History of Sierra County, Part 2
For hundreds of years native Americans freely roamed Sierra County, hunting, fishing and gathering food. They congregated at the hot mineral springs along the Rio Grande, bathing and socializing, and caring for their wounds and ailments. In 1598, Juan de Onate moved northward through New Mexico establishing El Camino Real (the Royal Road) including the area known as Jornada del Muerto (Journey of the Dead Man). This road was used until the advent of the railroad in the 1880s, following much the same pathway. Onate's expedition brough Spanish settlers to the area who established farms along creeks and rivers. They also built small villages throughout the area, including Monticello, Las Placitas, Cuchillo, and Las Palomas.