Bell Ranch

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The Bell Ranch is located roughly 80 miles southwest of Brimstone, owned by rancher Wilson Waddingham. Historically the Comanche, Kiowa and Apache Indian tribes hunted buffalo here for generations. Pictographs carved in the red cliffs indicate the native Americans may well have been living there a long time before the 16th century. The ranch originated from a Mexican land grant held by Don Pablo Montoya in 1824, only three years after Mexico had gained independence from Spain. In 1875, it was named after the bell-shaped mountain on its land by Waddingham. Upon acquisition of New Mexico Territory, the U.S. Cavalry established a temporary post at the Bell Ranch Headquarters for a time, using a part of the manager's house as a "map room" and post office while surveying the surrounding area. Charles Goodnight of the Goodnight Cattle Trail utilizes one of the prominent mesas of the ranch, Gavilan, to navigate on the way to Colorado with his cattle herds.