Herbert M. Mundy biography

HERBERT M. MUNDY, a well-known stock man and the owner of Mundy Heights, a suburb of El Paso, was born in Allegheny county, New York, his parents being Samuel and Azubah (Smith) Mundy. The family comes from English origin and the founders of the family in America settled in Newark, New Jersey, several generations ago. There the grandfather of our subject was born, reared and married and with his wife and children he went as a pioneer to western New York, settling among the hills of Allegheny county when the work of improvement and progress had been scarcely begun there. He turned his attention to farming and also followed lumbering. For many years representatives of the name were connected with pioneer life in one section of the country or another and when Herbert M. Mundy was only seventeen years of age, true to the instincts of his ancestors, he started out to explore the west. He first went to northern Illinois, where he worked on a farm for six months and afterward in western Illinois and eastern Missouri. For about a year he helped to build up colonies of Illinois and Ohio people for a settlement in western Missouri. Having a natural predilection for mechanical pursuits he had in the meantime mastered the builder’s and carpenter’s trade which he also followed. In 1869 he located near the present site of Independence, the county seat of Montgomery county, Kansas. His father and others of the family had joined him by that time and they hauled their household effects from Pleasant Hill, Missouri, by ox teams. Montgomery county was not then the rich county that it is today, for all was new and wild and Mr. Mundy’s family raised the first crop of wheat there, hauling seed wheat with oxen from Fort Scott. That country at that time was in part Osage Indian country and it was Mr. Mundy’s pioneering that proved the initial step in the diminishing of their reservations.

Mr. Mundy remained a resident of Montgomery county until 1873, when he made another pioneer trip through Colorado, on through New Mexico and down toward the Rio Grande. He was among the first to see the possibilities of and to engage in the sheep business, which subsequently grew into such a great industry in New Mexico and southern Colorado. He arrived in El Paso in 1877, thus becoming a pioneer citizen here. In the same year he began the business of exporting through El Paso fine sheep to the republic of Mexico and was the pioneer in this industry, which within a few years he had developed to such an extent that he was officially recognized by the Mexican government as an expert in that business and regarded somewhat in the line of a benefactor for introducing fine breeds of sheep and other stock into that country and thereby materially promoting the prosperity of the stock raising class.

About 1878 Mr. Mundy brought his wife and two little children to El Paso, making the trip overland through southern Colorado and New Mexico. This was a very dangerous time for travel, for the Indians were on the warpath, but the journey was at length accomplished in safety and Mr. Mundy established his home here and has since lived in El Paso. His father and the family afterward came to El Paso, where the former died in October, 1899. His widow is still living at the old family home in this city.

For many years Mr. Mundy was busily engaged in the exportation of fine cattle, horses and sheep, which were sent to Mexico. He shipped about 90 per cent of the sheep that went from the United States to Mexico. His business took him on extensive travels covering several years. This made him very familiar with the republic and brought him into intimate relations of friendship and business with President Diaz and other officials high in authority in Mexico, from whom he received and retained many valuable and interesting souvenirs and documents, letters, etc. He has a thorough knowledge of the Spanish language and he is recognized by President Diaz as an authority on cattle and was invited by him to preside over the live stock department of the national exposition held in the city of Mexico. His relations with that government enabled him to obtain valuable concessions in land, and Mr. Mundy, with his brother and other associates, have among other properties in Mexico a great tract of eight hundred thousand acres lying in the states of Sonora and Chihuahua one hundred and fifty miles south of El Paso. Mr. Mundy has also been enabled to successfully carry out other important projects for American investors in Mexico, having access to the higher councils there such as few other Americans possess.

Within the past year or two Mr. Mundy has devoted most of his time to the development of Mundy Heights and vicinity in the western and northwestern portion of El Paso. This section of the city through the immense development now being done by Mr. Mundy will without exaggeration become one of the most beautiful residence sections of the United States. In the beginning the natural resources from a scenic standpoint are superb and inspiring. Mr. Mundy began his labors in this section of the city when it was in a very raw state, there being not a dollar’s worth of improvement upon it. He carefully looked the ground over, studied out a plan for beautifying and improving it, obtained the assistance of the best engineers and then began work with the large force of men. Up to this time he has spent many thousands of dollars in grading streets, putting in cement curbing and sidewalk, building massive stone walls and coping and several elegant and substantial brick and stone residences with all modern improvements. One street in particular, West Upson avenue, has been treated by the landscape gardener and the street builder with a most beautiful and unique effect. There is in addition to the wide lawns and cement sidewalks in front of the houses a very wide street divided into three driveways and two parkways set out with handsome pepper and other trees indigenous to this locality. There are also pretty flowers and shrubs and in fact every effort has been made to develop this into one of the most attractive and beautiful residence districts of the city. Included in Mundy Heights addition is Grand View Park, a most charming spot with rustic garden, electric fountain and other equipments of this character, which Mr. Mundy improved at a cost of twenty thousand dollars and then presented to the city without charge of any kind. The ladies of the Civic Improvement League have taken the responsibility of caring for the flowers and shrubbery in this park and it is a most attractive spot.

Mundy Heights is the greatest scheme of public improvements ever undertaken in El Paso and many elegant and costly homes will be built there by a wealthy class, for there are restrictions as to building. When the project is more fully completed it will be the means of making El Paso one of the most beautiful residence cities in the country. Mr. Mundy has, in Westlake Park adjoining Mundy Heights on the northwest, a scheme for beautifying and improving that great park and pleasure ground that will be even greater than the first mentioned. At the present writing, however, this is awaiting co-operation on the part of the city government which will probably be obtained.

Mr. Mundy was married to Miss Elizabeth C. Smith, of Ohio, and they have six children: Richard Stephen, Charles Edward, Nellie Diana, Clara, Laura Elizabeth and William Harvey, to all of whom he has given university educations and the prominence of the family is noted by the cordial reception which the members of the household receive in various homes here.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 613-614.