The men who drove cattle from Texas up along the Pecos River during the mid-1860s until the barbed-wire era of the early 1900s were tough, independent and courageous. Those who chose to settle down and ranch in the surrounding plains or rugged Guadalupe and Sacramento Mountains retained that Independent Spirit to a marked degree, which was necessary to face the rugged terrain, harsh climate and lawless conditions of the times.
With the arrival of the railroad in 1894, Artesia became first, a cattle shipping point and economic base for area ranchers, and second, a home for determined farmers irrigating their farms with artesian water. The strong wills of these farmers and ranchers were matched by the risk-taking oil wildcatters who burst onto the scene after oil was discovered in 1924.
Together these rugged and determined individuals set the stage for the development and growth of Artesia. To this day, Artesia is home to a significant number of risk-takers and entrepreneurs, who are not only involved in far-reaching business ventures, but also deeply committed to making Artesia a better place to live. This monument is dedicated to Artesia's can-do attitude and, most of all, its Independent Spirit that has become so well-known throughout New Mexico.
"Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway." - John Wayne