Forty years at El Paso, 1858-1898; recollections of war, politics, adventure, events, narratives, sketches, etc., by W. W. Mills. Page: 77 of 163
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CHANGE OF CUSTOMS DISTRICT-SAMUEL J.
My last military service was as quartermaster and
commissary at District headquarters at Santa Fe, in
1862. In the summer of that year, General Canby
granted me a leave of absence for sixty days, and I visited
\Vashington City and received from President Lincoln
my commission as collector of customs along with
his personal thanks and good wishes.
The collection district of Paso del Norte then comprised
only the Territories of New Mexico and Arizona,
the collector's office being at Las Cruces, N. M. El
Paso county belonged to the Galveston District, with a
deputy at El Paso-A. B. O'Bannon, a Confederate.
But Congress, at my suggestion, passed an act, approved
March 3, 1863, attaching El Paso county to that district,
"Provided that the collector should reside at El
Paso." Thus, by my efforts, El Paso became the permanent
residence of collectors of customs, and as a result,
later on, obtained its fine Government building! Col.
Samuel J. Jones was then collector of customs at Las
Cruces. This Jones was prominent and in some respects
a remarkable character. He was the notorious "Sheriff
Jones" during the border troubles in Kansas in 1856,
when the attempt was made to make Kansas a slave
State, and was then called a "border ruffian." Jones
was a man of education, of fine personal appearance, and
with a reputation for courage which had never been
questioned. It fell to my lot to be the first to call him
down, and I did it successfully and still have the hostile
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Mills, William W. Forty years at El Paso, 1858-1898; recollections of war, politics, adventure, events, narratives, sketches, etc., by W. W. Mills., book, 1901; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6112/m1/77/?q=Forty%20Years%20at%20El%20Paso,%201858-1898:%20Recollections%20of%20War,%20Politics: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .