Hondo in Lincoln County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Historic Lincoln, New Mexico
Just 10 miles west on US Highway 380 you will discover one of New Mexico’s hidden treasures, the town of Lincoln. Tucked away in the beautiful Bonito River Valley, Lincoln has barely changed since the Lincoln County War (1878-1881). Lincoln is considered by many historians to be the most authentic old west town remaining in the United States. A host of characters, including Billy the Kid, launched the little hamlet into the history books. Lincoln’s story brings with it the dubious distinction of having been the most violent town in western American history. President Rutherford B. Hayes once called the single road through Lincoln “the most dangerous street in America.” Here is a tale fueled by ambition, greed, corruption and violence, dripping in political intrigue, which spilled over to the state capital in Santa Fe and made national headlines.
Although Billy the Kid was the most famous character in Lincoln during its historic heyday, he had only a supporting role in the larger story… the Lincoln County War. The War as a capitalistic struggle that took root in 1877 when a wealthy young Englishman, John H. Tunstall, saw an opportunity to establish a mercantile store in Lincoln and compete with the monopoly that L. G. Murphy and Company had established. Murphy and his young protégé, James J. Dolan, were backed by powerful politicians who were also investors and a deputized group of gunmen known as “The Boys.” Tunstall was soon murdered for his efforts and his allies, that included Alexander McSween, Billy the Kid and cattle baron John S. Chisum, sought revenge by forming their own arm of the law called “The Regulators.” County residents chose up sides and anarchy reigned.
Of all the murders, thefts and property destruction that occurred during the Lincoln County War, only one man, William H. Bonney… Billy the Kid, was ever tried, convicted and sentenced. This was for the murder of Sheriff Will Brady. He was to hang in Lincoln on May 13, 1881, but made his famous escape from the courthouse (now a museum), killing his two guards on April 28, 1881.
Today, Lincoln’s idyllic and picturesque setting belies its violent past. Lincoln State Monument, a National Historic Landmark, preserves 16 historic adobe and stone buildings. As you take a relaxing stroll in the footsteps of Billy the Kid, Sheriff Pat Garrett, Kit Carson, John Chisum and General John J. “Blackjack” Pershing you can visit six museums and see the famous town much as it looked during the Lincoln County War. The State Monument museums are open seven days a week, except for Christmas, New Year, Easter and Thanksgiving Days. (The Tunstall Store is closed during winter months, November 1 thru April 1.) Admission fees do apply for the museums. For more information call the Lincoln State Monument office at 575-653-4372.
Location. 33° 23.436′ N, 105° 16.432′ W. Marker is in Hondo, New Mexico, in Lincoln County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 380 and U.S. 70, on the left when traveling west on U.S. 380. Touch for map. The marker is located within a turnout and parking area where US 380 ("Billy the Kid Trail") and US 70 intersect. Marker is in this post office area: Hondo NM 88336, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. San Patricio (approx. 3.2 miles away); Lincoln (approx. 8.9 miles away); Montano Store (approx. 9½ miles away); Col. Dudley's Camping Place (approx. 9½ miles away); Earliest Courthouse (approx. 9½ miles away); John H. Tunstall Murder Site (Actual) (approx. 9.6 miles away); San Juan Church (approx. 9.6 miles away); Torreon (approx. 9.6 miles away).
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Also see . . .
1. New Mexico's Lincoln County War.
The Lincoln County War was a conflict between rival cattle barons in 19th century New Mexico Territory. (Submitted on November 25, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Lincoln Historic Site.
Lincoln is a town made famous by one of the most violent periods in New Mexico history. Today's visitors can see the Old Lincoln County Courthouse with museum exhibits that recount the details of the Lincoln County War and the historic use of the "House" as store, residence, Masonic Lodge, courthouse, and jail. (Submitted on November 25, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Lincoln has a history shared by few other towns.
Today the Main Street of Lincoln is a beautifully preserved monument to the Lincoln County War. (Submitted on November 25, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Notable Places •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 25, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 366 times since then and 17 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on November 25, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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