Gambling Produces a Woolie Town
ST. JOHNS – This city traces its origins back to a game of chance. In the fall of 1875, Don Solomon Barth arrived in the area with a herd of sheep he had won in a card game and brought in families from New Mexico to care for the woolies. The sheep herders became the nucleus of the original settlement.
The town was originally called El Vadito but was later renamed San Juan in honor of the first female resident, Dona Maria San Juan de Baca. In 1880, when the town was officially established and granted a United state post office, the name was anglicized by government bureaucrats and changed to St. Johns.