My Life in the Southwest: The Memoir of Adah Hadlock. By Adah
Robertson Hadlock. Edited by Kenneth A. Goldblatt. (El Paso:
Texas Western Press, 1969. Pp. xviii + 113. Illustrations, notes.
Adah Robertson Hadlock's life story, a chronicle of female action
when women generally were out of the stream of non-home affairs,
has an aura of relevance and timeliness, issuing as it does in the age
of Women's Lib. Missouri-born Adah Robertson accompanied her
grandmother to the Southwest in 1902. The following year Miss Rob-
ertson married Frank Hadlock, a young man from Boston, and settled
permanently in El Paso.
Adah Robertson Hadlock mixed domestic commitment as house-
wife and mother with action and adventure. Less by her own account
and more from the record of achievements found in My Life in the
Southwest, one is convinced that Adah Hadlock was an interesting,
even exciting female. She supported her husband in high-risk enter
prises, shared his oil fever, and suffered with him the vicissitudes of
the oil business including regular dry holes. She accompanied him on
trips to sell southwestern mining land, visited the mining camps, and
played all-night poker with the prospectors.
An outdoor creature, Adah Hadlock was captivated by the deserts
and mountains of the El Paso area. She proved her toughness by
climbing mountains and plodding dry canyon floors in search of gold.
And from her recorded adventures one is treated to precious and
interesting information seldom found elsewhere. These include a de-
scription of the hazards of oil-well completion in the pioneer days of
the petroleum industry in the Southwest, and an automobile trip in
1917 over the desert to California in a "Bull Dog" Stutz. The high-
way, a faint trail with few markers, had no paving except occasional
planks across soft spots and the sand dunes near Yuma.
My Life in the Southwest supplies a window on El Paso at a time
when it was developing from a raw, bloody border town to a small,
modern city and admits the frontier barbarity hangover. El Paso's
human element is presented, too--the high and the low, even indis-
cretions of prominent citizens. And as a final treat, Adah Hadlock
depicts El Paso during the Mexican Revolution, her adventures across
the border, and contacts with Pancho Villa.
My Life in the Southwest is a mixed autobiography-memoir, laced
with intriguing sketches of El Paso and its people. The editor declared
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/. Accessed September 19, 2014.