwater and O'Connell homes, prison locks at Florence. He also made the large hinges on cattle trailers by hand, and became very skilled as a welder, metalsmith, mechanic. He later owned and operated of a nursery which grew house plants .

Grandad, as I knew him, came into our family through his friendship with my Aunt Ruth (Neagle). She and her husband Bill Green, were good friends with Walter and his first wife Mina (Lewis) and after Mina passed away in 1959, Grandad married Ruth's sister Connie who had also been previously married and was the mother of three children - all of which were out on their own at this time.

Walter and Connie were married in Cortez, Colorado and lived in Phoenix, Arizona and Ocean Side, California. Their marriage lasted thirty years, until the time Grandad passed away in 1990.

Grandad was always an interesting character to me. I had heard stories that he had was born in the territory before it was a state, had lived in Mexico and worked in the mines, but what I knew of him was that he was an excellent photographer and had traveled to many interesting places. He took my 8th grade graduation pictures and set up our room just like a studio to do them. It was the first time I'd seen him photograph although I have since seen many of his beautiful photos. Some of which were taken in Africa, still hang on my grandmother's wall.

Grandad seemed a stern man to me, but he was very intelligent and that fascinated me. When I graduated early from high school and he was out to Arizona for a visit, he took me back with him to Oceanside in his motor home. At that time, he was almost eighty and the trip proved to be quite eventful! He really was a wonderful tour guide, and stopped at the ruins and told me about the trains and all kinds of things on that trip with just the two of us, and I'm so glad I had that opportunity to go with him.

Since working around all the machinery, Grandad's hearing wasn't so good and he always had trouble hearing me, but it never stopped me from wondering about his life, his childhood, and his ancestry ... and this is where and how I've begun to piece it together.

When I began researching my family history about a dozen years ago, his second wife Connie (my grandmother) gave me a copy of his delayed birth certificate, but it was only recently that I began the search.

The certificate gave me a few clues: Walter Lee Lightfoot was born 16 August 1900 in Richmond, New Mexico. His father was John, his mother was Dora (Carter), both aged about 20 years old when he was born and both born in New Mexico. John's place of birth was indicated as Silver City and a "relative present at his birth" was listed as Sarah F. Herrell of Tolleson, Arizona.

From a July 1954 copy of the magazine, The Arizona Roadrunner, which featured a story about Grandad which read: "A Most Interesting Fellow ... Let's Meet Him! Saga of Pappy Lightfoot" and from this I figured he had lived in Duncan, Greenlee Co., Arizona as a small boy; in 1917 was living in Douglas or Bisbee area of Cochise county; had worked for Phelps Dodge throughout Mexico; was in the Globe/Miami area of Gila county, Arizona from about 1922 to 1934 and then eventually went to Phoenix.

I first located a Jacob Lightfoot, age 86 in the household of a Robert and Sarah Herrell in the 1920 Federal Census for Cochise County Arizona, and though there was no John or Dora, there was a Sarah Herrell of whom I still did not know the relation, but knew now there was one.

Working back, I located the family of Jacob and Sarah Lightfoot, ages 47 with children Sarah and Margaret in the 1880 Federal Census for New Mexico Territory living in Grant County. I then located Jacob Lightfoot living with his son John Lightfoot and daughter-in-law Dora in 1900 - this being again in Grant County and now offering me a month and year of birth for all three. Living next door to the Lightfoots was the family of Robert Herrell, wife Frances and son Robert C. as well as the mother-in-law, Sarah Lightfoot, revealing now their month and year of births.

Lastly, I located Jacob and Sarah Lightfoot along with a grandson, Hiram W. Lacy living in Graham County, Arizona Territory in 1910. This federal census indicated Sarah and Jacob had been married 37 years and that Sarah was the mother of eight children, three living. The only children I had located thus far were Sarah, Margaret and John. Therefore, I knew that Hiram had to be the son of Margaret and that she had married a man by the name of Lacy.

From this bit of research I now speculate the following after locating a family tree on-line regarding the Herrell family.

Please remember this information is a work in progress and I have thus far used only census records and a delayed birth certificate to piece together the life of my Grandad. If you find you have a relation to his family, I'd be happy to hear from you and exchange information and ideas. You can contact Patricia Davidson-Peters.



Updated 06 Jun 2014
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