Sugarite Mining Camp, Colfax County, New Mexico Genealogy

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Location:                   9 miles northeast of Raton on 526, north of 72.

GPS:                          Latitude: 36.9439 N;      Longitude: -104.3819 W.

Elevation:                  6,939 feet (2,115 meters)

Map:                        Interactive Map. Sugarite State Park Opportunity Online Trail.

Photos:                    Sugarite building foundations on the east side of Sugarite Canyon, looking south; Ruins of powerhouse; Powerhouse looking east, c.1915; Sugarite School, 1912; Sugarite looking east, 1915; pp.200-201 in Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico, by James and Barbara Sherman; Old foundations and coal mining tailings, 2008; Looking north from the loading trestle, c.1920's; Looking north at the school building, c. 1920's; looking south into town from coal loading tipple, c. 1920's; 9 Miners and a boy on a coal car; pictures ofSugarite Canyon, 2010, google images;  Sugarite town view; trip through Sugarite; Sugarite schoolhouse; Sugarite Canyon Coal Mining camp - One of the most Beautiful camps in the US, page 44.

Post Office:              Established 1912, discontinued in 1944. 


Census Data:            No enumeration on 1900 US Census. Closest precincts are Johnson Mesa, Raton

                                and Trinchera.


Chicorica Canyon was active with cattle ranches long before the coal mining camp was settled in 1909.  The property was developed by the Chicorica Coal Company and was later taken over by the St. Louis, Rocky Mountain and Pacific Company. The opening of the mine was hailed as one of the important developements in northern New Mexico, and the mine produced high quality domestic coal for over 30 years.

Miners relied on mules and burros to do the heavy work of pulling carts loaded with coal from the underground mines to the surface. In the beginning, coal was hauled the 9-10 miles, by wagon, to Raton for domestic and steam use.  A few years later, railroads served both the Sugarite and Yankee mining camps, nearly every day, with coal runs to and from Raton. The camp first consisted of scattered tents. The Rocky Mountain Company expanded its operation in 1912, importing about 50 Japanese workers to the mines, and built the company town. The school was opened that year in a 4 room house with Catherine McLaughlin as the first teacher. Later a two room school was constructed containing a large auditorium upstairs which was used for dances, motion pictures, and other social events. The population increased to 500 residents in 1915.

Mr. and Mrs. Barbont operated a boarding house; M.M. Evans was postmaster and sold ice cream. The camp contained the Blossburg Mercantile Company, the Bell Telephone Company, an opera house, physician, justice of the peace, and a music teacher. Soccer, football and baseball were enjoyed in the summer. A clubhouse was built for activity in the cold winter months. It had a soft drink bar and a pool room. They had a Christmas Pageant every year. This mining community was considered one of the best coal camps because of its beautiful setting along a running stream and its amenities.

The population fluctuated by 100-200 residents from season to season. In 1942 it was 450, when the Rocky Mountain Company announced that the mines were closing. The shut down affected 56 men. Homes were moved to Raton. Sugarite, the town, was deserted.

Today rock foundations sprinkle the sides of Chicorica (Sugarite) Canyon. At the north of the company site the thick stone walls of the mule barns overlook the road. The remaining ruins are covered by vegetation, and a person could drive past the townsite never realizing that a thriving community once existed there. It is now part of Sugarite Canyon State Park.  

Family History Links:

1. Surnames mentioned in the Sugarite section, page 223, of The Grant that Maxwell Bought by F. Stanley: Alexander, Bavne, Coz, De Foresra, Downing, Dwyer, Finley, Gable, Griffith, Hadley, Hartley, Himpstedt, Judd, Knox, Lyon, McAuliffe, McFedris, McKown, Mizer, Parker, Remsberg, Sames, Sandusky, Segerscrom, Shakelford, Shaw, Smith, Spencer, Stockton, Strong, Thacher, Winter, Woods.

2. John Chylek, obituary.

3. Lorraine "Pete" Crawford (Wilder), obituary of Centerpoint, June 4, 2008, age 85.

4. Telesfor Dominguez, School District Treasurer, Colorado School Directory 1919-1920, page 88.

5. Thomas Harvey, Colliery Engineer, Volume 34, Issue 3, page 134. Google Books.  

6. Dr. Percy James, Kansas City Medical Herald, Medical Society of the Missouri Valley, 1913, Volume 32, page 388. Google Books.

6. John and Cynthia Lillie, timeline.

7. Faye Ruby Rodriguez (Losano), Pueblo Chieftain obituary July 1, 2004, age 74.

8. Tony Milich and Helen Sepich Milich, daughter Mary Milich Tomac, Tomac Clan.

9. Cynthia (Pitcher) Lillie and daughter Nellie LIllie Bloomfield, obituaries.

10. Zenob Pruvost, Annual Report by the State Inspector of the Mines to the Governor of the State of New Mexico, 1931, page 211. Google Books.

11. Joseph L Sluga, obituary, Albuquerque Jouranal, died october 4, 1999. Obits page 10670.

12. Alexander Stewart, American Mining and Metallurgical Manual, page 282.
13. T. L.Talbott, Annual Report - New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, 1945, page 46. Google Books.

14. Mildred Virginia Towndrow, and Mary Catherine Towndrow. Towndrow family Tree #1, #2.  

15. Ferdinand Valdez, obituary.

16. Charles Wilson.

17. For an Alphabetic list of persons mentioned in the Sugarite Story by Father Stanley, click here.

Other Information:

1. The Sugarite Canyon State Park  collects memorabilia and information.

2. Coal Camp Days: A boy's remembrance by Ricardo L. Garcia.


1. The Leading Facts of New Mexican History, by Emerson Twitchell. Volume 3. pages 85-87. Google Books.
2. Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico, by James E. and Barbara Sherman. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 1974. Google Books

3. USGS. online Guide to the Continental Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in the Raton basin, Colorado and New Mexico.

4. The Grant that Maxwell Bought by F. Stanley, page 223.

5. New Mexico, the land of opportunity: Official data on the Resources by New Mexico Board of Exposition Managers.Swastika Fuel Company by L.C. White, page 40-44. Google Books.

6. Annual Report of the Mine Inspector for the Territory of New Mexico, by the United States Mine Inspector of the United States to the Secretary of the Interior, Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1907. pages 5-23. Google Books
7. Report of the Secretary of the Interior for the fiscal year 1912, by US Dept. of the Interior. Volume 2 pages 751-754. Google Books

8. Congressional Serial Set, Issue 6223, by the US Government Printing Office. pages 751-763. Record of inspections, pages760-761. Google Books.

9. The Sugarite, Mew Mexico Story by Father Stanley, June 1964