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October 26, 2007

Signed by the Last Mexican Governor-who Surrendered New Mexico to the U.S.

212. NEW MEXICO (Mexican Department). Original manuscript in secretarial hand, signed by José Chaves y Castillo (governor) and Miguel E. Pino (oficial mayor). The letter announces the appointment of Juan Bautista Vigil y Alarid as interim secretary, and he signs in the left margin as an example of his authentic signature. Santa Fe, May 2, 1845. One page on unwatermarked wove paper with conjugate blank, upper left first page with printed heading: Gobierno Superior del Departamento de N. Mexico. Folio (27.3 x 20.5 cm). Creased where formerly folded, slight wrinkling, but otherwise very good, each signature with paraph.

            This little document is interesting on several counts. It is signed by two of the last governors of New Mexico during its time as a Department of Mexico. The paper has a printed heading at the top, making it a somewhat early New Mexico imprint (printing began in New Mexico in 1834). The purpose of the document was to authenticate the signature of one of the signers. Chaves, governor of New Mexico in 1845, descended from the powerful New Mexican families of Chavez and Armijo. His father was Francisco Xavier Chaves, the first governor of New Mexico under Mexican rule. Pino later became a Colonel in the Union Army, where he fought at the Battle of Valverde and Glorieta Pass opposing the Confederate invasion of New Mexico. Vigil served briefly as acting governor while Armijo was off leading New Mexican resistance to the U.S. invasion. Vigil, who served as governor only for the month of August, 1846, was the man who surrendered Santa Fe to the U.S. Army under Stephen Watts Kearny.

            The printed heading on the paper was probably done at the same press as that used to print a New Mexico Territory imprint (Circular) dated at Santa Fe on February 12, 1847 (see Streeter Sale 419, illustrated on p. 407). ($400-800)

Sold. Hammer: $400.00; Price Realized: $470.00

Auction 21 Abstracts

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