The Santa Fe New Mexican was perhaps the most important newspaper in New Mexico from the late nineteenth century into the twentieth century. Prominent Republican Max Frost, owner of the New Mexican from 1897 to 1909, was typical of many newspaper publishers of the time, acting as a spokesperson for business and development. Articles celebrated the climate of New Mexico: dry, disease-free air with land fertile for farming and industry. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many areas along rail lines grew quickly, particularly in the sparsely populated eastern plains. Homesteaders and land developers moved in and established farms, towns, and cities. Whether a real estate ploy to sell city lots or genuine sentiment, emerging communities often tried to out-do one another in displays of civic pride and virtue. Here, in 1905, the New Mexican discusses how Roosevelt County is settling rapidly due to the on-going construction of the Belen Cutoff and a reader asks for more promotional literature from New Mexico’s Bureau of Immigration.
~ ~ ~ ~ “John W. Corbett, founder of Mountainair, NM,” Unknown (Photographer)
The Santa Fe New Mexican, December 5, 1905
Roosevelt County Attractive to Many New Settlers—Fifty Miles of Cut-off Built.
Roosevelt County is evidently one of the most rapidly growing sections of the Sunshine Territory and more facts come daily to hand to prove this. Portions of that country which five years ago supported nothing but a steer, a few jack rabbits, a prairie dog or two and some of those mottled rattlesnakes, are now dotted with homesteads and the homesteaders who are living there with their families and whose numbers are constantly on the increase, are raising good crops of cereals and vegetables, and are redeeming these deserts from its arid condition, more and more satisfactorily daily.
The Bureau of Immigration of the Territory has done much in bringing immigrants to Roosevelt County and in calling attention to the fact that with good intelligent farming and timely work the vast plains there can be made productive and will furnish comfortable homes and a living to many settlers.
A letter just received from one of the new settlers in that section by the Bureau of Immigration explains the situation.
Brownhorn, N. M., November 25, 1905
Dear Sir: The supply of literature you sent me is exhausted and [I] could have used three times as many booklets. Would you please send me as many “Ho’ To the Land of Sunshine” and bulletins on Roosevelt County as “John Corbett’s homestead and dugout in Mountainair, NM,” Unknown (Photographer) you can spare me? Could use 500 of each as I am going east in a short time in the interest of immigration.
The Brownhorn country is developing rapidly—many homestead entries being made every week and the influx of homesteaders is on the increase.
Track laying on the cut off has reached fifty-one miles and they are pushing it rapidly. This is the heart of agricultural New Mexico and the people are now finding it out.
W. D. McBee