Conejos County, Colorado

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Conejos County
CONEJOS COUNTY COURTHOUSE, CONEJOS, COLORADO.jpg
Conejos County Courthouse
Map of Colorado highlighting Conejos County.svg
Location within the U.S. state of Colorado
Colorado in United States.svg
Colorado's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 37°13′N106°11′W / 37.21°N 106.19°W / 37.21; -106.19
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of Colorado.svg  Colorado
FoundedNovember 1, 1861
Named for Conejos River
Seat Conejos
Largest town Manassa
Area
  Total1,291 sq mi (3,340 km2)
  Land1,287 sq mi (3,330 km2)
  Water3.6 sq mi (9 km2)  0.3%%
Population
  Estimate 
(2019)
8,205
  Density6.4/sq mi (2.5/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
  Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district 3rd
Website www.conejoscounty.org

Conejos County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,256. [1] The county seat is the unincorporated community of Conejos. [2]

Contents

History

The first European known to visit this area was Don Diego de Vargas in 1694, but he left behind no colonists. In 1708, Juan de Uribarri passed through searching for run-away Indian slaves. [3]

Conejos County was one of the original 17 counties created by the General Assembly of the Territory of Colorado on 1861-11-01, although it was originally named Guadalupe County and renamed Conejos County a week later, on November 7. Its name coming from the Spanish word "conejo", meaning rabbit, for the large abundance of rabbits in the area. Also early in its existence, the county seat was moved from the town of Guadalupe to Conejos. The original boundaries of the county included a large portion of southwestern Colorado.

In 1874, most of the western and northern portions of the county were broken away to form parts of Hinsdale, La Plata and Rio Grande counties, and Conejos County achieved its modern borders in 1885 when its western half was taken to create Archuleta County.

Religious history

The community of Conejos is the location of the oldest church in Colorado, called Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. This church was constructed in 1856. [4] The first settlers into the area were from New Mexico, primarily from Abiquiu, San Juan de los Caballeros and Santa Cruz. As more people arrived, mission churches were set up and all had the records housed with Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.

When the neighboring town of Antonito was built, the Theatines, priests from Spain, came into the area and built St. Augustine church in 1880 within Antonito. The church records from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish are now housed at the church offices of Saint Augustine. Conejos is approximately a mile northwest of Antonito.

Presbyterians came into Conejos County in 1880 establishing churches in Antonito, Alamosa, Cenicero, Del Norte, Mogote, San Rafael, and Monte Vista. They also established schools in the area and had a large number of Hispanic converts. A jacal went up in 1854 in Guadalupe, now known as Conejos, which was the beginning of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.

There is also a large Mormon population within Conejos County. Settlers belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) began settling in the towns of La Jara, Manassa and Sanford; each town currently has an LDS meetinghouse. Fox Creek, a village approximately 11 miles west of Antonito, is the newest community to have an LDS meetinghouse erected, although there had previously been a meetinghouse there. Fox Creek, however, does not have a predominantly Mormon population.

Genealogy

Records available for this area are marriage records, which are held by the county clerk. Divorce records are maintained by the clerk of the district court. Agencies that hold records for marriages and divorces from 1900 to 1939 are the Colorado State Archives and Denver Public Library Genealogy Department. Other records available are marriage records from 1871 and death records from 1877 to 1907. This also include land records from 1871, probate records from 1875, and court records from 1877. However, some records were lost due to a fire, but birth records for 1877-1907 are still preserved. [5] Websites that will be of use when doing genealogical research are The Colorado Genealogical Society and Conejos County WW II Enlistments.

Amendment 64

When Colorado Amendment 64 was being voted into effect by Coloradans, Conejos County residents voted against approving the measure to legalize and regulate recreational Marijuana consumption and possession for those 21 or older; Conejos residents simultaneously voted for a Democratic president in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, making Conejos county the only Colorado county with the distinction of leaning liberal with the 2008 and 2012 presidential picks while leaning conservative with regard to marijuana policy.

Geography

The area known as The Pinnacles along Forest Road 250 in the upper Conejos River Valley The Pinnacles (Conejos County, Colorado).JPG
The area known as The Pinnacles along Forest Road 250 in the upper Conejos River Valley

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,291 square miles (3,340 km2), of which 1,287 square miles (3,330 km2) is land and 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) (0.3%) is water. [6]

Conejos County is in a broad high mountain valley in South Central Colorado. It has an area of approximately 825,446 acres (3,340 km2) in 1,290 square miles (3,340 km2). Roughly half the area is on the nearly level floor of the valley, where the average elevation is about 7,700 feet (2,350 m). The western half of the county ranges from gently rolling to steep foothills with mountains that rise in elevation to about 13,000 feet (4,000 m).

Conejos County is situated with the National Forest to the west and the Rio Grande to the east, along Colorado's southern border with the state of New Mexico. Only about 34 percent of Conejos County is privately owned with the other 66 percent being National Forest, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or State owned lands.

Climate

In winter, the average temperature is 21.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average daily minimum temperature is 4 degrees. In summer, the average temperature is 61.4 degrees, and the average maximum temperature is 79.6 degrees.

Seventy-one percent of the annual precipitation falls in the months of April through September. Average seasonal snowfall is 28 inches. The average relative humidity in mid-afternoon in spring is less than 35 percent; during the rest of the year, it is about 45 percent. The percentage of possible sunshine is 77 in the summer and 73 in the winter.

Adjacent counties

Major Highways

National protected areas

Historic trails and sites

Scenic trails and byways

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1870 2,504
1880 5,605123.8%
1890 7,19328.3%
1900 8,79422.3%
1910 11,28528.3%
1920 8,416−25.4%
1930 9,80316.5%
1940 11,64818.8%
1950 10,171−12.7%
1960 8,428−17.1%
1970 7,846−6.9%
1980 7,794−0.7%
1990 7,453−4.4%
2000 8,40012.7%
2010 8,256−1.7%
2020 7,461−9.6%
U.S. Decennial Census [7]
1790-1960 [8] 1900-1990 [9]
1990-2000 [10] 2010-2015 [1] 2018 [11]

As of the census [12] of 2000, there were 8,400 people, 2,980 households, and 2,211 families residing in the county. The population density was 6 people per square mile (3/km2). There were 3,886 housing units at an average density of 3 per square mile (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 72.76% White, 0.21% Black or African American, 1.69% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 21.50% from other races, and 3.61% from two or more races. 58.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,980 households, out of which 38.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.30% were married couples living together, 12.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.80% were non-families. 23.70% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.33.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 32.10% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 23.60% from 25 to 44, 20.80% from 45 to 64, and 15.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 98.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $24,744, and the median income for a family was $29,066. Males had a median income of $26,351 versus $20,200 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,050. About 18.60% of families and 23.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.20% of those under age 18 and 17.30% of those age 65 or over.

Politics

Presidential elections results
Conejos County vote
by party in presidential elections
[13]
Year Republican Democratic Others
2020 52.8%2,28645.2% 1,9592.0% 88
2016 47.6%1,91444.0% 1,7718.4% 337
2012 44.8% 1,83554.0%2,2131.3% 53
2008 42.7% 1,65355.6%2,1541.7% 67
2004 49.0% 1,86449.8%1,8941.2% 45
2000 48.3%1,77247.6% 1,7494.1% 150
1996 36.1% 1,14954.2%1,7269.8% 311
1992 33.5% 1,16049.2%1,70517.3% 600
1988 41.9% 1,44557.3%1,9760.8% 26
1984 51.4%1,66947.8% 1,5530.8% 25
1980 49.4%1,59746.5% 1,5034.1% 132
1976 44.7% 1,42653.2%1,6982.2% 70
1972 55.5%1,65838.2% 1,1406.3% 189
1968 45.7% 1,36150.1%1,4924.3% 127
1964 33.5% 1,03166.1%2,0330.4% 12
1960 38.8% 1,36758.7%2,0692.5% 87
1956 79.5%1,88419.9% 4710.7% 16
1952 56.2%2,19441.3% 1,6102.5% 98
1948 40.0% 1,53258.4%2,2361.5% 59
1944 46.2% 1,74053.8%2,0280.0% 0
1940 44.8% 2,02854.8%2,4810.4% 17
1936 35.2% 1,30563.3%2,3471.6% 58
1932 30.9% 1,19068.6%2,6410.5% 20
1928 45.2% 1,46352.3%1,6922.4% 79
1924 56.2%1,47537.9% 9955.9% 156
1920 63.5%1,59535.3% 8861.2% 31
1916 34.7% 92864.4%1,7210.8% 22
1912 34.4% 1,58746.5%2,14719.2% 885

Communities

Towns

Census-designated places

Other communities

Notable people

Fred Haberlein - Muralist

Jack Dempsey - Famous boxer born in Manassa Colorado

See also

Related Research Articles

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Antonito, Colorado Statutory Town in Colorado, United States

Antonito is a Statutory Town located in Conejos County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 781 at the 2010 United States Census.

Manassa, Colorado Statutory Town in Colorado, United States

The Town of Manassa is the Statutory Town that is the most populous municipality in Conejos County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 991 at the 2010 United States Census.

Romeo, Colorado Town in Colorado, United States

Romeo is a Statutory Town in Conejos County, Colorado, United States. The population was 404 at the 2010 census.

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Conejos, Colorado Census Designated Place in Colorado, United States

Conejos is an unincorporated town, a post office, a census-designated place (CDP), and the county seat of Conejos County, Colorado, United States. The Conejos post office has the ZIP Code 81129. At the United States Census 2010, the population of the Conejos CDP was 58, while the population of the 81129 ZIP Code Tabulation Area was 156 including adjacent areas. Conejos is the only unincorporated county seat in the State of Colorado.

Colorado State Highway 142

State Highway 142 is a 33.5-mile (53.913 km) long state highway in southern Colorado. SH 142's western terminus is at U.S. Route 285 (US 285) near Romeo, and the eastern terminus is at SH 159 in San Luis.

Rio San Antonio (Colorado–New Mexico)

Rio San Antonio is a tributary of the Conejos River in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. Via the Conejos River, it is part of the upper Rio Grande system. The river is used extensively for irrigation in its lower course through the southern San Luis Valley.

References

  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 9, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. Mead, Frances Harvey, Conejos County:The Canyons...The River...The Villages and the People, copyright, Frances Harvey Mead, 1894, p.1,2
  4. "History". ologp.com. Conejos, Colorado: Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  5. Alice Eichholz, Red Book American State, County and Town Sources; Ancestry.com, Colorado.
  6. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  7. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  8. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  9. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  10. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  11. "Conejos County, Colorado". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  12. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  13. Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved May 26, 2017.


Coordinates: 37°13′N106°11′W / 37.21°N 106.19°W / 37.21; -106.19