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Located in Central New Mexico, Torrance County was created in 1903 from parts of Lincoln, San Miguel, Socorro, Santa Fe, and Valencia Counties. It was named for the Rail Road developer Francis J. Torrance. Around 1900 he and William H Andrews, both from Pennsylvania, and their associates established what became the NMC Rail Road and by 1902 grading was in full swing and a townsite laid out at Estancia. The first county seat, however, was at Progresso, the sheep ranch of Col. J. Francisco Chaves, political leader for whom Chaves County was named. Estancia did not become the Torrance County seat until 1905.