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About July 1, 1844, after a business experience in St. Louis, Missouri, of a year and a half, I found myself with six hundred dollars46 left from a borrowed capital of one thousand dollars, and out of business and ready for any adventure that offered employment and a reasonable prospect of future profit. Messrs. Eugene47 and Thomas Leitensdorfer48 and Mr. [Norris] Colburn49 had just arrived50 from Santa Fé, and after conversation with them I concluded to try my credit p42 and see what I could do towards buying an outfit. With the assistance of Mr. [Eugene] Leitensdorfer in selecting goods and obtaining credit for a part, I bought about twelve hundred dollars' worth of goods, and left St. Louis about the fifteenth for Independence, with money enough to pay my freight and passage up the river and hotel51 bill at Independence.52
[I] applied to Colonel S. C. Owens53 for an outfit on credit,
Samuel Combs Owens
(p44 is blank) and was met with that kindness and liberality which was his custom to extend to Santa Fé traders. He used to furnish wagons, teams, provisions, and general outfit on credit, and send his nephew, 'Ki Harrison, p45 with a few goods; but his [Owens's] main business was to look after Uncle Nick (Nicholas Gentry)54 and the new traders whom he outfitted, and if they were found gambling or dissipating, he wanted his money there [?] — if they attended to business and conducted themselves properly as business men, he wanted his pay in Independence. He furnished me a wagon [that] cost $100, four yoke of oxen [that] cost $28 per yoke, and other advances to [the] amount of about $100. While outfitting, Wethered55 and Caldwell,56 and Louis D. Sheets,57 and Saucer arrived and commenced outfitting for the trip. Judge Joab Houghton58 became a partner p46 of E. Leitensdorfer at Independence and went out with him. Colonel Owens was also fitting up a train, and it was agreed that we should rendezvous at Council Grove.
Leitensdorfer, Sheets, and myself started early in August, and arrived at Council Grove59 in ten or twelve days and took possession of some bark lodges left by the Kaw Indians on their return from their spring buffalo hunt. In about a week Colonel Owens came up with Wethered and Caldwell, C. C. Branham,60 Uncle Nick, and Saucer. The train was made up as follows: Colonel Owens, 8 mule teams; Wethered and Caldwell, 3 mule teams; N. Gentry, 2 ox teams; E. Leitensdorfer and Company, 4 ox teams; C. C. Branham, p47 3 ox teams; L. D. Sheets, 1 ox team; Saucer, 1 ox team; and myself, 1 ox team of four pairs — all the others six pairs of cattle to the team, and mule teams five pairs. John Tulles, Sénécal, Leblanc, B. Pruett, and another gentleman named Langelier in search of health, accompanied us. The train was made up of 23 wagons, 140 mules, 80 yoke of oxen, and 40 men.61
The next day we held an election, by ballot, for captain. Colonel Owens was elected, and he appointed four sergeants of the guard, who drew lots for choice of men; and the guard organized, leaving a cook for each mess free from guard duty. This being the last place where we could procure hard wood for repairs of wagons, one day was spent in cutting and slinging timber under the wagons and preparing for an early start the next morning. As soon as possible after daylight we "catched up" and drove out, every person in camp in good health and spirits, and we greenhorns hoping we should see the Indians.
[We] passed Diamond spring,62 where we partook of mint juleps and passed a vote of thanks to the public benefactors who some years before had transported and set out some mint roots at the spring which by this time had increased to a bountiful supply for all trains passing. p48 [We] passed Lost Spring to Cottonwood [creek] without adventure, except a delay of half a day at Mud creek, where we mired down, "doubled out," cut grass to bridge and fill and had the usual experience at that place. Uncle Nick said Mud creek was no name for it; it was the devil's hind quarters. At Plumb Buttes we saw the first buffalo, an old bull which we killed and took the best cuts — sirloin, tenderloin, hump ribs, marrow bones, marrow guts, etc. — and proceeded to camp. There a fight was predicted by Uncle Nick, as he had never known it to fail that the first buffalo meat would create a fight in camp. My after-experience taught me that as a rule he was correct; but I have known a few honorable exceptions.
The next day we proceeded to Big Bend, where many took their first wash since leaving the Grove; thence to Pawnee Rock,63 where we camped, and Sheets and myself went a hunting — two greenhorns hunting buffalo. The old ones in derision asked us for the horns, hoofs, etc., and agreed to eat them if we would kill a buffalo and bring them in. We said nothing but thought as they were so plenty it would be no trick at all. So we started southward towards the breaks of the Arkansas, p49 and a tramp of an hour or so brought us to an arroyo; and looking up at it, [we] saw a buffalo walking leisurely down on the opposite bank. We concluded to secrete ourselves under the bank and wait his approach. I took the direction of affairs and told Sheets we would cock our guns, keep cool, and wait till he got directly opposite to us, so we could have a fair shot. We would show them that greenhorns could get meat, for those chaps should have nothing but what they asked for — horns and hoofs. I was to give the word to fire by saying, "Ready! One, two, three!" and we were both to fire at the word "three." When he arrived at the desired point, I gave the word according to program. We both fired, and the buffalo gives [gave] a few jump[s] and ran off in the awkward, limping, hog‑style of the animal towards the trail. We followed, sure we had wounded him, and that he must soon lie down and die. But he kept limping on until he got •a mile or so away, when we saw two men after him on horseback who soon ran up to him and with one shot brought him down.
Thomas Leitensdorfer and another hunter had got him ready for skinning when we arrived on the ground to claim the tongue as our trophy, having given him the first shot. They claimed that he was not wounded at all, but the skinning would prove whether there was more than one ball in him, and we could wait and satisfy ourselves who was correct. We watched closely and could see but the single ball hole, and skinning down the other side, Tom took out the ball and asked if either of us could claim it. Neither of us could, and we walked off, satisfied that we had both missed him and must have had a spasm of back ague at the moment of firing. We returned to camp unmitigated greenhorns, and without providing the desired feast for our friends.
p50 Traveling on to Walnut creek,64 we found plenty of buffalo, and the hunters brought in a good supply of good cow meat. Thence onward we were scarcely out of sight of buffalo for many days.
After crossing Ash creek, I thought I would try my luck alone. So mounting my mule, I struck off southward and traveled as cautiously as I knew how, but somehow could not avoid raising the game. But after some hours [I] saw a band of buffalo walking leisurely in a path and strung out in single file for •a quarter of a mile or so, moving eastward. I thought I could approach near enough to get a shot at some of the last of the herd, and hobbled my mule and approached them as fast as I could by running, creeping, and then crawling, until pretty well wearied out. I found the game were by their course increasing the distance from me and I must shoot them or miss getting a shot. So I got in position to shoot and was raising my gun to fire, when I heard a heavy trampling over the ground directly behind me; and looking around, [I] saw another band raised by the moving train or hunters, and running at full speed to join the herd I was about to shoot at and in direct line to where I lay. I lowered my gun and in the excitement of the moment thus reasoned:
"If I lie still, they will surely run over me; if [I] get up and run, they will run after me."
At this stage of the discussion reasoning ceased, and legs decided the question. I ran •two or three rods, the running herd at the same time turning from their course and increasing their speed for several rods and [then] stopped and turned their heads to see what the trouble was. I stood perfectly still for a moment, when p51 the other herd also stopped and turned their heads towards me, and, as I concluded, meditating whether to charge me or run. So formidable apparent danger I never [before] encountered. Every bushy head in both herds [was turned] directly towards me, and so near I could see their glaring eyes, sharp horns, and vicious appearance. I dropped in the grass and crawled away as carefully as I had formerly approached them. After a few moments they turned their heads and walked off on their course. I crawled to my mule, mounted, and started for camp, and calm reflection convinced me that I had been badly scared, and if any of the old hunters had seen me, I should be the subject of their jokes for the balance of the trip. After I had killed one or two buffalo, the joke was too good to keep, and I told [it] on myself.
The second day after, we arrived at Pawnee Fork,65 and, as the crossing was very difficult, we concluded to turn out, repair the road, and prepare for crossing the next morning. The east bank must be •from twenty to thirty feet above the water and very steep — so much so, that we were compelled to lock both hind wheels, hitch a yoke of good wheelers to the hind axle, and all the men that can be used to advantage to assist in holding back and prevent the wagon from turning over. Even with all these precautions, accidents frequently happen, and the descent is so rapid the teams get doubled up and oxen run over.
The next morning we began crossing; and when the wagons were about half across, one of Wethered's wagons turned over into the stream. The west bank was steep but not so high as the east one. Yet we had to double teams to get out and make a short and very difficult turn up the stream; so the wagon fell into deep p52 water, and bottom up. All hands took to the water and in two or three hours succeeded in getting dry goods and wagon to camp on the opposite bank. The next two days were spent in opening the goods, and spreading them on the ground to dry, repacking, and loading up. Two of the best hunters were sent out to kill meat and brought in a large amount, a part of which was jerked and hung around the wagons to dry.
Leaving Pawnee Fork, we took the Coon creek or dry route,66 with no water, except occasionally at Far Ash creek •(four miles), and •twenty-five miles to Big Coon creek, which we reached without accident or adventure. The next day I began to feel as though my nerves and courage would stand the strain of another trial to kill a buffalo. This time, notwithstanding the warnings of the old hunters of the danger from Indians, I resolved to go afoot and alone. Walking ahead of the train •a mile or so, and most of the time off the road, [I] saw many buffalo but did not succeed in finding a good chance to approach game until near sundown, when I saw a herd quietly grazing and a good chance to get within gunshot. Crawling carefully, I was just about to shoot, when they raised their heads as if alarmed; then as coolly as possible for me, I selected a cow and fired. The report raised the band to run up the ravine, and while [they were] passing, I reloaded and took my chances at one on the run. The one first wounded was lying as if mortally wounded, and I flattered myself I had two fat cows near camp. The train was approaching p53 over the hill, and both raised, following the herd but evidently badly wounded. I followed cautiously for a mile or more, when one of them began to fail and •about two miles from where I shot her lay down and died.
The triumph and joy of killing the first buffalo after one or two ridiculous failures, no one can realize who has not experienced it. I must take the tongue to convince the camp that I had at last got meat; but that would not satisfy them that a greenhorn could kill a cow by fair hunting and approach. They won't come for the meat unless I take a sample; so I took the tongue and a good fat piece of lon and started for camp.
[I] arrived and found all had got through supper and were talking about sending out to find the lost greenhorn. I went to our mess and asked for assistance to dress and bring in the meat. In reply they said it was probably some old bull unable to get out my way and not worth the trouble. A look at the tongue was not entirely convincing; so I showed the piece of sirloin, which was satisfactory proof of the quality of the meat. But there was still a doubt whether I could return to it in the night. At last I prevailed upon them to make the trial, and we found it after a long walk, dressed it, and returned to camp.
Some time after ten o'clock I was taking a lunch (having eaten nothing since breakfast), when Colonel Owens came around and asked if we could furnish a man from our mess to sit up with a man who needed watchers.
"What is the matter?" [we asked]. "Who is sick? How many do you want?"
"Well, two or three will do. If more are required, p54 you can call. Webb has killed a buffalo cow, and I fear he will become so excited over it that he will get beside himself and keep the whole camp awake all night. I want someone to look after him and talk on other subjects until he gets quieted down, so it will be safe to leave him alone."
From this [point] to the Arkansas river we passed without adventure, scarcely ever out of sight of buffalo to the crossing. •About ten miles below the crossing we met two Shawnee Indians, who had the year before gone out with Mr. Albert Speyer67 (the excited man of Black Friday who bid "164 for a million more"), and had spent the winter in the mountains trapping. These were the only persons, white men or Indians, seen by the people with the train after leaving the state line till arriving at the New Mexican settlements, [a distance of] •seven hundred and fifty miles.
The crossing of the Arkansas68 was looked forward p55 to with much solicitude, as at best it was attended with a good deal of risk and labor. The stream is •about a third to half a mile wide, with a rapid current and quicksand bottom — the channel shifting from day to day, forming holes and bars, making necessary much crooking and turning in the stream to avoid miring down so the water would not reach the bottoms of the wagons and wet the goods. I have two or three times had to raise the load by placing timbers on the bolsters as high as we dare and avoid the risk of the shaking off or turning over the loads. Uncle Nick, who had made many trips before this, said that on one or two occasions he found the water so high that they could find no place to ford, and had selected a wagon body best fitted for the purpose, caulked it as well as they could, and (stretching raw buffalo skins on the outside) made a boat or scow to ferry over. This is no small job to ferry across such a stream seventy-five to one hundred tons of freight, delaying a train sometimes a week or ten days, and under an expense of eighty dollars to one hundred dollars a day.
We found the river in fair fordable condition and crossed in one day by doubling teams, with twelve yoke of oxen to each wagon, with three or four drivers to a wagon, and plenty of men to walk besides the wagon to lift at the sides in case of danger of turning over, or to roll at the wheels in case of danger of miring down. The current is so rapid and the quicksand so treacherous that a wagon shakes and rattles by the sand washing from under the wheels as much as it would going p56 over the worst cobblestone pavement. And if the team stops for a very few minutes, it will settle so deep that it is with the greatest difficulty it can be got out.
The next day was spent in greasing up and making repairs, cooking, and resting teams, preparatory to entering the jornada, or journey of •fifty miles without water, and by the couriers who go ahead to Santa Fé to make arrangements for renting stores and bargaining about introduction of goods, and duties to be paid.
The duties charged by Governor Armijo69 for several years previously had been five hundred dollars per wagon load,70 and many goods contraband under the Mexican tariff were admitted by him and no examination made. This was the foundation of the Santa Fé trade, and the only advantage gained by introducing goods by the overland route for Chihuahua and the interior states of Mexico. The legal tariff on legal goods would amount to from $1,800 to $2,500 the wagon load; introduction duties and the inter-state p57 tariff, or consumos71 duties, one‑third the arancel,72 or import duties, on all goods sold, in each state.
As our whole interests were not under the protection of law, but subject to the will of one man, and being recognized and confessed contrabandists, it was necessary for the traders to start early and take a long and rapid journey ahead and see how the land lay. Colonel Owens being the leading merchant in Independence and having control of the outfitting trade for Mexicans as well as Americans, and Governor Armijo having sent a train to "the States" for goods for several years, felt safe to remain with the train and depend upon reports of other traders of any change of rulers or rates of duty. When talking over matters who should go ahead, Eugene Leitensdorfer and Thomas Caldwell, who had been in the country several years and knew the officials well and understood the language thoroughly, were selected to represent the interests of all the traders in the necessary negotiations; but it was thought safer to have three or four more in the company in case of an encounter with Indians. I was very anxious to go, but had doubts about being accepted, as I was a greenhorn and had never had my courage tested by the approach of Indians. But [I] asked the privilege of joining them and was permitted to do so, to my extreme satisfaction. I had bought a mule of Leitensdorfer for thirty-five dollars, and she had not proven as good as we expected; so I had some doubts of her being able to stand the trip, but concluded to risk her, hoping to be p58 able to exchange [her] for another at Bent's Fort in case she failed me.
So when the train left the river by the Cimarrón route,73 we re‑crossed the river and started on our trip ahead by way of Bent's Fort and Taos to Santa Fé. The custom of small parties traveling in the Indian country is to start at dusk, making •ten or fifteen miles travel, and before arriving near the proposed camping place, to leave the road and travel •a mile or two in the prairie until a hiding place is found, or such a place as will afford passable feed for the animals, and as secure as possible from discovery from any considerable distance. The party was made up by Eugene Leitensdorfer, Thomas Leitensdorfer, Thomas Caldwell, Sénécal, and myself. The outfit for these trips was very limited. Of course [there was] a good supply of powder and ball, one pair of Mackinaw blankets, with a supply of coffee, sugar, crackers or bread, and jerked buffalo meat, sometimes salt and always tobacco — would dispense with either article of food rather than tobacco.
I think we were five days to Bent's Fort,74 and saw no Indians until we got to within a few miles of Big Timber,75 •about twenty or twenty-five miles below the fort. We left the road and turned to the river bottom and camped. Before lying down, E. Leitensdorfer went to p59 the river for a drink of water, and was about to return to camp when he heard a dog bark across the river; and on taking a careful look, [he] saw an Indian village of some twenty lodges on the opposite bank. [He] reported the fact in camp, and it was thought prudent (although we presumed they were Cheyenne and there would be little or no danger if we had camped there in the day time) to saddle up and leave, which we did as expeditiously and quietly as possible, crossing the trail and traveling in the prairie for several miles and camped for the night. The next day we arrived at the fort76 and met a hospitable reception and took one day's good rest.
My mule was much jaded and nearly given out, and we were all convinced she could not carry me through; so I must either remain at the fort, delay the company in the journey, go on foot, or get another mule. They had no mules to spare, but recognizing the strait I was in, finally concluded that Marcellin St. Vrain77 had a good pacing mule which he would part with on no condition; p60 but she was so tricky and headstrong that he had given up riding her and [had] turned her over to his squaw, who could do anything with her and ride her anywhere she desired. He said [that] he feared he should sometime attempt to ride her away, and she would either refuse to leave, or if she left and he wanted to dismount for any purpose, she would be sure to get away from him, and he was afraid he should in his anger shoot her. He had her brought up, and she was just what I should have most desired except [for] her tricks. He was showing her to me and describing her ways when she took a notion to join the herd. He called on the bystanders to assist in holding her, and three strong men took hold of the lariat but made no impression, and she went off. I traded, however, and agreed to pay him twenty dollars when I got the money. Before leaving, he brought a pair of fetters and tied [them] to my saddle and told me how to manage her:
"When you want to dismount if near a tree, tie her to the tree before dismounting, then put on the side-hopples and turn her loose. If no tree is near, tie her to another mule and pursue the same course." On leaving, he said, "Now don't forget, if that mule gets away from you this side of the mountains, you may look for her at Bent's Fort; if on the other side, not till you get to Taos."
I named her "Dolly Spanker," and she proved just as he told me, very naughty but very wise, easy riding, fleet of foot, and never tired. I became very much attached to [her] and crossed the plains several times with her and had no other riding mule. In 1848 she p61 was sent with the herd, on arrival at Santa Fé, to Agua Fría to pasture. A few days after, my herder Antonio came up and informed me that Dolly was missing and he feared she had been stolen. I saw nor heard nothing of her until February, 1850, when I crossed the plaza to the store of St. Vrain and McCarty and saw a mule hitched to a post which looked familiar; and on examination I recognized my old pet and companion, Dolly Spanker. Colonel St. Vrain78 was in the store, and I called him out to look at her. And on calling his attention to the time I got her of his brother and the reason of his parting with her, he recognized her and admitted my claim. He said he had had her about a year and a half, and Bransford, his wagon master, had used her as his favorite riding mule. He was fitting out for his partner to go to "the States" for goods, and Bransford wanted me to allow him to ride her and turn [her] p62 over to Mr. A. G. Boone79 for me when I should conclude to go in, and I unfortunately gave my consent. She was stolen by the Pawnee at Big Bend, an account of which circumstance will appear in a trip further on.a
This is a long story about a mule, but Dolly with all her naughtiness was an animal I loved. She never failed me from weariness, carried me as fast as it ever became necessary to ride, and as easy as the rocking of a cradle, through many long and weary journeys, and under the protection of a kind Providence through dangers seen and unseen. And I cannot do less in giving this account of my journeyings than pay this affectionate and merited tribute to her memory.
From the fort we traveled up the north side of the river •about fifteen miles and crossed, thence without trail or track, taking the Wet mountain as a guiding point to the Huérfano river, aiming to strike it below the canyon, in which we were successful. [We] crossed the river and on our way up overtook a party of Mexicans on their return from a trading expedition with the Indians. E. Leitensdorfer began complaining of illness, and we concluded to travel with them for a time, hoping we should soon be able to leave them and travel more rapidly. The next day he was so ill that we were compelled to lie by a day for rest. [We] camped in a beautiful grove of cottonwoods at the foot of the mountains, where he had a good "shake," and being without a doctor or medicine, the prospect of a rapid journey was rather discouraging. We cut two poles and prepared a litter by tying a rope to the small ends and hanging [it] across the saddle and letting the other p63 ends [of the poles] drag; and weaving lariats across behind the mule and spreading blankets over for a bed, thus forming a very easy and comfortable litter. Where the path was too narrow to permit its passage, the litter was doubled up and dragged, the sick man riding his mule.
The scenery from many points of observation I will not attempt to describe. It would be beyond my power to do so if I were to attempt it. I can only say it is beautiful — grand — perhaps sublime would not be extravagant. I think it has been painted by one of the greatest artists, Bierstadt; if not the same, it is very like it. I think he calls it the St. Louis pass. We used to call it the Huérfano pass.80 The difference in name leads me to doubt whether it is the same. I never saw the painting but once, and was then sure [that] that was the original of the picture.
Mr. Leitensdorfer's continued illness compelled us to travel by short journeys across the mountains and down the valley on the west side of the mountains to Río Colorado, the first settlement. One day we camped on the Río Culebra81 (a small stream running from the mountains into the Río Grande), and in the early afternoon saw three men approaching camp at a brisk gallop, each with a led horse. They dismounted, unsaddled, and in a few minutes had a fire kindled, and the coffeepot over the fire. They were soon recognized as p64 old mountain men and acquaintances of several of the party — Kit Carson,82 Lucien Maxwell,83 and Timothy Goodale.84 As soon as they got dinner cooking (coffee boiling, a prairie dog dressed and opened out on a stick before the fire), Carson and Maxwell came to our camp. This was many first interview with these three celebrities. It was very short, and I can remember nothing p65 of the interview except that they left Pueblo85 that morning and expected to reach Taos that night. They soon left, ate their dinner, saddled their horses, caught their led horses, and were off, Kit galloping up to the trail rope, or lariat, of his horse and, stooping in his saddle, picked it up and was off without breaking a gallop, giving us this word of caution:
"Look out for your har,º boys! The Ute are plenty about here."
Thomas Caldwell, becoming dissatisfied with our slow rate of travel, left with them and went on to Santa Fé.
We were about a day and a half getting to Río Colorado,86 where I took my first meal in a New Mexican house. It was a simple meal after a fast of thirty‑six hours. I do think it was the best they had and prepared for company — baked pumpkin, wheat gordos, and atole.87 The gordos are prepared by grinding the wheat p66 on the metate,88 wetting the meal with water sufficient to put it into cakes about the size and rather thicker than our buckwheat cakes, and baking them on a flat stone without the addition of soda or yeast and frequently without salt.
Eugene asked if they could not get a chicken and make him some soup. "Yes, sir," [they replied], "but we have no money to buy it."
He gave the hostess some money, and she went out with her tinaja on her head and soon returned with the tinaja of water on her head, an old hen in one hand, some onions in the other; and these, when cooked, made the soup, without the addition of any further ingredient except salt. We all ate of it and at the time called it good. And I have since seen the time when I would [have] been glad to get a very little even of that.
We remained here the rest of the day, and next morning started for Turley's Mill and Distillery,89 •about six miles [distant] and across a spur of the mountain. We met with [a] warm and cordial reception, and [were] entertained with that hospitality universal among the American residents in New Mexico at that time on the arrival of the gringos (strangers), especially countrymen, at their houses. Our bill of fare was the usual dishes of chile colorado,90 beans, atole, tortillas,91 etc., p67 Americanized by the addition of bacon, ham, coffee, and bread. Mr. Turley had a pen of some fifteen or twenty hogs, which he fed from the mill and distillery, and raised pork enough for his own family. But there was no market for hog products outside of his own wants. This was the only place where [I] ever saw hogs kept in any numbers either in New or Old Mexico; and during my fifteen years' residence and travels over New Mexico and through the states of Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, and Aguascalientes, I never saw fifty hogs in all, besides what I saw at this place.
We remained here a couple of days, and although Eugene was still very weak, we went to Taos92 and stopped at the house of Mr. Charles Beaubien.93 He p68 was a Canadian Frenchman who had settled in the country many years before, married a Mexican woman, and had a family of daughters, one of whom was about that time or soon after married to Mr. Lucien Maxwell. Mr. Beaubien was one of three proprietors of the Mexican Grant at the Rayado, and afterwards known as the Maxwell Grant.94 It was not settled upon until some years after the acquisition of New Mexico by the United States,95 on account of the industrious habits, enterprising character, and philanthropic principles of the Apache and Ute Indians. Devilish Poor Lo! Mrs. Maxwell inherited Mr. Beaubien's claim and sold it to an English company for one hundred thousand dollars, and I have heard that, since passing into the hands of the confidence men, the bonded and other indebtedness amounted to between five and six millions. I have no doubt I could at this time and for several years afterwards have bought the entire claim for less than ten thousand dollars.
Eugene was still too ill to travel, and being in good quarters it was thought best that Tom and myself should go out and meet the train. There was much p69 uncertainty what course the authorities would pursue about admitting contraband goods, as Governor Armijo had been deposed and General Martínez96 from the low country appointed in his place; and [the latter] was on his way to Santa Fé to assume the office. As there was nothing to be done until his arrival, we concluded to hurry on and trust to luck.
After [a] two or three days' stay in Taos we secured the services of Manuel Lefevre as guide and started across the mountains without road or trail in the direction of the crossing of Red river. The first night was spent in the mountains, not daring to make a fire for fear of attracting the attention of some good Indian, who would, if in his power to do so, show his christian sympathy and Indian generosity by taking our hair. Or if he thought the personal risk of hurting our feelings in that way too great, he would at least attempt to appropriate our mules as objects of comfort and convenience to himself and squaw . . . After passing the night among the spruces and aspens in chilly dreaminess, we left camp at daylight and descended the mountain into a valley, where we surprised a prairie dog village. And I succeeded in killing one, which we took to our noon rest, where we dined on prairie dog and coffee without salt or sugar. In the afternoon we got to the foot of the mountain and camped but a short distance from the road leading to the Ratón mountain and Bent's Fort.
[We] slept supperless and started at daylight, as we supposed on the plain. But shortly, to our great surprise, p70 we came to a bluff which at first appeared impossible to descend, but by this time we had learned to "never give up" but try. The mesa must be at least •three hundred feet higher than the plain below, and we descended at an angle of nearly or quite forty-five degrees over a débris of trap rock formed by ages of decay and crumbling, with no vegetation, path, or track. And every moment it seemed as if we should, and the mules must, stumble and fall, [and] go rolling and tumbling over the rocks to the bottom. In some places [where] there would be a perpendicular descent of •four or five feet from one rock to another, we would jump down, give our mules their time and plenty of rope. And after a thoughtful and intelligent survey of the distance and landing place, [they] would make the jump and land upon all fours, their feet sometimes so close together that it seemed as though within a space not larger than a half bushel measure. After long and patient effort we landed on the plain below without accident to man or mule.
Today the scene appears as vivid and real as if the occurrence had taken place but yesterday; and calm reflection leads me to doubt which manifested the more caution, courage, and intelligence, the men or the mules. Dolly Spanker here scored a long point.
After a short rest we proceeded on our journey, and it was not long before we discovered a band of antilope. Mr. Lefevre said he would kill one for dinner. I had my doubts, but he started off and, in full view of us, approached the band and brought one down at the first shot. We skinned the animal and took the liver and heart, cutting it up so we could each take his portion on his mule tied to his saddle-skirt. Soon after, [we] struck p71 the wagon road in the valley about midway between the Red river and the Point of Rocks.97 Coming to a pool of water, we camped for a meal. [We] dined on antilope meat, liver, and coffee, and had a feast. Traveled but •three or four miles further, we camped for the night with good water, plenty of grass, and a secluded camp. [We] rested well and arose early next morning, refreshed and happy.
At early dawn we started on the trail to meet the train. [We] passed the Point of Rocks98 and Willow creek and met the wagons between there and Whetstone Branch. [We] were received with many cheers and "how de's," and the afternoon was spent (while traveling) with an account of the adventures of each party during our separation. Colonel Owens and some others had left the train a few days before and gone on to Santa Fé. The cattle of Leitensdorfer were rather tired and poor, and Houghton thought Tom had better go to the settlements for a few yoke of fresh cattle. They had a cold and sleety storm at Sand creek which was very trying on the animals; and two or three died in camp, [including] one of mine, leaving me with three yoke and an odd steer for change. But in order to have as few loads as possible, the wagons had been loaded so as to leave each owner with a kitchen wagon, in which were stowed the provisions, bedding, clothing, etc. The goods in my wagon were distributed in those of Leitensdorfer and Houghton, and the wagon used as a kitchen wagon for the mess. The train had found buffalo nearly all the p72 way from the Arkansas to Round Mound99 and had plenty of fresh and jerked meat; but the antilope was very acceptable to them for a change.
The next day, not far from the Point of Rocks, I thought I would take another hunt. The old hunter told me I need not expect to see buffalo, and it was of no use for me to hunt antilope. But Dolly was recommended as having sufficient speed to run on [down] a fat bull, and I wanted to try her. [I] struck off south, and after •two or three miles travel saw an old bull grazing and concluded to try my hand in the race. After riding cautiously, sufficiently near as I thought to commence the run, I called Dolly to the gallop and found she knew her business better than I did. She did not spend her strength at the first dash, but gradually increasing her speed until she came within •a dozen or twenty rods, when she let out and was soon alongside and sufficiently near for me to shoot, yet carefully and persistently refusing to approach near enough to be in danger of getting horned if he should turn upon her. Finding she would run no nearer, I concluded to fire as we were. [I] fired one shot, when he made a dash for her; but she was looking out for the danger which I was much too excited to comprehend and shoved off some distance till he turned again on his course, when I gave him another shot, and at the discharge of the gun she again shoved off to a safe distance. The last shot proved to be a good one, and he stopped and shook his head and soon lay down, Dolly and I at a safe distance p73 looking on. And while doing so, I reloaded my gun — a double-barreled shotgun carrying an ounce ball.
By the time I had loaded, the buffalo was dead, and I was then in a puzzle what to do. Dolly made no objections to going as near to the dead bull as I pleased, but I was afraid to dismount lest she might take a notion to leave me and go to the train. I wanted the tongue and concluded to risk her. I rode up and dismounted, and Dolly remained perfectly quiet and contented until I tied her to a leg. [I] took out the tongue, when I thought I would prove what the hunters had often told me: that you could not get a ball to penetrate the skull of a bull after he was three years old on account of the thickness of the skull and skin and the long matted hair on the forehead. I stepped to within a short distance, so the muzzle of my gun was not more than •six or eight feet from his head, and shot him directly between the eyes. On examination I found where the ball struck, but there was no indentation and the skin was not broken.
Satisfied with my hunt and the result, I returned to camp. The old traders said they had not seen or heard of a buffalo being killed so near the settlements for many years, and I never have seen buffalo since within •sixty or eighty miles, and never but once within •one hundred. The train had found buffalo sufficient to supply the camp with fresh meat constantly for •between three hundred and three hundred and fifty miles. I have several times crossed without seeing buffalo on the route for more than •fifty to eighty miles.
We expected to meet the soldiers at Río Colorado,100 as it had been the custom to sent out a guard to that point to keep watch and see that no goods were sent off p74 to other points. But on account of the change of governors, I presume, we did [not] meet any soldiers until somewhere near the Wagon Mound, and then but a small escort. Preparations and changes had been made (in season) to enter the settlements in such condition as not to render any further changes necessary.
We traveled on, crossing Red river, Ocate,101 and [on] to Wagon Mound,102 where we met Tom with fresh cattle; thence to Río Moro,103 where there were two houses — one an adobe house with two rooms near the crossing, occupied by an American, named George Carter, and his housekeeper. •About a mile and a half above [there was] a dragon, or cellar, dug in the ground and poles laid across, covered with grass and earth — only one room, and occupied by an Englishman named Bonney. I think he had a wife or housekeeper and three or four children, the eldest a son, I should think, fourteen or sixteen years old.104 These were the only houses nearer than Las Vegasº or El Moro, •sixteen or eighteen miles distant.
Next morning [we] started early and crossed Sapello,105 and thence over the mesa to Las Vegas, where we arrived in good season and camped in the meadow in p75 the valley of the Gallinas106 (at the foot of the mesa and •a mile or so from the town). Our camp was visited, as usual, by a numerous delegation of men, women, and children, who [came] from curiosity, to meet acquaintances, and to sell such articles in the way of provisions as they had to dispose of. Our men were very anxious to indulge in the luxuries of raised bread, eggs, onions, etc., which afforded them a lively market.
Wethered's mule herder, Old Ramon, an old resident of the town, met many acquaintances and seemed very proud and happy to get among his people once more, as he had gone in with them the fall before, and it was now October; so he had been nearly or quite a year absent. He had bought a good many articles of utility and fancy, spending all his wages; among other things a nice double-barreled gun, of which he was very proud, kept in first rate order, and showed his people with much pride. During the night or early in the morning he somehow lost sight of it for a moment, and it was stolen from him. I don't think I ever saw a more grieved or madder man than he. He ran all about the camp, and when he came across a Mexican would inquire if they had seen anyone or suspected anyone of having stolen it. At last he gave up the hope of finding it, and vented his indignation and contempt for his people very freely:
"Here I have been among the gringos and heretics for a year, working hard but kindly treated, well fed and well paid, and spent my wages for such things as I could not get in my country and such as I most desired. And the first night spent among my people (and they calling themselves christians), [they] steal everything p76 they can lay their hands [on] — more than half my savings. What am I to think of my people and their christianity?
Father Lliba, the priest of San Miguel parish, called at camp the evening before and took supper with Wethered and Caldwell. They had a good supper, with a good supply of liquors for the entertainment of their reverend guest, of which he partook quite freely and became rather hilarious. On leaving camp, he mounted his pony and rode around the camp at the fastest run of his horse (two or three times), and coming to the road leading to town, struck off on it, raising his hat with a grand flourish, [and] gave us the parting "Adios! Good‑bye! Go to hell!" and went off satisfied and happy.
The next day we passed through Las Vegas,107 at that time but a small town of not more than three or four hundred inhabitants, and no Americans either there or in Tecolote and but one in San Miguel — Don Thomas Rowland. The road through the mountains was the worst imaginable, to be called a road, no labor being expended to keep it in repair except such as done by the traders to make it possible to get along. Tecolote hill was a place always looked forward to with dread and apprehension. The best we could do by throwing [was to throw] out loose stones, and doubling [double] teams to twelve yoke of oxen to the wagon. It p77 was a very hard day's work to get up with a train of twenty or twenty-five wagons and camp a mile or two from the summit.
At San Miguel [we] met Colonel Owens, Squire Collins,108 and, I think, Anthony Thomas, who came out to meet us. I well remember the squire and his appearance. He was then advanced in years109 (but brisk and quick in all his motions as a young man of twenty-five), [and] dressed in [a] well-worn broadcloth suit (but neat and clean without a particle of stain or dirt) and an old‑fashioned plaid camlet cloak. I think his was the last one I ever saw of the genuine old style. They traveled with us (I think) one day and returned to Santa Fé.
From San Miguel to Santa Fé we were compelled to graze our cattle morning and evening and corral them during the night, on account of the timber and their liability to wander off in the wood or be stolen by Mexicans or Indians.
I was on camp guard one night some three or four miles from old Pecos, and while sitting on a water keg before the camp fire, I felt something tickling on my p78 legs between the ankle and knee. [I] gave a scratch and went on smoking. Pretty soon the trouble was renewed, and again — and then again. At last I thought I would look and see what was the matter. On rolling up my drawers and turning down my stockings, I was surprised to find my leg covered with crawling — well, lice! I was mortified and afraid that if found out I should become the laughing-stock of the whole camp; so I concluded my best way would be to acknowledge the coon in [the] best and shortest way I could and have it over with. I threw myself flat upon the ground and caught hold of a wagon wheel with both hands and holloed, "Help! Murder!" at the top of my voice.
Those near‑by came to me, and Samuel Wethered holloed from the other side of the corral to know what the matter was.
"Run here quick, Sam, the lice are carrying me off. What shall I do?"
"Go to bed and stop your noise. There is no danger. I have been lousy ever since I crossed the Arkansas."
I afterwards found it was a common complaint prevailing all over the territory, with but here and there only an exception.
The next day [we] passed the old Pecos, ruins of a Pueblo Indian village, which had become so reduced in numbers that they were unable to keep their irrigating ditches in repair, and other necessary community labor, to support themselves in comfort, and had abandoned the home of their fathers and joined the pueblo Jemez. The time of this abandonment I never heard, but many years must have passed as the church was nearly in ruins — the walls and tower with a very small portion of the roof only remaining.b The migration was p79 made with great formality, the sacred fire not being allowed to become extinguished, but was kept burning and borne upon the shoulders of the old men who had formerly had charge of it and [who had] directed the ceremonious worship of the Indians in the estufa.110 The Pueblo Indians are good Catholics, each having a church and paying the parish priest his tithes and firstlings and the legal fees for marrying, baptizing, and burying. Yet in each pueblo the ancient mode of worship was maintained in the estufa in all its forms as handed down by tradition, and seldom or ever was a Mexican permitted to enter the estufa even to gratify curiosity, much less to be present during the performance of any religious ceremonies. . .
But a few miles from here we enter the big canyon, where the road winds and turns, crossing steep pitches and ravines, over rocks, and around boulders, making short and difficult turns, with double teams to make an ascent. At other places the turns are so short that only two or three yoke of cattle can be allowed to pull the load, from danger of turning over into the ravine. One of these difficult passes we called the "S," which required all the skill of the best drivers to get around. And often wagons would be turned over with all the precautions we could use. •Six or eight miles a day was considered good traveling.
From the big canyon we cross[ed] a spur of the mountain, not very high but very steep and rough; so it was necessary to "double" to get up. Thence through heavy pine timber and by a very rough and winding road to Arroyo Hondo, •six miles from Santa Fé, where we camped for the night and made preparations to enter the long-sought end of our journey.
p80 The men here wash their faces and hands, and those possessed of that luxury would don a clean shirt. But those having no spare clothes would content themselves with fixing up shirts and trousers by substituting splinters for buttons and tying a handkerchief around their necks in such a way that it would cover the holes in their shirts as much as possible. But the most important preparation for the drivers was to put on new and broad crackers, so as to be able to announce their arrival by the cracking of their whips, which would nearly equal the reports made by the firing of so many pistols.
The next morning we started at early dawn [and] arrived on the loma111 overlooking the town about ten o'clock. The custom-house officers, Don Agustín Durán112 and Don [José Antonio] Chávez,113 met us and escorted us to the custom-house, where we were compelled, contrary to the custom under the administration of Governor Armijo, to unload and have our goods undergo inspection.114 Armijo had permitted the traders to unload their goods in their stores, and had allowed the introduction of all goods suitable for the p81 market of New Mexico except clothing, boots and shoes, tobacco, and some other goods which were manufactured in the low country and would interfere with that trade.
The duties demanded by the new governor, Martínez, were seven hundred and fifty dollars a wagon load,115 and [the goods] must go through the custom-house with the formality of inspection. Several parties had candlewick, powder, tobacco, sadirons, etc., in small quantities, and there was much apprehension lest they should be confiscated. There was a good deal of chaffering and diligencia116 about getting our goods through, and several days spent before anything was decided on. Uncle Nick was known among the traders and authorities as "Old Contraband Gentry," as he had been permitted for several years to enter one or two loads of tobacco at a nominal duty. Governor Armijo said he was an old veteran in the trade, clever and poor, and always gambled off the proceeds, taking no money out of the country; and therefore the small amount of contraband business he did was a benefit rather than an injury, and he would allow him special terms.
Uncle Nick was now on the anxious seat with the rest of us, and called on the governor one day with another party (but who could not speak Spanish), depending upon Don Guadalupe Miranda,117 private secretary to Governor Martínez, who, he understood, p82 could speak English, but now refused to do so and insisted that he did not understand it. After vain endeavors to make him understand English or even his broken Spanish, Uncle Nick in disgust turned to his companion and said,
"Let's go. We can do no business. This damned rascally fool can't interpret what I want to say."
And on being expostulated with by his companion for expressing himself so loud, and in his Miranda'[s] presence, [he] replied,
"That damned fool can't understand English, and has no idea that I am talking about him."
He could understand very well, as I found from after-acquaintance with him.118
After about a week's negotiation an order was issued by the governor releasing our goods119 from the custom-house, but with an accompanying order that Americans would not be permitted to retail goods in Santa Fé, except Messrs. Wethered and Caldwell, who, in consequence of their loss sustained by having their load of goods damaged at Pawnee Fork, might retail. Thomas Caldwell had made the acquaintance of Martínez in Chihuahua, and they were on intimate and confidential terms, which enabled him to corner the p83 retail trade in Santa Fé for that year. But this, like many another corner, reverted on one of the parties. This was a successful trip. And the next year they made another probably equally successful and returned in the spring of 1846, Mr. Wethered coming east for goods, leaving Caldwell to get up the outfit and buy some goods in St. Louis (leaving funds for the payment with him); and on his return to St. Louis, [Wethered] found Caldwell had left for Arkansas, taking the funds with him. So neither corners nor defalcations belong entirely to the present enlightened and advanced civilization, although I am willing to admit that the present generation has made wonderful advances in these accomplished modes of financiering.
Governor Armijo and leading politicians in Mexico used a more direct and honest term for such proceedings. They called it "making diligencia," or "finesse," for legal stealing. To illustrate: Governor Armijo admitted goods by the wagon load, receiving nominal duties; and of these goods but comparatively few went to the low country. Previous to his administration the General government had been compelled to send considerable sums to support the government in the territory, but by means of the duties received from the increase of trade through the course pursued by him, he never called upon the General government for a dollar. True, he would send trains of his own to "the States," and introduce goods (I presume paying no duties) and pay off the soldiers in goods with a small portion of money, thus making a profit for himself and a saving to the government. And the soldiers were regularly paid, and at least as well as the uncertainty and frequently reduced pay in the low country.
During the winter of 1844 and 1845 Armijo visited p84 Santa Fé, and occupied quarters in a house, a little front room of which was occupied by B. Pruett as a store. The door between the store and the room of Governor Armijo was one of the old‑fashioned affairs, swinging upon a stud, or post, fitted into the upper and lower doorsills, thus swinging without iron hinges or latch and of course leaving large cracks [on] each side.c Governor Martínez made a formal call upon him [Armijo], and Pruett had the curiosity to listen to the conversation. After the usual formalities and while partaking of their wine, Governor Armijo asked Governor Martínez why General Santa Anna had superseded him in the office of governor, and stated in justification of his course how he had maintained the government in New Mexico without calling on the National treasury for aid.
"Well," replied Martínez, "Santa Anna told me he wanted, and would make, a change here. The administration of affairs had become exceedingly corrupt. There had been stealing in every department, from the governor to the lowest subordinate officer."
"True," said Armijo, "the custom-house officers have no doubt stolen. They demand fees and perquisites from the merchants introducing goods to which they are not legally entitled. And my secretary also avails himself of his opportunities. I have also stolen a good deal by permitting this indirect and illegal trade. And in fact, if you call it stealing, I have been stealing all my official life and have got the money in my pocket to show for it. But I don't see how he has mended matters by sending you here, for in connection with your history and have known your course for years. You, poor devil, have been stealing all your life, and today haven't got a p85 dollar. Which is the smartest man, and which is the best fitted to administer an economical government in New Mexico?
I cannot forbear, while on this subject, describing an interview I had with Governor Armijo in 1846. The firm of Webb and Doan had four wagons well loaded with a well assorted stock, and the duties amounted to quite a sum for us. We had bought a pair of horses on the line for which we paid one hundred and seventy-five dollars. Governor Armijo's brother, Juan, went out with several wagons in the same train and knew the price we paid and admired them very much; [he] thought quite likely his brother, the governor, would want to buy. We took good care of them, and at Arroyo Hondo I had them well groomed, the harness and ambulance put in good shape, and drove into the city. On arriving at the plaza, instead of driving direct to the custom-house at the east end of the Palace,120 I drove down the south side and around in front of the Palace, and called the officer in attendance to examine my carriage to see that all was right and I was not a contraband. He allowed me to pass on without an examination, and I drove around the east and south side to the corral of E. Leitensdorfer and Company and turned out.
In a short time a messenger from the governor came over and said he wanted to see me. I immediately went over and met a very kind and fatherly reception from him. And after a little conversation he told me he wanted to buy the sorrels, and asked my price. I told him that I hardly knew what to ask, but thought they ought to fetch about nine hundred dollars.
p86 "Why, young man, what are you talking about? I mean those sorrels you bought on the line for one hundred and seventy-five dollars. You surely cannot ask nine hundred dollars for them?"
"Yes, they are a very fine pair of horses, and it is a great deal of trouble and risk to get them here; and more than that, you are asking very high duties."
"Pay the tariff then, and I will give your price for the horses."
"It would be better to give you the goods."
"Now, young man, answer me honest. How many wagons did you have at Palo Blanco, or Whetstone Branch, or any other place this side the Cimarrón?"
"Now, General, your brother has told you all about it. He knows, as well as he knows what we paid for the horses. We had four wagons heavily loaded and a kitchen wagon with some goods in it, which, on nearing the settlements, we put into the large wagons, making as heavy loads as we could haul through the mountains. "121
"Well, young man, I will be liberal with you. You know that the legal duties on your goods would amount to $1,800 to $2,000 a wagon load, and I allow you to enter them at seven hundred and fifty dollars a wagon, and if you want to take them to Chihuahua or any interior market, I give you the manifest for them to certify that all import duties have been paid. Now this, p87 young man, is stealing, but we do all the stealing and divide with you, giving you much the largest share of booty. I will give you the duties on one load of goods for the sorrels, and you must pay seven hundred and fifty dollars122 a load for the balance."
How would our people have named such an operation? I think they would have appropriated the horses and called it a shrewd financial operation, and claimed to be smart above their fellows. And more than probable their claim would be rewarded with an office in some savings bank, or some religious or philanthropic society as financial manager; and if the fraud was ever discovered, [they] would throw the whole blame upon the shoulders of the second parties.
Well, were we smugglers? Were we guilty of any fraud? We entered the country with our goods and paid the duties demanded by the legal authorities according to a custom prevailing for years, which had become recognized as law by the authorities throughout the country, without any misrepresentation, prevarication, or deceit. And if there was fraud or evasion, the governor never shirked the responsibility or attempted to throw it on the shoulders of others.
From a long acquaintance with him, and from the representations of other traders who had a more intimate acquaintance with him, I am satisfied the American opinion of him, derived from the manner of his obtaining the position of governor and [from] the account of him given by Kendall in his Expedition,123 is p88 unjust. He was naturally irritable and sometimes overbearing, but allowance should be made for his early opportunities. He was emphatically a self-made man, and rose from the position of pastor, or sheep herder, to that of governor by his own energies, without aid, counsel, or even sympathy from those in higher position. He learned his letters, while herding sheep in the prairies, from a Catholic primer. And his first efforts in arithmetic were from some rudimentary book, and learning to make the figures and do the sums by selecting a soft stone such as he could pick up in the prairies, or coal from the camp fire, and doing his ciphering upon the knees of his buckskin breeches. And it was not until he had gained a position in which he could command respect that he gained the aid and sympathy of those who were born in a higher walk of life and had opportunities of superior instruction.
The arrest and execution of the persons executed as spies of the Texas expedition was in consequence of information given by an American who resided in the territory several years before and for many years after, who was very clever and tolerably well liked by Americans and Mexicans, but such an inveterate babbler that we could seldom trust him; always, like others of his class, ready to tell all he knew, and generally a good deal more, frequently doing us material injury when intending only to gratify his propensity for vain babbling.d
46 On July 9, 1844, Webb had $665 in cash. Webb, Daybook, 1844, Webb MSS.
47 Eugene Leitensdorfer, a native of Carondelet (now a part of St. Louis), Missouri, began his career as a Santa Fé trader in 1830. On July 31, 1846, Colonel Stephen W. Kearny, then at Bent's Fort in command of the "Army of the West," sent him on a secret mission "with important business in the direction of Taos." On the following September 22, after the occupation of New Mexico by the United States troops, Kearny appointed him auditor of public accounts for that territory. From 1844 to 1848 Eugene Leitensdorfer, Thomas Leitensdorfer, and Joab Houghton transacted business in Santa Fé under the name of E. Leitensdorfer & Co. Though this firm went bankrupt in December, 1848, Eugene again engaged in the Santa Fé trade in the early fifties. Eugene Leitensdorfer to Secretary of War, June 7, 1846, MS., Index to Letters Received, Secretary of War's Files, War Department; Stephen W. Kearny, Special Order No. 2, July 31, 1846, MS., Adjutant-General's Office, War Department; Santa Fé Republican, Feb. 12, 1848; Daily Missouri Republican, Oct. 22, 1836, Feb. 13, 1849; St. Joseph Gazette (St. Joseph, Mo.), July 17, 1850; Walter B. Stevens, Centennial History of Missouri (St. Louis, 1921), II.550; Benjamin M. Read, Illustrated History of New Mexico (Santa Fé, 1912), 439.
48 Thomas Leitensdorfer was a brother of Eugene Leitensdorfer.
49 Norris Colburn, a resident of St. Louis, was a brother-in‑law of Eugene and Thomas Leitensdorfer. Weekly Reveille, Apr. 19, 1847.
50 Norris Colburn arrived in St. Louis on January 11, 1844. Eugene and Thomas Leitensdorfer appear to have returned to St. Louis on June 21, 1844. Daily Missouri Republican, Jan. 13, June 22, 1844.
51 Webb stayed at the Independence House, a tavern owned by F. F. Hansford. Webb, Daybook, 1844, Webb MSS.; Weston Journal (Weston, Mo.), Mar. 1, 1845; Daily Missouri Republican, Apr. 28, 1845.
52 Founded on the edge of the frontier in 1827, Independence shortly thereafter became the main starting and outfitting point for those who traveled across the plains and mountains of the Far West. It was a very busy place during the spring and summer, when its merchants sold outfits and supplies to numerous caravans bound for New Mexico, California, and Oregon. It had a population of about seven hundred in 1844. Missouri Intelligencer and Boon's Lick Advertiser (Fayette, Mo.), June 14, 1827; Lexington Express (Lexington, Mo.), Feb. 18, 1845; Gregg, op. cit., XIX.188‑189.
53 Samuel Combs Owens was born in Green county, Kentucky, in 1800, and migrated to Franklin county, Missouri, about 1818. There, at the age of twenty‑two, he was elected to the lower house of the State legislature. Later he moved farther west to Jackson county, Missouri, where he helped to found the town of Independence. He was the first treasurer, and the second clerk of the circuit court, of Jackson county, retaining the latter office for about fifteen years. He was manager of James Aull's general store in Independence from 1827 to 1831, and of its successor, J. & R. Aull, from 1831 to 1836. In the latter year he and Robert Aull purchased the house of J. & R. Aull in Independence, and continued the business under the name of Samuel C. Owens & Co. When the firm was dissolved in 1844, Owens became sole owner of the establishment. The general stores which he managed or owned were the most popular resorts for those who purchased outfits for the trade to New Mexico. Sue Adair Owens, Statement, Nov. 5, 1928; Samuel R. Phillips to R. P. Bieber, Dec. 27, 1928; Missouri, House Journal, 2 Gen. Assem., p3; Independence Journal, Sept. 12, 1844; History of Jackson County, Missouri (Union Historical Co., Kansas City, 1881) 179, 182, 636; "Letters of James and Robert Aull," (Bieber, ed.), Missouri Historical Society, Collections, V.289‑293.
54 Nicholas Gentry traded in New Mexico at least as early as 1829. Missouri Intelligencer and Boon's Lick Advertiser (Fayette, Mo.), May 8, 1829.
55 Samuel Wethered, a resident of Baltimore, Maryland, was engaged in the Santa Fé trade at least as early as 1839, and continued in the business until the early fifties. From 1844 to 1847 he was associated with Thomas J. Caldwell, the firm being known as Wethered & Caldwell. Owens & Aull, Daybook, 1846‑1847, MS., Lexington Historical Society, Lexington, Mo.; Santa Fé Weekly Gazette, Aug. 6, 1853; Gregg, op. cit., XX.204‑205.
56 Thomas J. Caldwell was a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and was engaged in the commerce with New Mexico at least as early as 1840. He was the junior member of the firm of Wethered & Caldwell. During the early part of the Mexican war he served as interpreter in Colonel Alexander W. Doniphan's regiment of Missouri Mounted volunteers. American Merchants in Santa Fé to Manuel Álvarez, Dec. 8, 1840, Álvarez MSS., Benjamin M. Read Collection, Santa Fé; M. B. Edwards, Journal of an Expedition to New Mexico and the Southern Provinces, 1846‑1847, MS., Missouri Historical Society; Daily Missouri Republican, Mar. 30, 1847.
57 Louis D. Sheets appears to have continued in the Santa Fé trade after 1844. In 1851 he was appointed prefect and probate judge of Santa Fé county, New Mexico, and in the following year became auditor of public accounts for the territory. From 1854 to 1855 he was clerk of the Supreme Court of New Mexico. Daily Missouri Republican, Apr. 4, Aug. 28, 1851, Oct. 27, 1855; Hubert H. Bancroft, History of Arizona and New Mexico, 1530‑1888 (Works of H. H. Bancroft, XVII, San Francisco, 1889), 631.
58 Joab Houghton, a native of the state of New York, made his first trading expedition to New Mexico in 1843. From 1844 to 1848 he was a member of the firm of E. Leitensdorfer & Co. In 1846 he was appointed one of the three justices of the Supreme Court of New Mexico. During the fifties he practiced law in Santa Fé. After serving as register of the land office in Santa Fé from 1861 to 1868, and as associate justice of the Supreme Court of New Mexico from 1865 to 1869, he resumed his practice of law in Santa Fé. In 1874 he moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico, where he died, Jan. 31, 1876. House Reports, 36 cong., 1 sess., no. 321, p175; New Mexico Reports, I.36‑37, V.3; Weekly New Mexican (Santa Fé), Feb. 8, 1876; Bancroft, History of Arizona and New Mexico, 426, 704, 720; Ralph E. Twitchell, Leading Facts of New Mexican History (Cedar Rapids, 1912), II.272.
59 Council Grove, one of the most important landmarks on the Santa Fé trail, was located at the present site of Council Grove, Morris county, Kansas, •about one hundred and fifty miles southwest of Independence. In 1844 it was uninhabited by white men, and was nothing more than a strip of woodland extending some distance along both banks of the Neosho river. It was customary for Santa Fé traders to travel in separate parties from western Missouri to Council Grove, and there to organize themselves into a company for protection against the Indians while journeying across the prairies. At this point, too, the traders procured hard wood for wagon repairs. Here, in August, 1825, three commissioners, authorized by the United States government to survey a road from western Missouri to New Mexico, held a council with the Great and Little Osage, and named the spot "Council Grove." The name was then "carved in large and legible characters on the trunk of a venerable White Oak tree that stood and flourished near the entrance" of the tent in which the council with the Indians was held. Western Journal, V.178‑179; Gregg, op. cit., XIX.196‑201; Kansas Historical Society, Eighteenth Biennial Report (Topeka, 1913), 111, 118.
60 Christopher C. Branham, of Platte City, Missouri. W. M. Paxton, Annals of Platte County, Missouri (Kansas City, 1897), 56.
61 In a letter dated "Caches, Arkansas river, 9th September, 1844," Samuel C. Owens wrote that "an organization of the company took place at the Farther Coon creek, at which place we found that we mustered sixty men and thirty-four wagons, with two dearborns." Daily Missouri Republican, Oct. 10, 1844. It is probable that additional traders joined the company after leaving Council Grove, thus necessitating a second organization.
62 Diamond spring, which still flows, is located •about four miles south north of the present village of Diamond Springs, Morris county, Kansas. It was discovered on August 11, 1825, by Benjamin Jones, a hunter employed by the government commissioners engaged in surveying the Santa Fé trail. One of the commissioners, George C. Sibley, named it "The Diamond of the Plain," but it later became known as "Diamond spring." Western Journal, V.180‑181; Kansas State Historical Society, Eighteenth Biennial Report, 111, 118.
63 Pawnee Rock, according to Wislizenus, "is a yellow sandstone, overlaid and surrounded by ferruginous sandstone and the scoriaceous rock." A. Wislizenus, Memoir of a Tour to Northern Mexico, Connected with Col. Doniphan's Expedition, in 1846 and 1847 (Washington, 1848), 10. Gregg stated: "It is situated at the projecting point of a ridge, and upon its surface are furrowed, in uncouth but legible characters, numerous dates, and the names of various travellers who have chanced to pass that way." Gregg, op. cit., XIX.211. Pawnee Rock is located near the present village of Pawnee Rock, Barton county, Kansas. Though portions of it have been used for building material, much of the original rock still remains. A granite monument, erected by several women's clubs of the state of Kansas, now stands on top of the rock. Kansas Historical Society, Eighteenth Biennial Report, 87‑88, 112; Henry Inman, The Old Santa Fé Trail (Topeka, 1916), 404-405.
64 This is an error. The traders crossed Walnut creek before coming to Pawnee Rock.
65 Pawnee Fork is now called Pawnee river.
66 At Pawnee river the trail forked, one branch following close to the north bank of the Arkansas river, and the other running •from four to ten miles northwest of the river. The latter was sometimes known as the dry route and was the one taken by Webb and his companions. It again joined the river route some distance east of where Dodge City, Kansas, is now located. Kansas Historical Society, Eighteenth Biennial Report, 112, 120.
67 Albert Speyer, an enterprising Santa Fé trader, was a native of Prussia. He migrated to the United States and made his home in New York City. Engaging in the "commerce of the prairies" at least as early as 1845, he continued in this business until about 1848. Later he returned to New York City and became a gold broker. On September 23 and 24, 1869, he purchased about thirty-five million dollars' worth of gold for Jay Gould, James Fisk, Jr., and their associates, and on the latter date ("Black Friday"), after a rapid decline in the price of that metal, was deserted by them, thus ruining his business. In 1846 a traveler who saw Speyer in Independence, Missouri, described him as follows: "There, do you see that small, spare man [Speyer], with a wirey figure and thin, sharp visage, him with the sallow complexion and dark moustache. You perceive what a keen, clean set eye he has got, and a nose so aquiline that he might pass for a woman. The firm compression of his thin lips, indicate a strong determination of purpose. He is a man of great energy of character — nothing daunts his courageous spirit." Alfred S. Waugh, Desultory Wanderings, 1845‑1846, p118, MS., Missouri Historical Society. See also Ebenezer W. Pomeroy to Albert Speyer, Oct. 17, 1848, Aull MSS., Lexington Historical Society, Lexington, Mo.; House Reports, 41 cong., 2 sess., no. 31, pp63‑73; Daily Picayune, Mar. 22, 1848; Wislizenus, op. cit., 5.
68 The Arkansas crossing, sometimes known as the Cimarrón crossing, was located near the present site of Cimarrón, Gray county, Kansas. After 1834 it was the customary ford for traders who traveled the Cimarrón route. Kansas Historical Society, Eighteenth Biennial Report, 113‑114; Gregg, op. cit., XIX.218‑219, XX.91‑93.
69 Manuel Armijo, a native of New Mexico, was of humble birth. In his youth he was employed as a shepherd. Though poor, he was ambitious; and by 1822, despite his lowly origin, he had become a man of some prominence in the town of Albuquerque. Thereafter his rise was rapid. He was thrice governor of New Mexico, serving during the years 1827‑1829, 1837‑1844, and 1845‑1846. Besides achieving political success, he was also a prominent merchant and invested extensively in the Santa Fé trade. W. W. H. Davis, El Gringo; or, New Mexico and Her People (New York, 1857), 362; Lansing B. Bloom, "New Mexico under Mexican Administration, 1821‑1846," Old Santa Fé, I.29, 45, 162, 168, 256, 266, II.15‑16, 31, 168, 249.
70 This charge was an arbitrary one, but as Webb and other adventurers testified, it eventually became an advantage to many Santa Fé traders. If Governor Armijo had strictly enforced the Mexican tariff laws, collecting the legal duties and prohibiting the introduction of contraband, the Santa Fé trade would have declined rapidly. Charles Bent to Manuel Álvarez, Mar. 22, 1841, Álvarez MSS., Benjamin M. Read Collection, Santa Fé; Samuel Wethered to Manuel Álvarez, Mar. 27, 1844, Álvarez MSS., Historical Society of New Mexico; St. Joseph Gazette, Nov. 7, 1845.
73 The Cimarrón route left the Arkansas river at the Cimarrón crossing, and proceeded southwest through what is now southwestern Kansas, southeastern Colorado, northwestern Oklahoma, and northeastern New Mexico. It was the shortest route to Santa Fé, and was used by most caravans after about 1834. Gregg, op. cit., XX.91‑92.
74 Webb and his companions left the Cimarrón crossing on September 13, and arrived at Bent's Fort on September 17. Weekly Reveille, Nov. 4, 1844.
75 Big Timber was located in the present Bent county, Colorado. In 1853 Beckwith described it as "a section of the river of •about twenty-four miles in length, on the islands and banks of which more than the usual amount of cotton-wood grows." House Ex. Docs., 33 cong., 2 sess., no. 91, p27.
76 Bent's Fort, sometimes called Fort William, was one of the most important trading posts in the Far West. It was the headquarters of Bent, St. Vrain & Co., widely known as Indian traders, trappers, and Santa Fé traders. It was quite likely built of Santiago silt loam or San Joaquín black adobe, soils which are in the immediate vicinity and which are especially adapted to adobe construction. The fort was situated near the north bank of the Arkansas river in what is now the eastern part of Otero county, Colorado. Its construction probably occurred about 1833. In August, 1849, William Bent, possibly fearing an attack by hostile Indians, destroyed the fort. A granite monument now marks its site. Bureau of Soils (United States Department of Agriculture), Soil Map of Colorado, Rocky Ford Sheet (1902); United States Department of Agriculture, Field Operations of the Bureau of Soils, 1902, pp754‑757; United States Geological Survey, Colorado, Las Animas Sheet (1893); Official Correspondence of James S. Calhoun (Annie H. Abel, ed., Washington, 1915), 42; Daily Missouri Republican, June 29, Oct. 2, Dec. 18, 1849; George B. Grinnell, "Bent's Old Fort and its Builders," Kansas State Historical Society, Collections, XV.82.
77 Marcellin St. Vrain, a brother of Ceran St. Vrain, was born at Spanish Lake (near St. Louis), Missouri, Oct. 14, 1815. He died in Ralls county, Missouri, Mar. 4, 1871. Walter B. Douglas, Genealogy of the Family of De Lassus and St. Vrain, MS., Missouri Historical Society.
78 Ceran St. Vrain, a prominent western pioneer, was born at Spanish Lake near St. Louis, Missouri, in 1798. He came to New Mexico at least as early as 1826, when he participated in a trapping expedition to the Gila river. During the next few years he engaged in the fur trade and in the Santa Fé trade and in 1830 joined with Charles Bent to found the firm of Bent & St. Vrain, the predecessor of Bent, St. Vrain & Co. Though appointed United States consul at Santa Fé on May 12, 1834, he never entered upon the duties of his office. During the fifties and sixties, after the dissolution of Bent, St. Vrain & Co., he was primarily interested in the Santa Fé trade and in flour milling. He died at Mora, New Mexico, October 28, 1870. "Mr. St. Vrain was a gentleman in the true sense of the term," wrote Garrard, "his French descent imparting an exquisite, indefinable degree of politeness, and, combined with the frankness of an ingenuous mountain man, made him an amiable fellow traveler." Lewis H. Garrard, Wah‑To‑Yah, and the Taos Trail (Cincinnati, 1850), 7. See also Douglas, Genealogy of the Family of De Lassus and St. Vrain, MS., Missouri Historical Society; B. Davis to T. B. Catron, Oct. 18, 1913, MS., Benjamin M. Read Collection, Santa Fé; New Mexican, Sept. 16, 23, 1864; Daily Missouri Republican, Mar. 22, 1850, Mar. 2, 1854; L. Bradford Prince, Concise History of New Mexico (Cedar Rapids, 1914), 154; Thomas M. Marshall, "St. Vrain's Expedition to the Gila in 1826," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XIX.251‑260; Grinnell, op. cit., 50, 88.
79 Albert G. Boone, a merchant of Westport, Missouri. Santa Fé Gazette, Jan. 1, 1853.
80 Webb refers to the Sangre de Cristo pass, which is on the boundary line between the present Huérfano and Costilla counties, Colorado. This pass had been used by travelers and traders ever since Spanish days. Today an abandoned road leads through the pass. "An Anonymous Description of New Mexico, 1818" (Alfred B. Thomas, ed.), Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXXIII.50‑74; Ralph H. Brown, "Colorado Mountain Passes," Colorado Magazine, VI.233‑234, 237.
81 Río Culebra, now called Culebra creek, is in Costilla county, Colorado.
82 Christopher Carson was born in Kentucky in December, 1809, and later moved to Missouri. In 1826 he ran away from home and journeyed with a caravan of traders bound for Santa Fé. Employed as teamster, cook, or interpreter, he traveled through New Mexico and Chihuahua until the spring of 1829, when, at the age of nineteen, he joined a party of trappers at Taos, New Mexico. Residing at Taos, he continued to hunt and trap in all parts of the Far West until 1842. In that year he guided John C. Frémont on his first journey of exploration to the Rocky mountains. He acted as hunter and guide on Frémont's second journey of exploration in 1843 and 1844; and again accompanied Frémont on his third expedition in 1845 and 1846. Thereafter, at various times, he served the United States government in the capacity of guide, despatch bearer, and Indian agent, and also enlisted in the Union army during the Civil war. He died at Fort Lyon, Colorado, May 23, 1868. Elias Brevoort, a frontiersman who knew Carson intimately, described him as follows: "Personally he was mild, [with a] rather effeminate voice, but when he spoke his voice was one that would draw the attention of all; everybody would stop to listen. His language was forcible, slow and pointed, using the fewest words possible. He talked but little. . . He was a very cautious man, which sometimes made people accuse him of cowardice; he was very superstitious. . . More latterly he wouldn't start a trip on Friday." Elias Brevoort, The Santa Fé Trail, MS., Bancroft Library. See also DeWitt C. Peters, Kit Carson's Wild West (New York, 1880); Edwin L. Sabin, Kit Carson Days, 1809‑1868 (Chicago, 1914).
83 Lucien B. Maxwell was born in Kaskaskia, Illinois, in 1818, and in the thirties migrated to Taos, New Mexico. In the early forties he was employed at Fort St. Vrain, a trading post on the South Platte river. He served as hunter on Frémont's first expedition in 1842, and accompanied Frémont's third expedition in 1845 and 1846. He was an intimate friend of Kit Carson. He died at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, July 25, 1875. Senate Ex. Docs., 28 cong., 2 sess., no. 174, pp9, 31; Twitchell, Leading Facts of New Mexican History, II.415‑416; Sabin, Kit Carson Days, 238, 344, 644‑645.
84 Timothy Goodale trapped in the Far West probably as early as 1839, and in the fifties was employed as a guide by the United States government. House Ex. Doc., 35 cong., 1 sess., no. 2, pp455‑481; Daily Missouri Republican, July 8, 1856; Randolph B. Marcy, Thirty Years of Army Life on the Border (New York, 1866), 404.
85 An early settlement on the site of the modern Pueblo, Colorado. This settlement was made in the fall of 1842. I July of the following year John C. Frémont described it as a place "where a number of mountaineers, who had married Spanish women in the valley of Taos, had collected together, and occupied themselves in farming, carrying on at the same time a desultory Indian trade." He stated that these mountaineers were "principally Americans." Senate Ex. Docs., 28 cong., 2 sess., no. 174, p116. See also T. D. Bonner, The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth (Charles G. Leland, ed., London, 1892), 383; Wilbur F. Stone, "Early Pueblo and the Men Who Made It," Colorado Magazine, VI.199‑210.
86 Río Colorado was first settled in 1816. Annals of Congress, 15 cong., 1 sess., vol. II, p1962.
87 A thick gruel made of corn flour, somewhat similar to mush. Gregg wrote: "A sort of thin mush, called atole, made of Indian meal, is another article of diet [in Mexico], the preparation of which is from the aborigines; and such is its nationality, that in the North it is frequently called el café de los Mexicanos (the coffee of the Mexicans). How general soever the use of coffee among the Americans may appear, that of atole is still more so among the lower classes of Mexicans. They virtually 'breakfast, dine and sup' upon it." Gregg, op. cit., XIX.293.
88 "A hollowed oblong stone, used as a grinding-machine," according to Gregg. Ibid., 290.
89 Turley's Mill and Distillery was located a short distance east of the present village of Arroyo Hondo, Taos county, New Mexico. Its proprietor was Simeon Turley, who came to New Mexico at least as early as 1827. Turley was killed and his establishment destroyed during the Taos Revolt of 1847. Missouri Intelligencer (Fayette, Mo.), May 24, 1827; Ruxton, op. cit., 204‑205, 234‑238.
90 Red pepper. Davis described chile colorado as "a compound of red peppers and dried buffalo meat stewed together, flaming like the crater of Vesuvius." Davis, El Gringo, 360. Chile colorado, according to Garrard, was "a compound of red‑pepper pods and other spicy ingredients." Garrard, Wah‑To‑Yah, 200. When American traders and travelers stated that they ate chile colorado, they may have meant chile con carne.
91 A thin cake made of corn — a species of corn bread. Gregg gave the following description of the making of tortillas: "The corn is boiled in water with a little lime: and when it has been sufficiently softened, so as to strip it of its skin, it is ground into paste upon the metate, and formed into a thin cake. This is afterwards spread on a small sheet of iron or copper, called comal (comalli, by the Indians), and placed over the fire, where, in less than three minutes, it is baked and ready for use. The thinness of the tortilla is always a great test of skill in the maker, and much rivalry ensues in the art of preparation." Gregg, op. cit., XIX.290.
92 San Fernández de Taos — the present village of Taos, Taos county, New Mexico. Taos, an adobe town situated in a beautiful valley, had a population of about seven hundred in 1844. It was the official port of entry for New Mexico, though the custom-house was located at Santa Fé. Formerly many of its residents had been engaged in the fur trade of the Far Southwest; but now that business was declining in importance. It was the home of such famous mountaineers as Kit Carson, Charles Bent, Ceran St. Vrain, Lucien Maxwell, and Charles Beaubien. House Ex. Docs., 30 cong., 1 sess., no. 41, pp456‑457, 478; Bloom, "New Mexico under Mexican Administration," Old Santa Fé, II.122‑123; Joseph J. Hill, "Ewing Young in the Fur Trade of the Far Southwest, 1822‑1834," Oregon Historical Quarterly, XXIV.22‑23, 27, 29.
93 Charles Beaubien was born at Three Rivers, Quebec, about 1801. He came to New Mexico in the early twenties, made his home at Taos, and became a Mexican citizen. In 1846 General Stephen W. Kearny appointed him one of the three justices of the Supreme Court of New Mexico. He died at Taos, February 10, 1864. House Report, 36 cong., 1 sess., no. 321, p248; Daily Missouri Republican, Feb. 10, 1861; Ralph E. Twitchell, History of the Military Occupation of the Territory of New Mexico from 1846 to 1851 (Denver, 1909), 267‑269.
94 On January 11, 1841, Manuel Armijo, governor of New Mexico, granted to Charles Beaubien and Guadalupe Miranda a tract of land, most of which was within the present limits of Colfax county, New Mexico. In 1843 Beaubien established the first settlement on this grant at Cimarrón creek; in 1845 Carson and others, the second; and in 1894 Maxwell, the third at Rayado creek. Later, when Maxwell became sole proprietor, this became known as the Maxwell Grant. House Reports, 36 cong., 1 sess., no. 321, pp245‑257; Leroy R. Hafen, "Mexican Land Grants in Colorado," Colorado Magazine, IV.85, 89.
95 This is an error. Consult previous footnote.
96 Mariano Martínez de Lejanza was appointed governor of New Mexico on March 30, 1844, and entered upon the duties of his office on the following April 29. Bloom, "New Mexico under Mexican Administration," Old Santa Fé, II.168.
97 They reached the Cimarrón route in the eastern part of the present Colfax county, New Mexico.
98 In 1846 Wislizenus wrote: "Point of Rocks itself is a mass of large blocks of sienite, towering to the height of several hundred feet. A clear mountain spring comes out the rock." Wislizenus, op. cit., 15.
99 Round Mound, probably identical with the present Mt. Clayton, Union county, New Mexico, was "a beautiful round-topped cone" rising to a height of over six hundred feet above the prairie. It was "formed of a brown, decomposed basaltic rock." Ibid., 15, 136; Gregg, op. cit., XIX.241; Old Santa Fé, III.284‑285.
100 Red river. They crossed this river near the present village of Taylor, Colfax county, New Mexico.
101 Ocate creek.
102 Wagon Mound is at the present town of Wagon Mound, Mora county, New Mexico.
103 Now called Mora river.
104 In the summer of 1843 George Carter and James Bonney settled at the Mora river on a tract of land which, on March 29 of that year, Governor Manuel Armijo had granted to John Scolly, William T. Smith, James M. Giddings, Gabriel Allen, George H. Estes, Agustín Durán, Gregorio Trujillo, Mateo Sandoval, Ignacio Ortiz, Vicente López, and Francisco Romero. Later this grant was known as the Scolly Grant. House Reports, 36 cong., 1 sess., no. 321, pp162‑182; House Ex. Docs., 30 cong., 1 sess., no. 41, pp25, 443.
105 Sapello creek, now called Sapello river.
106 Río Gallinas, now called Gallinas river.
107 Las Vegas, founded in 1835, had grown to be a town of over one hundred houses by 1846. In the latter year Abert described it as follows: "There was a large open space in the middle of the town; the streets run north and south, east and west; the houses are built of 'adobes.' The 'azoteas,' or roofs, have just enough inclination to turn the rain, and the wall of the houses, which are continued up one foot above the roof, are pierced for this purpose. Through the midst of the town there was a large 'acequia,' or canal, for the purpose of supplying the town with water, and of irrigating the fields." House Ex. Docs., 30 cong., 1 sess. no. 41, p444. See also Wislizenus, op. cit., 17.
108 James L. Collins, usually known as Squire Collins, was a justice of the peace in Franklin, Missouri, in 1824. Later he moved to Boonville, Missouri. In 1827 he made his first journey to New Mexico as a trader. He continued in the Santa Fé trade until the early part of the Mexican war, when, in January, 1847, he was appointed interpreter and despatch bearer for Colonel Alexander W. Doniphan's regiment of Missouri Mounted volunteers. In the fifties and sixties he was the principal owner of the Santa Fé Gazette, and during most of that time was also its editor. From 1857 to 1863 he likewise served New Mexico in the capacity of Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Edwards, Journal of an Expedition to New Mexico, MS., Missouri Historical Society; Senate Reports, 39 cong., 1 sess., no. 156, p330; Missouri Intelligencer (Franklin, Mo.), Aug. 14, 1824; Missouri Intelligencer (Fayette, Mo.), May 24, 1827; Daily Missouri Republican, Nov. 13, 14, 1851; Santa Fé Weekly Gazette, Feb. 16, 23, 1856; Douglas C. McMurtrie, "The History of Early Printing in New Mexico," New Mexico Historical Review, IV.398‑404.
109 This is an error.
110 Council chamber.
112 Agustín Durán was Interventor de Rentas, or Treasurer. Bloom, "New Mexico under Mexican Administration," Old Santa Fé, II.223, 243.
113 José Antonio Chávez was chosen Jefe Superior de Hacienda, or collector of the customs, April 22, 1839. Though Governor Martínez usurped Chávez's powers after April 29, 1844, the latter continued to perform some of the duties of his office. Ibid., 132, 223, 231‑232, 243.
114 During Governor Martínez's administration such inspections, when made, were a mere formality. In fact, inspections at the custom-house, as in Armijo's administration, were usually dispensed with. "The wagons were unloaded in the houses of private parties," according to Chávez. Martínez, like Armijo, didn't collect the legal revenues upon imported goods, nor did he prohibit the introduction of contraband. Martínez's policy in Regard to the Santa Fé trade was similar to Armijo's, except that the former levied a slightly higher duty on each wagon load of goods. Ibid., 231‑232; Daily Missouri Republican, Dec. 5, 1844.
115 In 1844 most traders paid between five and six hundred dollars for each wagon load of goods brought into New Mexico from the United States. Solomon P. Sublette to William L. Sublette, Oct. 20, 1844, Sublette MSS., Missouri Historical Society; Daily Missouri Republican, Dec. 5, 1844; Bloom, "New Mexico under Mexican Administration," Old Santa Fé, II.232.
116 Diligence, or industry.
117 Guadalupe Miranda was secretary of the government of the Department of New Mexico. Bloom, "New Mexico under Mexican Administration," Old Santa Fé, II.145.
118 Miranda appears to have been a linguist. Read, Illustrated History of New Mexico, 534‑535.
119 Webb's stock of goods consisted of dry goods, notions, and hardware. The dry goods, which were the largest item, included: black cloth; striped, plaid, and black and white calicoes; white cambric; cotton, pongee, silk, fancy, and blue plaid handkerchiefs; bleached, and plaid muslins; blue, and brown drillings; bleached sheeting; red pongee; bonnet ribbons; plaid silk shawls; women's white cotton hose; hickory shirts; and satin jeans. Among the notions were: cotton thread, black sewing silk, hooks and eyes, ivory combs, coat buttons, plain, and gilded vest buttons, needles, "London pins," and suspenders. Brass nails, iron spoons, scissors, pocket knives, butcher knives, saw files, padlocks, tacks, hoes, and spades comprised most of the hardware. Webb, Invoices, 1844, Webb MSS.
120 The Palace of the Governors. This was the governor's residence, to it also contained a number of government offices.
121 In order to reduce their import duties, traders were accustomed to enter Santa Fé with a minimum number of wagons. Thus Charles Beaubien, writing from Taos on November 12, 1844, informed Manuel Álvarez that his brother, George Bent, was on the way to Santa Fé with eight wagons, but that he "intended to leave two or three before he got to the Mora." He continued: "You had better not mention that you have heard from the waggons for fear that an escort might be sent out before he leaves theas waggons." Charles Bent to Manuel Álvarez, Nov. 12, 1844, Álvarez MSS., Benjamin M. Read Collection, Santa Fé.
122 This is an error. Webb paid five hundred dollars for the importation of each of three wagon loads of goods, being permitted to enter the fourth free of duty. Thus Armijo paid Webb only five hundred dollars for the horses. Webb & Doan, Daybook, 1846‑1847, Webb MSS.
123 See George W. Kendall, Narrative of an Expedition across the Great Southwestern Prairies, From Texas to Santa Fé (London, 1845), I.369‑385.
c Not common now, but very old-fashioned indeed. Here's an Etruscan example, about 2300 years old:
Detail of the pivoting post door of
d This paragraph seems to me a non-sequitur; if you can clarify for me the connection it may have with what precedes, please do drop me a line! But at any rate, nothing has been skipped in my transcription.
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Adventures in the Santa Fé Trade
History of New Mexico
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