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Colfax County (Images of America) by Stephen…
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Colfax County (Images of America)

by Stephen Zimmer

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In 1841, Carlos Beaubien and Guadalupe Miranda received a grant of land from the governor of New Mexico in the northeastern part of the Mexican province. Frontier conditions prevented colonization of the grant until 1848, when Beaubien's son-in-law Lucien Maxwell led settlers from Taos to the Rayado River where it crossed the Santa Fe Trail. Maxwell's friend Kit Carson joined him the following year, and their ranch prospered in spite of frequent attacks by Jicarilla Apaches. Later, Maxwell moved north to the Cimarron River. Gold was discovered on the western part of the grant in 1866, and miners rushed to the diggings, establishing the town of Elizabethtown. It became the first seat of Colfax County in 1869. Maxwell sold the grant to foreign investors who organized the Maxwell Land Grant and Railway Company in 1870 and founded the town of Cimarron. The Santa Fe Railroad entered the county in 1879, which precipitated the creation of the towns of Raton and Springer and also fostered large-scale ranching, mining, and lumbering.… (more)

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