Brief County Histories
Bernalillo County was established 8 January 1852. It was one of the seven Partidos,
established during Mexican rule. It may have been named for the Gonzales-Bernal
family that lived in the area before 1692. The county seat is Albuquerque. Bernalillo
County has a high volume of commerce, farming, business, and real estate sales.
Albuquerque has been thriving since 1706 and is the center of activity for fairs
Catron County was created 25 February 1921. It was named for New Mexico's first
United States Senator, and famous Santa Fe attorney Thomas B. Catron. It is the
largest county in New Mexico, but is sparsely populated. It has great hunting areas
for sportsmen and tourism is an important commercial activity. It has productive
ranch land and borders several national forests. The county seat is Reserve.
Chaves County was created 25 February 1889. It was named for Colonel Jose Francisco
Chaves, a military leader in New Mexico during the Civil War and later in Navajo
campaigns. The county seat is Roswell, home of NM Military Institute.Chaves County
is rich in fresh water, oil, farming, commerce, clean air, and tourism. After growing
up in this area, it is easy to image flying saucers after seeing hundreds of shooting
stars in the clear night sky.
Cibola County is our neighbor to the north. It was created 19 June 1981. It is the
last county to form in New Mexico. It was named after the Seven Cities of Cibola.
Grants is the county seat. Cibola County is rich in mining , including uranium.
Tourism, milling, camping and outdoor sports are major assets. Beautiful Wide-open
spaces are abundant in Cibola County. Please send us any cemetery or genealogical
data regarding either county.
Colfax County was created 25 January 1869. The county seat is Raton. Colfax was
the name of Vice-president of the USA, Schuyler Colfax, in 1869. Ranching, farming,
mining, and tourism are the mainstay of Colfax County.
Curry County was created 25 February 1909. It was formerly part of Roosevelt and
Quay Counties. It is a smaller county and prospered due to early railroad
building. Farming , ranching, and military bases have given it a healthy economy
over the years.
De Baca County was created 28 February 1917. The County seat is Fort Sumner. De
Baca County was named for Ezequiel C. de Baca, New Mexico's second Governor under
statehood. The dedication of the present day courthouse was on 24 November 1930.
De Baca County is heavily engaged in sheep and cattle ranching. Farming is also
abundant due to the valuable waters coming from the Pecos River. The outlaw named
William Bonney, alias Billy the Kid, was shot by Sheriff Pat Garrett 14 July 1881.
Dona Ana County
Doņa Ana County was created 9 January 1852. It was named for a lady named, Doņa
Ana Robledo who in the 17th century gave money to many charities. Las Cruces is
the county seat and it is the home of NMSU. This area is laced with history from
the Mesilla area obtained from the Gadsden Purchase in 1854, to Hatch--chili capital
of the world, Sunland Park, the White Sands National Monument, Space-shuttle, spy
planes, and NASA. It is also rich in agriculture and boasts international commerce.
Eddy County was created 25 February 1889. Charles W. Eddy was a rancher and promoted
southeastern New Mexico. Eddy County has large deposits of raw materials like potash,
and it is a producer of oil and oil products. The area is excellent for farming
with plenty of irrigation water and abundant sunshine. Carlsbad is the county seat.
Carlsbad Caverns is a major attraction.
Grant County was created 30 January 1868. It was named for General Ulysses S. Grant
who became president. Silver City is the county seat. This county is rich with copper,
gold and other metals. It contains part of the Gila National Forest. Farming and
ranching are major businesses.
Guadalupe County was created 26 February 1891. It was named for the Virgin
of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. Its county seat is Santa Rosa, which is on
the Pecos River and known as the City of Natural lakes with many spring fed lakes.
In 1540, Coronado searched for the Seven Cities of Cibola. He camped near Puerto
de Luna, which is six miles south of Santa Rosa. He built the first bridge in New
Mexico. It went over the Pecos River.
Lincoln County was created 16 January 1869. It was named after Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln County is varied in forests, plains, streams and state parks. It once covered
one fourth of New Mexico and was the largest county in the United States of America.
It is the home of the Lincoln County Wars of the 1870's. Carrizozo is the county
seat. Smokey the Bear was a native born Lincoln County icon. This county is
multi-cultural and has a friendly easy going citizenry.
Harding County was created 4 March 1921. Mosquero is the county seat. The county
got its name from President Warren G. Harding. The county is famous for its large
ranches and the rugged Canadian River Canyon. Increasingly of importance is chemical
production for the oil industry.
Hidalgo County was created 25 February 1919. Lordsburg is the county seat. Hidalgo
was named for Guadalupe Hidalgo of Mexico. Hidalgo is an open landscape with breath-taking
beauty. The railroad once provided income but now farming and ranching are the main
Lea County was created 7 March 1917. It was created from Chaves and Eddy Counties
and named for Captain Joseph Calloway Lea. Lovington is the county seat and the
center of a valuable oil industry which has provided many jobs since 1921. Ranching,
agriculture, and dairy production are major enterprises which are thriving. The
area supports two colleges to serve its ever friendly and diverse citizens.
Los Alamos County was created 16 March 1949. The county seat is Los Alamos.
This is the smallest county in New Mexico. Small packages pack a big punch! The
famous Manhattan Project was completed here. This county remains important in the
nuclear and scientific area. Friendly people, clear skies and fresh air make this
a popular county.
Luna County was named after Soloman Luna, who was a politician and cattle rancher.
It was created in 1901 from Grant and Dona Ana County. The county seat is Deming
which was founded in 1881 and officially incorporated in 1902. It was named after
Mary Anne Deming, the wife of Charles Crocker, a railroad businessman.
McKinley County was created 23 February 1899. It was named for William McKinley
who was the 25th president of the United States. The county seat is Gallup. Gallup
is the center of American Indian Inter-tribal Ceremonial. McKinley boasts a lumber
industry, oil refinery, coal mining, and uranium production. It has within its boundaries
the Navajo reservation and other Indian lands and ancient attractions.
Mora County was created 1 February 1860. Mora is the county seat. Mora refers
to several Spanish names in the area. It is prime sportsman's territory offering
clean air and clear skies with beautiful views.
Quay County was created 28 January 1903. Tucumcari is the county seat. Quay was
named for Matthew S. Quay, United States Senator to Pennsylvania. Senator Quay was
a leader is bringing statehood to New Mexico Territory. Fishing is the main sports
activity in the county. Tourism plays an important role.
Rio Arriba County
Rio Arriba County was created 9 January 1852. It was named for the Spanish name
for "upper river" of the Rio Grande River. This is area is part of the partidos
of early Spanish rule. The county seat is Tierra Amarilla, and it's the center of
outdoor recreation and tourism. The county contains the Jicarilla Apache and the
Rio Arriba reservations and the San Juan and Santa Clara Pueblos. Three fresh rivers
provide abundant water for agriculture and ranching.
Otero County was created 30 January 1899. It was named for Miguel A. Otero who was
the Territorial Representative to Congress 1856 to 1861. Alamogordo is the county
seat. Alamo' is the center of missile testing , spy planes development, White Sands
National Monument, and tourism. The Cloudcroft Apache Reservation is nearby. Otero
County offers residents clear skies, clean air, varied surroundings from low plains
to peaceful mountains.
Roosevelt County was created 28 February 1903. It was named for Theodore Roosevelt
who was our 26th President. Roosevelt was part of the New Mexico Rough Riders when
he attacked San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. Portales is the county
seat. This county has major dairy operations, agriculture, and ranching. It has
an ancient history with findings of evidence of civilizations 15,000 years old.
San Juan County was created 24 January 1887. It was named for the San Juan River
which begins in the San Juan Mountains. This is the ancient home of the Anasazi.
Aztec is the county seat. This county is awash with ancient history, from Aztec
Ruins National Monument to Chaco Canyon National Historical Park and the Navajo
Nation. This area is rich in agriculture, clean air, open skies, and natural resources.
Sandoval County was established 10 March 1903. The county seat is Bernalillo. The
county was named for the Sandoval family who were early settlers. This county has
many attractions like the Bandelier National Monument, Coronado State Monument,
many ancient Indian ruins, and excellent hunting and fishing. Tourism is a major
source of commerce.
San Miguel County was established 9 January 1852. The county seat is Las Vegas.
The county got its name from the town of San Miguel de Bado which was a crossing
at the Pecos River on the Old Spanish Trail. San Miguel is one of the most beautiful
counties in New Mexico ranging from mountains to meadows. It has two colleges. Tourism
and retirement are of major economic value.
Sierra County was formed in 3 April 1884 out of portions of Socorro, Grant and Dona
Ana Counties. Due to the location and population, Hillsboro became the first county
seat. The Hillsboro Post Office was the hub for mail transportation to the surrounding
offices in the southern part of the county. This county has many hills and mountains,
especially attractive is the Sierra de los Caballos range. Hot Springs, an attractive
designation, was the original county seat. It was changed in name to Truth or Consequences
in 1950 after the famous TV show. It is commonly known today as T or C. Elephant
Butte Lake draws fishermen and tourists from many areas.
Socorro County was established 1 July 1850. The county seat is Socorro. It was named
by Don Juan de Onate. The name means "helpful". This county is prime ranching territory.
It also has some of the biggest buck deer in New Mexico. It was also the county
in which the first atomic bomb was exploded.
Taos County was created 9 January 1852. Taos is the county seat of Taos County.
Taos is an ancient Indian Village built several hundred years ago. This beautiful
county is the center for artists and professional people. Tourism is a major commercial
activity. Kit Carson loved the area. He lived there several years.
Torrance County was created 16 March 1903. It is near the heart of New Mexico. It
was named for Francis J. Torrance who was an early builder of commerce in New Mexico.
Estancia is the county seat. It is rich in farming, ranching, and orchards.
Two railroads cross its lands. Torrance County's Manzano area, saw the first apple
orchard planted in the southwest.
Union County was created 13 February 1893. The county seat is Clayton. Union County
was formed from parts of Colfax, Mora, and San Miguel Counties. Researchers might
check these related counties for resources. Union was named for the "union" of the
counties mentioned. The old Santa Fe Trail traverses Union County. The famous Goodnight-Loving
Cattle Drive Trail also crosses Union County. The area is as beautiful as the other
Northeast New Mexico Counties.
Valencia County was created 9 January 1852. The county seat is Los Lunas. It was
named for an early town built by Francisco de Valencia. Valencia County is a booming
area of New Mexico. Its central location to the major populated counties has resulted
in migration to its attractive living areas. Real estate sales are a major part
of the economy. The county has a rich mix of professional people, artists, writers,
and friendly citizens.