Dawson New Mexico Association

528 N. First Street
Raton, NM 87740
E-mail:
Joe Bacca
Bobbie Jo Bacca
John Gabriele
Vivien Pick
John Bizyak
Ed and Betty Zavala

Click here to view a panorama photo of Dawson (circa early 1950's)

Click here to view a drone video of the Dawson Cemetery in 2016

Click here to view a drone video of Dawson, Rail Canyon,
and Capitan Hill in 2016

Click here to listen to a ballad by Rick Landers as a tribute
to the Dawson miners who lost their lives in coal mine
explosions of 1913 and 1923


The 2018 Dawson Reunion was another success this year. There were 441 people who attended the reunion picnic at the original Dawson town site and 133 people who attended the Saturday night reception in Raton, NM. The Raton Museum had 122 visitors who enjoyed seeing the large Dawson collection of photos and archives. There was a special treat this year at the reception with the showing of a new Dawson documentary produced by Emily Fraser. Emily produced a beautiful documentary about the early history of Dawson with interviews of former Dawson residents. Thank you, Emily, for sharing your wonderful work and expertise with our group. A big thanks also goes to Roger Sanchez, Curator for the Raton Museum, who kept it open on both Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately, this year the reunion picnic was cut short a few hours due to rain that afternoon. Everyone still had a wonderful time visiting with old and new friends and sharing Dawson stories. Mark your calendars for the next Dawson Reunion two years from now on Saturday and Sunday, September 5 and 6, 2020. You can click here to see the reunion photos of the Saturday evening reception and the Sunday reunion picnic.

A BIG THANKS goes out to Joe Bacca and his family and friends who just mowed and cleaned the Dawson Cemetery for the Dawson Reunion held on Labor Day weekend, September 1 and 2, 2018. This is a completely volunteer effort on the part of these folks and makes it possible to have the Dawson Reunion every two years. From left to right are Joe Bacca, Adie Bacca and child, Laney Smith, John Smith, Angelo Vialpando, Mike Vialpando, Ray Ann Bacca, and Billie Jo Bacca. Not in the photo are Bobbie Bacca and Hailey Bacca.



DAWSON SOUVENIRS!

Did you like the free Dawson Picnic Handout that you received at the gate this year? Well, since the rain shut down the picnic early, the Dawson Association still has some left and Joe Bacca would like for you to have extras, however, you will need to pay the shipping charge of $3.00 for shipping to you. The Dawson Association also still has Old Dawson Photo CDs left which are $10.00 plus $3.00 for shipping. Folks, you do not want to miss out on the photo CDs there are approximately 200 old Dawson photos on it, The Bacca family worked with Roger Sanchez at the Raton Museum to photograph their old photo collection, you will not find a collection like this again. Remember, the sales proceeds from the CD's go to support both the reunion picnic and the cemetery fund. Joe Bacca's email contact is baccaj2000@msn.com





THE WINNERS OF THE 2018 DAWSON REUNION RAFFLE WERE:

1. Dawson Book: Chris Palomino
2. Wooden Box: Jay Romero
3. Wooden Sign: Linsey
4. Dawson Book: Alex Cruz
5. Placemat Set: Vanjie Martinez
6. Quilt: Agnes Gibson
7. Dawson Quilt: Lorraine Buttram
8. Stamp Picture of Dawson: Pete Scarafiotti
9. Map of Dawson: Sara Vega
10. Book of Dawson: John Antczak
11. Phelp Dodge Hat: John Antczak turned the hat back in
12. Black and red Dawson Wreath: John Antczak
13. Red Quilt: Terry Nighberr
14. Lantern: Kathleen Farley
15. Wooden Plaque: John Antczak
16. Quilt: Sara Vega





Good News! In response to its proposal, the Dawson New Mexico Association received a grant from the Freeport McMoRan Foundation to make much-needed improvements to the Dawson Cemetery. The grant is covering the cost of building a strong, high game fence around the cemetery to keep elk and cattle out of the graveyard. These large animals have been breaking through the old barbed wire fence and roaming through the cemetery for years. This has resulted in serious damage to many of the headstones and other grave markers.

The other immediate need at the cemetery was restoring the drainage system to protect the graveyard from stormwater erosion. During rainstorms in the past, water ran through the graveyard and over the gravesites causing erosion and washing away topsoil around many of the grave markers including the metal crosses that mark many of the Dawson miners' graves. To remedy this erosion problem, the diversion ditches above and around the cemetery have been re-established to divert stormwater around the graveyard. Photos of this construction may be seen by clicking here.

The Dawson New Mexico Association would like to express its gratitude to Freeport-McMoRan, the company that acquired Phelps Dodge, for recognizing the importance of the Dawson Cemetery and acknowledging the rich history and heritage of Northern New Mexico. In particular, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to Harry Milton (Red) Conger, president and chief operating officer of Freeport-McMoRan. Red has a long and deep connection to Dawson from his days as a mining engineer and mine manager for Phelps Dodge.

The Dawson New Mexico Association also extends its gratitude to Pietro Scarafiotti for his original idea and beginning the process to request, and ultimately secure, this grant. Pietro made several presentations to Colfax County and State of New Mexico government officials and the public to make them aware of this valuable historic site and the need for action to prevent further deterioration and complete destruction due to natural and environmental forces. Further thanks to Bruno Ridolfi, who became involved in this effort a few months ago and assisted in preparing the grant proposal and facilitating the funding process with Red Conger, Freeport McMoRan, and The Raton Museum.

Last but certainly not least, many thanks to Joe Bacca, his family, and the Dawson New Mexico Association for directing and coordinating the construction and maintenance work that was needed to save the Dawson Cemetery. Thanks to the grant and the efforts of everyone involved, descendants of the residents, miners, and employees of Dawson, New Mexico will be able to visit their ancestors' gravesites at Dawson Cemetery for many years to come. This grant and the hard and dedicated work that have resulted in these much-needed improvements are a clear demonstration of the respect and admiration we hold in our hearts for those who lived, worked, and gave their lives during the time when Dawson was a booming coal mining community.






The photo below is of a sculpture reproduction of a Native American Indian by Frederick Remington, famous artist of the early American West. This sculpture, purchased by the current owners of the Dawson property, was placed in 2016 on a nearby hill above the area which was the former town of Dawson, NM as a memorial to the original Native American Indians of this area.


A special group photo was taken of all those who attended the 2016 reunion who lived or were born in Dawson, NM. If you took a photo of this group at the reunion which shows everyone, please send a copy to Joe Bacca at baccaj2000@msn.com .





Emery Corley who attended the 2014 Dawson Reunion and was a raffle donor, wrote an article about his experience in the Philmont Staff Association publication, "High Country" (February 2015). Click here to read the article on page 33 of the magazine. Special thanks to the Philmont Staff Association for allowing us to share this article. Emery Corley is an Attorney at Law in St. Louis, MO. Reprinted on the Dawson Association web site with permission of High Country ®, the official magazine of the Philmont Staff Association.

Dawson Remembered in Ceremony at Raton, NM:
In 1913, the mining community of Dawson, New Mexico was rocked to its very foundations by an explosion in the Stag Canon #2 Mine that killed 263 miners. On October 20, 2013, Irene Buongiorno representing Giuseppe Perrone, the Italian Consul General of Los Angeles presented Joe Bacca from the Dawson New Mexico Association with a metal plaque commemorating the 100th anniversary of that deadly event. The plaque will be installed at a ceremony at the Dawson Cemetery during the biannual Dawson reunion picnic held on Labor Day weekend. Click here to see the presentation and photos.

I received an email from Manlio Badiali who lives in Modena, Italy. He asked that I share the names of 15 Dawson miners from his village of Modena who lost their lives in the 1913 Dawson mine explosion. This loss of life was a terrible tragedy for the families and loved ones of these miners who left their homes to work in the Dawson mines. Click here to see the names and ages of those brave men.

Also click here to see coverage by KRQE Albuqureque, NM television coverage of the event.




KRTN Radio of Raton, NM has posted a very interesting interview of Emagene Saracino and her memories of living in Dawson, NM. You can read the interview by clicking here for their KRTN Radio web site.


New Documentaries about Dawson

An experienced documentary film director and producer are in the process of creating a public documentary of Dawson, New Mexico titled, "Canaries in a Coal Mine". The documentary will be directed by Fulvio Ottaviano and produced by Claudio Ruben. The story will be told through the point of view of its immigrant communities. Please visit their web site here and learn more about this amazing documentary by viewing a brief preview.


Emily Fraser, an alumni of the Stanford Documentary Film MFA program, has produced a documentary film about Dawson's closing in 1950 and the remarkable way Dawsonites from around the country have kept its spirit alive in the 65 years since. If you'd like to share your stories about Dawson, please contact Emily at 703.220.4971 or emilyefraser@gmail.com. More information about Emily and her work is available at https://www.pineconepictures.com/.


Joe Bacca and his daughter have scanned over 800 old Dawson photographs taken over the years and place them on a CD. The photo CD is available for a $10 purchase by contacting Joe at his e-mail which is baccaj2000@msn.com . The proceeds from the sales of the CD will be used to offset expenses incurred in sponsoring the Dawson Reunion every two years. We were also pleased to hear that over 200 folks visted the Raton Museum and toured the Dawson exhibits.




We received an e-mail from Marty Tschetter from Greenville, NC stating that he recently came across an old 1924 Dawson, NM photograph at the Raton Museum. What makes this photograph so interesting is that it shows a Dawson coal miner writing the final score of the 1924 Baseball World Series on the side of a coal car that is going to be sent down into the Dawson coal mines to let the workers know the final score. You can see these two photos by clicking here. Marty has also sent copies of these photographs to the National Baseball Museum in Cooperstown, NY on behalf of the Raton Museum. A special thanks to Marty and to Roger Sanchez, Curator of the Raton Museum, for allowing Marty to scan these old photos and sending them to the National Baseball Museum.


There has been a special request made by Brian Beker, a documentary film producer, for anyone who might have information on early 1920 Dawson resident and aviation pioneer by the name of Jules "J. J." VanDersarl. The Raton Range newspaper published a short article on Mr. Beker's request on October 4, 2010. You can read this article by clicking here.

If you have any questions about future Dawson reunions, you may contact any member of the Dawson Reunion committee who is listed below:

Joe & Sue Bacca, e-mail: baccaj2000@msn.com or tele: (575) 707-0703
Bobbie Jo Bacca, e-mail: bobbiejobacca@yahoo.com or tele: (575) 707-2624
John Gabriele, e-mail: kmckelvie233@gmail.com or tele: (575) 477-0778
John Bizyak, e-mail: bizyak@msn.com, tele: (928) 757-9333
Vivien Andrews, e-mail: viv2quilt@gmail.com or tele: (575) 707-3839
Edward & Betty Zavala, e-mail: speedyzavala@yahoo.com or tele: (575) 445-8544
Emagene Saracino tele: (575) 445-8049
Mrs. Charles G. Buttram (Lorraine), tele: (575) 445-8709
Chris Palomino, tele: (702) 575-0056
Chuck Speed, e-mail: speedo@chuckspeed.com or tele: (806) 359-9177
Ludi Pacheco, Tele: (575) 770-9061
Park Clark, Tele: email: park56@msn.com tele: (575) 445-3168
Michael & Marty & Siobhan (Daughter) Sweeney, tele: (505) 454-1765 or (505) 454-9096