Don Celso Baca Guadalupe County, New Mexico

Don Celso Baca, now living retired at Santa Rosa, was born in San Miguel County, New Mexico, April 6, 1836, and is a descendant of Cabeza Baca. He acquired his education in the Catholic schools of the Territory, and from 1858 until 1866 was engaged in freighting with wagon trains between Kansas City and Santa Fe over the Santa Fe Trail. From 1853 until 1858 he had served as a private in the United States army, participating in the Navajo Indian war. In 1866 he went to Fort Sumner, and upon his return secured his present location in San Miguel County, made a claim and settled upon the ranch. He originally held the townsite of Santa Rosa. He made the first timber entry in the Territory, his patent being No. 1.

When the Civil war broke out Don Celso Baca, in 1862, organized a company of soldiers for the northern army and was commissioned its captain. He served in the battle of Val Verde and other skirmishes, and was a loyal defender of the Union cause until the supremacy of the Union arms was established. Since 1866 he has made his home in what is now Guadalupe County, and has engaged in farming and stock raising. He is interested in the First National Bank of Santa Rosa and in his varied business affairs has conducted all of his interests in a capable manner, resulting in the acquirement of very desirable success. He served for several terms as senator and representative in the territorial legislature, and has been very prominent in Republican politics, exerting considerable influence in both the county and territorial rank of the party. He was also sent as a delegate to the national convention which nominated William McKinley for the presidency in 1896. He has had many experiences with the Indians during the early days of his residence upon his ranch, and is familiar with pioneer history and early development in the Territory.

His two sons, Placido Baca y Baca and Crescenciano Baca, were born in San Miguel County and educated in the Jesuit College at Las Vegas. They are associated with their father in farming and stock raising interests. The former practically has charge of all of the father's business, for the elder Baca has retired from active life. He is also engaged in the management of a paper, having in 1898 established the La Voz Publico, which he continues to edit and publish. He also manages his father's interests in the town site. In political affairs he has been prominent and influential, and from 1897 until 1900, inclusive, filled the office of sheriff of Guadalupe County. He was also one of the county commissioners appointed by the governor upon the organization of the county, and in 1901 he served as deputy county clerk. For sixteen years he was postmaster of the town of Eden on the present site of Santa Rosa before the latter town was founded. He has been notary public since the age of twenty-one years, and in these various political positions has discharged his duties with capability and energy, making him one of the leading and representative citizens of the community. The business interests of father and son are extensive and profitable and they have long maintained a prominent place in agricultural, commercial and financial circles in this part of the territory.

P. B. Baca was the third sheriff of Guadalupe County. During his first term he acted as collector. During his second term as sheriff, 1898, he assisted in the capture of the gang of desperadoes who had killed Florentine Gonsales. The gang is now broken up, having all found their way to the penitentiary.

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Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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Created 1996 by Charles Barnum & 2016 by Judy White

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