Doņa Ana County, NM - J. J. Bowden
On May 11, 1760 Bishop Tamarón described Doña Ana as the sierra on the east side of the river. He camped between Doña Ana and the river (Adams 1953:199).
Lafora described a place between mountain ranges, which he labeled Doña Ana, to the east, and Roblerito, across the river to the west. The name Doña Ana is given elsewhere as the name of a ranchería (Alessio Robles 1939:91).
In August 1846, Wislizenus mentioned that “Doñana” was the first town reached south of the Jornada del Muerto. He said that it was 12 miles south of Robledo but did not describe it as he passed through (Wislizenus 1848:39). On 23 December 1846, Gibson arrived in Doña Ana after what he estimated was a ten-mile trip from Robledo (Bieber 1935:298). In early November 1847, Philip Gooch Ferguson, with an army unit, noted that he camped a mile below the town of Doña Ana (Bieber 1936:337-338). In 1855, Davis, a U.S. Attorney W.W.H. Davis slept with his stock in Doña Ana’s corral since there were no 156 public accommodations (Davis 1938:210-211).
According to Julyan, the original 1839 town site was on a hill north of the present village (Julyan 1996:112-113).
The western boundary of the Doña Ana Grant was determined to be the bed of the Río Grande as it ran before the flood of 1864. The northeastern corner of the grant was the head of the old Doña Ana Acequia, “about three miles above the pueblo of Doña Ana at a point where the Río Grande touches the hills on the East; the R.R. track is near the point.” It is not entirely clear what the bed of the river was above that point but it evidently came from the west. In testimony related to determining that boundary, Ancón de Doña Ana was described in terms of how the river ran in 1852. At the head of the Doña Ana and Las Cruces Acequia, “the Río Grande makes a bend leaving the foothills on the Eastern bank of said river and bearing Southwestwardly and nearing the foothills on the western bank of said river and continues near the western foot hills of said western bank until it reaches the ‘barrancas del brazito’ before mentioned, which place was formerly the head of the acequia of Don Juan Antonio Garcia” (or Bracito). The latter point was the boundary of the Doña Ana and Bracito grants and the location of El Bracito (Doña Ana Grant:170;224;passim). In his “Plano del Rio del Norte” (1773), Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco depicted Doña Ana at the northern bend of the two eastward points on the river that defined the Ancón de Doña Ana before the flood of 1864 (Adams and Chávez 1956:268).
Given the descriptions of the old river, Miera y Pacheco’s map, and the first locations of the town, it appears that the point originally called Doña Ana was the northern bend of the Ancón de Doña Ana. Unfortunately, we have no distance estimates from the colonial period with which to place Doña Ana relative to other parajes. However, the name is also mentioned in reference to the proximity of mountains to the river and at the suggested place the mountains do approach the river and road. The sketchy estimates given in the 1840s conform to the relationship of that point to Robledo and Bracito. It is reasonable to suggest that the area was popular because travelers could reach the river without descending into the sandy and brambly flood plain as they would for many miles to the south. The paraje of Doña Ana, such as it was, probably took in a larger area
Guadalupe Miranda Grant
Romelo Barela Grant
Juan Jose Sanchez Grant
Santa Teresa Grant
Refugio Civil Colony Grant
Santo Tomas de Yturbide Colony Grant
Jose Maria Sanchez Baca Grant
Mesilla Civil Colony Grant
John Heath Grant
Dona Ana Bend Colony Grant
Jornada del Muerto Grant
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