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New Mexico Historic Figures

Kit Carson
1809-68: Guide, trapper, soldier, Indian agent; born in Madison County, Ky. His father died when he was nine and he received no schooling. He was apprenticed to a saddlemaker (1825) but ran away to join an expedition to Sante Fe, N.M. He became an experienced trapper and Indian fighter and around 1836 married an Arapaho woman he called Alice. After her death, he met John C. Fremont and served as the guide for Fremont's first expedition (1842). He married again (1843) and served as a guide on Fremont's second expedition (1843--44). After Fremont's third expedition and the conquest of California (1846--47), he was selected to carry the reports back to Washington. When the Senate refused to confirm a commission in the regular army, he served as an agent for the Ute Indians (1853--61) and dictated the narrative of his life and adventures. During the Civil War he led the 1st New Mexican Volunteer Infantry, mostly in battles against Native American peoples; his most famous episode involved leading captured Navahos on a 300-mile "long walk." Breveted to rank of brigadier general, he remained in the army and was assigned to command Ft. Garland in Colorado (1866--67) but his health soon failed.
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William "Billy the Kid" Bonney
1859-81: Outlaw and murderer, born in New York City, New York, USA. Moving with his family to Coffeyville, Kans (1862), Colorado, and Silver City, NM (1868), Bonney allegedly killed his first man at age twelve. After killing three Indians in Arizona (1876) and rampaging throughout the Southwest and Mexico, he led a faction in New Mexico's notorious "Lincoln County [cattle] War' (1878), and killed Sheriff Jim Brady. He continued killing and committing cattle theft with his followers until he was captured and sentenced to hang for Brady's death (1880). He escaped under heavy guard, killing two deputies, and remained at large until fatally shot by Sheriff Pat F. Garrett in Fort Sumner, NM (1881).
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Mangus Coloradas
1791-1863: Mimbreno Apache war chief; born in the southwest of present-day New Mexico. Repeated offenses against his family and his people caused a turnabout of this one-time friend to the whites. He and his son-in-law, Cochise, were largely successful in keeping whites out of their territory. In 1863, while carrying a flag of truce, he was arrested, tortured, and killed.
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??-1690: Tewa Pueblo medicine man, revolutionary leader; probably born on the San Juan Pueblo in present-day New Mexico. He first came to the attention of the Spanish when in 1675 he led the resistance against the Spaniard's treatment of Native American medicine men. Then in 1680 he masterminded and led a successful Indian revolt against the Spanish rulers in New Mexico. After many Spanish were killed and most others fled, he and his followers eradicated every visible trace of the Spanish presence in their region and tried to return to a traditional way of life. He ruled in an arbitrary manner and alienated many of his people as well as neighboring tribes; he was deposed and died soon afterward. Although the Spanish reconquered the area (1692), Pope had led what was probably the most successful revolt by Native Americans.
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Maria Martinez
1884-1981: Potter born in San Idelfonso Pueblo, N.M. Together with husband Julian Martinez, she rediscovered the technique of ancient Pueblo black pottery. After Julian's 1943 death, she continued to produce these traditional wares alone and with her family. Invited to the White House by four presidents, and the recipient of two honorary doctorates, she was asked to lay the cornerstone for Rockefeller Center.
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