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Justices of the Peace Journal for Bernalillo County, N.M.

Identifier: MSS-715-SC

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a photocopy of a journal kept by the justices of the peace in Bernalillo County, New Mexico for precinct 25 (Guadalupe). Guadalupe was a small farming and ranching community on the Rio Puerco, 5 miles SW of Cabezon Peak. It was also known as Miller and Ojo del Padre. Juan Mora y Chavez is the first justice of the peace listed in the journal. He took his oath of office on January 2, 1889. At the same time Cristino Griego took the oath of office for constable, later in 1895 he became justice of the peace for the Guadalupe precinct. Other justices of the peace recording in the journal are Pautaleon Mora, Emiliano Lucero, and Martin Ramirez.

The original document covers 1899-1903. Various notes including genealogical information, dating to 1974, were added throughout the journal. Names mentioned are Martin Ramirez and Desideria Ramirez of Ojo del Padre, N.M. The journal is in Spanish. Portions of some pages were not copied and some pages do not seem to be in sequence. This is the best copy available.


  • 1889-1974 (bulk 1889-1903)


Language of Materials

English and Spanish.

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.


John R. Wunder calls the justice of the peace the "frontier community decision-maker." The legal system utilizing the justice of the peace, a civil officer exercising local judicial powers, began in England in 1327. With Territoriality, the justice of the peace was instituted in New Mexico replacing the Spanish legal system's alcalde.

Bernalillo County was one of the original 9 counties created by the territorial legislature in 1852. In 1889 it included parts of present day Sandoval, McKinley, Torrance, Guadalupe and Valencia Counties. According to the 1915 New Mexico Blue Book in 1890 the population of Bernalillo County was 20,913; it grew to 28,630 in 1900 and by 1910 there were 23,606 persons living in the county. Sandoval and Torrance Counties were created from Bernalillo County in 1903.

The New Mexico justices of the peace were required to hire teachers and monitor the attendance of children in the schools from November to April. They could administer oaths and affidavits and take depositions, complaints, summons, bonds and writs and inquire into and investigate the cause of the death of any human. They did not have jurisdiction over any matter of title or boundaries of land which could be in dispute or where the debt claimed exceeded $100.


1 Folder


Photocopy of a journal/record book kept by the justices of the peace in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, 1889-1903.

Related Material

José A. Rivera Papers (The third series contains three journals kept by justices of the peace in Sapello, NM, 1881-1939.) Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • New Mexico. 1897. Compiled laws of New Mexico. In accordance with an act of the legislature, approved March 16th, 1897. Including the Constitution of the United States, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Gadsen Treaty, the original act organizing the territory, the organic acts as now in force, the original Kearny Code, and a list of laws enacted since the compilation of 1884, as well as those in that work . Santa Fe, N. M., New Mexican Printing Co., 1897. (ZIM CSWR Bell JK 8001 A227 1897)
  • New Mexico. State Records Center. Territorial archives of New Mexico [micorform] : records of the Secretary of the Territory, 1851-1911. Santa Fe, N.M. : The Center, c1971. Records of the Secretary of the Territory, 1851-1911. Certification of Public Officials - Oaths and Bond of County Officials, Bernalillo County, (ZIM CSWR Microfilm CD 3394 N414 reel 35)
  • Wunder, John R. "Justices of the Peace on the American Frontier, 1787-1853." Journal of the West, 24:1 (1985): pp. 33-38.
Finding Aid of the Justices of the Peace journal for Bernalillo County, N.M., 1889-1974 (bulk 1889-1903)
Processed by T. Reinig
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 715 SC::Justices of the Peace journal for Bernalillo County, N.M.)//EN" "nmu1mss715sc.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