The American Cyclopædia (1879)/New Mexico

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NEW MEXICO, a territory of the United States, situated between lat. 31° 20' and 37° N., and lon. 103° and 109° W.; length on the E. boundary 345 m., and on the W. boundary 390 m.; average breadth N. of the 32d parallel, 335 m.; area, 121,201 sq. m. It is bounded N. by Colorado, E. by Indian territory and Texas, S. by Texas and Mexico, and W. by Arizona. The territory is divided into 13 counties, viz.: Bernalillo, Colfax, Doña Aña, Grant, Lincoln, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Santa Aña, Santa Fé, Socorro, Taos, Valencia. Santa Fé, the capital, had 4,765 inhabitants in 1870. The principal other places are Albuquerque, Cimarron, Fernando de Taos, Las Cruces, Las Vegas, Mesilla, Mora, Placita, and Silver City, each having more than 1,000 inhabitants. The population of the territory, according to the federal censuses, has been as follows: 1850, 61,547; 1860, 93,516; 1870, 91,874, of whom 172 were colored and 1,309 non-tribal Indians. The apparent decrease between 1860 and 1870 is due to the setting off of territory to form Arizona and a portion of Colorado. Making allowance for the inhabitants thus transferred, there was an actual increase within the present limits of New Mexico of about 20,000. Next to the District of Columbia it is the most populous territory in the Union. Of the total population in 1870, 86,254 were native and 5,620 foreign born, 47,135 males and 44,739 females. Of the natives, 83,175 were born in the territory; of the foreigners, 3,913 were born in Mexico. The number of male citizens of the United States 21 years old and over residing in the territory was 22,442. There were 21,449 families, with an average of 4.28 persons to each, and 21,053 dwellings, with an average of 4.36 to each. There were 48,836 persons 10 years old and over who could not read, and 52,220 who could not write; of the latter 49,311 were natives and 2,909 foreigners, 23,779 males and 28,441 females; 9,718 were from 10 to 15 years of age, 10,005 from 15 to 21, and 32,497 were 21 years old and upward, of whom 15,031 were males. The number of blind persons was 159; deaf and dumb, 48; insane, 50; idiotic, 46. There were 24 convicts in prison on June 1, 1870; number of persons convicted of crimes during the preceding year, 95. Of the whole number (29,361) 10 years old and upward returned by the census as engaged in all occupations, there were employed in agriculture 18,668, including 10,847 agricultural laborers and 7,629 farmers and planters; in professional and personal services, 7,535, including 51 clergymen, 1,365 domestic servants, 3,348 laborers, 48 lawyers, 27 physicians and surgeons, 1,116 United States soldiers, and 49 teachers; in trade and transportation, 863; in manufactures and mining, 2,295. Nearly all the inhabitants are of Mexican descent and speak the Spanish language. Much of New Mexico, especially the S. and W. parts, has until recently been subject to Indian incursions, and the Apaches in the south are still somewhat troublesome. The number of tribal Indians (not included in the census) in the territory in 1874, according to the report of the United States commissioner of Indian affairs, was 25,268, viz.: Navajos, occupying a reservation of 5,400 sq. m. in the northwest, partly in Arizona, 9,068, besides 2,000 not on the reservation; Mescalero Apaches, with an agency at Fort Stanton in the southeast, 1,800; Southern or Gila Apaches, on a reservation near the hot springs in the southwest, 400; Capote Utes (500), Weeminuche Utes (750), and Jicarilla Apaches (500), of the Abiquiu or Tierra Amarilla agency, about 100 m. N. W. of Santa Fe, 1,750; Muache Utes (290) and Jicarilla Apaches (460), of the Cimarron agency in the northeast, 750; Pueblos, occupying 19 pueblos or villages in the N.W. part of the territory, 9,500. The Pueblos have several times been decided by the territorial courts to be citizens of the United States, but have preferred to retain their tribal organization, each village having its own government. (See Pueblo Indians.)—The general surface of New Mexico consists of high level plateaus, traversed by ranges of mountains, between which are many broad fertile valleys, and from which rise occasional isolated peaks of great height. The valley of the Rio Grande has an elevation of between 5,000 and 6,000 ft. above the sea near the N. boundary, 4,800 ft. at Albuquerque (lat. 35°), and 3,000 ft. at El Paso, Mexico, near the S. boundary of the territory. The general altitude of the mountain ranges on each side of the valleys of the Rio Grande and the Pecos is between 6,000 and 8,000 ft. above the sea, sometimes, especially in the north, rising to 10,000 or 12,000 ft., the summits being covered with perpetual snow. Mt. Taylor in the Sierra Madre range, S.W. of Santa Fé, rises 10,000 ft. above the valley of the Rio Grande. The general direction of the mountains and streams is from N. to S. The Rocky mountains before entering the territory from Colorado are divided into two ranges. The eastern, formed by lofty peaks and high continuous ridges, terminates abruptly a few miles S. of Santa Fé; the western, called the Sierra Madre, consists of many detached mountains of less height, with low passes between them, and forms the connecting link with the Sierra Madre of Mexico. Nearly two thirds of the territory lies E. of the Sierra Madre. S. of the termination of the E. range of the Rocky mountains a lofty plateau extends between the Rio Grande and Pecos, interrupted by numerous minor ranges of mountains. The region W. of the Sierra Madre has been imperfectly explored, but is known to contain table lands or mesas (often standing apart from each other and bearing great resemblance to gigantic fortresses and castles) and detached ranges of mountains, with many fertile valleys and occasional peaks of extinct volcanoes. E. of the Pecos river and the E. range of the Rocky mountains the country slopes gradually toward the Mississippi river and the gulf of Mexico. The S.E. part of the territory is occupied by the W. portion of the Llano Estacado or Staked Plain, an elevated tract destitute of wood, and of any vegetation except immediately after rain, of which the fall here is slight.—The principal river is the Rio Grande del Norte, which, rising in Colorado and entering New Mexico between the Sierra Madre and the E. range, flows S. through the entire territory, and, after forming the boundary between Texas and Mexico, enters the gulf of Mexico. The Pecos rises on the E. slope of the E. range, flows S. through the E. portion of the territory, and joins the Rio Grande in Texas. These two rivers have many small tributaries, chiefly from the west. The largest of those of the Rio Grande are in the N. part of the territory. The N. E. section is drained by the head waters of the Canadian, a branch of the Arkansas, and the N.W. corner by the San Juan, a tributary of the Colorado of the West. In the southwest are the sources of the Gila, and here also is the Rio de los Mimbres, which flows S. into Mexico. The central portion of the region W. of the Rio Grande contains the sources of the Colorado Chiquito or Little Colorado, which flows N.W. and joins the Colorado of the West in Arizona.—Most of the mountains of the central plateau between the Rio Grande and Pecos are composed chiefly of syenitic rocks, which during their upheaval broke through palæozoic sandstones and carboniferous limestones. The limestones are found generally on the flanks of the ridges, but sometimes on their tops. Both the syenites and carboniferous limestones are traversed by mineral lodes. Dikes of porphyry are frequently met with near the lines of intersection. The plateau itself has underlying it for the most part tertiary and lower cretaceous rocks. The sandstone frequently forms table mountains or mesas, and contains in many localities beds of lignite and bituminous coal, 2 to 5 ft. thick, alternating with layers of iron ore, fire clay, and shales. The latter are frequently filled with large fossil leaves. Wherever eruptions and overflows of porphyry have acted upon the formations containing coal, the latter has been completely metamorphosed into anthracite of excellent quality. Variegated marls and heds of gypsum are exposed in many localities on this plateau. W. of the Rio Grande the same formations are met with. The extensive layers of lava, spread in several localities horizontally upon the sandstone strata, are a characteristic feature of the geology of New Mexico. Many of the streams flow through deep cañons, that of the Rio Grande W. of Taos being more than 1,000 ft. deep, with perpendicular walls. Mines of anthracite have been opened at the Old Placer mountains. There are hot and mineral springs in many portions of the territory, possessing curative properties. Salt lakes (salinas) are numerous, particularly between the Rio Grande and Pecos, S. of Santa Fé; they furnish a large portion of the supply of salt for the territory and adjacent portions of Mexico. The precious metals and copper are abundant, and mines of these were worked in Spanish and Mexican times; more recently lack of capital, want of water in many districts, and Indian hostilities have retarded their development. The annual product of gold for several years past, according to the United States commissioner of mining statistics, has been about $500,000. The principal mines are those of the Moreno gold fields in Oolfax co., on the E. slope of the Rocky mountains, in the N. part of the territory; of the Pinos Altos district in Grant co., in the S.W.; and of the Old and New Placer mountains in Santa Fé and Bernalillo cos. There are also gold mines in the Sierra Blanca, Carrizo, Patos, and Jicarilla mountains in Lincoln co.; in the Magdalena mountains in Socorro co.; in Rio Arriba and Taos cos., N. and N.W. of Santa Fé; and in other places. These are chiefly placer mines, but quartz lodes are worked at some points to a limited extent. Silver is not now largely mined, but there are deposits of it at Pinos Altos, in the Organ mountains in the south, in the Cerillos and Sandia mountains near the centre of the territory, in the Magdalena mountains, and in other places. Copper is found in the Pinos Altos region, where one mine is in operation, yielding about 9,000 lbs. of metal a week; in the Manzano mountains, in Bernalillo and Valencia cos.; in the Mogollon mountains, near the Arizona border; in the Magdalena mountains, and elsewhere. Lead occurs in the Pinos Altos mines, in the Organ mountains, and in other parts of the territory. Iron is found at the Moreno mines, in the Placer mountains, near Pinos Altos, and near Embudo, between Santa Fé and Taos, as well as at other points. Zinc, manganese, quicksilver, and other minerals occur. The census of 1870 returns 17 mines (all gold), of which 12 were placer and 5 quartz; number of hands employed, 177; capital invested, $2,384,000; wages paid during the year, $107,550; value of materials used, $33,138; of products, $343,250. The amount of gold from New Mexico deposited at the United States mints and assay offices to June 30, 1874, was $1,004,755 72; of silver, $239,574 49.—The climate varies much. Near Santa Fé and in the mountains the winter is severe. N. of Santa Fé the days are never sultry and the nights are always cool. In the south the temperature is mild, being seldom below the freezing point, and rarely rising to extreme heat, owing to the elevation of the surface. The sky is generally clear and the atmosphere dry, so that meat may be preserved for a long time without salt. In the south the rainy season is in July and August. The annual rainfall varies from 10 to 30 inches in different localities. The mean temperature at Santa Fé (lat. 35° 41', elevation 6,862 ft.) for six years has been as follows: spring, 49.7°; summer, 70.4°; autumn, 50.6°; winter, 31.6°; year, 50.6°. For the year ending Sept. 30, 1873, the mean temperature at the same place was 49°; of the warmest month (July), 71°; of the coldest month (January), 29°; total rainfall, 8.59 inches; greatest monthly rainfall (August), 2.79 inches. The highest temperature observed during the calendar year 1873 was 88°; lowest, -5°. The diseases are few. Inflammations and typhoid fevers sometimes appear in the winter season; rheumatism is more prevalent, arising doubtless from the common practice of sleeping on the ground. Pulmonary complaints are scarcely known. The number of deaths in 1870 was 1,180, of which 420 were from general diseases (including 36 from scarlet fever, 11 from typhus fever, 90 from enteric fever, 12 from intermittent fever, 31 from remittent fever, 39 from rheumatism, and 45 from consumption), 60 from diseases of the nervous system, 33 of the circulatory system, 305 of the digestive system, 161 of the respiratory system (including 63 from pneumonia), and the rest from miscellaneous causes. The proportion of deaths from consumption was smaller than in any state or territory except Arizona.—The valleys of nearly all the streams and such portions of the table lands as are within the reach of irrigation are very productive. The most important agricultural regions are the valleys of the Rio Grande and Rio Pecos, which are generally from 1 to 4 m. wide, the former expanding in places ta 10 or 15 m. Owing to the slight fall of rain, artificial irrigation is necessary. The supply of water is obtained by constructing from the streams, at the general cost, large canals, called acequias madres, of sufficient capacity for an entire settlement, from which each farmer constructs a minor canal to his own land.. Some of these main canals are 20 or 30 m. long. Large portions of the table lands too remote or elevated to be irrigated from the streams possess a fertile soil. Whether a supply of water for their irrigation can be obtained by artesian wells or otherwise remains undetermined. Agriculture is mostly carried on in a very primitive manner. The principal crops are Indian corn, wheat, barley, oats, apples, peaches, melons, apricots, and grapes. The territory is especially adapted to the culture of the grape, the yield of fruit being abundant, and the wine produced of excellent quality. Potatoes do not generally thrive, but cabbages, onions, pumpkins, &c., grow well; and in the south quinces, pomegranates, and figs may be raised. The country is better adapted to stock raising than farming. Large tracts, where agriculture is not practicable, afford abundant pasturage. Owing to the mildness of the climate, artificial shelter is never required. The valleys, foot hills, and table lands are covered with nutritious grasses, the most valuable variety being the mezquite or grama grass, which preserves its nutritive properties and furnishes abundant food throughout the winter. Sheep raising is one of the chief industries of the territory; the flocks are almost entirely free from disease and require little care. The principal forests are confined to the mountain ranges, and consist chiefly of pine, cedar, spruce, and other evergreens. On the foot hills there are extensive tracts of piñon or nut pine and cedar, and along the margins of the streams belts of cottonwood, sycamore, and other deciduous trees, while in the south groves of oak and walnut are abundant. The principal wild animals are the deer, mountain sheep, antelope, elk, couguar, ocelot, lynx, bear, coyote, wolf, weasel, hare, squirrel, and beaver. Wild turkeys, geese, ducks, sage hens, prairie chickens, &c., occur.—The number of acres of improved land in farms in 1870 was 143,007; number of farms, 4,480, of which 1,345 contained less than 10 acres each, 1,172 from 10 to 20, 1,293 from 20 to 50, 358 from 50 to 100, 299 from 100 to 500, 9 from 500 to 1,000, and 4 more than 1,000; cash value of farms, $2,260,139; of farming implements and machinery, $121,114; amount of wages paid during the year, including the value of board, $523,888; estimated value of all farm productions, including betterments and additions to stock, $1,905,060; value of orchard products, $13,609; of produce of market gardens, $64,132; of forest products, $500; of home manufactures, $19,592; of animals slaughtered or sold for slaughter, $224,765; of live stock, $2,389,157. The productions were 338,930 bushels of spring wheat, 13,892 of winter wheat, 42 of rye, 640,823 of Indian corn, 67,660 of oats, 3,876 of barley, 10 of buckwheat, 28,856 of peas and beans, 3,102 of Irish potatoes, 8,587 lbs. of tobacco, 684,930 of wool, 12,912 of butter, 27,239 of cheese, 19,686 gallons of wine, 813 of milk sold, 1,765 of sorghum molasses, and 4,209 tons of hay. The live stock consisted of 5,033 horses, 6,141 mules and asses, 16,417 milch cows, 19,774 working oxen, 21,343 other cattle, 619,438 sheep, and 11,267 swine. There were also 21,467 horses and 128,767 cattle not on farms. The number of manufacturing establishments was 182, having 13 steam engines of 252 horse power, and 42 water wheels of 659 horse power; number of hands employed, 423; capital invested, $1,450,695; wages paid during the year, $167,281; value of materials used, $880,957; of products, $1,489,868. The only important establishments were 36 flouring and grist mills, value of products $725,292; 12 saw mills, $121,225; and 7 quartz mills, $399,712. There are no railroads in operation in the territory, but several lines are projected through it. The Texas and Pacific, in progress in Texas, is to pass through the S. portion; the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fé is in progress from Granada, Colorado, its present terminus, to Santa Fé, through the N.E. portion of the territory; and the Denver and Rio Grande, in operation to Pueblo, Colorado, and still in course of construction, is intended to pass down the valley of the Rio Grande. The projected line of the Atlantic and Pacific railroad passes through New Mexico along the 35th parallel, but no progress has been made since its completion some years since to Vinita, Indian territory. There are two national banks at Santa Fé, with a joint capital of $300,000.—The executive power is administered by a governor and secretary, appointed by the president with the consent of the senate for four years, and by an auditor, treasurer, adjutant general, and attorney general, chosen by the territorial legislature. This body consists of a council of 13 and a house of representatives of 26 members, elected by the people for two years. The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, with appellate jurisdiction; district courts, with general original jurisdiction; probate courts, and justices of the peace. The supreme court is held by three judges, appointed by the president with the consent of the senate. The district courts, (one in each of the three judicial districts into which the territory is divided) are held by a single judge of the supreme court. There is a probate court for each county. The valuation of property, according to the United States censuses, has been as follows:

 of real and 

Real estate. Personal
Real and

1850... ..........  ..........  ..........  $5,174,471 
1860...  $7,018,260   $13,820,520   $20,838,780   20,813,768 
1870... 9,917,991  7,866,023  17,784,014  31,349,798 

The total taxation in 1870 was $61,014, of which $34,115 was territorial, $26,101 county, and $798 town, city, &c. There was no territorial debt at that date. The receipts into the territorial treasury in 1874 were $46,317 82; expenditures, $43,361 59.—Prior to 1871 there were no public schools in the territory. In that year a law was passed organizing a system of free public schools, and placing them under the management of a board of supervisors and directors for each county, consisting of three persons elected biennially, with the probate judge of the county as ex officio president of the board. The school fund consists of 25 per cent. of the entire tax on property, a poll tax of $1 on every male citizen above the age of 21 years, and any “surplus of more than $500 in the treasury of any county after paying the current expenses of such county.” The statistics of the schools for 1873 are as follows:

 Pupils.   Teachers.  Average
 number of 

Public schools supported by taxation.  133  5,625  136  6¼  $29,721 57 
Private schools 26  1,370  53  9    27,100 00 
Pueblo schools 107  6    4,000 00 

Total 164  7,102  196  ....   $60,821 57 

Of the public schools, 10 were taught in English, 111 in Spanish, and 12 in both languages. The Pueblo schools were all English. Of those classed as private several are conventual and other Catholic schools; 7 were English and 19 mixed. According to the census of 1870, the number of schools of all kinds was 44, with 72 teachers, 1,798 pupils, and an income of $29,886. In the same year there were 116 libraries with 39,425 volumes, of which 83 with 29,805 volumes were private. Of those not private, 24 were church libraries, with 3,250 volumes; 3 Sabbath school, 760; 2 school, college, &c., 1,200; 2 court and law, 210; 1 territorial, 4,000; and 1 circulating, 200. The number of church organizations was 158, with 152 edifices, 81,560 sittings, and property to the value of $322,621. Of these, 152 organizations, with 149 edifices, 80,710 sittings, and property to the value of $313,321, were Roman Catholic. There were also a Baptist, a Methodist, a Presbyterian, and three Episcopal organizations. In 1874 one daily (English and Spanish) and 11 weekly (5 English and 6 English and Spanish) newspapers and one semi-monthly periodical were published.—New Mexico was among the earliest of the interior portions of North America visited by the Spaniards; and distant as it is from the sea, the adventurous spirit of that people led them here nearly a century before the English had landed on the shores of New England. Alvar Nuñez (Cabeça de Vaca), with the remnant of those who accompanied Narvaez to Florida, reached New Mexico before 1537, and made a report to the viceroy of Mexico of what they saw. The expedition of Marco de Niza followed in 1539, and that under Coronado the next year. The latter traversed the country N. of the Gila occupied by the Pueblo Indians, and pushed his way eastward beyond the Rio Grande to the country of the cibola, or bison, and is the first who speaks of that animal, which he calls “a new kind of ox, wild and fierce, whereof the first day they killed fourscore, which sufficed the army with flesh.” The great prairies and desert plains of New Mexico are so truthfully described by Castaneda, the historian of the expedition, that no doubt remains of his having crossed the entire country. In 1581 other adventurers under Capt. Francisco de Bonillo reached the country, and on their return made known the mineral wealth existing there, which caused the name of New Mexico to be applied to it. About this period Agustin Ruiz, a Franciscan missionary, entered the country, and was soon after murdered by the Indians. A more successful official of the government was Don Antonio Espejo, who took with him a body of men to protect the missions. The viceroy of Mexico sent Juan de Oñate to take formal possession of the country in the name of Spain, and to establish colonies, missions, and forts there. The year of his arrival is by some writers stated to be 1595, by others 1599. The missionaries met with great success in Christianizing the native tribes. The Pueblo Indians were more ready to adopt the new faith than the roving tribes; and it is a singular fact that on rediscovering some of these Pueblos, when they had been without any priest for nearly a century, many of the Christian rites and doctrines were found among them, though strangely blended with their own religion. Espejo found the people considerably advanced in civilization. They wore garments of cotton of their own manufacture. Their arms were large bows, and arrows terminated with sharp-pointed stones; their long wooden swords were also armed with sharp stones. They carried shields made of the raw hides of bisons. Some of the people lived in stone houses several stories high, the walls of which were ornamented with pictures; these lived in the valleys and cultivated the soil. In the villages were seen a great many idols, and in every house was a chapel dedicated to some evil genius. Oñate is said by historians to have been the most successful of all the officials sent to New Mexico. Many new missions were established, mines were opened and worked, and the country was in a flourishing state. But the enslavement of the Indians by the colonists, who compelled them to labor in the mines, was too much for them to bear. They made several ineffectual efforts to rid themselves of their oppressors, and finally in 1680 drove out the Spaniards, and recovered the whole country as far south as El Paso del Norte. It was not until after several attempts that the Spaniards regained possession of the country in 1698. In 1846 Santa Fé was taken by a United States force under Gen. Kearny, who soon after conquered the whole territory from Mexico. In 1848 it was ceded to the United States by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. A territorial government was organized by the act of Sept. 9, 1850. The region S. of the Gila river, known as the Gadsden purchase, was obtained from Mexico by the treaty of Dec. 30, 1853, and was annexed to New Mexico by the act of Aug. 4, 1854. The territory then contained, besides the region within its present limits, the whole of Arizona and a portion of Colorado and Nevada. The tract (about 14,000 sq. m.) E. of the Rocky mountains and between the 37th and 38th parallels was annexed to Colorado by the act of Feb. 28, 1861. Arizona was set off by the act of Feb. 24, 1863; and by the act of May 5, 1866, the N. W. corner of Arizona was annexed to Nevada. The question of the admission of New Mexico as a state has several times been before congress. At the close of the 43d congress, March, 1875, a bill for its admission failed to become a law.—See “New Mexico, her Natural Resources and Attractions,” by Elias Brevoort (Santa Fé, 1874).