The Notorious Fountain Murders

It Is Blood

Mary Armstrong

The disappearance and widely suspected murders of Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain and his eight-year-old son Henry on February 1, 1896, left people in the Mesilla and Tularosa Valleys aghast and searching for answers.

The Colonel’s hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico was especially distraught and quick to accuse those that were his sworn enemies. Meanwhile, his enemies conjured all sorts of false reasons for his disappearance, including that he ran away with his house girl. They reported sightings of the Colonel from Mexico to Cuba.

Everyone wanted answers, but there were none … or was there?

Book Excerpt

GEORGE SAMUEL BRANIGAN
(As though his father told him to say this)
Would you like a newspaper, Mr. Smith? It came out this mornin’. The headline reads “It is Blood”, but my Daddy says that ain’t no surprise to him, ‘cause he saw it when he was leadin’ that posse.

BUCK
Oh, hi there sonny, Yes, I do want it, I left the penny on the counter there for you.
(Emilia enters as George picks up his coin and exits stage right)

EMILIA ASCARATE
Buenos dias, Mr. Smith.
(She glances at the newspaper on the counter)

BUCK
Mornin’ Mrs. Ascarate. How is the sheriff’s wife today? It’s a fine morning what can I get you?
(Buck drops what he is doing and goes behind the counter as he speaks to her)

EMILIA ASCARATE
(She reads the paper on the counter as Buck works his way there. As he arrives she looks up to him)
I have a list of items that I’ll need later today.
(She hands him the list)
I wish these accusations against Oliver Lee and Albert Fall would cease. There is no proof! If the Colonel would just have accepted that cattle left to roam free are fair game then this would never have happened!
(She glances once again at the newspaper on the counter)
You realize that this is all a direct result of that Fountain man shooting at Fall and his brother-in-law a while back?

BUCK
I honestly don’t know ma’am. I’m just a storekeeper, I don’t know about those things. But, well, I do hear that Lee’s men have been selling beef without their brand to a butcher shop over in Tularosa. But, ma’am I’m just a storekeeper, I’m sure you know about these things more than me.

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Mary lives in the heart of one of the ‘Two Valleys’ in Las Cruces New Mexico, with her husband Norman ‘Skip’ Bailey, Jr. and their Cavachon child-dog, Java. In 2017 she wrote the one-act play, “It is Blood,” which was selected for a performance by the Las Cruces Community Theatre. Whereas the Two Valleys series is a prequel to the notorious and unsolved murders of Albert J. Fountain and his eight-year-old son, her play, “It is Blood,” is a sequel to those events.
Mary has diverse interests but has focused on historical fiction over the last ten years. Her writing is fast-moving, thought-provoking and with just enough wordsmithing to satisfy your artistic hankerings. Since retiring from a diverse career in various planning and design fields, she has devoted herself to writing, being a good spouse, serving her dog Java, and slipping away to the golf course when unchained to the desk.
Her life motto, “I haven’t done it all and I may have done too much, but damn the torpedoes and full spee

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