It isn’t easy to believe that a pioneer of Las Cruces who once held several political positions, including sheriff of Doña Ana County and first mayor of Las Cruces, could be so elusive to the local history books. Very little is written about Martin Lohman and even less so about wife Aminda.
Martin Lohman was born October 29, 1854, in St. Louis, Missouri; his parents, John F. and Elizabeth Lohman immigrated to the United States in 1830 from Germany. The Lohmans were well off and sent Martin to private school and the Jones Commercial College. His instruction plan included the following courses: the Art of Double Entry Bookkeeping, Commercial Law, Commercial Calculations, and Penmanship. Lohman attended school at St. Louis University, where he acquired more bookkeeping and business skills. It is not clear why he left Missouri for Las Cruces, NM, at only 22 years old. He may have had contacts with German-Jewish merchants who held a robust trade with Missouri, Santa Fe, and Mexico. The popular southwest mercantile trade was getting so little attention in Missouri yet showing a vibrant economy in the southwest.
Lohman quickly becomes employed by the wholesale merchant H. Lesinsky & Co. Henry Lesinsky owned several companies in partnerships with others. One such collaboration was with Benjamin E. Davies, who ran the Fort Selden store that served the soldiers and settlers of Leasburg, NM. Later Lesinsky partnered with Colonel Joseph F. Bennett. He engaged in mining and merchandising at La Mesilla and became owner and manager of the overland mail and express line, running from Santa Fe to Silver City, El Paso, Tucson, and other points in Arizona. The Silver City store, Bennett Brothers and Company, was the most prominent mercantile in Silver City. It was an intelligent move for Lesinsky to hire Lohman, a capable and educated clerk for his store, freeing up his time to pursue other business interests. Martin Lohman became friends with another clerk, Numa Reymond, and in 1882 they bought out Lesinsky and became partners. Numa was married to Katie (Crecilius) Reymond, who was and still is well known for her many charitable and social activities in early Las Cruces. Katie was from a well-to-do St. Louis family and may have known the Lohman family previously.
Martin and his brother, Oscar, who soon joined him in the mercantile business, became the most eligible bachelors in town. Both were too busy pursuing business to be distracted for too long. In letters exchanged in May 1882 between Corie Bowman and her fiancé Dr. William Lyon, they discuss a change in the relationship between Martin Lohman and Ida Jones. “Mr. Martin being too wrapped up in business,” states Corie. Ida Jones was the outspoken postmaster as well as a friend to Corie. She was so verbally straightforward she repeated a prediction her mother made that Corie, or her brother Ernest would die on a horse someday. Sadly, Corie’s brother did die young, but not from falling off a horse as predicted. Ida’s directness may not have impressed William; he responded in his letter to Corie that “Martin deserved a better prize.” Not surprising that Martin would turn his attention to the gracious and quiet daughter of Jacob Schaublin, Aminda. It is perhaps because of this grace and quiet that Martin and Aminda vanished. A bit of background first.
Jacob Schaublin owned and operated the first modern flour mill in Las Cruces, which used a French gristmill stone considered the best in the world. It was made with 20 individual pieces and held together with plaster of paris and a steel band. His increasing business saw the rise of wheat grown in the Mesilla Valley as farmers realized a profit could be made at the nearby mill. Jacob and his wife were known for their kindness and generosity. So generous was Jacob Schaublin that the New Mexico State University (NMSU) campus reportedly exists because of his generous donation of over 118 acres of land. The land known as Jacob Schaublin Ranch grew pears, apples, cherries, cabbages, and onions. His vineyard produced over 300 gallons of grapes on average. Jacob and Bertha Schaublin were well respected and admired for their kindness. Early newspaper articles consistently mention honest and generosity to describe them. They had two daughters, Aminda and Emilie, and two sons, Jacob Jr., and Henry. Later they adopted the infant son of Emilie, when she died giving birth one year after her marriage to Cabell Elias Conway of Silver City.
The Schaublins were involved in many social and political activities. Jacob was a Mason and involved in county politics, serving as a collector for a few terms. It stands to reason that he would be one of the leaders and contributors to the Las Cruces School Association, along with his fellow Mason, Martin Lohman. Fundraising was necessary. Two significant fundraising events took place in 1882, one in the summer and one in December. At both events, Aminda Schaublin assisted in booths. Martin Lohman was in attendance; these events may have been their first encounters. Subsequent social events in the newspaper mention the names of Aminda and Martin in attendance, although not explicitly mentioning them as a couple. In August 1883, a wedding announcement appeared in the Rio Grande Republican. The following month they were married in a ceremony at the “Schaublin mansion.” Aminda was 20 years old, and Martin was 29. During the ceremony, Martin spoke in a clear voice. Aminda is described as a beautiful brunette, on the threshold of womanhood with graceful manners and talents, as she pledges to Martin in an almost inaudible and bashful affirmative. After their grand wedding in September 1883, the couple enjoyed an extended honeymoon trip to St Louis, New York, and Boston. A slight delay in their journey was noted because of a train “smashup”.
The success of Martin Lohman continues, and in 1887, he buys out his friend and partner Numa Reymond. Reportedly the Martin Lohman firm was the best known of Doña Ana, Otero, Sierra, Luna, and Grant counties. He was among the wealthiest, successful, and reliable business proprietors in the southwest.
During their marriage, Martin was a member of the Freemasons Aztec Lodge, Superintendent of Public Schools, Chairman of the Doña Ana County Territorial board, and other appointed and elected positions. Their social status ensured a full calendar. Aminda and Martin are reported as guests at church socials, balls, and other events until about 1891. Aminda Lohman disappears from the social scene in 1891 when she gives birth to her son Herbert. Although no direct information is found, something is definitely wrong. Many civic and social events take place, including Martin becoming Sherriff from 1892-1895. Aminda’s name is not reported as a guest among the activities of Katie Reymond the Van Pattens, Bowmans, Cassads, Freudenthals, Branigans, and McFies. In May 1898, after Aminda moves with Herbert to California, Martin announces that he will turn his businesses over to sound businessmen to relieve him of some pressure.
In 1907 Martin was elected mayor of Las Cruces, Aminda according to a news article and confirmed by census report, was living as a border in East Orange, New Jersey, where her son attended school. The owner of the home was a widow named Ann Carson. She has a 30 -year-old niece, Mary, who becomes a lifelong companion to Aminda and Herbert. In the 1900 census, Herbert is labeled as “Imbecile,” who neither reads, writes nor, speaks English. After six years of being away from Las Cruces with few visits, Aminda returned home in 1910 with Herbert, and Mary as her assistant.
In 1911, reports of Martin being unwell surface. In May, he is confined to his bed for several days. In September Lohman is “spotted out and about town.” That same month Aminda is recovering from “a very serious surgery” at Hotel Dieu in El Paso. By October 10, Martin is “so feeble” that he can barely open the Republican Convention and leaves early due to his illness. He is only 57 years old and desperate for a cure for himself and Aminda. Martin must have read or heard about the healing water of Mineral Wells, Texas. He takes Aminda and her companion Mary Carson to Mineral Wells. As word spread about the water, the railroad made Mineral Wells a regular stop. Bathing houses, sanitariums, and hotels flourished. The Hexagon House hotel was a favorite among the elite and is most likely where the Lohmans would have stayed as it had electricity and convenient access to a bathhouse.
On November 3, 1911, Martin died while seeking treatment in Mineral Springs. Aminda and Mary returned to Las Cruces with his body. Martin was mourned by many as he was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His record on Findagrave.com site does not mention Aminda or his son Herbert as family members. There is no record for Herbert or Aminda on the site.
Having been away from Martin for several years, Aminda was not up to the task of handling his business affairs. Her name appears on many legal notices as executor of Martin’s estate. Two years after Martin’s death, Aminda is in a legal battle against the estate of Oscar Lohman, Martin’s brother, who died a few short months before Martin owing him $12,000. This act probably did not endear her to the surviving members of the Lohman clan. What was she to do? She was a widow with a sick son in California in need of treatment.
Herbert Lohman dies in February 1915 of “heart failure due to his continued illness.”
Details are sketchy on what becomes of Aminda Lohman after her only child dies. In 1922, she has the body of Martin Lohman disinterred from the Masonic Cemetery. She buried his remains next to Herbert in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale California, now a landmark and final resting place of many famed celebrities. Aminda lived to be 71 years old; on January 22, 1935, she died of a cerebral hemorrhage in her Las Cruces home. One clear thing is that her companion Mary Carson Rice stayed a friend to the end. The death certificate shows her signature as the informant.
Funeral arrangements were made by Mary Carson Rice with the Nelson Funeral Home. The funeral home was the same building that was once the beautiful home to Martin and Aminda Lohman. Aminda’s body was sent to California. She lies in rest with Martin and Herbert Lohman. They leave no direct descendants to carry on their name or their story.