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Roswell History, New Mexico

It was some pioneers who had migrated from Missouri to this area that were responsible for laying the foundation of this city. In 1865 they tried to start a small town on the land which is today around 15 miles away from the actual Roswell. But they couldn’t continue to stay here as drinking water was missing.

Later on, in 1869, it was the construction of two adobe monuments by Aaron Wilbum and Van C. Smith (both businessmen who had headed to this region from the city of Omaha, Nebraska) which marked the foundation of Roswell. These two buildings later on proved to be a shopping center, sleeping quarters for various guests, and a post office.

In 1871 Van C. Smith claimed the land around the monuments and by 1873 he became the first postmaster of this newly formed town. He was the one who named this new town Roswell, in the memory of his father Roswell Smith, a famous lawyer of his times.

Initially, Roswell was under Lincoln County. Even the rest of the south eastern New Mexico was under Lincoln County during those days. In 1889 a new county, namely Chaves County was formed from a section of Lincoln County and Roswell went under Chaves County. Roswell was made the county seat for this newly formed county.

In 1877 Joseph Calloway Lea won a case against William and Smith thus gaining control of all the land initially under their control. It was in 1890 when a resident of this town drilled a well in his backyard and discovered an aquifer which acted as the first reason for the development of the town. By 1893 the city had its own railroad lines.

During World War II Roswell was a prison for various German prisoners. These prisoners did some serious infrastructure work and designed a beautiful cross made of rocks. This cross is today an important tourist attraction. Between 1941 and 1967 Roswell experienced serious army movements.

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