Guadalupe County, NM
Guadalupe County was created by the Territorial Legislature on February 26,
1891. The southern part of San Miguel
County was used to create Guadalupe
County. It was bounded on the east
by the Texas state line, on the
south by Chaves and a very small corner of Lincoln
County, on the west by Valencia
and Bernalillo counties and on the north by San Miguel
County. Named for Our Lady of Guadalupe, the
patron saint of Mexico.
Don Carlos Casus was the first sheriff of Guadalupe
County. Puerto De Luna was the
first county seat. Later the county seat was moved to Santa
Rosa, New Mexico.
In 1903 the name of Guadalupe County
was changed to Leonard Wood
County about the same time Quay and
Roosevelt counties were created. Santa
Rosa was named the county seat of the new county. In
1905 it was changed back to Guadalupe
In order to understand Guadalupe County
history it is necessary to understand New Mexico
history. The first recorded occupation of New Mexico begin in 1598 when Don
Juan de Onate led 400 men with 130 families, eight Franciscan priests, Indian
and black slaves and a large herd of cattle into the Rio Grande valley. He
established the capital at San Juan
and was the first governor. After he resigned as Governor, the capital was moved
about 1610 to Santa Fe.
When the Spanish arrived in New Mexico
the Ute, Comanche, Apache and Navajo Indians were already here and considered
much of New Mexico near the
rivers as their homes or hunting grounds. Some of these Indian tribes had
established villages (Pueblo
Sites). The Indian Pueblos had a
growing discontent with the Spanish people and this resulted in the Pueblo
Revolt of 1680. This was a successful rebellion and resulted in the termination
of the encomienda system. In 1692 Governor Don Diego de Vargas
re-established Spanish authority in the provence
of New Mexico.
The eighteen pueblos in New Mexico
today (1997), from Taos to below Albuquerque
and along the Coronado trail
westward from Isleta to Zuni, occupy approximately the same lands that they
held during the early Spanish occupation. Their land titles originated with
grants from the Spanish Crown, ratified by the sovereignty of Mexico
and subsequently confirmed by the Congress of the United
States under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
(1848). The Pueblo Indians own
their lands by virtue of titles antedating American supremacy. They are the
only Indians in the United States
that could prove title to their homes when the settlers came into New
What we now (1997) know as New Mexico
was owned and occupied in 1598 by the Spanish Crown after they took it from the
Indians. Then after 1821 it was controlled by the Mexican government until the
treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848. The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hildago, ending
the Mexican War, was signed February 2,
1848. The treaty turned over to the United
States a huge portion of the present-day
Southwest, including Texas, New
Mexico and California.
After California and Texas
became a state it was New Mexico Territory
until it was granted statehood in 1912.
During the period of Spanish and Mexican rule a stratified social system
was extablished in New Mexico. At
the top were the ricos or Dons, wealthy landowners. At the bottom of the
social scale were the pobres who were held in debt to the ricos. This social
system dominated New Mexico
politics and economy until well up to the end of the 20th century.
Spanish land grants were along the Pecos, Canadian and the Rio
Grande and their tributaries. Good water was a very
important item for the settlement of New Mexico.
Those who controlled the water; controlled the land! With Texas
independence in 1836 the outlook for New Mexico
settlement was probable. Governor Manuel Armijo of New
Mexico issued large grants to keep as much land in
Mexican hands as possible. The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848 ended the
Mexican War. Hispanic residents were guaranteed rights of citizenship; however;
the Santa Fe Ring had a problem
reading the grant boundaries and remembering just exactly what the Treaty of
Guadalupe-Hidalgo intended to do.
Much of the northwest corner of Guadalupe County, NM (1997) came from two
Spanish grants; the Anton Chico grant of 1822 for 378,537 acres and the Preston
Beck grant of 1823 for 318,690 acres. Only about two thirds of each grant is
part of present Guadalupe County.
Then there was the Jose Perea grant of 1825 for 17,712 acres on the Pecos River
above where Santa Rosa is now located; and the Aqua Negra grant of 1824 for
17,361 acres just below Santa Rosa on the Pecos River.
Use BACK button to return.