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Hillsboro New Mexico Townsite - Ghost town

Photos courtesy of Mike Sinnwell June 2009

Hillsboro was founded in April of 1877 but it did not get its name until December of that year. Guess they were to busy digging for gold to care about naming the place. In any case the stories told are about everyone putting their suggested name in a hat. Hillsborough was drawn out and then shortened to Hillsboro. Post Office was established in 1879.

A couple of prospectors Dave Stitzel and Daniel Dugan were joined by Joe Yankie. Joe was supposedly the one that found the gold first. As usual the news spread fast and soon miners from the surrounding area flocked to the site to find their share of the riches. By 1878 the town had 250 people and by 1882 the population was over 700.

Early settlers had to deal with the Apaches because the mining was smack dab in the middle of the Apache hunting grounds. Many unmarked graves can be attributed to the miners and Apaches trying to settle their differences over the rights to the Black Mountains.

Some say Butch Cassidy, the Farmington gang and the Kingston gangs operated in this area. As a testimony to the lawlessness, gun toting, and hair raising town at one time the jails became so overcrowded that they transported criminals to nearby cities.  Hillsboro became the county seat in 1884. A distinction the town held until 1938.

I should also mention the trial of the century, in 1899, the murder of Judge Albert Jennings Fountain and his eight year old son. And of course the madam Sadie Jane Creech who eventually married J. W. Orchard to gain some respectability.  She built and ran the Ocean Grove Hotel serving fine wines and great meals.