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Chase Ranch records,

Identifier: Ms-0108

Scope and Content

The records and papers of the Chase Ranch span the years 1838 to 1960, with the bulk of the material falling before 1910. They constitute a major contribution to the history of cattle raising in New Mexico before 1900, being especially strong for the period 1883-1887. The records of sheep raising, particularly for the period 1892-1901, and fruit growing, especially 1896-1905 and 1917-1918, are also significant representations of these businesses. Records for the years 1920-1939 are sketchy and incomplete. The latest dates in the collection, 1948-1951, and 1960, are each represented by only one or two items or entries.

The collection consists of 68 bound volumes and six folders, which have been organized in four series: financial documents, correspondence, diaries and memo books, and miscellany. The records document, for the time periods indicated, the Chase family's diverse agricultural activities, which include the raising of sheep (1875-1901), cattle (1870-1907, 1909-1910, 1916-1939), horses (1911, 1924), hogs (1896-1897, 1924), and poultry (1911-1915, 1923-1925); fruit growing (1896-1910, 1916-1939); butter sales (1911-1914, 1923-1925); and milk sales (1929-1931, 1936).

The financial records for the period 1870-1883 are incomplete and demonstrate the lack of an overall bookkeeping system. In June 1883, C.A. Westcott implemented a sophisticated accounting procedure which enabled him to keep complete and accurate records for the Chase Ranch itself, as well as for the seven cattle companies of which M. M. Chase was manager and acting treasurer. These cattle companies were the Cimarron, Luera, Monte Ruvuelto, Gila, Maxwell, Red River and L. and G. Based on the documents available, the quality of the system, in terms of cross-referencing capability, begins to disintegrate after 1887. The volumes also contain the records of the following operations: Chase and Dawson (1873-1879), Chase, Dawson and Maulding (1883-1886), Chase, Maulding and Dane (1886-1889), Chase, Eno and Company (1892-1901), the Dutchess Cattle Company (1893-1896), S. M. Chase Cattle Company (1917-1925, 1929-1939), and the Rupert and Traveller Horse Company (1924).

The two earliest volumes of correspondence deal primarily with the cattle business. Subsequent books also contain many letters concerning the sheep operation and some correspondence regarding fruit sales. In addition to family members, correspondents include: Jesse A. Adamson, foreman, sheep camp; Thomas Benton Brooks, New York financier; D. A. Clothier, merchant; Dr. J. M. Cunningham, Las Vegas stockholder in the Red River Cattle Company; Zenas A. Curtis, foreman for the Chase, Eno Ranch; Charles H. Dane, partner of Chase; M. E. Dane, partner of Chase; John B. Dawson, pioneer rancher and partner of Chase; S. M. Folsom, stockholder in the Red River Cattle Company; Ira B. Gale, Chase employee; Silas Hough, cattle driver; R. H. Howard, Chase, Eno employee; Charles Ilfeld, Las Vegas merchant; Floyd Jarrett, stockholder in the Gila Cattle Company; Andrieus A. Jones, attorney and public official; Dr. C. B. Kohlhousen, Raton medical doctor and son-in-law of Chase; James C. Leary, Secretary, New Mexico Stock Growers Association; Marion Littrell, rancher and sheriff of Colfax County; W. H. H. Llewellyn, Las Cruces agent for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad; Edward McBride, Colfax County Commissioner and Chase foreman; Geoffrey McCrohan, foreman for the Cimarron Cattle Company; Benjamin McLean, Kansas City, Missouri, stockholder in the Gila Cattle Company; Frank Manzanares, New Mexico's delegate to Congress, 1884-1885; J. T. Martin, Chase employee; Taylor F. Maulding, rancher, partner of Chase and superintendent of the Cimarron Cattle Company; Melvin W. Mills, District Attorney, northern New Mexico; the William R. Morley Family; A. S. Neff, farmer, rancher, and Raton merchant; George J. Pace, Raton merchant and county treasurer; Henry M. Porter, Treasurer, Maxwell Land Grant Company, and partner of Chase; L. Bradford Prince, Governor of New Mexico Territory, 1889-1893; D. B. Robinson, Vice- President, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad; M. M. Salazar, Colfax County Clerk; Frank R. Sherwin, President, Maxwell Land Grant Company; Dr. W. L. South, rancher, deputy sheriff of Colfax County, and stockholder in the Cimarron Cattle Company; Charles Springer, rancher, attorney, and Chase's son-in-law; Frank Springer, rancher, attorney, and Vice-President of Maxwell Land Grant Company; J. R. Stollar, Kansas City cattle buyer; William Van Bruggen, Maxwell merchant and banker; Harry Whigham, Secretary, Maxwell Land Grant Company; and J. W. Zollars, Las Vegas banker.

The small books in the Diaries and Memo Books series do not contain the more important diaries in the Chase collection. These were written on sections of pages in volumes located in the Financial Documents series. Entries by Ada Chase, Laura Chase, and Nettie (Mrs. Mason G.) Chase comment on family and ranch life in 1886-1888, 1900-1905, and 1918-1919.

Miscellaneous items include a scrapbook, mostly of newspaper clippings 1881-1899; a record book containing copies of legal documents, primarily 1886-1902; the Certificate of Incorporation, bylaws and minutes of the S. M. Chase Cattle Company, 1917-1918; bills and statements from the Springer, New Mexico, mercantile operation of Porter and Clouthier, 1884-1885; and correspondence regarding the orchard business, 1917-1918.


  • 1838-1960

Language of Materials


Access and Use Restrictions

This material may be examined by researchers under supervised conditions in the Search Room.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with copyright and other applicable statutes.

The common law literary rights associated with unpublished Chase family writings possessed by Gretchen Sammis have been transferred to New Mexico State University. The status of copyright in the unpublished writings of other individuals whose papers form part of this collection is unknown.

Historical Sketch

Manley M. Chase was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, October 8, 1842, the son of William Coleman Chase and Mary Gilson. He left home at the age of 15 and lived in the Middle West until 1860, when he moved to Colorado. There he engaged in mining for a while, then went into the meat and freighting business, operating a slaughter house in Denver and supplying beef to the U. S. Army. On October 21, 1860, he married Theresa M. Wade. To this couple were born six children: Lottie, Mason George, Laura, Ida, Mary L., and Stanley M.

The Chases came to New Mexico in 1866, where M. M. Chase purchased a one-third interest in John B. Dawson's ranch (part of the Maxwell Land Grant) on the Vermejo River and went into partnership with Dawson to raise both sheep and cattle. In 1871, Chase purchased another part of the original Maxwell grant. He paid 50 cents an acre for 2,000 acres along Poñil Creek, an area which included the old Kit Carson homestead. The two-story adobe house which he built about three miles northeast of Cimarron is still the ranch headquarters and the family home.

Through partnerships with other ranchers to purchase large amounts of land and the organization and supervision of several livestock companies, Chase established himself as a prominent figure in New Mexico's livestock industry of that time. When the Maxwell Cattle Company was incorporated in 1881, Chase was chosen to manage it for a period of five years. In 1886, the Las Vegas Daily Optic reported that M. M. Chase "manages more cattle than any man in New Mexico," and in 1891 he was regarded as an authority on the subject of stock raising.

M. M. Chase was one of the first to import Hereford bulls for breeding with the Texas longhorn stock. Similarly, he contributed to the upgrading of native sheep by the importation of Merino bucks from Vermont and Ohio. The Chase, Eno and Company sheep ranch near Hansford, Texas, was incorporated in 1892 by M. M. Chase in partnership with two cousins in Vermont and William S. Eno of Pine Plains, New York. Mason Chase managed the Texas ranch, and when his father decided to move the sheep back to New Mexico in 1895, Mason supervised the drive. The new camp was at Veda in Union County. Mason managed this ranch until it was sold in 1901.

The Chase Ranch also enjoyed the reputation of having one of the finest orchards in the Southwest. Begun in 1872 with 250 small fruit trees brought by ox team from Ohio, the orchard later was increased to 85 acres. Crops of fruit, primarily apples, averaged 500,000 pounds yearly. The fruit was of high quality, and in 1910, M. M. Chase wrote that his orchard had experienced only one failure in 35 years. In addition to the orchard, several hundred acres of land were placed under irrigation for oats, alfalfa and barley.

After Theresa (Mrs. M. M.) Chase died in 1900, Nettie (Mrs. Mason) Chase assumed the household responsibilities. She put much time and energy into her poultry business developed around 1911. M. M. Chase died in 1915. Three years later, the S. M. Chase Cattle Company was incorporated by his sons, Stanley M. and Mason G. Chase, and his son-in-law, Charles Springer.


9 Linear Feet


Located on the Poñil River near Cimarron. Begun by Manley M. Chase, this ranch is one of the oldest ranching operations on the Maxwell Land Grant. Contains financial records, business correspondence, diaries and daybooks, and other materials related to the ranch's cattle, sheep, horse, orchard, vegetable, poultry, and dairy production and documentation on several other ranches in which Chase had an investment or managerial interest. Significant correspondents include John B. Dawson, Charles Ilfeld, Andrieus A. Jones, Frank Manzanares, Melvin W. Mills, L. Bradford Prince, Frank R. Sherwin, and Charles and Frank Springer.


  1. RG 79-15 Gift of Gretchen Sammis


Contact Information

  1. Archives and Special Collections
  2. New Mexico State University Library
  3. P.O. Box 30006
  4. Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003-8006
  5. Phone: (575) 646-3839
  6. Fax: (575) 646-7477
  7. Email:
  8. URL:


Inventory of the Chase Ranch records, 1838-1960
Edited Full Draft
Processed by Linda Blazer, revised Andrea Conners
© 2000
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//New Mexico State University::Archives and Special Collections//TEXT (US::NmLcU::Ms 108::Chase Ranch Records)//EN" "nmlcu1ms108.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA