Canutillo is a community on the east bank of the Rio Grande and on U.S. Highways 80 and 85 about twelve miles northwest of downtown El Paso in northwestern El Paso County. The community also was on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The story of the town begins in June 1823, when the Canutillo land grant was assigned to Juan María Ponce De León and twenty-nine other citizens of El Paso del Norte (what is now Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico). A small agricultural settlement was established in 1824, but Apache raiders forced residents to abandon it in 1833. The site remained vacant until after the arrival of Anglo-American settlers in the mid-1800s. The Canutillo ranch became a principal source of income for James Wiley Magoffin, but in 1855 José Sánchez and others established their ownership as descendants of the original grantees. The state of Texas recognized their claim in 1858, and the land grant was surveyed by Anson Mills two years later. In 1874 a court order divided ownership of the grant among Joseph Magoffin, Josiah F. Crosby, William W. Mills, Anson Mills, John S. Watts, and Sánchez. The Canutillo Townsite and Land Company was chartered in 1909, and a post office was established there two years later. In 1914 Canutillo was identified as a rural post office and had four general stores to serve the surrounding population. The community's estimated population was 300 in 1925, some 400 in 1931, and 828 in 1936. By the mid-1940s the number of local residents had declined to 775, but later the town continued to grow. By the mid-1950s its estimated population was 1,326, by the mid-1960s it was 1,425, and by the mid-1970s it was 1,800. That population estimate remained constant until the early 1990s, when it was revised upward to 4,442. The population was 5,129 in 2000.