Mora County, New Mexico, Place Names

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ABBOTT. A post office listed in Mora in1905.

ABUELO. Spanishh word for "grandfather". A little town on the Cebolla valley, 1 1/2 miles from Mora. Its provincial pronunciation as "aguelo" is evident among the earliest documents. This is an oldNew Mexico expression for "bogeyman", an ugly old man to scare children.

AGUA AZUL CREEK. "agua azul" is spanish for "blue water".

AGUA NEGRA. "agua negra" is spanish for "black water". A town on the Mora River, once on the Maxwell Land Grant. Post Office 1884-1892.

AGUA PIEDRA CREEK. "agua piedra" is spanish for "stone water".

ARROYO DE LA JARA. On the border of San Miguel County, W of Watrous.

AURORA Point 6 miles N of Ocate. Post Office, 1902-1921.

BARCLAY'S FORT See Fort Barclay

BEAR CREEK Tributary of Mora fork of Pecos River.

BEATTY 7 miles north of Cowles.

BEATTY'S CREEK See Rito del Padre.

BUENA VISTA 20 miles N of Las Vegas. Name emphasizes natural advantages., "good view" in Spanish.

CALLEY'S LAKE 8 miles south of Wagon Mound.

CANADIAN HILLS Extended east from Wagon Mound across east end of Mora county.

CANONCITO Spanish for "lttle canyon".

CARMEN 12 miles S of Mora near Cebolla River. Possibly a reference to Nuestra Senora del Carmen "Our Lady of Carmen".

CEBOLLA Spanish for "onion". This was applied to streams and locations because of wild flowers of the onion family were found in the area. Valley in the west part of Mora County, 3 miles SE of Mora.

CEBOLLA RIVER In the Mora Grant; crosses NM 3 SE of Mora and enters the Mora River.

CHACON "Chaco" is a regional spanish term for "desert". The name was derived from a Navajo for an arroyo and a valley.

A settlement in the upper end of the Mora Valley, 7 miles north of Holman. Named for members of the Chacon family. Albino, Damasco, and Pedro Chacon are listed among the first settlers of San Antonio de Mora (now Cleveland). Diego A. Chacon, was the first postmaaster. Post Office 1894 to present.

CHARETTE LAKE 7 miles west of Nolan

CHERRY VALLEY LAKE - 2 miles southeast of Shoemaker, NM.

CIRUELA CREEK - Spanish name for plum, the wild red plums that grw in the area.

CLEVELAND - 2 miles northwest of Mora on the Rio de la Casa. Settled in 1835 and originally known as SAN ANTONIO. Named in honor of Grover Cleveland, president of the United States 1885-1889 and 1893-1897. Post office 1892 to present day.

CORNUDO HILLS - Cornudo is spanish for "horned", as in animal horns. Located 6 miles east of Wagon Mound.


COYOTE See Rainsville

COYOTE CREEK - Flows southwest into Mora County.


DAILY CANYON - South fork of Manuelitas Creek above Hilton Lodge near Rociada.

DE LO MORA - See Mora County

DOG CREEK - Small creek wich flows south into the Mora River of the southern edge of Mora county.

DRY SALT LAKE - Just north of Wagon Mound.

EL ALTO - Suburb of Mora

ELK CREEK - Uppermost tributary to Cow Creek, entering 3 miles above Martin's Ranch.

ENCIERRE -Spanish for "enclose". Post Office from 1887 to 1890; mail to Wagon Mound.

EVANS - Small station house on AT&SF RR, 2 miles east of edge of Ocate Mesa. See Levy.

FEVERAS - 3 miles northwest of Ocate and 2 miles west of NM 120. In 1849 or 1850 a carpenter named Manuel La Favre worked for Lucien B Maxwell and lived at Rayado, 12 miles northeast of this community.

FORT BARCLAY - 2 miles north of Watrous. Not a government fort, but a forage camp, often referred to as a fort. The large, square enclosure, with high adobe walls and a heavy gate that could be locked, was used as a camping place for pioneers and wagon trains. The stockade furnished protection from raids. Post Office 1851 to 1854, under the name of BARCLAY'S FORT.

FORT UNION - Ruins of an abandoned, dismantled US fort, on NM 477, 8 miles north of Watrous. The mile square, open post without stockade was built in 1851 by Colonel Edmond Von Sumner and was used by soldiers, officers, and their families throughout the Indian Wars and the Civil War. The fort was an important commercial center as well as a strategic military post. Finally abandoned in 1890. In 1956 Fort Union became a national monument. Post Office 1851 to 1891.

FORT UNION MILITARY RESERVE - Includes the western 2/3 of Turkey Mountain, a tract of about 7 by 9 miles, and also flats southwest of the mountains and around old Ft. Union, a tract of about 3 by 6 miles.

FRIJOLES CREEK - Rises on border of Mora nad Taos counties and flows northwest into the Rito de la Olla.

GALLEGOS LAKE - 5 miles southwest of Wagon Mound, just east of AT&SF RR.

GALLINAS - 3 miles northwest of Ocate near the Mora Colfax Counties line.

GARCIA - First postmaster, Placida R Garcia, post Office 1892 to 1898; mail to Beenham.

GASCON - In shee p raising district, 10 miles southwest of Mora. Name means native of Gascony, France. Post Office 1898 to 1901; 1905 intermitently to 1930.

GASCON CREEK - Flows past Gascon above Rociada.

GOLONDRINAS - Spanish for the birds "swallows". 18 miles north of Las Vegas

GUADALUPITA - Spanish for "little Guadalupe". Farming, lumbering, and sheep raising community on NM 38, in Rincon Range 16 miles north of Mora. Post Office 1879 to present day.

HALL'S PEAK - Community on Ocate Creek near the Mora Colfax county line. It was in the Mora Land Grant. Named for the nearby Peak. Post Office 1887 to 1912. The peak rises to an elevation of 9,800 feet, in the northwest corner of Mora County.

HAMILTON MESA - In the western part of Mora county, west of the Rio Valdez.

HOLMAN - Farming and sheep raising community in the western part of Mora County, 5 miles northwest of Mora. First postmaster, Charles W Holman. Post Office 1894 to present day.

JAROSA - 6 miles west of Wagon Mound on the slopes of Turkey Mountain in the Mora Land Grant. So named because of the location near a grove of willow trees.

JAROSA CANYON - Runs south, just north of Hamilton Mesa.

JICARITA MOUNTAIN - Rounded like an inverted basket. It is sacred to the Picuris People and has a shrine on its summit.

JOHN SCOLLY LAND GRANT - An area 6 miles square surrounding the town of Watrous. Granted by Governor Armijo about 1844, within the Mora Land Grant. Litigation continued between heirs of the two grants for half a century.

LA CASA LAKES - SDpanish for "house". Several small lakes west of Cleveland.

LA CUEVA - Spanish for "cave". Ranching community on the Rio de La Casa, at junction of NM3 and NM21, 5 miles southeast of Mora. Post Office, 1868 to present day.

LA CUEVA LAKE - 1 mile east of La Cueva, and 5 miles southeast of Mora.

LAGUNA LINDA - Spanish for "beautiful lake". On the flat ridge between the Rio La Casa and Cebolla Creek, near Cleveland.

LA JARA - Spanish for :the willows". In New Mexico, this term is used to describe a scrub willow tree. Settlement 3 miles north of Rainsville.

LA JARA CREEK - Flows east and south near Rainsville to enter Coyote Creek 2 miles from the Mora River.

LA JUNTA - Post Office 1868 to 1879; changed to WATROUS.



LAS MANUELAS - Small community in a cluster of Spanish settlements north of Ocate.

LEDOUX - Farmiong village 4 milessouth of NM 3, 24 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Post Office 1902 to present day.

LEON - Spanish word for "lion". Post Office 1892 to 1912; mail to Baca.

LEVY - Ranching and farming community on US 85 and AT&SF RR, 5 miles north of Wagon Mound. Named on July 12, 1883, to honor the manager of the railroad commissary. Formerly called EVANS. Post Office 1908 to present day.

LO DE MORA - See Mora County

LOMA PARDA - Spanish for "gray brown hill". Ghost town on the north bank of the Mora River, 6 miles northwest of Watrous. Durting the heydey of Ft. Union, 6 miles to the northeast, Loma Parda entertained the soldiers with saloons, dance halls, and gambling houses. Post Office 1872 to 1900; mail to Watrous.

LOS CHUPADEROS - 6 miles northeast of Mora on an old wagon road to Guadalupita and Ocate.

LOS HUEROS - Spanish for "fair skinned, blonde". Settlement in the hills north of Ocate.

LOS NARANJOS - Spanish for "orange trees" or "the Naranjo folks". This family surname came to New Mexico in 1600, but there is no connection between the first pioneer and the few individuals of this name who were here in 1680 and returned in 1693. On NM 120, 20 miles northwest of Wagon Mound.

LOS SISNEROS - Spanish for "the Sisnero folks". 14 miles north of Mora and east of NM 38.

LOST BEAR LAKE - 2 miles above Pecos Falls, and 11 miles west of Mora; source of one of the tributaries of the Pecos River.

LOUIS - Formerly TRAMPERAS . First postmaster , Louis R Garcia. Post Office 1892 to 1896; mail to Clapham. See Miera.

LUCAS - First postmaster, Anna Lucas. Post Office 1908 to 1911; mail to Roy.

LUCERO - Pedro Lucero de Godoy, a native of Mexico City, came to NM early in the 17th century. His sons and grandsons figured prominently during the reconquest. Their descendants heavily populated Rio Arrivba and Rio Abajo districts in Spanish times. On NM 38, 7 miles northeast of Mora. Post Office 1885 to 1936.

LUJAN CREEK - East fork of Mora River above Chacon; rises in Rincon Range in extreme NW corner of Mora county.

LUNA CREEK - West fork of Mora River above Chacon; heads in Rincon Range.

MAESTAS CREEK - 3 miles west of Rociada

MALDONADO - Post Office 1896-1897; mail to Wagon Mound.


MELVIN - Post Office 1895 to 1899; mail to Wagon Mound.

MIERA - The earliest record of this surname, is that of a soldier, Bernardo Miera y Pacheco, who appeared in Santa Fe as early as 1756. His son, Anacleto, is said to be the founder of the family that settled this town. It is 9 miles south of Barney, at the Harding county line. At one time it was called TRAMPERAS, also LOUIS. First postmaster, Francisco Miera. Post Office 1889, intermittently to 1927.

MILLS BUTTE - 3 miles west of Canadian Red River in the eastern part of Mora County, and halfway between north and south boundaries.

MOGOTE - Spanish "hummock" or "young animal horns".

MORA - On NM 3 and Mora River, in the western part of Mora County. It is the county seat and shopping center for the nearby communities. Post Office 1864 to the present day.

MORA COUNTY - Formed February 1, 1860, with the town of Mora as the county seat.

MORA LAND GRANT - The entire district was designated LO DE MORA and DE O MORA in early documents. The spanish contraction indicates the spring where the mulberries frow. The Mora surname comes from one or more individuals such as Mora Pineda and Garcia de la Mora, who came to NM after the reconquest of 1692. People with this surname were living on the frontier of MoraCounty at the end of the 18th century. In a 1835 a decree gave each of 76 settlers a strip of land on which they settled. Founding the town of Santonio de lo de Mora, now Cleveland. The grant of land extended from Mora to Wagon Mound.

MORA RIVER - Rises in the Rincon Range, est of Sangre de Cristo Mountains; flows through west and south sections of Mora County into San Miguel County where it joins the Canadian River north of Sabinoso. Shown as RIO DE MORA on an 1828 map.

NOLAN - Community on US 85 and AT&SF RR, 11 miles north of Wagon Mound. The majority of the inhabitants were railroad employees. Post Office 1908 to 1944.

OCATE - Local spanish for "white pine". Ranching, lumbering, and dry farming community on NM 120, 24 miles northwest of Wagon Mound, on Ocate Creek and 5 miles south of Colfax County line. Post Office 1866 to present day.

OCATE CRATER - 18 miles northeast of Mora, at the west end of Ocqte Mountain.

OCATE CREEK - Rises in Colfax County then flows southeast through Ocate, below which it is diverted into the Upper Charette Lake and then into Canadian River.

OCATE CREEK, SOUTH FORK - Small stream at the Schiele Ranch above Ocate.

OCATE GRANT - On October 15, 1837, Manuel Alvarez petitioned Governor Armijo for land to introduce Merino sheep, and on October 16, the governor approved the grant, confirming it on December 5, 1845.

OCATE MESA - Large mesa extending 10 or 12 miles, starts 3 miles northwest of Wagon Mound.

OCATE MOUNTAIN - 18 miles northeast of Mora.

OJITA - Spanish for "little spring" or "small leaf".

OJO FELIZ - Ojo is a an archaic spanish term for slow flowing water or spring. Feliz is the spanish for happy. Ranching and lumbering community 1 mile east,of Nm 21, 57 miles west of Wagon Mound. Post Office 1922 to present day.
OJO ZARCO - Ojo is a an archaic spanish term for slow flowing water or spring."clear blue".

OPTIMO - Spanish for"best or very good". Farming and ranching community 1 mile east of US 85 and 9 miles southwest of Wagon Mound. Formerly called TIPTON. The railroad imported settlers from Pennsylvania who were called Dunkards, a sect of the German American Baptists. They settled on land east of the railroad right of way and attempted farming. Post Office 1909 to 1947.

OSHA CANYON - The name of an herb, wild angelica root, found in various parts of the state and used for medicinal purposes.

PANCHUELA CREEK, WEST - Heads across the divide from Panchuela Creek, and constitutes the headwaters of Frijoles Creek, which flows past Cundiyo to Santa Cruz Lake.
PECOS BALDY - Peak located in southwest tip of Mora County in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

PECOS BALDY LAKE - At the eastern bassse of Pecos Baldy Mountain, 7 miles north of Cowles.

PIEDRA LUMBRE ARROYO, CREEK - Flows east into the Canadian River at the Mora Harding County line.

PINKERTON - Post Office 1881 to 1882; changed to WAGON MOUND.

PORVENIR - Post Office 1896, intermittently to 1922. See EL PORVENIR.

POT CREEK - North Fork of the Little Rio Grande into which it empties, a short distance below US Hill.

RAINSVILLE - Farming community 2 miles east of NM 21, 8 miles east of Mora. Formerly called COYOTE. Post Office 1921 to present day.

RINCON RANGE - Extends north and south in western Mora County, from Lucero to the Colfax Mora county line, west of Coyote Creek.

RIO DE LA CASA - Also known as RIO LA CASA, Lower and Upper. Rises in the west central part of Mora County, and flows southeast to join the Mora River. Named for the beaver houses or dams, along the stream.

RIO DEL PUEBLO PLAZA - River of the Town Square.
RIO EN MEDIO also called RIO DEL MEDIO and MEDIO CREEK- "middle river" or midway river. Mountain stream heading on the northwest side of Pecos Baldy and flowing west for 18 miles to the Santa Cruz River.

RIO FRIJOLES - Refers to the bean growing patches irrigated by the streams flow.

RIO LA JUNTA - See Watrous

RIO LUCIA - Close to Penasco, on the west side of the mountains; at the entrance of the Picuris Pueblo. Post Office 1921 to 1923.

RIO MORA - See Mora River

RIO VALDEZ - Nortj Fork of the Mora Pecosin the southwest cornerf Mora County, joining that stream at the upper end of Mora Flats and crossing into San Miguel County.

RITO AZUL - Rito is spanish for little river, "lttle blue river". Fork of the Rito de los Chimayoses, south of Truchas Peak.

RITO DE LOS CHIMAYOSES - Rito is spanish for little river, little river of the Chimayo people. The biggest fork of the Rito del Padre or Beatty's Fork of the Pecos River; heads aginst the east side of Truchas Peak.
RITO DE LOS ESTEROS - Rito is spanish for little river of the flooded marshes or estuaries. Small fork of the Mora Pecos entering from the east at the lower end of the Mora Flats, 5 miles northeast of Cowles.

RITO DEL OSO - Rito is spanish for little river. Oso is bear. Fork of the Mora Pecos, along Rociada Trail.

RITO DEL PADRE - Spanish for father or priest's little river. Also known as BEATTY'S FORK of the Pecos River. Extends from Beatty, up to the source at Truchas Peak.

RITO MAESTAS - Maestas is a spanish surname. Little river of the Maestas folks. East fork of the Rito del Padre in the upper Pecos country, 15 miles west of Mora.

RITO PERRO - Dog's little river. East fork of the Panchuela Creek; just below Pecos Baldy Peak.

RITO SABADIOSIS - Enter the Rito del Padre just above Beatty, 7 miles north of Cowles.

ROCIADA - Spanish for dew sprinkled.

ROUND MOUNTAIN - In the southwest tip of Mora County north of Cowles. Named for its circular formation.

SALT LAKE - Near Wagon Mound

SAN ANTONIO - It was St. Anthony of Padua, disciple of St. Francis, that the people of northern New Mexico favored as patron of several placesnamed by them. Old town 3 miles southwest of Mora in sheep raising section of the the county. In the Mora Land Grant.

SANGRE DE CRISTO MOUNTAINS - This mountain range runs north and south in the southernmost section of the Rockies, extending from southern Colorado to Santa Fe and Pecos. It forms the western boundary of Mora County. Also called the SIERRA MADRE MOUNTAINS as late as 1790. Present name strted at the beinning of the 19th century and seems to be associated with the birth of the Penitente religious society.

SANTA CLARA - Post Office 1876 to 1877

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST - Lies east and north east of Santa Fe, in the corner of three counties, Santa Fe, San Miguel and Mora.

SANTA GERTRUDIS. Town in the Mora Valley, named for St. Gertrude, a German abess of the 13th century who was a favorite in Spanish countries. Originally called SANTA GERTRUDIS DE LO DE MORA.

SANTIAGO - Contraction of Santo Iago, spanish for St. James the Greater who is believed to have established Christianity in Spain.

SAUZ - Spanish for "willow". Post Office 1904 to 1905; Changed to ABBOTT.

SCHIELE LAKE NO.1, 2, AND 3. - Small lakes on the mesa above the Schciele Ranch headquarters north of Ocate.

SHOEMAKER - Ranching and farming community 3 miles south of US 85, 19 miles southwest of Wagon Mound. Named for Capt. W.R.Shoemaker, Civil War ordnance officer at Ft. Union near Las Vegas. He was esteemed and respected by the civilian population as well as by the military. Post Office 1882 to 1957.

SHOEMAKER CANYON - East of Ft. Union Military Reserve, also bears his name.

SPARKS CREEK - Joins Manuelitas Creek at Lower Rociada.

TIPTON - At one time a small town with a post office, 2 mile N of Watrous, in John Scolly Land Grant. Named for the Tipton family which was one of the first to settle here. Now part of a very large ranch. Mora river runs through the property and US 85 passses a short distance east. post office, Tiptonville, 1876 to 1898. See Optimo.

TOWNER - First postmaster, John C Towner, Post Office 1877 to 1878.

TRAMPERAS - Post Office 1879 to 1892; changed to LOUIS.

TRUCHAS PEAK - 12 miles southeast of Truchas settlement. On the Mora Rio Arriba county line in the south end of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Altitude 13,102 feet, the second highest peak in NM, exceedced only by Wheeler Peak.

TURKEY MOUNTAINS - Series of sandstone foothills in the northeastern part of the state, about 5 miles east of US 85 and 15 miles west of Wagon Mound. Named because of the number of wild turkeys found in the range.

TURQUILLO - Spanish for "little turk" 9 miles northeast of Mora in the Rincon Range. Post Office 1910 to 1913.

UPPER MORA - Post Office 1868.

US HILL - A grade on the winding mountain road leading from Mora to Taos. Explanation commonly given for the name is that the alignment of the road is so irregular that if viewed from the air, it would actually spell out the initials "US". The US Forest Service built the road, probably named it.

VALMORA - Farming and ranching community 4 miles east of US 85, and 5 miles northeast of Watrous, in the John Scolly Land Grant. Formerly a sanatorium village operated by eastern firms for the benefits of their employees. Post Office, 1916 to the present.

VANDERITOS - Post Office, 1886 to 1887; mail to Halls Peak; 1907 to 1907; maiol to Aurora.

VAUR - Post Office 1889 to 1892' changed to LEON.

VERMEJO CREEK - Spaniosh "brown or auburn". Flows into the Canadian red River at the Mora county line.

VIRGINIA, VIRGINIA CITY - Postal records list Taos, Mora, and Colfax counties for this station. between April 9, 1868 and October 22, 1869. See Elizabethtown in Colfax County.

WAGON MOUND - Ranching and dry farming town on NM 120, US 85, and AT&SF RR, in the east central part of Mora county. Named by stockmen about 1859, for a rocky formation to the east, resembling a covered wagon. SANTA CLARA seems to have been the earlist name for the community. It was here that the Cimarron cutoff joined the main branch of the Santa Fe Trail. Post Office 1882 to present day.

WATROUS - Old Spanish settlement 20 miles northeast of Las Vegas, on US 82, and AT&SF RR . At junction of Sapello and Mora rivers, and once called LA JUNTA or RIO LA JUNTA. Shortly before the Civil War, the community took the last name of Samuel B Watrous, and early Anglo-American settler. Post Office, La Junta, 1868 to 1879; changed to Watrous 1879 to present.

WEBER - Post Office, 1898 to 1905; mail to La Cueva.

WILLIS - On Pecos River, 15 miles north of Pecos. Post Office1896 to 1905.


WOLF CREEK - flows south to Mora River, joining it at Valmora.

WOOLEN MILL - Abandoned town once located 11 miles east of Watrous on Mora River.

Source: New Mexico Place Names, A Geographical Dictionary. T.M. Pearce, Ina Sizer Cassidy, Helen S pearce; The University of New Mexico Press, 1965. LCCC No. 64-17808.