CSWR Digitized Books


Neal W. Ackerly

Document Type




Download Full Text (8.2 MB)

Publication Date



This volume contains transcripts of interviews with various residents collected during the 1993 field phase of the survey of acequia systems in the Mimbres Valley. As noted in Volume 1, additional interviews were conducted with other residents, but were not recorded. Accordingly, no transcript of these interview sessions cannot be included here.

The individuals interviewed, as well as the abbreviated names appearing in these transcripts, included John VonTress (JVT, age 57), Regis McSherry (RM, age 67), Sam Grijalva (age 73), Charles Disert (age 84), and Horace Bounds (HB, age 90). Vesta McSherry, appearing as VM in transcripts, provided additional information in the Regis McSherry interview. The narrative that results from compiling these quotations provides information about acequia systems extending back in time to approximately 1925.

The actual transcripts are prefaced with excerpts from conversations with different individuals. These excerpts are organized according to specific topics pertaining to the construction, operation, and maintenance of floodwater irrigation systems in the Mimbres Valley. Topics include (1) water duty, (2) irrigation methods, (3) changes in crop production strategies, (4) the role of fatiga, ditch maintenance and the office of mayordomos, (5) derechos and rotation cycles, (6) characteristics and problems with ditches, and (7) sharecropping. Out of these quotations emerges a clearer picture of the problems associated with floodwater irrigation systems, as well as a detailed indication of the variety of solutions developed by local irrigators.

The transcripts themselves deserve one further comment. Portions of the interview with Horace Bounds were adversely affected by what might be termed a major malfunction in the recording equipment. Words and phrases appearing in brackets are my reconstruction of the gist of the conversation and should not be considered direct quotations. Similar brackets appear in other interviews where I have inserted words or phrases to clarify what was being discussed.

Language (ISO)


Rio Mimbres Acequia Systems:  An Oral History