De Baca County was named for Ezequiel C de Baca, New Mexico's second Governor under statehood. The dedication of the present day courthouse was on November 24, 1930. The courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior in 1987. De Baca County is the scene of large cattle and sheep ranches that surround its county seat, Fort Sumner. Because the valley of the county is irrigated by the Pecos River, farming is traditional and profitable among the residents. Sumner Lake State Park is located 16 miles north of Fort Sumner. The area is well known for the legendary outlaw William Bonney, alias "Billy the Kid", who was shot by Sheriff Pat Garrett on July 14, 1881. Billy was 21 years old and had supposedly killed 21 men. The authentic grave site of Billy the Kid is located in the old government cemetery seven miles southeast of the present town of Fort Sumner.
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