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Kelly New Mexico Townsite - Ghost town

Photos courtesy of Mike Sinnwell May 2009

J. S. Hutchason, known as "Old Hutch," is credited with being the father of the Magdalena mining district. His discoveries spawned the mining camp of Kelly.

Hutchason was poking around the Magdalena Mountains in the spring of 1866 when he found rich lead outcroppings. He staked the Juanita Mine and, three weeks later, the Graphic Mine. In those early days the ore was smelted locally in adobe furnaces called "vassos," and then an ox team hauled the metal to Kansas City.

Probing farther around the hills, "Old Hutch" found another promising prospect, which he obligingly turned over to a friend, Andy Kelly, who operated a local sawmill. Kelly gave his name to the mine and worked it for a time, but when he failed to do the required assessment work, Hutchason jumped the claim.

Kelly expanded to include two schools; three churches, a Catholic, Methodist Episcopal, and Presbyterian; and a moving picture parlor. With the increasing influx of miners, sleeping accommodations were scarce. Supposedly, the two hotels rented beds in eight-hour shifts.

By 1931 the smithsonite deposits were exhausted. Gradually, mining throughout the district began to decrease, allowing Kelly to die. Today some mining is still being done near Kelly, but the prosperous camp that once had a population of three thousand no longer claims any residents. The only intact building is the white-stucco-front Catholic Church, where mass is still offered once a year. Adobe and rock ruins dot both sides of the dirt road beyond the church. Extensive mine workings, tailing dumps, old mine buildings, and head frames stand rusted and neglected farther up Kelly Canyon.

A viewer writes -- Thursday, March 03, 2011 -- Great photo's and information site.  I'm researching the Nicholas Stuppi family and they lived and mined here from about 1880-1900.  Two youngest sons were both born in Kelly NM, Frank in Oct 1883 and Joseph Aug 1889.  By the Jun 12th 1900 census they'd moved on to El Paso Texas and finally settled in Douglas, Cochise, Arizona working for Phelps Dodge Corp at the mine and smelter there.  I think it was the Copper Queen mine.  Thanks Linda Rutz

A viewer writes - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 -- My  great grandparents were born in Kelly NM. Their last name Sanchez and Baca my grandfathers name was Florentino Sanchez he was born March 5 1876 he died May 29th 1942. He  married my great grandma Thomasita Baca she was born March 1 1880 she died June 23 1952 in Berkeley CA they had a son Josph Sanchez and a sister I don't know her name but I am hoping I may find family e-mail me.

A viewer writes - Saturday, December 06, 2014 -- Thank you for posting photos of the Kelly Mine, NM. I was there in 1997 trying to find information on my grandmother who was born there in 1899. Unfortunately, even the tombstones were scarce. Her parents were Santiago & Franchesca Ortiz. She was orphaned by 1902 & sent to Harwood Girls School in Albuquerque, NM by missionary, Samuel Van Wagner.