Elephant Butte Inn and Spa

History of Sierra County..Before it was Sierra County, Pt. 3

In 1819, two years before Mexico won its independence from Spain, the Governor of New Mexico awarded a large tract of land near Valverde to Pedro Armendaris. It was the only Spanish land grant in Sierra County and its history is marred by battles with Apaches, who resented intrusion into their homeland. Even so, the ranch Armendaris established remained in his family until 1895. Since then the ranch has changed hands several times and today is owned by Ted Turner, one of his three New Mexico ranches comprising more than a million acres.

The United States invaded Mexico in 1846, setting off the Mexican-American War. At its conclusion two years later, the southern part of New Mexico, now a U.S. territory, consisted of Dona Ana County, which stretched about 150 miles from just south of Socorro to the Mexican border and from Texas to California. New Mexico and Arizona,at that time, were a single territory.

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