Reserve, New Mexico

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Reserve is a village in Catron County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 387 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Catron County.[1] Currently the village has a hotel, several stores and bars, and a health clinic. It is the site where Elfego Baca held off a gang of Texan cowboys who wanted to kill him for arresting cowboy Charles McCarty.



Reserve is situated in the Gila National Forest on the Arizona/New Mexico border. It is the county seat of Catron County, the state's largest and least densely populated county. The area includes ruins from the Mogollon and Anasazi tribes, as well as petroglyphs and historic Old West sites.[citation needed]

Catron became a county in 1921. It was named after a famous attorney and political leader from Santa Fe, Thomas B. Catron.[2]


In the 1860s, Mexican-Americans established a string of villages along the river, naming them the Upper, Lower, and Middle San Francisco Plazas. In the late 1870s Anglo settlers began arriving. They renamed Upper Frisco Plaza as Milligan's Plaza, naming it after a merchant and saloon owner.

Milligan's Plaza was the site of the legendary Frisco Shootout of Elfego Baca. In 1882, or perhaps 1884, the nineteen-year-old Baca apparently appointed himself deputy sheriff and rode 130 miles from Socorro to the Plaza. There he set about bringing justice to the Mexican-American community which had been beset by drunken cowboys.

Outnumbered by 80 Texans, Baca holed up in a jacal, the flimsiest kind of hut, and was besieged by the mob. Bullets and dynamite could not dislodge him, and in a gun battle lasting 33 hours, he inflicted death and grievous injury on some of his adversaries without being injured himself.[3]


Reserve is located at 33°42′31″N 108°45′39″W / 33.70861°N 108.76083°W / 33.70861; -108.76083 (33.708493, -108.760822).[4]

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