The Little Lion of the Southwest: A Life of Manuel Antonio Chaves

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Sage Books, 1973 - New Mexico - 263 pages
Manuel Antonio Chaves' life straddled three eras of New Mexican history: he was born (1818) at the tag end of the Spanish colonial period, he grew to manhood in the rough and heady days of the Santa Fe trade during the quarter century of Mexican rule (1821-1846), and he spent his mature years under the territorial regime established by the United States. Manuel Chaves' long career (died 1889) was interwoven with almost every major historical event which occurred during his adult life -- the Texan-Santa Fe Expedition, the Mexican War, the Civil War, skirmishes with Utes, Navajos, and Apaches. He was called El Leoncito, The Little Lion, having earned the name as an Indian fighter. He lived for two years in St. Louis and was a well-travelled man, doing business in New Orleans, New York, and Cuba. A hundred years ago when men still gathered around campfires and storytelling was a well-developed art, Chaves' exploits were known to all New Mexicans. But history has a capricious memory and his name became virtually forgotten. Around the turn of the century, Charles F. Lummis' flowery pen recalled brief attention to Chaves' life, and in 1927 he appeared as a minor character in Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop -- but otherwise was virtually forgotten. Alas. Too few of our Spanish frontiersmen have been studied in depth. Manuel Chaves and his life should not be lost. He was one of the legendary but real men who pioneered and built the 19th century Southwest. Howard R. Lamar laments: "The Spanish-American population of New Mexico still lacks a historian." Marc Simmons' biography of Manuel Chaves helps fill that gap.

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Contents

Roots
1
Early 19th century New Mexican Indian fighter frontispiece
13
Sheep camp near Cebolleta
28
Alesna volcanic plug New Mexico
37
Fortunes of
89
General Stephen Watts Kearny
90
Colonel Ceran St Vrain
103
Taos Pueblo New Mexico
118
Kit Carson
189
Manuel Chaves sword and spur
196
Hacienda at San Mateo 1888
202
San Miguel ruins
209
Hacienda at San Mateo today
220
Interlude
235
MAPS
239
The Blue and the Gray on the Rio Grande
242

Navajo hunting camp
123
Colonel William W Loring
139
Arroyo near Hacienda de Ojuelos
146
Boleslo Romero at Hacienda de Ojuelos ruins
152
Fort Wingate New Mexico
174
Bibliography
252
Manuel Chaves New Mexico end papers
253
Index
259
Copyright

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