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The Obituary of

Robert A. Preston,

1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry ("Rough Riders")

Contributed by David Minton

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Below is the obituary for Robert A. Preston, who is buried in the South Park Cemetery, Roswell, NM. He served in Troop G of the "Rough Riders" (1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry). He joined the unit in San Antonio, Texas, on May 24, 1898.

The following is Preston's obituary from the Roswell Daily Record, dated July 3, 1944,

Robert Preston, 65, Dies as Result of Gun-fight Injuries.

Robert Preston, 65 year old Dexter resident who was injured in a gun-fight Saturday afternoon, died at 5:30 this morning at St. Mary's Hospital.

Pending the inquest, which is scheduled for 1:30 Wednesday, no charges have been filed, Sheriff Pat O'Neill said.

Mr Preston came to Roswell about a month ago, and had been making his home with his daughter in Dexter.  Before coming to Roswell, he spent about seven months at Ft. Lyon, Colorado, under medical care.

Mr Preston was a veteran of the Spanish American War. He is survived by three daughters, Mrs Barney McCabe, Elida; Mrs L. White, Dexter; Mrs Alfred Cook, Kingman Arizona and by one son, M/Sgt. L.W. Preston, now with the Army in England.  His sister, Mrs S.A. Monroe of Roswell, also survives him.

Funeral sevices well be held this afternoon at 4 o'clock .  The Rev. Arthur A. DuLaney of the First Baptist Church is in charge of the services.  The First Baptist Church choir will sing.  Interment will be at South Park.  The Talmage Mortuary is in charge.

The following article was taken from the July 2nd, 1944 Roswell Dailey Record and details the incident leading up to the shooting of Mr Preston.

Robert Preston Injured, Probably Fatally, in Fight

Gravely, perhaps critically injured, Robert Preston, 65, may die as the result of injuries sustained in a fight with Ralph Thompson, Pecos river rancher, late yesterday, which was the climax of the older many's brief soiree with guns.  Shot is Mrs Ethel Hancock, Thompson's sister-in-law, who attempted to stop Preston while tying Mrs Thompson's hands with picture wire.  Treated at St. Mary's Hospital for a bullet wound in the shoulder, Mrs Hancock was released.

The affray began earlier in the afternoon when Preston went to the Hancock ranch and asked to borrow a horse and some guns.  His request was granted.  He then rode to the Thompson ranch on the Pecos river where he used abusive and obscene language in the presence of the two women, who rode away with Thompson and left Preston.

Some time later when the Thompsons and Mrs Hancock returned to the ranch house they found that Preston had remained.  Mrs Thompson entered the house and was met by Preston with a gun.  He ordered her to bind her feet and when she obeyed he tore the wire from a picture back and was binding her hands with it when Mrs Hancock came into the room.  She attempted to stop Preston and he fired the 22 bullet lodging in Mrs Hancock's right shoulder.  She was able however, to wrestle the gun from him and cover him until her brother-in-law came in.

He immediately seized Preston and the fight followed.  Preston was brought to St. Mary's Hospital where attending physicians entertain grave doubts of his recovery.  A complete examination could not be made at once however.

Two members of the Hancock family started for Roswell to summon Sheriff Pat O'Neill shortly after Preston left the ranch with the horse and guns.  They had car trouble and were unable to reach Roswell.

Summoned later, Sheriff O'Neill took Thompson into custody.  After making his statement, the rancher was released pending further investigation.

Preston, who had made his home with a daughter in Dexter until a few days ago, had not been released long from a sanitarium in Arizona.  His daughter had taken him to her home to convalesce.


Roswell Daily Record, July 3, 1944.

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