Santa Fe, Taos, Angel Fire [NM], and La Junta [CO]

May 15 - 20, 2011

Webpage by Paul Ridenour

Photos by Paul Ridenour

Click on Refesh if all pics do not appear

My 3rd great grandfather Lincoln Goodale Bentís first cousins were Charles Bent and siblings William and Lucy.  We went to see my family Bent sites Ė National Historic sites. Charles Bent was the first governor of the new territory of New Mexico.  After four months, Mexicans and Taos Pueblo Indians wanted white men out and they went on a two day killing spree.  They killed Charles Bent at his house and almost 30 others. Afterwards, the US Calvary came into the Taos Pueblo Village and killed 200+ Pueblos who were hiding in the church.  That ended the insurrection.  We visited Gov. Charles Bent home/museum and the Pueblo Village.  Charles was scalped and it was paraded through Taos. His remains are buried in the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

Charles and his brother William founded Bentís Fort in La Junta, CO.  It was a trapper and Indian trading post. Kit Carson met the Bents at the fort.  Bent married Kitís wifeís sister and had many children.  Well, not exactly.  They were never officially married.  Mrs. Kit Carson was in the house when Charles was killed.  They dug a hole through the adobe walls so they could escape but Charles was shot in his patio.

We visited the Kit Carson home and museum in Taos and Bentís Fort. On the way to Bentís Fort, we stopped at the famous St. James Hotel, where 27 people were killed.  Many infamous gangsters stayed there.

Lincoln Bent and Charles and his siblings share the same grandfather, Silas Bent, Sr., a Revolutionary War Patriot and participant in the Boston Tea Party.  Silas Bent, Jr. was a surveyor and laid out the city of St. Louis, because Missouri was also a new territory in those days. I descend from Silas Bent, Jr.ís brother Abner Bent.  Lincolnís daughter Mary Ellen Bent married my 2nd great grandfather George T. Ridenour.

Lucy Bent was the grandmother of the famous artist Charles M. Russell.

We went through Angel Fire to visit with Mike and Wende Woolley on our way to La Junta.  Mike Woolley is in real estate and he let us stay at his partnerís house.  Contact Mike if you ware thinking about buying a house in Angel Fire.  We also had a nice steak dinner at the country club.  In Taos, there is a very nice Vietnam War Memorial.

Before we arrived in New Mexico, we visited the Taylor County War Memorial in Abilene that honors my great grandfather Earl Ridenourís brother George Francis Ridenour, who was killed just days before the end of World War I.  I had forgotten that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is a Taylor descendant and her Taylor ancestor was one of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence for the State of Texas, 175 years ago.

On the way home, we stopped at Palo Duro Canyon and the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, TX.

Sunday May 15

We left at about 11 AM.

Taylor County War Memorial [Abilene, TX]

George Francis Ridenour just about my watch

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's office

Joe Allen's was closed so we ate at Sharon Riley's, former wife of Joe Allen.

We spent the night in Littlefield, TX, at the Best Western.

Monday May 16

Chicken Fajitas at Blue Corn Cafe in Santa Fe

The famous miracle staircase in Santa Fe

Singing Beatles with the locals - Mother Nature's Son, Michelle, We Can Work It Out, Across the Universe, etc.
This monument in downtown Santa Fe [behind me] has February misspelled, April misspelled [it was corrected], and Savage was removed from "Savage Indians."

Oldest church in the US

We spent the night at the Comfort Inn in Taos.

Tuesday May 17

Where Charles Bent was killed [a brutal murder/scalped]

Killings may have been planned by Catholic priests. There's no proof but Kit Carson always blamed one priest in particular. A priest that helped Charles Bent's children after he was murdered. They came to stay with him and he gave them shelter, food, and clothing. The priest was Antonio Martinez, a bitter rival of Charles Bent. These are Catholic Mexicans and Catholic Pueblo Indians who may have planned the murders to get rid of all of the whites in the territory. Col. Sterling Price met them head on. He had 500 men, they had 1,000. They didn't think the US military would canon fire a church but they did, as they poked a hole in the wall of the church with canon fire large enough for the men to enter and they killed the remaining ones inside.  The Pueblo Indians kept their mother earth secret religion and combined it with Catholicism.

Wendy Woolley said "The friars knew that with the government shifting from Mexico to the US they would not have the control over the people they enjoyed with Mexico. A lot of anger began when the region, which was under Mexico's jurisdiction but ignored by the Mexican govt. was annexed into the US. It was fed by the priests in hopes that the Texans/Americans would leave them alone. The rage morphed into resentment and has passed from one generation to the next and still exists in the region. People who have lived here all their lives tend to be a little wary of 'intruders' to this day. The Hispanic/Indian culture is alive and protected. I have friends who live here and still have the original Spanish land grant papers for their property which are 400+ years old. New Mexicans are very proud of their heritage. The Tewas in Taos have lived on their land since at least 1200 ADThey were the only native people in the region who were never enslaved by the Spanish nor driven into reservations by the Americans. Their land is still very sacred and secret to them, and to this day, is totally protected from any white eyes. President Teddy R. decreed it in 1900s to be national park area, and in 1970s Pres. Nixon gave it back."

Gov. Charles Bent's House - National Historic Site

The hole Charles Bent escaped through only to be murdered in his patio

The patio where Bent was actually murdered

Moon in Santa Fe

Southern Magpie

1000 AD

The second church.  Our guide was a young Pueblo girl named April Winters.

Dirt Devil

Sonny Spruce's store at Taos Pueblo

Destroyed burned down original Taos Pueblo Village church where the US killed 200+ Pueblos after the murder of Charles Bent and 28 others

Gorge Bridge [Terminator movie filmed here]

We had a nice lunch at Graham's Grill by Bent's House.

Kit Caron's house is now a museum. Three rooms. This was the stables.

Maria Bent, partner of Charles Bent [never married]

Ed Sandavol - the artist in Taos that paints the old man and a cane in his paintings

Teresina St, named after Charles daughter Teresina Bent

Kit Caron has a daughter named Teresina and a son named Charles. Charles came from Charles Bent of course and Teresina Carson was born first.

Before we left Taos, there were two young guys playing single drums with their hands by the Coffee Cafe in the John Dunn Shops. I asked if they played any Led Zeppelin or Jon Bonham.  They said they would if they were corporate fascists and they said something about weapons.  I replied "Well, ok, next time I will bring my drum set."

Mike Woolley's real estate company in Angel Fire [Prudential Angel Fire Real Estate]

View from Mike and Wende Woolley's house in Angel Fire.  We saw a Golden Eagle but I was too late in getting my zoom lens to get a photo.

Mike and Wende Woolley, having some good steaks at the country club

Mike let us stay in his partner's house/cabin.

Wednesday May 18

Prairie Dog in Angel Fire

Mountain Bluebird

From the cabin porch

Vietnam Memorial in Angel Fire

Dr. David Westphall built this memorial for his son who died in Vietnam. It is a memorial and chapel for all those who died. Very impressive.

Wende said "So few people realize what Dr. Westphall did when he made it his life's goal to memorialize every single soldier, nurse who lost their lives in Vietnam. He was a dear, dear man. He died a couple of years after we moved here, but I did get to meet him."


Vietnam Memorial at night [photo by Wende Woolley]

Vietnam Memorial at night [photo by Wende Woolley]

John McCain

My wife is a Ridge descendant and Watie relative

Jesse Lee Ridge [not sure who he is and how he fits in the family]

Car company reps follow soldiers on the battlefield to sell cars. In Vietnam, magazines were safer.

The famous St. James Hotel in Cimarron, NM [27 people killed here]

Jesse James' room

Bent's Fort - National Historic Site

In 1920, the DAR bought 4.5 acres and are credited for preserving the fort and for putting forth brave ideas for reconstruction.

Bent Fort cat

Bent Fort barn swallows

Bent Fort peacock

Four deer

El Rey Inn [Santa Fe] - neat place

Thursday May 19

Santa Fe National Cemetery

Charles Bent [Section C Site 500]

Maria's Santa Fe - 180 different margaritas

Paul Rose - his passion is motorcycles and Corvettes

Love this light

We spent the night near Canyon, TX, and the Holiday Inn Express.

Love the new logo

Friday May 20

Palo Duro Canyon

Wild Palo Duro Canyon prairie dog


Barn swallow

Panhandle Plains Historical Museum [Canyon, Texas]

I took over 500 photographs.  Gas prices ranged between $3.77 and $3.84.