moon family

The Moon Family: Pioneers of Socorro

The Moon family was a prominent farming family in Socorro. William Blanchard Moon Sr. and another lower valley pioneer named Moritz Lowenstein jointly bought 100 acres in Socorro but divided their interest in 1900. When the family came to Socorro in 1906, the area had been abandoned for many years and they did not have neighbors for miles. The Moon Family were also some of the earliest cotton farmers and developed the first water integrated ranch in the valley on Socorro Road.

Before Mr. Moon arrived in Socorro he had a career working on the railroads, starting in Chicago at age 17. At the time the ranch was being built he worked for Texas and Pacific Railway. Because of his work, he could not attend to the ranch often, so it was his wife who oversaw the construction of the ranch, including their 11-room adobe house. Mrs. Moon also oversaw cotton farming, cattle operations, and took care of their chickens and peacocks until her death in 1926. Before her death, she was looking forward to her husband’s retirement so they could spend more time together, but she died before that happened.

Mrs. Moon was an influential woman in Socorro politics. She served on the Socorro School Board and was one of the first elected Socorro trustees along with John O’Shea and Silverio Escontrias. She was on the board when Silverio Escontrias Pre-K was built on Buford. Her name was on a plaque that was put on the school building when it was completed to honor them. She was also active in Democratic Party politics and the Catholic church.

Mr. Moon died in 1932 in California while visiting his daughter, Georgia Merkel. The Moon Ranch was sold in 1946 by two of the Moon children, Louisa and Willam Moon Jr., to W.W. Threadgill for $25,000. Nevertheless, the Moons kept a portion of the ranch, 45 acres.

In 1964, one of their daughters, Leone Drugan, sold some of that land to the Socorro School district, which built the high school on it. Miss Drugan taught at the old Socorro grade school in 1917 in a building on Socorro and Buford Road. She married George Drugan, a farmer, who also served as chair of the Socorro Common School Board of Trustees from 1949-1961. Her son John was elected to the board in 1970; John Drugan Elementary in far East El Paso was named in his honor. She died in 1996 in El Paso.

Louisa Moon and another one of their daughters, Margarite Moon Murray, were also some of the pioneer teachers at Socorro. Margurite taught in El Paso schools and Louisa taught at Ysleta. In 1918, Margurite was the first woman elected to the El Paso County Democratic Party Executive Committee from Socorro. Another one of the Moon girls, Nell, went on to became a Catholic nun. several of the Moon’s boys went into the farming and railroad industry.

The Moon family is remembered and honored by the people of Socorro. Moon Street and the Moon Bridge in Socorro are named in their honor. When Moon City, a small community in Socorro was developed it was named after the family as well.

Joseph Longo
El Paso Historical Society Volunteer

Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society has been a driving force in the historic scene of El Paso. EPCHS strives to foster research into the history of the El Paso area; acquire and make available to the public historic materials; publish and encourage historical writing pertaining to the area; and to develop public consciousness of our rich heritage.