Diary of Pedro Ignacio Gallego

  1. John P. Wilson, Military Campaigns in the Navajo Country, Northwestern New Mexico, 1800-1846 (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press 1967), 12-13.

  2. Frank B. Godley, "James Baird, Early Santa Fe Trader," The Bulletin of the Missouri Historical Society, 3 (April 1959): 171-193; & George S. Ulibarri, "The Chouteau - DeMunn Expedition of New Mexico, 1815-1817," New Mexico Historical Review (hereafter NMHR), 36 (Oct. 1961): 263-273.

  3. Hiram M. Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far West (2 vols.; reprint; New York: R. R. Wilson, 1936), II, 148.

  4. Josiah Gregg, The Commerce of the Prairies ed. by Milo M. Quaife (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1967.) 6-7.

  5. Max L. Moorhead, New Mexico's Royal Road, Trade and Travel on the Chihuahua Trail (Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1958), 60; & Henry Inman, The Old Santa Fe Trail, the Story of a Great Highway (Topeka: Crane & Company, 1899), 38. Inman, characteristically, had the date of Becknell's expedition wrong, having him depart in 1812.

  6. Marc Simmons, Opening the Santa Fe Trail (Cerrillos: Galisteo Press, 1971), 3.

  7. David J. Weber, ed., "William Becknell as a Mountain Man: Two Letters," NMHR, 46 (July 1971): 259 fn 1.

  8. David J. Weber, "An Unforgettable Day: Facundo Melgares on Independence," NMHR, 48 (January 1973): 27-44.

  9. Ibid., 29.

  10. Larry M. Beachum, William Becknell: Father of the Santa Fe Trade (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1982), 21-22; & Simmons, Opening the Santa Fe Trail, 3.

  11. Thomas James, Three Years Among the Mexicans and Indians (Chicago: The Rio Grande Press, 1962); & Harry R. Stevens, "A Company of Hands and Traders: Origins of the Glenn - Fowler Expedition of 1821-1822," NMHR, 46 (July 1971): 181-221.

  12. Beachum, William Becknell, 22-23, 33.

  13. David J. Weber, The Taos Trappers, the Fur Trade in the Far Southwest, 1540-1846 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971), 53; & Weber, The Mexican Frontier, 1821-1846, the American Southwest under Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982), 126, 128.

  14. Robert L. Duffus, The Santa Fe Trail (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1930), 68. Duffus was apparently the first to propose that Becknell crossed over Raton Pass. Almost all others who have written since have accepted this routing without question. Duffus's book remains an excellent overview of the Trail.

  15. Becknell's Journal has been published several times since its first appearance in the Missouri Intelligencer, April 22, 1823. These include Missouri Historical Society Collections, 2, 57-75; (William Becknell, "The Journals of Capt. Thomas Becknell from Boone's Lick to Santa Fe, and from Santa Cruz to Green River, "Missouri Historical Review, 4 (January 1910): 65-84; & Archer Hulbert, ad., Southwest on the Turquoise Trail, the First Diaries on the Road to Santa Fe (Colorado Springs: Stewart Commission of Colorado College and Denver Public Library, 1933), 56-68. The quotations from the journal included here are from the Missouri Historical Review (1910) although the other editions contain the same journal entries.

  16. Manuel Lisa was an early fur trader and partner in the St. Louis-Missouri Fur Company. Among many other activities, he attempted to open trade with Santa Fe in 1812. Ezekiel Williams was part of the party Lisa sent toward Santa Fe. Along the way Indians attacked them and killed all except Williams.

  17. Beachum, William Becknell, 19, & Weber, The Taos Trappers 44.

  18. Fowler, while traveling up the Arkansas on November 13, passed a fork in the river and in his journal commented that he supposed it to be "Pikes first forke." Unless he had the map memorized, this is strong evidence that he had the map in hand. Elliott Coues, ed., The Journal of Jacob Fowler (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1970), 47.

  19. Donald Jackson, ed., The Journals of Zebulon Montgomery Pike with Letters and Related Documents Vol. I (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1966), map between 388 & 389.

  20. Ibid., 349 fn 132.

  21. John M. Tucker, "Major Long's Route from the Arkansas to the Canadian River, 1820," NMHR, 38 (July 1963): 195-196, quoting from the account of Edwin James who accompanied the expedition.

  22. Ibid., 202.

  23. Ibid.. 205.

  24. In all fairness it must be noted that both Jacob Fowler and Thomas James in 1821 and 1822 identified correctly the Canadian River. Both started from the Arkansas River generally between Fort Smith and Fort Gibson. This is the area where the Canadian River flows into the Arkansas River. James identified the river early in his journey to Santa Fe, and Fowler identified it in 1822 coming over the mountains just west of Rayado. Each may have had the correct information by virtue of being or residing near its mouth and information from various Indians. Coues Journal of Jacob Fowler, 117; & James, Three Years Among the Mexicans and the Indians, 106.

  25. "Map of the Indian Territory, Northern Texas, and New Mexico showing the Great Western Prairies, by Josiah Gregg," in Josiah Gregg, Commerce of the Prairies, also published separately by the Santa Fe Trail, 1990.

  26. Hulbert, Southwest on the Turquoise Trail, 74, Hulbert stated that, on July 22, Marmaduke was at Las Vegas because he mentioned being at Juan Peno's. Las Vegas had no permanent residents in 1824, but a Juan Pino was having sheep herded on the land for which he applied for a grant. The area of the grant was to the west of the crossing and present-day Conchas Lake, near Pino Spring and Pino Creek in San Miguel County. G. Emlen Hall, "Juan Estevan Pino, 'Se Los Coma': New Mexico Land Speculation in the 1820s," NMHR, 57 (January 1982): 31.

  27. Wheeler Map, sheet No. 78 (A), which essentially is the Las Vegas sheet.

  28. James H. Gunnerson, "Documentary Clues and Northeastern New Mexico Archeology," New Mexico Archeological Council Proceedings, VI, 48-56, 68-72, gives convincing evidence of the route of Ulibarri and Vial. Vial's journals are more accessible in Noel M. Loomis and Abraham P. Nasatir, Pedro Vial and the Roads to Santa Fe (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967), 428-438, & Abraham P. Nasatir, "More on Pedro Vial in Upper Louisiana," The Spanish in the Mississippi Valley, 1762-1804, ed. by John F. McDermott (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1974), 100-119.

  29. While this seems convincing evidence of Becknell's route, the authors would like to hear differing views.

  30. The diary is found in the Mexican Archives of New Mexico (MANM), Twitchell Collection, #3 & 120, New Mexico State Records Center and Archives (NMSRCA), Santa Fe, New Mexico. The editors express their sincere thanks to the translation team of Michael Olsen and Charles Truxillo, New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, NM; Jan Garcia, Las Vegas NM; Lucy Romo, Fort Union National Monument; and Richard Salazar, New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe, NM.

  31. The "Urban Militia" was an elite unit, "theoretically controlled and funded by the national government, [which] functioned as a reserve force for the regular army." Weber, The Mexican Frontier, 116. For this expedition, the militia was joined by other New Mexican and Indian volunteer units, which was the usual procedure. Wilson, Military Campaigns 12-13.

  32. Gallego was Alcalde of Abiquiú at least from 1816 to 1832. In early 1822, Gallego was chosen as an elector to help choose the first legislative body of New Mexico, and in 1826 he was elected a member of the Territorial Deputation. Malcolm Ebright, "Manuel Martinez's Ditch Dispute: A Study in Mexican Period Custom and Justice," NMHR, 54 (January 1979), 27; Spanish Archives of New Mexico (SANM) 1, Twitchell No. 1061, SANM II, Twitchell No. 2688, NMSRCA; & Rev. Lansing Bartlett Bloom, "New Mexico under Mexican Administration 1821-1846," Old Santa Fe, I (Oct. 1913 & Jan. 1914): 146, 246.

  33. Abiquiú is located in Rio Arriba County, on the Chama River, about 40 miles northwest of Santa Fe.

  34. A 1779 map shows a jurisdiction (Alcaldia) of Cañada and a town named Santa Cruzde la Cañada. It is likely that these troops were from the town, which was the second established in New Mexico by De Vargas in 1695. Miera y Pacheco map of 1779 in Alfred B. Thomas, Forgotten Frontiers: A Study of the Spanish Indian Policy of Don Juan Bautista de Anza, Governor of New Mexico 1777-1787 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1932), 86.

  35. "Central Upper River would have been in the vicinity of the Rio Grande north and west of Santa Fe. Ibid.

  36. Porcupine Hill or Peak.

  37. "Little Valley of the Indians," is 13 miles northeast of Jemez Pueblo. T. M. Pearce, ed., New Mexico Place Names (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1965), 174.

  38. Jemez Pueblo is about 50 miles directly west of Santa Fe.

  39. Chimayo (east of Espanola) was known as San Buenaventura de Chimayo. The militia unit was probably from there, perhaps comprising part of the group from central Rio Arriba. San Buenaventura was also the name of the church at Cochiti Pueblo, and the volunteers could possibly have been from there.

  40. Facundo Melgares, a native of Spain, was no stranger to the Great Plains and American incursions into New Mexico. In 1806, in anticipation of Zebulon Montgomery Pike's expedition, Melgares led a detachment of 500 troops and over 2,000 horses and mules which ranged as far north and east as the Pawnee nations between the Kansas and Platte rivers. Melgares also ultimately commanded the troops who accompanied Pike to Chihuahua. Pike had a high opinion of him, as did Becknell, who found him "to be well informed and gentlemanly in manners; his demeanor was courteous and friendly." Melgares was governor (or interim governor of New Mexico from 1818 to 1822. Ralph E. Twitchell, Leading Facts of New Mexico History 2 vols. (Cedar Rapids: Torch Press, 1911), I, 458, 469. 480; & Zebulon Montgomery Pike, An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi, and through the Western Parts of Louisiana (Philadelphia: C. & A. Conrad, & Co., 1810), 228-229, 250; Becknell Journal, 77.

  41. "The Ford" was San Miguel de Vado located on the Pecos River. This "ford" was used long before Coronado first entered the country in 1540. San Miguel, as it is better known, was settled by Indians and Mestizos in 1790 and, in 1821, was the eastern frontier town of New Mexico.

  42. A search of the SANM and MANM at the NMSRCA has not produced this document. There is, however, a document which is attributed to Melgares, dated October 29, 1821, which seems to be only a second page.

  43. "The Bosque of San Domingo" was undoubtedly at the Santo Domingo Pueblo on the Rio Grande, 25 miles southwest of Santa Fe.

  44. Alcaldes headed municipal districts, or alcaldias of which there were fourteen in New Mexico in 1822. Weber, Mexican Frontier, 19.

  45. Galisteo is about 20 miles south of Santa Fe.

  46. "San Cristobal Canyon" runs east from Galisteo.

  47. "Vaca Spring on the mesa" is about 20 miles southeast of Santa Fe.

  48. The command marched from Vaca Spring over Glorieta Mesa to the present-day town of Rowe, and followed the Pecos River Valley to the "frontier town" of San Miguel del Vado.

  49. Alameda is about seven mile south of Albuquerque. It was a Spanish settlement at the time.

  50. The "wilderness" was the eastern plains of New Mexico.

  51. Bernal Spring is about 25 miles southwest of Las Vegas, present town of Bernal, New Mexico.

  52. Becknell recorded that on Nov. 12, "[W]e struck a trail, and found several other indications which induced us to believe that the inhabitants have here herded their cattle and sheep." There were no settlements east of San Miguel in 1821, though pastoralists from there tried but failed to establish a new community on the Gallinas River near present-day Las Vegas that year. "The meadows" of the various river bottoms throughout this area were frequented by herders, as illustrated in the diary of Captain Francisco Salazar, whose company of troops was camped near the confluence of the Mora and Sapello rivers during the second week of May 1821. They, too,were tracking Indians Salazar encountered both wandering cattle and cattlemen in this vicinity. Diary of Captain Francisco Salazar, SANM II, Twitchell No. 2978, NMSRCA, Santa Fe.

  53. "Pueitocito" is known today as Kearny Gap, about two miles south of Las Vegas. "Piedra Lumbre" Flint stone) creek is called today Ague Zara through the gap. There has been much speculation about the size of Becknell's group. Ralph E. Twitchell thought there were five men altogether, while Marc Simmons has put the number as high as thirty. Twitchell, Leading Facts, II, 103; & Simmons, Opening the Santa Fe Trail, 2. With only five other men, Becknell was lucky he did not encounter Indians. This is another point which emphasizes that Becknell was bound for Santa Fe. Ezekiel Williams undoubtedly would have warned Becknell about the danger to his small party from Indians who could easily overwhelm them.

  54. Gallego probably moved east through the gap and met Becknell and his party on the plains, if they returned to the gap to camp, it was probably on the western side where there was wood for fires and shelter by the Crestone.

  55. With these words, Gallego was probably disobeying an order from Melgares, thinking that this was important enough to do so and that he would be forgiven.

  56. Vicente Villanueva was Alcalde at San Miguel del Vado in 1818. SANM II, Twitchell No. 2755, NMSRCA.

  57. Becknell found a "Frenchman" in San Miguel who could interpret for him and accompanied the group of Americans into Santa Fe, where Becknell arrived on the 16th. He had an interview with Governor Melgares who said he would like to see more American trade.

  58. Corporal Juan Lucero was no ordinary soldier. He accompanied Pedro Vial to Natchitoches in 1788 at a young age, perhaps 15 or 16. He was with Vial on his attempted expedition to the Pawnees in 1805, was sent to make peace with the Kiowas in late 1805, returned to the Kiowas twice in 1806, met with the Cuampe and Flecha Rayada tribes in 1807 near present-day Colorado Springs, Colorado, was on an expedition to the Arkansas River from November 25, 1808, to March 5, 1809, accompanied expeditions to the Comanches in 1810, 1816, and twice in 1818, and made a trip to the "Indians" in 1819. He was described 1806 as a native of New Mexico, "of very good conduct, of spirit and demonstrated valor, of knowledge in the field and of a disposition suitable of command; his height, 5 feet, 1 inch; 17 years, 20 days of service. He knows how to read." It is estimated he was 49 or 50 in 1821. Lucero was not only a good soldier, but an excellent frontiersman by any standards. Loomis and Nasatir, Pedro Vial, 449-454; & Alfred B. Thomas, "Documents Bearing upon the Northern Frontier of New Mexico, 1818-1819," NMHR, 4 (April 1929): 156.

  59. "Pecos Canyon" is present Pecos Arroyo just east of Las Vegas. Gallego probably accompanied Villanueva part way back to San Miguel and then returned to Las Vegas. The reason to choose present Pecos Arroyo for Gallego's "Cañon del Pecos" is that, during his expedition, Gallego and the troops marched an average of 16.8 miles a day approximately 1.17 miles an hour. It would be totally out of line to march from the river valley of the Pecos, close to San Miguel, to La Junta in the next day's travel, a distance of about 38 miles in one day.

  60. The diary reads: "las caidas del rio del Sapeyo." "Caida" can be translated as falls, drop, or descent." "Rapids" might be the best translation, even though the location on the Sapello River cannot be pinpointed. The Sapello River heads in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Rociada, New Mexico and joins the Mora at present Watrous, New Mexico.

  61. Present Watrous, New Mexico, known as La Junta during Santa Fe Trail days. The Mora River heads in the mountains above Mora, New Mexico. Its valley was used to travel from Picuris Pueblo over the mountains and out onto the Plains.

  62. The "Turkey Mountains" are about 10 miles north of Watrous.

  63. The "gap in the Taos Mountains" is where the Rayado River comes out of the mountains west of Rayado, New Mexico. For most Spanish expeditions to the plains, this was where they came out of the mountains from Taos and headed for Laughlin Peak. A trail also ran from here to Point of Rocks, New Mexico, which was used by Cibolleros and later Santa Fe Trail travelers.

  64. Based on past distances traveled, "Chokecherry Creek" had to be within 20 miles of La Junta. There are a couple of possibilities, but present Vermejo Creek south of Wagon Mound, New Mexico, is the best candidate based on the next two days' travel.

  65. "Red River" is the present Canadian River. Although we do not know exactly where Becknell crossed this stream, it was likely between present-day Springer and Maxwell, New Mexico.

  66. In essence, Sgt. Garcia was sent across the Canadian River in the direction of Laughlin Peak which is about 13 miles southeast of Capulin, New Mexico.

  67. The location of "Wolf Spring (flowing)" is not known. Based on the travel of the next day, it could be placed about 10 miles south of Rayado on what would later be called the Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail, at the mouth of what today is called Aguaje Canyon.

  68. Rayado and Gonzalitos Mesas are prominent landmarks southwest of Springer, New Mexico, with Rayado Mesa closest to the mountains.

  69. "The Spring of Rayado Mesa" is at present Miami Lake, about 3.5 miles southeast of Rayado.

  70. They were at a crossing of the Canadian essentially somewhere between Springer and Maxwell.

  71. "Big Mountain," known as Sierra Grande today is about 5 miles slightly southwest of Des Moines, New Mexico. They were following the corridor of the Indian-Spanish trail to the plains.

  72. "Windy hills"' are the Chico Hills, just north of Chico and south of Laughlin Peak

  73. "Lower River" of the Rio Grande, means this company came from the vicinity of Albuquerque, Belen, or was perhaps the group from Alameda.

  74. No matter which way traveled, the river has to be present Carrizo Creek which was known as Rock Creek in the time of the Santa Fe Trail.

  75. The "Jicara" was probably a reference to the Jicarilla River, which is probably present Ponil Creek Gunnerson, "Documentary Clues," 57.
    Used With Permission From:
    Leo Oliva, WT editor

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