Acres De Dios Pauper Cemetery, Las Cruces, Dona Ana County, New Mexico

The Acres De Dios was a “Pauper’s Cemetery” outside of the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The county didn’t keep records about the names (if they had them) of the burials. Signage: none on street, but “Acres de Dios, Dona Ana County” sign is affixed to the cinder block fence with access gate on the southern end.

The responsibility for the cemetery has recently been transferred from Dona Ana County to the City of Las Cruces. According to Kathy Matthews, associated with Public Works for the City of Las Cruces, the transfer of authority took place about two or three years ago, with the BLM assisting. Unknown indigents and those whose remains were unclaimed were cremated and buried there at Dona Ana County expense up until about 1960s, but most had no identification and were not identified by name, age, sex, next of kin, etc. The NM Dept of Health/Dona Ana County/Memorial Medical Center/Dona Ana Sheriffs Office may have some information on dates of deaths, burial, or cause of death, but that is not easily obtained at this point.

When the city grew, a neighbor, Jan Osborn, took on the neglected cemetery as a project. She and her students’ made and painted the crosses and cleaned up the cemetery. As Ms. Osborn said “”Everyone deserves to have a memory of their life – and not just be thrown in the desert somewhere like they didn’t count,” she said. “They should all have someone that knows they’re there.”

Cemetery: Acres De Dios Pauper Cemetery
GPS: N 32.31701 W 106.72185
County: Dona Ana
Directions: I-25 Exit 3. 1.0 mi E on E Lohman to Paseo De Onate; 0.55 mi S and E on Paseo De Onate to cemetery, S side. S of embankment, entrance on S side.

 

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