Latitude / Longitude:
32° 30′ 51 N, 107° 54′ 52 W
Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
Mowry City is a ghost town first in Dona Anna County, then Grant County and finally in Luna County, New Mexico, about 25 miles (40 km) north of Deming. Originally the crossing point of Cooke’s Wagon Road on the Mimbres River. Mowry City was formerly the location of Rio Mimbres a stop on the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and Miembre’s River Station, a stagecoach stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail and later stagecoach routes, the town lasted from 1859 until the arrival of the railroad in southern New Mexico.
Mimbres River Station, a Butterfield Overland Mail relay station, was located 16 miles northeast of Ojo de Vaca Station and 18 miles west of Cooke’s Spring Station. Later Mowry City grew up around it. Mowry City was the result of one of the earliest land scams in the American Southwest. In the late 1850s, three promoters, Samuel J. Jones, a native of Virginia, Lewis S. Owings and Robert P. Kelley, resided in the town of Mesilla on the Rio Grande near Las Cruces, New Mexico. They owned a number of businesses in the town and also had interests in mining properties. They realized that the existing population base was too small for them to attain the prosperity they desired, so they concocted a scheme to establish a town site and promote it, to draw settlers into the area.
In the Spring of 1860, gold was discovered at Pinos Altos, about 40 miles northwest of the new town site, and Mowry City began to establish a population, including Sherod Hunter. However, as a result of the Bascom Affair at the outbreak of the American Civil War, the Apaches began their campaign of attacks on all white settlers, miners and travelers throughout the region and this ended the promotion of Mowry City. The settlement lasted after the Civil War at least into the time of the arrival of the railroad.
Kelley had met Sylvester Mowry in 1858, on a stage ride from Arizona to Missouri, from which he learned of Mowry’s fame and name recognition among eastern investors. Realizing the recognition value of the Mowry name, these promoters chose Mowry City as the name for their new town.