Viles Foundation, Inc.

A 501(c)3 Non Profit Scholarship Foundation founded in 1959

Matie R. Viles

  Matie Viles
Viles Foundation News

New and Renewal applicants: The deadline for applications for the 2024-2025 school year is April 1, 2024. Applications must be postmarked by that date. ~Board of Directors

The Board of Directors has announced that 45 scholarships were awarded in May, 2023. These scholarships totaled $95,600.00.
~Viles Foundation, Inc.

New Mexico Highlands University selected Matie Viles and Ken and Sue Crimmins to co-name the new Student Residence hall on their campus. It is known as the "Matie Viles and Ken and Sue Crimmin Student Residence Hall". ~Viles Foundation, Inc.


Matie Viles at 12 years old.
Matie R. Viles

Emiteria “Matie” Martinez Robinson Viles was born on March 3, 1888, in Los Golondrinas, New Mexico, a small village near Sapello. She was the only child of Maria Manuela Manzanares and Jose Ignacio Martinez. It is not known how or when Matie’s parents died, however she was raised by her grandparents who were sheep ranchers near Los Golondrinas.

Sadly, both grandparents also died, leaving Matie to live with aunts and uncles who could not afford to care for her. About 1896, Matie was adopted by the Elizabeth and Isaiah Robinson family.

The Robinson Family, Elizabeth and Isaiah were from Iowa. Like many people, they came to New Mexico for their health. They had a ranch in the Cebolla Canyon, southwest of Mora. Elizabeth was in poor health and the family needed household help. As was the custom of the day, Matie, at age 8, was adopted to care for Elizabeth. Matie was taught to make soap from lye, do the washing over an open fire in a large tub, make candles, clean and cook. She was given some education by the oldest Robinson son, Elmer.

George A. “Skipper” Viles

On October 1, 1908, Matie married a young man whose family lived on a nearby ranch. George, who later became known as “Skipper”, grew up in the Cowles area, across the mountain from Cebolla. Hunters and fishermen hired him as a guide because he knew the area so well. In 1911, Skipper and Matie moved to Cowles where they were hired to manage a popular dude and cattle ranch, Mountain View Ranch.

   Skipper and Matie at Mountain View Ranch
Mountain View Ranch
Mountain View Ranch

Domestic skills taught to Matie by the Robinson family served her well. Wealthy families from the east spent their summers in the cool New Mexico mountains. Skipper, like Matie, had very little education, but he listened to his guests talk about the stock market and investments. He began to invest profits from his cattle into the stock market and did very well. Skipper and Matie bought the ranch in 1930. By the 1940’s, because of World War II, guests were no longer spending their summer vacations at dude ranches. In 1945, Skipper sold the ranch.

Skipper and Matie did not have any children. When Skipper died in 1950, Matie was not aware that her husband had made money in the stock market. She thought she did not have money to buy a dress for his funeral or to live on for the rest of her life.

Viles Foundation, Inc.

W. Morris Shillinglaw, Jr., a Las Vegas attorney who Skipper had hired, realized that Matie did not understand her financial position. He began working with her to determine what she would like to do with her money. Matie enjoyed helping her neighbors and friends in Pecos by providing pencils and supplies for needy school children.

The idea to help young girls who were orphaned evolved. Matie knew the value of education and problems of being orphaned. She felt that she would like to help others have opportunities that she did not have. In 1959, the first scholarships with her goals in mind were awarded in Matie’s name.

The above has been excerpted from Mountain View Ranch: 1915-1945, a historical biography about George and Matie Viles by Merideth A. Hmura.


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