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Fort Wingate, N.M. Collection

Identifier: MSS-669-BC

Scope and Content

This collection is housed in one box. Most of the items are in photocopy form. The collection contains material about Fort Wingate, the town of Fort Wingate and the American Legion post established there. Included is a variety of correspondence from soldiers and the families of soldiers and civilians who had been stationed at Fort Wingate; correspondence and newspaper clippings relating to efforts to preserve buildings at the fort; newspaper clippings, magazine articles, correspondence and meeting agenda relating to, and a program from, the Fort Wingate Centennial Celebration held in 1960; and forms and correspondence concerning the placement of the fort on the National Register of Historic Places. American Legion material includes membership forms, minutes and articles that mention soldiers who were Navajo Code Talkers.

Items relating to the Fort Wingate community include copies of the community association newsletter, booklets from the local home extension club and articles about the Fort Wingate Trading Post. Also included are correspondence and newspaper clippings concerning an attempt by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to evict residents of the town of Fort Wingate. Biographical materials include information on Paul and Patti Merrill.


  • 1934-1991


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Historical Background

The U.S. Army established Fort Fauntleroy (later Fort Lyon) in what is now McKinley County, N.M., in 1860, and opened Fort Wingate about sixty miles away, near San Rafael, in 1862. Fort Lyon was reestablished as Fort Wingate in 1868. The fort garrisoned soldiers during the Civil War. Until its deactivation in 1911 the duties of the soldiers stationed there primarily included patrols, military surveys and escort functions. In 1914 the fort housed Mexican Federalist troops and their families who had fled the Pancho Villa uprising.

The Army renamed the deactivated fort "Fort Wingate General Ordnance Depot" in 1918, and it served as an ordnance depot until the early 1990s. A school for Native American children opened there in 1925, and a portion of the military reservation was transferred to the Department of the Interior for that purpose.

Among the soldiers associated with the fort were Christopher "Kit" Carson, John "Black Jack" Pershing, Douglas MacArthur, who was born there, and several Navajo Code Talkers.

The Army opened the Fort Wingate Trading Post in 1860 as a canteen and commissary. It closed in 1910 and was reopened as a civilian enterprise in 1920. Paul Merrill bought the business in 1946 and operated it until the early 1990s. The town of Fort Wingate grew up around the fort and trading post and exists today.


1 box (1 cu. ft.)


The collection consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, meeting minutes, booklets and newsletters relating to Fort Wingate and the community of Fort Wingate. Much of the material relates to Paul and Patti Merrill. Paul Merrill ran the Fort Wingate Trading Post and Patti Merrill served as Postmaster for Fort Wingate.

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to the Fort Wingate New Mexico Photograph Collection.
Finding Aid of the Fort Wingate, N.M. Collection, 1934-1991
For Approval
Processed by D. Labinsky
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 669 BC::Fort Wingate, N.M. Collection)//EN" "nmu1mss669bc.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 UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131