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tv   Santa Fe Trail Brides  CSPAN  June 1, 2021 2:53pm-4:00pm EDT

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to get your copy of books from featured authors. joy poole discusses the experiences of young women who traveled along the over 800-mile long santa fe trail with their husbands. she explores their time on the trail as well as their lives once they arrived in the southwest. the kansas city public library hosted the event and provided the video. >> it's my pleasure to introduce joy poole. she joins us from new mexico. in the mid 19th century.
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this year marking the 200th anniversary of the opening of the trail, we figured it was a perfect time to invite joy back to tell us the stories of these women. poole currently serves as deputy librarian with the new mexico state library. previously she was director of the el can me know rial international heritage center in university of new mexico. poole devoted much of her career to studying santa fe trail history. she helped organize the first symposium in trinidad, colorado. at that conference, she was named the first vice president of the santa fe trail association. she also served for ten years on the santa fe national historic advisory council for the national park service. simply put, she is an authority on trail's history, which is part of kansas city's early history as a frontier town.
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thank you for being here, joy! i'll turn it over to you. >> thank you. welcome everyone. i almost feel given the topic and the fact we have descend end was of the brides in our viewing audience that maybe you can think about hearing the strains of the bridal march. it might be appropriate to say "please rise." during this presentation, i'm going to provide you a brief biography of the brides who traveled the santa fe trail. it's from the stories are from their memoirs, diaries, and letters. but, first, let me give you a very brief framework about the santa fe trail trade. soon after mexican independence in 1821, the santa fe trail evolved into a international trade route linking the u.s.
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with santa fe in northern mexico. the trade was characterized by annual caravans of trail freighters who would leave missouri and/or new mexico in the spring, traveling in large groups for protection as they crossed over indian territory. cargo freighted west consisted mainly of manufactured cloth like silk, linens, calicos, all kinds of sewing notions. food stuff like sardines and olives. liquor, champagne, as well as iron tools that the people of new mexico needed. the cargo freighted east consistented of silver pesos, furs, wool, and mules. i know many of you in missouri have heard about the good old missouri mule. the commerce generated by trade in the 1850 s was estimated at over $5 million and by 1860,
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some ten tons of freight were going across the trail pulled by 6,000 mules over 25,000 oxen, 3,000 wagons, and employing some 10,000 men. now by the 1830s, independence was the eastern term nice of the two-way route across the prairies and plains ending in the western santa fe. and i will say that the majority of the brides passed through and/or departed from independence on their santa fe trail honeymoon. let me tell you about the first bride. in 1987, the year that congress designated the santa fe trail a historic trail. a local historian spotted a headline in an old new mexico
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newspaper that said first white child born in new mexico. it caught her attention but all the historians here in santa fe said, oh, you can't believe everything you read in those old newspapers. but the person persevered and she verified that from an 1880s texas census that james donafoe was visiting santa fe, his birthplace, indeed, had been born in new mexico. and as the story unfolded, one fact remained clear that mary had allude -- eluded historians for over 150 years. let me tell you about her. she was born in tennessee in 1870. she was the daughter of dr. james and lucy dodson. and when she was a teenager, the family moved to missouri. just south of columbia. there she met william and in november of 1831, they were married in boone county.
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apparently by a justice of the peace. within a year, a daughter, maryann, was born to them. shortly after his daughter's birth, william started selling off his properties there in columbia to purchase inventory to trade so when they joined the annual spring caravan over the santa fe trail, he had something to trade. they arrived in santa fe in august of 1833. and i will say that members of the caravan had elected charles beth as their captain who alone was freighting $40,000 worth of cargo across the trail. she was -- she and her 9-month old baby were accompanied by 184
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men, 93 wagons, and even a military group captained by wickman and 44 soldiers who were ordered to accompany the caravan as far as arkansas to lower crossing of the arkansas, which at that time, i might add, the arkansas river was the international border between mexico and the united states. during the four years that mary was in santa fe, she learned all kinds of hotel management skills. she was organizing employees to cook and clean the exchange hotel. customers that they had, and she was described as having energy and a commanding spirit. in this day and age, leadership skills.
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two more children were born to the donahoes and during their years in santa fe, their hotel business was quite profitable. but she was way too busy to leave any journal recording the joys and/or hardships of living on the santa fe trail. i will say that surely mary and her husband, william, learned to speak spanish since it was the predominant language here in santa fe at the time. then in 1837, two events occurred which led to the donahoes departing santa fe. the first was that william donahoe learned that three american women were being ransomed. they had been taken by comanches. and donahoe who was a great
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public servant was soon very much committed to securing their freedom at any cost and returning these captive women to their families in missouri and in texas. but the next event that occurred was in august of 1837 when the new mexico governor was assassinated during a rebellion and i will say that rebellion caused a great deal of apprehension and unrest among the foreigners. they banded together because they thought that the rebellion was going to escalate and they barricaded their stores in anticipation of retaliation. fortunately nothing happened. but still out of safety concerns for his family and with the goal of returning the captives to their family, donahoe decided to leave new mexico.
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he left so quickly that he had to return a year later and then he sold the exchange hotel, disposed of his merchandise, sold all of their mules, and he returned to missouri and operated the successful donahoe house. mary was left a widow at 45 years old with five children. he lived a fairly long life passing away at the anyone of 72. now, our next bride is susan shelby magoffin. she was the granddaughter of the first governor of kentucky, isaac shelby. she was born to wealth and privilege. at 18 she american kentucky
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trader samuel magoffin. samuel took his bride, susan, on a honeymoon to new york, but while he was there, he purchased merchandise for his next trading expedition, therefore, giving susan, if you will, an extended honeymoon on the santa fe trail. for the previous two decades, samuel and his brother james had engaged in trade on the santa fe trail and they had a lucrative business and they were very well-connected. they arrived in independence where susan started her journal and indicated that these were
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going to be her travels in next commencing on june 1846. on friday the 12th, she said that may journal tells a story tonight, rather different from what it has ever been before. the curtain raises now with a new scene. this book of travel is act 2. literally and truly. while they were there in independence, samuel purchased cargo for the trade expedition that would be freighted on 14 big wagons, pulled by six yoke each and you can tell they were very big wagons if they had six yoke that were pulling those
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wagons. they were quite heavily loaded. when her diary was first published in 1926, susan was thought by historians to be the first american woman to travel the trail, but as you've just learned, mary donahoe traveled the trail before susan and i'm sure other american women also traveled the trail even before susan. in 1846, her journal was written at a crucial time when the mexican war was beginning and the army of the west demanded by steven watts kearney had already started out on the trail before their caravan had started. but her journal does describe the excitement, the daily routines and the dangers of traveling the trail for over a year. and she was very good in observing in detail the customs,
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the appearances of people and places, and once she arrived in mexico, she records their movements as they move from house to house and town to town. she learns spanish very quickly and she even learns the lingo, if you will, of the traders. she traveled in comfort. her husband had bought two dearborn carriages. there was one for her and her maid jane who was a slave. among the travelers in the caravan was john mix stanley who painted this touching scene of samuel and susan on the trail. and throughout her diary, she uses the term of endearment, mi alma. and in english, that translates to my soul. she was also a wild game foodie. she wrote that -- she wrote that such soup as we have made of the ribs, one of the most choice parts of the buffalo, i never eat its equal in the best hotels in new york or philadelphia and the sweetest butter and the most
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delicate oil i have ever tasted is not surpassed by the marrow taken from the thigh bones. they grazed on the western short grass prairies of western kansas supplied a lot of meat for these western caravans. when they arrived at the fort, the army of the west was already there. and they were developing their strategy to launch their invasion into mexico. after six weeks of travel on the trail, susan, who apparently was pregnant and was probably also enduring morning sickness, suffered a miscarriage which delayed their journey. when she arrived in new mexico, she described the houses as genteel pigsties. but she tempered her initial response by saying that within
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these places of apparent misery, there dwells that peace of mind and contentment which princes and kings often desire but never found. the magoffins reached santa fe on august 31st, 1846. and they stayed there for about a month. and susan quickly became part of santa fe's so-called high society. which in the months following the u.s. invasion, consisted of an eclectic mix of american army officers, wealthy anglo traders, elite hispanics and even some elite visitors. they moved on and traveled on down to mexico, arriving in el paso del norte on february 17, 1847 and they stayed with a priest who was known for his hospitality to visitors and travelers along the trail. the magoffin made it to the area where susan contracted yellow fever.
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she survived that sickness, but her son that she delivered did not. they returned to the united states where two daughters were born. however, she died after the delivery of her second child. and at the age of 28 years old was buried there in st. louis, missouri. our next bride is rebecca cohen mayor. and by today's standards, she was known as a child bride. she would tell him everything that she new.
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after that, he called her his little wife. in between trade expeditions, he never came without a present and he bought her her first doll which was a very large doll and a novelty at that time. when rebecca was 10 years old, her father died and henry continued to visitor rebecca and her mother. and when he visited, he would often help her with her german and french languages and in turn, she would help him with his english and would often laugh at him when he would mispronounce an english word. henry had learned spanish and rebecca had henry teach her spanish as well. the bridal wedding march was
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played for rebecca's ceremony and as you can imagine, all heads turned towards the stairs when she appeared there on june 20th, 1852. her wedding dress was a light shade of gray silk, nearly white, and her veil was a very fine net which trailed down the floor. they were married in cincinnati in a traditional jewish ceremony. she had two bridesmaids and her aunt played hymns of praise and played the harp during the ceremony. for the week leading up to the wedding, presents had arrived from all over the country and from germany where henry's family lived.
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after the ceremony, preparations were made for henry to take rebecca on her honeymoon over the santa fe trail. when she left, her family urged her to write a diary. here's a picture of rebecca as a young woman and then henry as a much older man on his 50th wedding anniversary to rebecca. he took her on a honeymoon with 50 men and 500 mules. can you imagine? he had started trading on the santa fe trail in 1838 with one wagon, which gave him an initial profit of $1,000. by the 1850s, mayor and company were purchasing thousands of dollars of inventory and freighting their cargo on mules crossing over the santa fe trail. i will tell you, though, a couple years ago, i was at the
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jackson county historical society and looking at a ledger of another santa fe trail merchant and discovered that henry was one of his customers and throughout that whole ledger, there's literally thousands and thousands of dollars worth of cargo that the merchant was selling him. they arrived there in independence and rebecca says that our wagons are being loaded at wayne city landing and our mules are out at grass in charge of our mexican boys. altogether, we have 500 mules. some of them never have been in a harness before and there is a lot of swearing and confusion when the men begin to lasso the new mules and get a harness on them for the first time. i have never heard such a deafening roar and i've never seen such an exciting -- i've never seen such an exciting scene. henry told me that he prefers mexicans for teamsters because they understand how to handle the mules better than do any other class of men. they are cool and calm when danger threatens. most of the men speak english and are friendly and they seem glad to see me. she continues on by saying, henry, i cannot understand how
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you can tell how much food it will require for all of these men. henry smiles and responds, well, at first when i made this trip, i ran short. but now i made the trip often and i know about what is required. i allow 50 pounds of flour and bacon for each man, ten pounds of coffee, 20 pounds of sugar, some salt and we use many pounds of dried beans. and you can see there where she says that the beans are especially good the way that the mexican cook prepares them and as soon as they camp, the bean pot is the first thing put onto the campfire. henry went on to say that he does give them as much coffee as they want. always twice a day. it is wonderful how it refreshes them after great toll and cold or heat, rain or sunshine. and he also says that they get
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considerable fresh meat as they go along and that they're all very good shots and there's plenty of buffalo, elk and antelope that's abundant. he also said that he never gave any of his men liquor unless they had gone through very hard work or they had been chilled in some manner. and even then, he would only give brandy as a medicine. she continued in her diary in saying when i last wrote in my diary, i mentioned that i had never seen an indian. suddenly on august 20th, she was terribly startled when the curtains of her ambulance were parted and she saw the bright feathers of an indian chief looking down at her. i was assured when i caught sight of my handsome husband who was standing immediately behind the indian and i was certainly
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very proud of my husband for there was no sign of fear on his face as he stood there so tall and erect with his wonderful big, black eyes looking straight into mine. henry introduced me to the chief as his wife whereupon the chief said he would give him 20 horses for me. and with a hardy laugh, henry told him she was not for sale. by august -- october 4th, 1852, they arrived at barclays fort. and she said they were resting for the entire day for the sake of the mules. henry bought corn for them which they needed after their hard toil and the poor food of the withered grass that they had subsisted on. but they were proud that so far
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they had not lost a single animal on their drove. from here, they left the santa fe trail and continued down to mexico. when they arrived at the custom house, henry's business with the custom house at el paso took six days and it took so long because he had to translate the detailed invoice of his large stock into spanish and the customer house officers took advantage of everything possible in settling the amount of the duty, according to remember. he is also said that some goods were prohibited and that she had all the nice things that her mother and grandma had made for her packed in her two trunks. when she arrived, she found that most of the things had been denounced as contraband and she was certain that it had
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furnished the authorities with the rich and elegant wardrobe for their wives free of cost. nevertheless, henry paid over $10,000 in duty. so you can imagine how much cargo he was freighting across the trail. the mayors continued to have a very adventurous life and made fortunes and lost fortunes. after henry finished trading on the trail, they went to san antonio, and then they left for europe where he visited his family in germany. and then they moved to england where they lived with high society in london. unfortunately, henry's business partner made some bad financial decisions, and it was unbeknownst to henry and he learned while they were living in england that his company was broke. the local people there in england offered to loan him
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money, but he was too proud. with $5,000, they moved to chicago, illinois, and in 1874 started all over again opening up more businesses. this is rebecca's headline when she died in the 1930s. it said, pioneer woman of early trail days dies at 93. rebecca mayor, 93, who is a bride at 15 crossed the old santa fe trail and died yesterday afternoon in her home. she accompanied her husband, henry, a trader on horseback and by covered wagon to mexico from the start of the trail in independence, missouri. on that trip, she was surrounded by buffalo herd and as she road horse back was rescued by her husband and other members of the party through what they considered a miracle. subsequently, she took a half a dozen other trips with him from independence to chihuahua, a distance which took them four months to travel. it foez on to say that they have
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lived there until -- since 1874 and i might add that henry died in 1906 at the age of 89. her memoirs and diaries and letters are important because i think it reveals europe jewish immigrants achieves economic stability by joining the american little class, if you will. our next pride is mary mamie, bier bernard. she spent the first ten years of
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her life in baltimore near her maternal grandparents. when she was about 10 years old, the bernard family moved west to missouri and there her cousin, william bernard and a.g. boone were business partners and neighbors. and you can see, they had the most luxurious houses at that time in the area. now, boone was appointed indian agent and left for colorado and so william had his uncle join him in the business and they operated the store together. and they prospered there on the santa fe trail. they were very successful and in 1860, they grossed over $260,000 from selling and loading freight onto some 2,000 wagons. mamie returned in 1860. however, by the spring, the civil war had started. as you know, missouri was a slave state, so to speak, and
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the bernards were southern sympathizers. mamie and her friends hand stitched a confederate flag to send with the missouri men enlisting in the confederacy. in the spring of 1862, they traveled east on the trail to west port and epifanio arrived in a carriage in advance of his freight wagons. the arrival of the mexican caravan was welcomed given the unrest that was occurring there in west port as a result of the war. he stopped and picked up mamie's father who was under great duress from the southern and the union officials and over dinner that evening, he begged epifanio to have his men guard his family and that he would give anything if epifanio's men would protect his family. epifanio was very diplomatic and he said, of course, he would provide his friend protection for his family.
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and he also asked mamie's father had said he would pay any price for epifanio to protect his family. epifanio had his eye on mamie and he asked for the hand of mamie in exchange for his men to protect the bernard family. needless to say, epifanio didn't speak english and mamie did not speak spanish.
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and they courted each other using a translator. mamie was smitten with epifanio's affections and he often stopped and took her on rides in his stylish carriage pulled by his white horses. she described his spanish voice as being lyrical. on august 21st, 1862, they were married and she looked up into his blue eyes and said, i do. the ceremony i might add was performed in the bernard home. and this is a bible that mamie's father gave to epifanio. mamie's father was a minister. and you can see an inscription there on mamie's wedding band. epifanio was also quite a showman. and he arrived at the bernard house accompanied by his caravan of 26 wagons, where each ox yoke
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was festooned with white satin ribbons and his men all wore white rosettes. he presented a horse for his bride which had a saddle decorated with silver inlay and it also had a white velveteen bridle. it was something out of a fairytale romance. he also gave a wedding gift to his bride which was a tea and coffee silver set engraved with their initials, thus signifying their union. and i would say this gorgeous set has been passed down in the family and is cherished as a treasured heirloom. epifanio had to leave his bride and return to mexico with the freight he purchased. but he returned four months
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later. when he returned, the bernard family persuaded him to take mamie and her mother back to baltimore for the wedding of mamie's sister, kate. while on that trip, epifanio also had an opportunity to meet his eastern suppliers and to buy much needed equipment for his freight line. but upon his return to west port, mamie learned that she was expecting their first child and epifanio had to leave her there and resume his freighting business. he had contracts he had to honor or he faced losing his whole business. his son was born in july. and when epifanio returned, he was overjoyed to see his wife and son but he was also shocked because he saw armed troops on every street corner of west port. it was like a war zone.
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and it was no place for his wife and his son. fearing for his family, he decided to take mamie and his son with him back to new mexico on his next trip. very soon, ten freight wagons were heading out pulled by ten large mules with over 10,000 pounds of freight. their journey went fairly smoothly. when they reached the arkansas river, she said that it took them two days to -- for the train to cross the arkansas and there was quite a jubilee when all were on the other side. the men sang and they had a glass of whisky all around. the train arrived in las vegas, new mexico, when mamie and epifanio decided to stay for a week and rest. i suspect that the wagon train continued on and delivered some merchandise to people in santa fe and albuquerque. they arrived there by the end of november. and onto albuquerque where they stayed two weeks selling more of
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their goods and attending balls where epifanio could introduce his bride to the leading wealthy families living on their ranches along the rio grande. they arrived in las cruces. on the night arrived, mamie was so busy, she wanted to make a good impression on her in-laws. it was from this hacienda that epifanio ran the freighting business where he won and lost fortunes. in june of 1864, he was awarded a u.s. military contract. it was the largest freighting contract awarded in new mexico at the time. it amounted to $138,000. according to another historian, in his book "soldiers and settlers" he described epifanio as being a good example of the hispanic capitalist who tapped into the military reservoir of
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federal dollars. now the contract only lasted one year. as epifanio was outbid the next year. and in 1869, there were two other unfortunate incidents that occurred. epifanio lost two caravans back to back while freighting in new mexico and financially he just couldn't see any way to recover from the losses. so this resulted in epifanio moving his family to arizona where he had property and other business interests he could leverage to continue to make a living. here's some pictures of the aguirre children. you can see the three boys there on the right with mamie's
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brothers there. after seven years of marriage, epifanio was killed. and it left mamie with three boys to raise. for a time, mamie and her children returned to west port and initially they enjoyed being in the bernard household again. however, the conservative nature of west port made it difficult for mamie to socialize in public and her biracial children were viewed as different and they were teased at school and she
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decided there wasn't a promising future for her. and so with her sons, she returned to new mexico where they enjoyed a much higher class status and by 1875, she moved her family to tucson where she started her career as a school teacher. mamie, like her mother, was a born organizer. she was resourceful. she was industrious and she became a spanish instructor for the university of arizona. as you can see here, she was also inducted into the arizona women's hall of fame. our next bride is henrietta bull
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culver. she had met and married an attorney who set up a law practice in her hometown. this last bride is a story of heartache. she was not in good health and everyone thought that the climate of the west would help her health to improve. she left independence in 1869 on the train with her husband. at the time, she was 23 years old and she was eight months pregnant with her second child. they took the train from kansas to the end of the rail line which at that time was shared in kansas. upon arrival in sheridan, jenny wrote that they secured lodging above a saloon and she went on to say, well, last night we were frightened almost out of our wits. we did not get any sleep at all on account of all the noise in the barroom. drinking and the gambling. finally they got one of the men's money away from them and they undertook to put him outdoors. she went on to say that they commenced firing and fired about
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30 shots. i laid and i shook like a leaf all night with fear. i was so afraid that thomas's men were among the gang. thomas was her brother-in-law who had said he would meet them in chariton, but he left a few days ahead of them. but she learned they were all part of another gang. if any of his men are with them, we're going to go by stage. the next morning, she said that the boy had come with the carriage and we are to start about 10:00. they stopped and enos got a whip for the carriage. and then she said, well, there's a wagon stuck and so now we've got to stop. bad luck already. well, we're hitching up again. i hope we can all start soon.
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this evening we've only gotten 5 miles from chariton and now a wagon has upset and we're going to camp here for the night. oh, some bad luck. hope for the best. i took a long cry this afternoon. oh, i'm so lonely and my home is always on my mind. god grant that we may have no bad luck and meet no harm or sickness. they continued down the mountain branch of the santa fe trail and then arrived in mesilla in july of 1869. for the first six weeks, enos was hired by his brother-in-law to help with the store there and unloading merchandise. he painted his house and touched up business signs for him. before long, enos and jenny realized they were on their own to find work and to make a living. enos managed to secure an appointment as a collector and was signed to an area outside of mesilla about 100 miles away from mesilla. jenny and enos said that her
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stepbrother, thomas bull, exaggerated the opportunities that were there in new mexico for enos, her husband, a lawyer, and bull said that he never advised him to come or anything else. and as he -- and that he had only said that enos, since he was a lawyer, could do quite well. and jenny was writing to her sister in ohio and said if i never see thomas again, or if i ever see him, he will hear more from me than he cares to hear.
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meanwhile, enos also learned that through a trip to a nearby military fort that he were hiring men and he could maybe make $30 a month and get everything to live on, plus some other things. enos wanted to talk it over with jenny. he talked with her about it and jenny told him that of course she would have him do it. but then she realized, of course, i'm going to have to work a little more, but i don't
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care. i want to get home some day and by doing this, i think enos and i can lay up his full salary and a little more. and they decided that they would start boarding soldiers. enos was afraid that that would be too much trouble for jenny and also that they would have to hire a cook. but jenny settled his fears and told him that she would do all the cooking herself if he would hire someone to keep her house and do the washing. and so that all she had to do was cook, albeit, three meals a day for these soldiers they were boarding. this is the sister she sent letters back home to and throughout all the letters, she's telling her sister that she hopes that enos will strike it rich so they can go back to home to ohio and that she only needs enough to dress good and to have some for the poor. there were times when enos
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didn't make a living for weeks at a time. and their only hope was that, again, that he would strike it rich. and there were many times when she would write that things look very dark to me at present and it may be all well. i hope so, but, god only knows. and then she writes again that it's an awful undertaking to come here. i don't know, but i shall have an opportunity of visiting these mines this week. if so, i'll write and tell you about them. i wish i was there where i could help you and ma with your work. i get blue here sometimes just awful. my little boy howard crying and i have to stop and take him. he's quite now, at least for a few minutes. i tell you what, i have my hands full and more than full. my work daily and children to see too, have the time i have to carry howard in my arms and work with the other. and when i attempt to write, have to stop half a dozen times before it is finished. i know of no reason why you should be blamed for us coming to new mexico.
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i blame no person but myself and my stepbrother t.j. enos would soon have come had it not been for me and i have made up my mind never to leave until he goes with me. i have always said that enos had nothing to do with me coming here. it was my own fault. enos ends up in silver city trying to strike it rich. he builds a store and starts a boarding house for minors and jenny works herself to death and dies of tuberculosis. he sends his children down to mesilla where his brother-in-law has a store. and by the time enos does visit his boys, he needs an interpreter to talk to the children because they're only speaking spanish. enos leaves new mexico and he
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moves to the dakotas where he marries a school teacher and then the family relocates to wisconsin where he dies in 1926. and this is a picture of jenny's grave site there in silver city. she died at 25 years old. some of the characteristics of the bride, as you've learned, they're young, they were all literate, they were adventurous yet naive. they came from middle and upper class family homes. they believed in the ability and is the business acumen of their older and well-established husbands. obviously, they were totally in love and in some cases it was a situation of until death do us part. as you've probably learned from this presentation, there were times along the trail when unsure the honeymoon was surely over.
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on the left here, you can see some of the people that i would like to acknowledge for the photo credits. in particular, the kansas city public library and the missouri valley room run by jeremy. if you would like some books for your library, i would recommend these four which captures the memoirs, the letters, diaries of these brides on the santa fe trail. i would like to thank you. i would also like you to please consider joining our santa fe trail association for history sake. >> thank you, joy. that was excellent. i want to invite the audience if you have questions about joy's presentation, you can put those right into the comments and we'll get to them shortly. i'll start off with a question,
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i guess this was susan magoffin, i believe, joy, you said she did daily entries, it sounded like. what were some of those daily entries like? were they maybe mundane details or were there quite a few maybe adventurers like the one that rebecca meyer had with being surrounded by a buffalo herd and i'm sure indian encounters on the frontier were worth noting in diary entries as well. can you give us an idea of some of those entries. >> just a few. i would say that susan's account is probably one of the most well-known diaries of the santa fe trail trade and is oftentimes
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referred to for the types of things that she observed as they were traveling across the trail. she's very descriptive on a daily basis about the things going on around her and making different observations. to some extent, her writing is very poetic in nature as well. the first -- the beginning pages of her diary, the first 10 to 15 pages are all filled with poetry. she was very well educated, totally in love with her husband. she was fortunate in that she traveled in style because she did have her maid with her. she also had a horse, of course, that she could ride when she didn't want to ride in the carriage. she had her dog with her. she also had a cook. given that she had all this help, she had time to write daily in her diary. >> it seems from your -- at the end, you mention these were
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middle class and upper class women from middle class and upper class families that you would have to have considerable resources to make that trip. specifically, the 50 mules and 50 men and 50 mules, did i get that right? >> yes, that's correct. >> but you had to have considerable resources to make this four-month journey. >> that's true. and susan, of course, had married samuel magoffin who had 20 years of experience in the trail trade. by the time he married susan 20 years his junior, if you will, she was very well established and wealthy and very well-connected. during that army of the west invasion, his brother was used to help pave the way for the army of the west to enter into new mexico. because he knew the politicians and the military officials of mexico not only in santa fe but also down in chihuahua as well. >> interesting. again, i want to encourage our audience, if you have any questions for joy, it looks like
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we have one that just came in. as you were reading and doing your research on these firsthand accounts, what was the biggest question that you had for which you could not find the answer. >> you know, i don't know that i have preconceived notions when i've done the research on these brides. i've been interested in the history of the santa fe trail for decades. and i guess in the twilight years of my career, so to speak, suddenly, i realize that i had all these journals, letters and diaries written by young brides who had traveled the trail. and it's two or three of them are ones that i discovered that
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are -- that were not -- nobody knew about. i don't know if i had -- you know, the biggest question, i was interested in the hardships that they faced, obviously, two of the brides died very young in their lives. i think that was unfortunate. it also revealed, you know, how dominated women were by men at that time in society. and what they could and couldn't do. i will say that i was very impressed with mamie who would mary a mexican freighter, fell in love with him not knowing anything about the mexican culture or the language and she was the only bride that remained in the southwest and went on to
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become a spanish instructor and contributed much to new mexico and arizona, given her position as epifanio's wife. >> hers is an amazing story. someone had asked, was there anything that -- in your research of these women that kind of surprised you. maybe mamie's story is one of those. is there anything else in your research that you came across that was -- even studying the santa fe trail for many years, is there something in particular -- about -- that struck you as -- surprised you in your research? >> well, i guess the thing that -- i don't know surprised me, but maybe saddens me a little bit is that traveling the trail took their toll on these women's health. of course, susan suffered a miscarriage at the fort and i can't imagine traveling the trail when you're pregnant and having morning sickness, getting up every day and traveling on. for jenny culver to board a train in kansas city eight
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months pregnant, traveling the last leg of their journey by wagon, as soon as she arrived in mesilla, she gave birth to little howard. rebecca mayor also had a miscarriage after leaving chihuahua at 15 years old. there were no medical facilities. she was watched over and nearly killed from the abortion that happened as a result of that miscarriage. so those were -- in some regards, it's a miracle they lived as long as they did and would even consider traveling under such circumstances. but, of course, again, they were adventurous.
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i'll remind our audience that this program will be archived on our youtube channel so you can go back and look at that slide again. joy, do you recall a couple of the titles of those books? >> yes. of course, susan shelby is "down the santa fe trail into mexico". the other one is titled mary don hoe. the wonderful story called journey of the heart by annette gray. and rebecca's story is captured in two places, one is in a book called with a doll in one pocket
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and a pistol in the other. and then i also have her memoir and more information on a national park's survey sight. and if you googled, rebecca mayor and my name, joy poole, that memoir will appear. as will the letters and the story of jenny culver. >> shortly after they moved from arizona there was a stage line that went from arizona down into mexico and in the middle of the night, someone arrived and for some reason, the driver could not continue. and the stage we gone was difficult to operate.
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and in his years of leadership he decided that he was the only one that could handle the situation. he said, yes. that he should. during that drive he was shot and killed by apaches. >> so i wanted to finish the discussion, joy, and ask you how
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did you get involved in santa fe trail -- in promoting that history, i'm just curious how you became interested in the trail's history. >> prior to serving as the deputy state librarian for the new mexico state library, i was a museum curator and director, and started my career in trinidad, colorado, located on the santa fe trail. and while i was drafting the trinidad museum properties, colleague from the area came to visit. and during the course of our conversation, he started telling me about -- stories of the
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santa fe trail on his end of the trail. i said, gee, wouldn't it be interesting if we could all get together who are running these museums and historical societies along the trail and share our stories of the santa fe trail trade in our specific area. so i had that idea but i sat on it for a couple of years and ran it up the flagpole with different people. and timing is everything. but in 1986, then, i approached the director of the colorado historical society, and everyone loved the idea of having a symposium on the santa fe trail.
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so we recruited david lavender, sandra myers, and dr. mark simmons to be our leading presenters of that symposium. and we went ahead and incorporated the santa fe trail association at that time. this was before the internet, i might add. and so, it was quite a challenge to work with all the different museums and libraries and historical societies along the trail. but 300 people came to that symposium in 1986. and while we were there, we went ahead and grabbed the bull by the horns, so to speak, and organized the santa fe trail association. and then, within a year, president reagan signed the santa fe trail designated it -- the legislation which would
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designate the santa fe trail as a national historic trail. >> excellent. joy, i want to thank you for an excellent presentation. i want to thank the kansas city am for cosponsoring this program. and i want to thank our audience for tuning in on line. of course, we look forward to the day when we can meet in auditoriums again. but in the meantime, go to the library's website for more of our online programs to come. thank you again, joy. and we'll see you next time. >> okay. thank you very much. i hope everyone will consider joining our santa fe trail association. there's going to be a lot of events all along the trail commemorating the 200th anniversary of the opening of the trail here in 2021. including events here in santa fe. so i'd like to invite our audience members to please consider coming to santa fe in november of 2021, when we're going to reenact william backnell arriving in santa fe and we'll have a buffalo dinner at the la fonda exchange hotel that the donahoe's operated. and also professor james writing will be speaking about indians on the santa fe trail. thank you. >> thank you. weeknights we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on cspan3.
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tonight a look at the relationship between abraham lincoln and frederick douglass. frederick douglass escaped slavery and rose to become one of the most influential sferns speakers. cspan's landmark cases explores the stories and constitutional drama behind significant supreme court decisions. and for the next several weeks, watch key episodes from our series. sunday, the 1919 case schenck v united states that allows them to -- watch landmark cases sunday night at 10:00 eastern on cspan,
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online on or listen with the cspan radio app. cspan is your unfiltered view of government.
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