Puerto de Luna, New Mexico

One of the oldest towns in Quadalupe County, Puerto de Luna, on the Pecos River has had a post office since 1873. Puerto de Luna was the county seat of Guadalupe County in 1891 until it lost out to Santa Rosa.

In the winter of 1862 a committee of thirteen men was appointed to examine the site to determine the advantage of settlement. On their favorable report six families moved in. Water for irrigation was provided the following spring by a dike across the Pecos River, and land cultivation began. Then the Navaho came, raiding the herds of the village and killing the herder. They returned another time and killed a boy, and drove off more of the stock.

The town was settled in 1863 by the following people and their families: Don Melquitades Ramires, Sixto Ramirez, Mercedes Carvajal, Fabian Brito, Pablo Pacheco, and Miguel Chaves.

Legend says that Coronado named the place when he camped on the spot where the town is now located. Coronado named it Puerto because of a narrow gap in the mountains near the village where at certain times during the month the moon shines through bathing the river valley in moonlight.

In the spring of 1864 the Indians attacked in greater force, but the settlers were better armed, and succeeded in driving them off, killing three. As late as 1866 a band of twenty-five Indians drove off a large flock of sheep belonging to a man from Anto Chico known as Cuate Real. The Indians were overtaken about 25 miles from the village, but the dust raised by the sheep afforded them a screen, and under cover of this they surprised their pursuers, who barely managed to drive them off. The sheep were recovered, however as well as a herder whom the marauders had captured and had made him carry water with repeated jabbing from Indian lances.

Then there is the story that members of the Luna family settled near the gap and the name may refer to "Lunas Gap". Members of the Luna family still live in the area. Documentary confirmation has not been located. If you have any records that would add to this please feel free to forward to the Guadalupe Coordinator, Harold Kilmer.

The claim to fame that Puerto de Luna has is that Billy The Kid ate his 1880 Chrstmas dinner in the home of Don Alejandro and Dona Secundina Grzelachowski. Almost a day after he was captured at Taiban, New Mexico he was brought to Puerto de Luna in handcuffs and leg irons. Billy The Kid was on his way to Romero's hoosegow in Las Vegas Grandes where he would await trial for the murders of several Lincolnites.

NEW MEXICO PLACE NAMES, edited by T. M. Pearce, 1965.

NEW MEXICO, American Guide Series, 1940, by The Coronado Cuarto Centennial Commission.

Harold Kilmer

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