Colorado History and Genealogy Project

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Conejos County Colorado ~  1870

This county, lying west of the Rio Grande River, contains a population of over 2,500, chiefly Mexicans and half-breeds. Owing to its somewhat isolated position, the resources of this county are comparatively little known. It contains a large area of well watered and arable land, but the class of inhabitants settled within its borders are not particularly noted for enterprise or thrift; hence very little has ever been accomplished in the way of development. The inhabitants live in adobe houses, grouped here and there into little plazas, or villages, for purposes of protection from hostile bands of Indians, as well as for social reasons.

Wheat is the principal crop raised, and wool-growing the chief industry. In the mountain portions of the county the precious metals exist in greater or less quantities, but mining is not engaged in to any extent. Gypsum is found in abundance in various places in the county, and the native inhabitants use this substance largely in whitewashing their adobe buildings.

Guadalupe is the county seat, and principal, town. It is located on the Conejos River, about twenty miles above its junction with the Rio Grande. The other villages, or plazas, are San Margarita, Rinsones, San Jose, San Raphael, San Antonio, Pinos, Conejos, Guadaloupita, Tirvietta, and Hilaris. Conejos is one of the largest counties in Colorado, containing over 11,000 square miles of territory, enough to make several States as large as Rhode Island; but it is very much broken by mountains, and much of it yet unexplored. It occupies the southwestern corner of the Territory, its western half being included in the Consolidated Reservation of the Ute Indians, and therefore forbidden ground to all white men. The time is not far distant when this interesting region, with its beautiful climate and rich grazing lands, will attract more attention than it has yet done.

Rocky Mountain Directory & Colorado Gazetteer

Source: Rocky Mountain Directory and Colorado Gazetteer, 1871, S. S. Wallihan & Company, Compilers and Publishers, Denver, 1870.

 

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