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The first settlement here was called Santa Clara by cattlemen seeking new grazing land around 1850. There is also Santa Clara Springs, an important water source, on Santa Clara Hill just to the northwest but it is impossible to know which was named first; several buildings in Wagon Mound still preserve the Santa Clara name. When the Post Office was established, it was briefly called Pinkerton, because detectives with the Pinkerton detective agency set up shop there guarding rail road equipment. The name was soon changed to Wagon Mound, for the butte just to the east strongly resembling a covered wagon. How long this name had been in use is unknown, but it likely dates from the early days of the Santa Fe Trail. On May 10th, 1850, Dr. H. White of Santa Fe and his entourage were attacked by Indians near Wagon Mound. It is reported that Dr. White and 11 others were killed and scalped; his wife, child, and nurse were kidnapped and his wife was later shot with arrows during a rescue attempt. The other two were never located. The town of Wagon Mound was incorporated in 1918.
Place Names of New Mexico by Robert Julyan
Historical Gazetteer of US-New Mexico