The building was icon in its time. Even today, as the pull of gravity reduces the historic former Sierra County Courthouse to rubble, the building is still something to see. Here's a look at a view the likes of Oliver Lee and Jim Gilliland had for a spell. They were tried and acquitted for killing the 8-year-old Henry Fountain.
As hammers nailed planks together, construction of a platform from which teenager girls Valentina Madrid and Alma Lyons would hang by the neck was underway on the courthouse lawn. They may have watched the workers build the device that would kill the condemned gals.
No doubt many other miscreants and those wrongly accused had this same view.
The jail and courthouse ruins are iconic today. The jail is one of the 100 historic images on the New Mexico Centennial celebration's Get the Picture contest. Will this historic ruin be completely lost, or might it be conserved for posterity and interpretation of New Mexico's rich judicial heritage?
April 25, 2012
Romolo Montoya of Monticello, New Mexico, documented in April 1880 that he lost cows, calves, oxen, and one mule, all told worth $775. Montoya lamented that he could have lost his life when Victorio and his followers were at "the height of their atrocities."
Warm Spring Apaches led by Victorio in 1879 - 80 and Nana in 1881, had area residents on edge and the U.S. Army on the move. The threat of loss of life or property was such that it prostrated the mining industry around Hillsboro in 1880, so said mining engineer, Frank Robinson, in a letter to his wife.