Records of the Methodist Episcopal Church Colfax County, New Mexico

 Posted by Phil Hall – Etown, NM





A History of the church in New Mexico


Pastorical and Statistical Record

Class Records 1874 – 1900

Probationer’s Records 1870 – 1900

Marriage Records 1870 – 1918

Baptismal Records 1870 – 1917


On a recent visit to Cimarron, New Mexico, I found a Hotel Register for the St. James Hotel that had never been copied and in my desire to obtain a copy of it before something should happen to the original, I made a trip back to Cimarron. While there I discovered some account ledgers and also had them duplicated. Mr. Edward Sitzberger had the only copy machine in town and he agreed to do the record duplication. While Mr. Sitzberger was obtaining the ledgers and the Register, he also found a history of the Methodist Episcopal Church, starting in 1867 with its formation from the Colorado headquarters. He stated that this was a document that had never before been copied and the curator at the Old Mill Museum was pleased to have it done.

Thus I came into possession of probably the only copy ever made of this register and present it herewith. I have attempted to set forth the names as accurately as possible in the index, but I trust that the user will realize that the writing is sometimes difficult to make out. Be sure to check alternative spellings of names. I kept to the original spellings as they appear in the Register rather than modern “accepted” spellings. There are cross references where it appeared to be the same family but with a variety of spellings.

I have set forth a brief synopsis of the church history followed by the original document. After the presentation of the original document itself, I have transcribed the history in full for those who may have difficulty in reading the fine, small writing of the original. That is followed by the

index. We hope these pages will help researchers discover long sought ancestors and relatives. We were delighted to be able to assist two researchers even before publication.

Many thanks Mr. Edward Sitzberger of Cimarron, New Mexico, for his work in duplicating the original records; it turned out to be an extremely difficult job with the very fragile original documents and consumed many hours of his time. And many thanks to the Old Mill Museum for preservingand making available these priceless historic documents.

Laurel E. Drew, Editor
Howard W. Henry, Compiler
Eldon W. Pierce, PAF Group
Fall, 1994.
Howard W. Henry, Compiler



In 1867 Rev. J. L. Dyer came from Colorado to New Mexico and headquartered at Elizabeth Town. He was a member of the Colorado Methodist Episcopal Conference. He built a little board shanty and lived in one end and kept his horse in the other.

In 1868 he organized a society of six persons, but soon nearly all moved away. He bought lumber to build a church, but during his trips preaching, the lumber was stolen. The congregation grew. The work was then designated as the Santa Fe District of the Colorado Conference, and the headquarters was moved to Santa Fe.

In the fall of 1869, Thomas Harwood was transferred from the West Wisconsin Conference and made La Junta his headquarters.1 Bro. Harwood organized a class of six probationers and nine members. A church building was built and dedicated July 3, 1870. In the latter part of 1870 Mr. Harwood was in charge of the work in the entire territory.

1 La Junta was located at the confluence of the Sapello and Cebolla Rivers near present-day Watrous. There are still a few ruins of buildings at the site.


In 1871, N. S. Buckner was appointed to Elizabeth Town. In October of 1871, the church was expanded and organized in Peralta. There were forty-three names altogether.

In 1872, at the General Conference in Brooklyn, New York , a petition was presented to set off New Mexico from the Colorado Conference. The petition was granted and Rev. Harwood, who had been acting superintendent for three years, was appointed.

In the fall of 1872, Rev. John Steele of the West Wisconsin Conference, was appointed missionary to New Mexico and stationed at Peralta.

In the fall of 1873 the superintendent visited the entire work in the territory, consisting of all the occupied and much of the unoccupied portion, consisting of Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Ft. Stanton, Las Cruces, Mesilla, Silver City, El Paso City, Texas, El Paso in the Mexican zone, Dona Ana, Ft. Seldon, Palomas, Ft. McRae, Ft. Craig, Ft. Cummons, Ft. Bayard, Paraje, Socorro, and Peralta. About this time Rev. M. Matthison, of the West Wisconsin Conference, was sent to Socorro.

In January, 1874, Rev. F. J. Tolby of the Northwest Indiana Conference was sent to the Cimarron circuit. He was assassinated September 14, 1875, near Elizabeth Town.

In the spring of 1874, Rev. P. D. McElroy, of the Presbyterian Church, was employed at Mora, but he had to discontinue his service.

In 1875, Rev. O. P. McMains was appointed to Cimarron and Elizabeth Town in place of Rev. F. J. Tolby. He was soon discontinued.

In the fall of 1874, Rev. J. H. Roberts was appointed to the Mexican work, was married and appointed to work at Las Cruces. In 1875, Benito Garcia was in charge of work at Circuelita and Ambrosio Gonzales was appointed at Peralta.  Rev. Juan Garcia was licensed to preach in 1874, and appointed to Manzano. Bro. Bias Gutierrez was licensed to preach in 1875, and in charge of the work at Valverde.  Marcus Barela was employed as a missionary helper and licensed to preach in 1875 and worked in Santa Fe.

The oldest mission was at Elizabeth Town. The second oldest was La Junta. Peralta was founded in 1871. This could be called the oldest, rightfully, because it was founded by Fr. Dallas Love in 1853. Circuelita was founded in 1872, Socorro in 1873, Las Cruces and Mesilla in 1875, Silver City in 1876, Las Vegas and Santa Fe in 1880.

Circuelita is no longer found on the map, but was a
small village near Watrous, New Mexico.



  1. Albuquerque Daily Citizen Newspaper Albuquerque, New Mexico

Surname Index for the newspaper for year 1888, with 5098 entries 197 pages 1889, with 7616 entries 293 pages 1890, in publication with approximately 10,000 entries and 350 pages

  1. Albuquerque Daily Journal Newspaper Albuquerque, New Mexico

Vital Statistics: Births, deaths, marriages

1942 with 3963 entries and 153 pages

1943 with 5812 entries and 226 pages

1944 with 5717 entries and 221 pages

  1. The Guest Register of the St. James Hotel, Cimarron, New Mexico. Copy of Original Register with Surname Index (A few entries into the 1900’s)

Covers 1881-1899, 120 pages, 839 entries

  1. Three Customer Account Ledgers of the St. James Hotel, Cimarron, New Mexico

Vol 1 – 1871-1875; 265 pages, 141+ names (+-) indexed

Vol 2 – 1875, 80, ’81, ’90; 200 pages, 101 (+-) indexed

Vol 3 – 1889, 1890; 188 pages, 62 (+-) indexed

  1. This Methodist Episcopal Church Record




Address Inquiries to:

Publishing Committee

PAF Users Group

423 Central Avenue, Northeast

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

(505) 848-1376


Many thanks to the Genealogy club of Albuquerque for all the hard work and research that it took to translate the records.  
Phil Hall



5 thoughts on “Records of the Methodist Episcopal Church Colfax County, New Mexico”

  1. Church History has not been attempted New York City, General Records Methodist Episcopal Church of New York In the early days, records were also kept for the entire church in the city.

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