14 Founding Families

    May 6, 1859, 14 families left the Santa Fe, New Mexico, area and headed north toward the San Luis Valley to establish new homes within the Guadalupe (aka Conejos) land grant.  The New Mexican pioneers traveled through arid, mountainous terrain for 30 days.

   Small two wheeled carretas transported a few personal possessions plus corn and pea seeds for planting fields.  Their route followed an ancient road that would become known as the North Branch of the Old Spanish Trail.    Some of the men had scouted and marked the route earlier (probably in 1851 when a larger party of settlers migrated to the Conejos River valley).

    Although they saw no Indians on this journey, the men with guns guarded their campsites at night against possible attacks.  Goats, chickens, and wild rabbits provided protein foods enroute.  Near  the Conejos River the settlers shot a buffalo and dried the meat.

    Juan Bautista Silva's words, describing a land of pure water and plentiful game,  emphasized hope for the success of their enterprise upon their arrival at their destination.

    The following families are identified specifically in the diary of Juan Bautista Silva who chronicled their travels and the jubilation of safely arriving at their destination:

    Juan Bautista Silva, his wife Bibiana Silva, and his brother Alcadio Silva

    Luis Seferino Alarid, Jesus Maria Alarid, Refugio Maria Alarid (adult children of Jesus Maria Alarid, Secretary of State martyred during the 1837 rebellion against New Mexico's Governor Peréz)

    Antonio José and Soleda Ortega

    Juan  Francisco Chavez

    Agapito Lucero and family (including son Manuél Lucero who later returned to New Mexico)

    Hilário Aténcio and family

    José Manuél and José Pablo Martinez and families

    Nestor Vigíl from El Rito, New Mexico

    Francisco Ignácio Espinosa and family

    Guadalupe Maria Torres and family

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