Upper Hondo

la Junta or Junction, Hondo, Tinnie, the Casey Ranch, Picacho, Sunset Ranch


In 1880 the upper Hondo was enumerated as two identifiable parts; Junction Plaza which includes the Casey family up to the Fritz place on the Bonito and Plaza Picacho which covers down to Martin Sanchez' Sunset Ranch.

The Upper Hondo actually predates Lincoln a bit. Where the Ruidoso and Bonito meet was the camp of Captain Ewell and the soldiers that were on the Scout when Captain Stanton was killed. When the Army returned a few months later, to build Ft. Stanton, they were going to build it here at the junction. As it turned out, the Officers didn't think to highly of the location and after a look around the area they settled on the current location as better suited for an Army Fort.

The other thing that the Army brought was roads. Two different detachments joined to build the fort; one from the south, from Mesilla, and one from the north, from Manzano. This location was not only at the junction (la Junta) of two rivers but the junction of the two primary roads that they blazed; the first roads into and leading to the settlement of Lincoln County.

Speaking of roads, the third gateway was developed a few years later; coming up an old Indian Trail on the Hondo from the Pecos River. At the lower end of this third road, a few miles from where the Hondo joins the Pecos was the old settlement of Missouri Plaza (Lower Hondo). That village was bit of a crossroads on its own. The trail, and later a wagon road, that came down the Pecos was the primary heavy transport connection to Ft. Sumner, at least for its short life as a military post. However the trail that had the most influence on events; came up the Pecos to Missouri Plaza from Horsehead Crossing. From Horsehead Crossing it stretched back across Texas and was the main route West for most emigrants until the early 1900s. At Horsehead Crossing the westward trail split, either going south through El Paso (hot and dry) or up to the Hondo (pretty and lots of water); many Cowboys, Cattle and Pilgrims passed that way, up the Hondo, for about 50 years or so.

Before the Civil War the Hondo valley blossomed as a farming area. The Beckwith family, no doubt, gave the area its start; in the 1860 Census, Hugh Beckwith had by far the largest holdings in Rio Bonito area. Applying a little logic it would seem that Beckwith built the ranch that became the Casey Ranch. With the advent of war, because of his Southern sympathies, they left Rio Bonito however after the war they re-established themselves at Seven Rivers down the Pecos. Robert Casey and his family came to the Upper Hondo in 1867; their story is told by their daughter, Lilly Casey Klasner in her book "My Girlhood among Outlaws" which is still available.

Upper Hondo Stuff Things collected from the internet

1880 Census Junction Plaza With notes

1880 Census Plaza Picacho With notes

Modern Map of the Upper Hondo

Some folks of Junction Plaza

Some folks on Plaza Picacho