Santa Fe County

By: Seymour V. Connor

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: July 1, 1995

Santa Fe County, established on March 15, 1848, included practically all of the area of New Mexico claimed by the Republic of Texas and later by the state of Texas. At the time it was established, the Texas Legislature passed a joint resolution laying before the United States Congress the fact that Santa Fe County was a part of Texas and authorizing the governor of Texas to issue a proclamation to organize the county. The territory was made the eleventh judicial district of Texas on March 20, 1848, and Spruce M. Baird was appointed chief justice, but he never held a court. In October 1848 citizens of the area held a mass meeting at Santa Fe to protest incorporation with Texas, partially because Texas was a slave state and partially because of long animosity between the area and the Texas government. In 1849 Governor Peter H. Bell threatened to claim the area by force, and in January 1850 Santa Fe County was subdivided into Worth, El Paso, Presidio, and Santa Fe counties. Robert S. Neighbors made an unsuccessful trip to organize the counties. On November 25, 1850, in compliance with a section of the Compromise of 1850, Texas ceded to the United States, for $10,000,000, her claims to the upper Rio Grande area. Worth and Santa Fe counties became defunct, and El Paso and Presidio counties were reduced in area.

Hans Peter Nielsen Gammel, comp., Laws of Texas, 1822–1897 (10 vols., Austin: Gammel, 1898). C. R. Wharton, "Spruce McCoy Baird," New Mexico Historical Review 27 (October 1952). Clarence Wharton, What Became of Judge Baird (1940?).


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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Seymour V. Connor, “Santa Fe County,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 28, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995