Creation of Lea County

Governor Lindsey has affixed his signature to the Lea County bill, which creates the twenty-eighth county in New Mexico.

Lea county takes a strip off the eastern side of Eddy county, also a big piece from the southeast part of Chaves county and will have an assessed valueation of about $6,000.00. Lovington is named as the county-seat.
[House Pioneer News, House NM. 16 Jan 1917.]

Lea County Bill Passed By Senators.

Santa Fe, March 5. – Lea County is almost as good as organized. The house bill providing for its establishment ws passed by the senate today without amendment.

The bill is now ready for the signature of Governor Lindsey, and it is believed that the governor will sign it without delay. Lea will be the twenty-eighth county in New Mexico and the second to be established by the third state legislature, de Baca being the other. Lea county bill was not passed until after a hard fight. More than an hour of the time of the senate was consumed in consideration of the various amendments proposed ot the bill and in the discussion that followed the that “do now pass.” Senator Gallegos, chairman of the committee on private, county and municipal corporations, led the fight for the passage of the bill, while Senator Isaac Barth and Senator Skeen were most vigorous in opposition to it.

It was evident that the word had been passed out that the new county should be created. The only hope of the opponents of the bill was to amend it and in that way there was a chance that amendments might not be concurred in by the house and that the bill would be lost in the eleventh hour rush.

The advocates of the bill, however, were well organized, and one amendment after another was voted down, the count being in all cases 14 to 8 in favor of the motion to table the proposed amendment. One amendment proposed to leave the creation of the new county to a referendum vote of the people of the territory affected and on this amendment Senator Barth made his most strenuous stand.

It was apparent that Mr. Barth was back in his old time form. With only a few days left of the session and no opportunity for hearing of the contest against him instituted by W. H. Chrisman the Bernalillo county senator seemed to feel that the shackles had been stricken from his fettered limbs and that he was a free man once more. He acted just like he used to act.

Senator Barth charged the republican majority with playing politics in the creation of democratic counties. He acknowledged that all during the session the republicans have been courteous and considerate of the rights of the minority and lamented that such was to be the case no more. He warned the republicans that they were on a cold trail in their fell designs and declared that the only effect of stirring up dissension among Pecos Valley democrats would be to bring on more democrats in the general election.

On the final showdown, all the republican senators voted in favor of the bill, while three democrats, Senators Calisheh, Lea and Heratelder, voted with them. The seven adverse votes were cast by the democrats – Roswell News [Lovington Leader, Lovington, NM, 9 Mar 1917.]

As of 1909 – (Source unknown)

Before and After creation of Lea County:

As of 1917 – Image credit

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