Fountain’s home from 1873 until his death, Mesilla still retains much of the charm that it had in the 1890s. Be sure to walk the plaza while there. The house Albert Fountain owned when he disappeared is located south of the plaza.
While in Mesilla, no journey into the past would be complete without a stop at the Gadsden Museum. Run by direct descendants of Colonel Fountain, the museum is dedicated to local history and the Fountain’s history. The museum is located on the corner of Barker Road and Highway 28.
Many members of the Fountain family are in this little cemetery south of Mesilla, including the Colonel’s wife, Mariana, and their son Albert (who was involved in the initial search party.)
The Fountain story ended in the small mining town of Hillsboro in 1899. The trial of suspects Oliver Lee and James Gililland took place there thanks to a change of venue. The courthouse has been partially knocked down, but remains of the brick walls still stand. One can still get a sense of the courthouse that once stood here. The fallen bricks and the dirt and weeds inside only add character to this relic of the past. The jail behind the courthouse is much more intact.
It’s been over a hundred years since Albert and Henry disappeared and the trial and acquittal of their accused killers took place. The trial coincided with the end of a century and a way of life. The lawlessness that defined territorial New Mexico soon ended and the territory became a state.
Since then, the automobile has replaced the horse. Cities have been built up and pavement put down. The old west may be gone, but the stories from the past are still visible: you just have to know where to look.
© Corey Recko, 2007, updated July, 2017.
About the Author: Corey Recko is author of Murder on the White Sands: The Disappearance of Albert and Henry Fountain (University of North Texas Press, 2007). He is an avid reader of history with an extensive knowledge of late nineteenth-century New Mexico. His interest in the Fountain case led to six years of research and writing. He is a member of several historical societies. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Recko now makes his home in Los Angeles, California. For more information go to www.coreyrecko.com.