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Las Cruces, New Mexico

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  • John Thomas Turner (1871 - 1924)
  • Dennis Wayne Webb, Sr. (1940 - 1979)
    Served in the Marine Corps.
  • Charles Thomas Wartman (1933 - 2007)
    AIC USAF KOREALas Cruces, NM, resident Charles Thomas Wartman, 74, passed away Jan. 26, 2007, in Las Cruces.His friends and family gathered to remember and celebrate his life. A memorial service for Ch...
  • Henry Asa Lamb (1912 - 1987)
    He served in the US Army in the 1930s and made the last horse drive from Fort Sam to Fort Sill.
  • Sheriff Pat Garrett (killed Billy the Kid) (1850 - 1908)
    Pat Garrett, the man who (probably) shot Billy the Kid. Pat Garrett was raised on a prosperous pre-Civil War plantation in Louisiana, then worked as a cowboy and buffalo hunter before becoming a cop. H...

Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Las Cruces, Doña Ana County, New Mexico.

Las Cruces is the county seat of Doña Ana County in the Mesilla Valley.

Official Website



Las Cruces was previously inhabited by the Manso people, with the Mescalero Apache living nearby. The area was colonized by the Spanish beginning in 1598, when Juan de Oñate claimed all territory north of the Rio Grande for New Spain and later became the first governor of the Spanish territory of New Mexico.

The area remained under New Spain's control until September 28, 1821, when the first Mexican Empire claimed ownership. The area was also claimed by the Republic of Texas during this time until the end of the Mexican–American War in 1846–48. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 established the United States as owner of this territory, and Las Cruces was founded in 1849 when the US Army laid out the town plans.

The establishment of White Sands Missile Range in 1944 and White Sands Test Facility in 1963 has been integral to population growth. Las Cruces is the nearest city to each, and they provide Las Cruces' work force many high-paying, stable, government jobs.

In the 18th century, a party consisting of a priest, bishop, colonel, captain, 4 trappers and 4 choir boys were attacked at the nearby Rio Grande. Multiple crosses were erected in their honor, providing for the name of El Pueblo del Jardin de Las Cruces, (the City of the Garden of Crosses,) which then evolved and shortened to Las Cruces. Later, a group of about 40 travelers coming along the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro died nearby, resulting in a similar group of crosses. Similarly, crosses on a hillside marking the graves of bandits echo an old tale of the valley of "Los Hermanos". The name may also be a mistranslation of the Spanish for "crossing" or "crossroads", as cruce, the singular form of "crossroad", is masculine and the phrase would be Los Cruces.

The Las Cruces bowling alley massacre occurred in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on February 10, 1990. Seven people were shot, four fatally, by two unidentified robbers at the Las Cruces Bowl at 1201 East Amador Avenue. The gunmen shot the victims in an office, then set fire to a desk in the room and left the scene. The case is currently unsolved.

White Sands Test Facility