Elizabethtown is Named Colfax County Seat


Elizabethtown, circa 1868

In early March 1869, the first election ever held in Colfax County centered on two questions: Would Elizabethtown be the county seat? Who would be Probate Judge? The voters decided that Elizabethtown (also known as Etown) would indeed be the county seat and that Lucien Maxwell, by a large majority, would be probate judge. He received almost unanimous support in Cimarron and Ute Park, where he owned much of the land and employed the majority of the residents.

April 1870 New Mexico District 1 Court Transcript

There seems to have been some irregularity in the way Maxwell carried out his duties, because the Territory of New Mexico brought a lawsuit against him the following Spring for neglecting to hold probate court. By the time he paid the $50 fine for this offence, in the Fall of 1870, he had sold the Maxwell land grant and was in the process of moving to the recently-abandoned Fort Sumner on the Pecos River.

Sources: Lawrence R. Murphy, Philmont a history of New Mexico’s Cimarron Country, UNM Press, Albuquerque, p. 97; Spring and Fall 1870 NM Territory Court Records, District 1, Case #92