Springer, Colfax County, New Mexico Genealogy

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Location:                        SPRINGER is 41 miles south of Raton, N.M., off Interstate 25, between exits 414 (on the north) and 412 (on the south). and  at the crossroads  of US 85 and State Roads 21/199 and 412/US56.; SPRINGER LAKE - from 4th Street, take Maxwell Avenue, north, continue on Railroad Avenue to NM 468. Turn left (west) on 468 (.5 mi), then take second left to stay on 468 (1.6 mi) then turn right to stay on 468. Continue on C17 for about 2.5 miles. SPRINGER AIRPORT - From Springer take State Road 21/199 west under the I-25 crossover about 2 miles. Turn left on Airport Road about 3 miles.  

GPS:                              Latitude: 36.3611 N;      Longitude: - 104.5953 W.

Elevation:                       5,797 feet  (1,767 meters)

Map:                              Interactive Map.; Springer Arroyo; Springer Ditch; Springer Lake;

                                      Springer Airport; Springer Pit; Springer #1 Dam; Springer #2 Dam;

Photos:                          Old and new google photos;

Post Office:                    Established

Cemetery:                      Springer Cemetery; Other nearby cmeteries:

Census Data:                 1880 US Federal Census, alphabetic list of households, click here.

                                     1900 US Federal Census, alphabetic list of households, click here.


The town site was a known grazing land and occasional meeting area for Native Americans and later Spanish sheep herders. It became part of the Beaubien and Miranda Land Grant and then the Maxwell Land Grant. Lucien Maxwell sold his interests to English and Dutch Investors and it became the Maxwell Land Grant and Railway Company. Gold was discovered nearby , the United States invaded and occupied the Territory and the Homestead became a reality. The area around became a hornets nest of land ownership confusion and litigation. The site was legally established as a town by the State Legislature during the Territorial occupation of New Mexico. 

The town was renamed for Frank Springer a powerful Territorial attorney who arrived from Iowa, where his father was a powerful attorney involved in Presidential politics. Springer worked as the local attorney for the ATSF Railroad as soon as the railroad entered New Mexico. It became clear that Cimarron, the largest city, would not be on the railroad line. Frank Springer and other officials of the Maxwell Land Grant and Railway Company, were optimistic that an important town would be established on the grant land. His business relationship as President of the Maxwell Land Grant and Railway Company, his legal work for the Atcheson Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company, and his personal friendship with William B Strong, General Manager enabled an extremely friendly understanding between the two companies. As a result, the railroad would receive free right of way through the land grant, station grounds at four points along the sixty fivemile stretch, good springwater for use on the railroad's locomotives, ties and bridge timbers for construction, one half interest in the town sites, and one half interest in 10,000 acres of coal bearing lands.  Springer is said to have been surprised that the railroad named the town for him, and that he outwardly rebuffed the gesture. He reported that the naming of the town had upset W.T. Thornton, the court appointed receiver for the Maxwell Land Grant and Railway Company, and that it was a matter of contention. But, it was reported the Springer expected that the "flap would be settled in his favor". 


A Brief History of Springer, New Mexico written by Lorrena A Keenan and Edited by Michael E Taylor. July 11, 1966. Miss Keenan, A Springer school teacher, museum patron, and charter member of the Historical Society, died in 1981, age 90. It was written for the formal beginning of the Santa Fe Trail Museum and Historical Society. Many books and perspectives on the local history have been written, some are listed below.

Family history links:

  • For an alphabetic list of persons who once lived in Springer and have online information, click here.
  • Free search of obituaries in the Albuquerque Journal, click here.
  • For free search of  ALL records, includding all census records, click here.
  • For a free search of New Mexico Births and Christening records, 1726-1910, click here.
  • For a free search of New Mexico Marriage records, 1751-1918, click here.
  • For a free search of New Mexico Deaths and Burial records, 1788-1798, 1838-1955, click here.
  • For a free search of New Mexico Death records 1889-1945, click here.
  • To go to the Colfax County section, click here

Online Sources

  • Springer, New Mexico. wikipedia.
  • Springer, New Mexico, plus photos. sangres.com
  •  New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.
  •  History of New Mexico: Its resources and people. Volume 2. Google books.
  •  The Leading Facts of New Mexican History, Volume 2. Ralph Emerson Twitchell. Google Books.
  •  History of New Mexico: from the Spanish conquest to the present time. Helen Haines. Google Books.
  •  The Maxwell Land Grant: A New Mexico Item. William Keleher and John Van Ness. Google Books.
  •  The Grant That Maxwell Bought. Father F Stanley.  Google Books.
  •  My Nine Years as Governor of the Territory of New Mexico, 1897-1906. Miguel Antonio Otero. Google Books.
  •  Land Titles in New Mexico. Frank Springer. Google Books.
  •  Frank Springer and New Mexico: From the Colfax County War to the Emergence of Modern Santa Fe. David L Coffey. Google Books.
  •  French Fur Traders and Voyageurs in the American West. Roy R Hafen, Janet Lecompte. Google Books
  •  Hermanitos Comanchitos: Indo-Hispano rituals of captivity and redemption. Enrique Lamadrid, Google Books.
  • Guts and Ruts: The Jewish Poneer on the trail in the American West. Floyd S. Fierman. Google Books.
  •  Spanish Americans: Lives and Faces. Bishop David Arias. Google Books.
  •  Voices of the Territory of New Mexico' An oral history pf peopke and early settlers during territorial days. Alfonso Griego. Google Books.


  • Springer, New Mexico: The Old Home Town. Don Floersheim.
  •  Early Days of Springer, New Mexico. Lorena Keenan and Ann Mossman.