Dorsey, Stephen Wallace, 1842-1916

Alternative names
Birth 1842-02-28
Death 1916-03-20

Biographical notes:

Dorsey was a former railroad executive and U.S. Senator; from 1877 a New Mexico rancher.

From the description of Stephen W. Dorsey dictation : Chico Springs, New Mexico, 1885. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 25903650

Dorsey was a rancher and businessman in Colfax County, New Mexico in the 1870s and 1880s.

From the description of Stephen W. Dorsey collection, 1861-1977. (Museum of New Mexico Library). WorldCat record id: 37396855

Dorsey was born in Benson, Vermont, in 1842 and moved to Oberlin, Ohio when he was about 17 years old. When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted in the First Ohio Light Artillery and achieved the rank of Colonel. After the war he returned to Ohio and became president of the Sandusky Tool Company. By 1870 he had moved to Arkansas and had gained the presidency of the Arkansas Central Railway. In 1873, Dorsey was elected to the U.S. Senate from that state and became Secretary of the Republican Party under President Garfield.

In 1877, Dorsey began a ranching empire in New Mexico. He began construction of his mansion in Colfax County near the Santa Fe Trail during that year. The mansion was two and a half stories and was built of logs. In about 1883, he added the formal stone portion. During the early 1880's, Dorsey was involved in the Star Route Mail Fraud and was indicted with several others who comprised the Dorsey Combine. He was acquitted with the help of his lawyer, Robert G. Ingersoll (the Great Agnostic). The Dorsey fortune declined after the scandal and he sold the mansion in 1892. From New Mexico Dorsey went on to various questionable business dealings in Arizona, Colorado and Los Angeles, California where he died in 1916.

From the guide to the Stephen W. Dorsey Collection, 1861-1977, (Museum of New Mexico. Fray Angélico Chávez History Library.)


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Historic buildings--Conservation and restoration
  • Ranch life
  • Land titles--Registration and transfer--New MexicoColfax County
  • Land titles--Registration and transfer
  • Historic buildings--New Mexico--Colfax County--Conservation and restoration
  • Railroads


not available for this record


  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • New Mexico--Colfax County (as recorded)
  • Colfax County (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Colfax County (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Dorsey Mansion State Monument (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Dorsey Mansion State Monument (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)