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Catron County, New Mexico

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  • Hermie Alice Harding (1915 - 2003)
    HARDING, Hermie Alice, age 87, a resident of Prattville, AL, passed away Wednesday, April 16, 2003. Funeral services will be held Satur-day, April 19, 2003 at 2:00 p.m. from Ridout's Prattville Chapel ...

Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Catron County, New Mexico.

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The Mimbres culture was part of the Mogollon people who lived throughout the Catron County area from AD 1000 to 1130. Their art is renowned for its beauty.

In 1598, the region was declared part of Santa Fé de Nuevo México, a province in New Spain. The province remained in Spanish control until Mexico's declaration of independence in 1821. Under the 1824 Constitution of Mexico, this became the federally administered Territory of New Mexico. European settlement of this region started with the Spanish. It intensified after the US acquired New Mexico as a result of the Mexican–American War. More settlers moved to the state after it was admitted to the Union in 1912.

Mexico ceded the region to the U.S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. In 1849, President Zachary Taylor proposed that New Mexico, including this region, immediately become a state to sidestep political conflict over slavery in the territories. That did not happen.

In 1880, Sergeant James C. Cooney was the first person to find silver and gold ore in the mountains of Catron County. He was reportedly killed by Chiricahua Apaches led by Victorio that year in what became known as the "Alma Massacre". His remains are buried at Cooney's Tomb. During this time Cochise was active as another well-known Chiricahua leader. Noted war chief Goyaałé (Geronimo) had several hideouts in the county. Later in 1880, Buffalo Soldiers led by Sergeant George Jordan defeated Chiricahua Apache warriors led by Victorio in the Battle of Fort Tularosa. Four years later, self-appointed sheriff Elfego Baca was the hero of the so-called Frisco shootout in San Francisco Plaza.

In the mid-1880s Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch gang holed up at a ranch near Alma, New Mexico. Notorious outlaw Tom Ketchum also lived in Catron County around this time.

Catron County's lands were part of Socorro County from the creation of Santa Fé de Nuevo México until 1921. At that split, Catron county was named for Thomas B. Catron, a leading figure in New Mexico statehood and its first senator. In 1927, the State Legislature attempted to abolish both Socorro and Catron in order to create a new Rio Grande County. A court suit voided this act and the two counties retained their independence.

Adjacent Counties


  • Alma
  • Apache Creek
  • Aragon
  • Clairmont
  • Cooney
  • Cruzville
  • Datil
  • Glenwood
  • Luna
  • Mogollon
  • Old Horse Springs
  • Pie Town
  • Pleasanton
  • Quemado
  • Red Hill
  • Reserve (County Seat)
  • San Francisco Plaza



Apache National Forest (part)

Cibola National Forest (part)

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Gila National Forest (part)

Zuni Salt Lake

National Register of Historic Places

NM Gen Web

Genealogy Trails


USGW Archives

Genealogy Village

Catron County Historical Society