A Guide to the Herbert Holt Collection, 1890-1910
Herbert Bartlett Holt (b. 1868) was born in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, and educated in Massachusetts. He moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 1891 and worked as a court stenographer. After reading the law with Judge Simon B. Newcomb, Holt joined the bar in 1898. Holt inherited Newcomb’s law practice after his death in 1901. The same year, Joseph Bonham joined the practice as a partner, and the practice concentrated on mining law under the name Holt and Bonham. In 1910, Holt formed a partnership with William A. Sutherland. Holt’s practice dealt with mining, ranching, and land interests as well as frontier justice. Holt sat on the board of regents for the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts from 1902 to 1907 and helped organize the Elephant Butte Water Users’ Association in 1905, serving as its first president until 1911. For two years, 1905-1907, he was the District Attorney for the 8th District of New Mexico. In 1911, he won election to the first State Senate and in 1930 he ran for the United States Senate as a Republican but lost to the Democratic candidate, Sam G. Bratton. A businessman as well as lawyer, Holt sat on the boards of many companies, such as Las Cruces’ First National Bank, Las Cruces Electric Light and Ice Company, and Mesilla Valley Land and Investment Company. Additionally, he served as the Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico in 1925.
Simon Bolivar Newcomb (1838-1901) was born in Wallace, Nova Scotia, but moved to Texas with his parents in 1839. After attending school in Canada, Newcomb became an attorney in 1861 and a barrister in 1863. He moved to Toledo, Ohio, to practice law and then to Texas in 1870. In 1871, he became judge of the Twenty-Fifth Judicial District at El Paso. However, the residents of El Paso disapproved of the appointment so much that the military was forced to protect the courthouse. Newcomb resigned and moved to Los Cruces, New Mexico, in 1874 to start a private law practice. In addition to this law practice, Newcomb served on New Mexico’s territorial council, as District Attorney for the 3rd District of New Mexico, and as the president of the New Mexico Bar Association in 1885. He helped organize the Grand Lodge of New Mexico in 1877 and became its Grandmaster in 1881. Newcomb died at Las Cruces in 1901.
Sources: New Mexico Office of the State Historian. “Holt, Herbert Bartlett.” New Mexico State Record Center and Archives. Accessed August 16, 2010. http://www.newmexicohistory.org/filedetails.php?fileID=21855
History of New Mexico: Its Resources and People. Los Angeles: Pacific States Publishing Co. 1907.
Correspondence and legal documents comprise the Herbert Holt Collection, 1893-1910, documenting the law practice of Simon B. Newcomb, Hebert B. Holt, and Joseph Bonham as well as the history of New Mexico as a territory. The collection begins around 1890 with Newcomb’s legal correspondence and spans until 1910 when Joseph Bonham left the practice and William A. Sutherland joined it. Additionally, the records relate to frontier justice, mining, legal and court cases, cattle stealing and ranching, politics, land transactions, and Indian depredations. The law practice’s mining interests included interactions with the Santa Rita Mining Company and the Stephenson Bennett Mining Company. Furthermore, the correspondence pertains to Holt’s involvement in the building of Elephant Butte Dam and with the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts. The collection includes letters to and from famous New Mexicans, such as Governor Miguel Otero, Judge Frank Parker, William H. H. Llwellyn, Oliver M. Lee, Albert Fall, Max Frost, R. G. Hardesty, and R. L. Baca.
The collection is open for research use.
Herbert Holt Collection, 1890-1910, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
This collection is unprocessed
Detailed Description of the Papers