Sierra County is Born!!!
Because of the immense size of Dona Ana County, influential residents in Hillsboro and other towns objected to the distances they had to travel to Mesilla to transact county business. So they petitioned the territorial government and, in 1884, the government carved out portions of Dona Ana County, Grants County to the west, and Socorro County to the north to create Sierra County. The new county represented more than 4,200 square miles of land.
Hillsboro, which had become a hub of commerce and transportation, was named county seat. It was central in supporting the mining towns of Chloride, Kingston, Lake Valley, Monticello, and Winston. A new jail was constructed in 1884 and a new courthouse in 1892, both of which played important roles in Sierra County history. Three men, Oliver Lee (for whom New Mexico created a state park in Otero County), Jim Gilliland, and William McNew were accused of cattle rustling. Colonel Albert Fountain had been charged with arraigning the men in Lincoln County. On his return from there, Fountain and his son, Henry, were murdered. The alleged rustlers were accused. Lee and Gilliland were tried and acquitted in Hillsboro. Charges against McNew were dropped. The bodies and the murderers were never found; this case remains unsolved to this day. Pictured is Colonel Albert Fountain.