Albuquerque Tribune, Jan 6, 1958
Off the Beaten Path
By Howard Bryan
C.D. (Doc) Favor, Albuquerque's first undertaker, was a man of many sidelines, including gambling and serving as a justice of the peace.
Doc Favor also was quite a story teller, as we shall soon see.
Favor, apparently, came to Albuquerque from the east in the 1870's, before the Santa Fe Railway reached here. He was one of the first businessmen to establish himself in what is now the downtown section after the railroad arrived in 1880.
In the early 1880's, Favor's small undertaking establishment was located in the back rooms of a gambling hall or saloon, according to some reports.
The Strong Brothers, who arrived in Albuquerque in 1881, purchased Favor's undertaking equipment, and the mortuary now known as Strong-Thorne was born.
Judge Favor, as the former undertaker became known after he concentrated more on his justice of the peace duties, visited Chicago in 1890, where he was interviewed by a reporter for the Chicago Tribune.
Favor's interview, in which he recalled an interesting experience he had while serving as a peace justice in Albuquerque, was reprinted without comment in the Albuquerque Daily Citizen on May 8, 1890.
One wonders if the episode Favor told about actually happened, or if he merely was spinning a yarn for the benefit of some young and eager reporter. Anyway, for whatever it is worth, here is Favor's story, in his own words:
"THE WILD and woolly days have passed away, and Albuquerque is quite a modern town. A few years ago the society leaders began to cut the acquaintances of horse thieves, and since then we have got along swimmingly.
"When I first went on the bench down there, we had plenty of law, but no justice. You could buy a jury for $20 and a gallon of whiskey, and it was mighty difficult to convict a bad man.
"I'll never forget the first case I heard. One of the worst Southwestern desperadoes was being tried before me for killing a man. The prisoner had stolen whole herds of horses and murdered more than one man, but the prosecution could not get any evidence.
"It looked one time as if the man would go free, but Providence made other arrangements.
After a four days' hearing, the jury went out and brought in a verdict of not guilty. I learned their decision before it was given to me officially, and I also learned that four of the jurors had been 'fixed.'
"I was about to discharge the jury when we were disturbed by a violent storm. A stroke of lightning knocked the shingles from the court house, and the rain poured into the room.
"I had just said something about justice when the lightning began to fool around. Suddenly a flash came down the chimney, skated up to the accused, left him a corpse, and then went away through a crack in the floor. It must have gone through a crack, for it left no marks on the floor, except the dead man.
"I had been in New Mexico five years, yet that was the first time I had ever seen justice meted out in an Albuquerque court room."
The Daily Citizen, on Feb 28, 1890, revealed some of the interesting history of an old adobe building in Old Town which still stands at 2025 Central NW, just south of the plaza.
This long structure with a portal had been serving as an Old Albuquerque Historical Society musem until it was damaged in a fire last year.
This building, according to the article, housed the most extensive commercial establishment in the Rio Grande Valley before the Civil War. The huge store was operated by the Armijo brothers, Rafael and Manuel.
When the Confederate Army occupied Albuquerque in 1862, the Armijo brothers placed all their supplies at the disposal of the invaders, supplies worth thousands of dollars.
The U.S. government conviscated the property in 1864 on grounds that the Armijo brothers had been "Southern sympathizeres," and the property was sold at public auction. The article said that the U.S. marshall who conducted the sale embezzled the proceeds from the sale and disappeared.
Later, the article continued, Dr. W.T. Strachan operated the structure as a hotel and stagecoach station. The building also was operated as a hotel by Thomas D. Post, John Brophy and a man named Lamb.
The newspaper added that the building was occupied in the 1860's by M.A. (Ash) Upson, pioneer New Mexico newspaperman who edited the Rio Abajo Press in Old Albuquerque. Upson later served as ghost writer for Pat Garret's book "The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid."
Other early occupants of the building, the article continued, included Don Martin Quintana, an early Bernalillo and Sandoval county sheriff, and Nicholas T. Armijo.
In 1890, when the article was published, the building was being used as a school.