Arch, Rogers, Causey and Lingo — usually named for people

The area around Arch, New Mexico. Photo by Phyllis Eileen Banks.
The area around Arch, New Mexico

When everyone in a community doesn’t agree as to the origin of its name, it makes for interesting information. Arch, New Mexico, on NM 88, 16 miles southeast of Portales, is one of those places. Some think it was named for President Theodore Roosevelt’s son, Archibald.

After all, the county was named for this president in 1903. Others say it was named for Arch Gregg, an early County sheriff. Some say it was named for Arch Williams, an early settler. The post office existed from 1903 to 1967, but now mail goes to Portales. Arch is yet another farming community on the plains of eastern New Mexico you can pass through without knowing it is there.

Rogers is more certain of the origin of its name. Located on NM 235, 20 miles southeast of Portales, it was settled by one of the homesteaders who often came to New Mexico for reasons of health. The Rev. Andrew J. Maxwell from Rogers, Arkansas, laid out a townsite in 1908, and named it for his hometown. He also established the post office, and it is still in existence. One source says he sold his ranch to someone named Pitts in 1909. However, he lived in Rogers until his death in 1929. Potatoes were produced, as well as other agricultural crops. Roads were unpaved at that time, and the rains often made them impassable. However, in the early days of the automobile, people made the 20-mile trip from Portales in less than an hour, as reported by the Portales paper.

Causey, at the junction of NM 114 and 321, near the Texas border, was actually founded by Ezra Ball after World War I, and was located three miles south of the first settlement. The post office was established in 1907 and continues. The Causey Brothers, George and John, although not located in Roosevelt County, but rather south in Lea County, are credited with opening this part of New Mexico to settlement. They originally came to the state to hunt buffalo. However, when the buffalo became scarce they became ranchers. It is reported that George built the first permanent house in Lea County, "planted the first trees, imported the first windmill, opened the first general store, established the first ranch and opened the first post office." He dug the first well and tapped the underground water supply that was vital to the area’s development. Even though he had contributed so much to the growth of this part of eastern New Mexico, his health was impaired and he took his own life when he was 54. The Lea County trading point of Causey has vanished and the Causey in Roosevelt County has usurped its place.

Lingo, originally named Need, is on NM 114 seven miles south of Causey, just 5 miles from the Texas border. The name of Need only lasted from 1916 to 1918, because the postal authorities thought it might be confused with Weed in Otero County. Again the origin of the name Lingo is one of speculation. Some say it was named for a person, but others think it refers to the speech pattern of the area - or lingo. The post office has existed since 1918 as Lingo. It is an agricultural community, as is most of this area.

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