In March 1861, Lucien Maxwell and Charles Beaubien sold what is now the Urraca Ranch wealthy Taos merchant Peter Joseph for $660. A Portuguese immigrant, Joseph had trapped and traded with Maxwell and Carson during their mountain man days. Although he died less than a year after the property transfer, in that time Joseph had a ten acre piece of the land (probably along Urraca Creek) surrounded with a board fence so it could be farmed. The eastern border of the Joseph Ranch was the Old Santa Fe Trail between Rayado and Cimarron and its western border was the Cimarron mountains. On the south, it was bounded by the Maxwell/Abreu properties at Rayado, and on the north by the ridge that separated the waters flowing into the Urraca and Cimarroncito creeks.
About five years after Peter Joseph’s death, his sixteen year old son Antonio gained full control of the property. In 1880, he sold the land to speculator Frank R. Sherwin for $8,500, almost thirteen times his father’s original investment. Antonio Joseph went on to become New Mexico Territory’s representative to Congress from 1884 to 1894 and to play an important role in the fight for New Mexico statehood.
Sources: Lawrence R. Murphy, Philmont a history of New Mexico’s Cimarron Country, UNM Press, Albuquerque, p. 135; 1880 Colfax County Census data; David V. Holtby, Forty-Seventh Star, U of Oklahoma Press, Norman, p. 7-15, 286.