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PEREA, Francisco

PEREA, Francisco
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
1830–1913

Biography

Francisco Perea capitalized on his family’s prominence and his military service to propel his career in territorial and national politics. The first Republican Hispanic-American Member of Congress, he dedicated his single term as Territorial Delegate to serving his constituents and containing the Indian threat to settlers by championing a controversial reservation system.

Perea was born in Las Padillas, New Mexico, on January 9, 1830, to Juan Perea and Josefa Chaves de Perea. Perea’s maternal grandfather, Francisco Xavier Chaves, was Mexico’s governor of the New Mexico province in the 1820s, and two of Perea’s maternal uncles eventually succeeded his grandfather. Perea’s father served in the Fourth Departmental Congress in 1846 and in the New Mexico Legislative Assembly in 1852 and 1857. After the U.S. war with Mexico, José Leandro, Perea’s paternal uncle, represented Bernalillo County in the First Legislative Assembly. Years later, his cousins Pedro Perea and José Francisco Chaves would serve as New Mexico’s Legislative Delegates to the U.S. Congress. Francisco studied at a local Bernalillo school in 1836 and 1837. He and his cousin José Chaves attended a Santa Fe school in 1837 and 1838, and Francisco transferred to a school in Albuquerque the following academic year. From 1839 to 1843, Perea tutored his younger siblings. Like many elite New Mexicans, he received a college education in Missouri, mastering English (again, with his cousin José F. Chaves) at Jesuit College in St. Louis from 1843 to 1845. While the Mexican-American War raged on, Perea traveled to New York City’s Bank Street Academy in 1847, completing his studies in 1849. During this sojourn, Perea and a colleague visited East Coast cities including Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.; they also traveled to northern New York and Chicago.

Perea returned to New Mexico in 1850 to pursue a career in business that included ranching, trade, and commerce. He served as a distributor of manufactured goods to New Mexicans by importing products from cities such as St. Louis, and Independence, Missouri, at the head of the Santa Fe Trail. He also herded sheep to California for sale in the markets. After making a fortune selling sheep, Perea invested in the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. Perea married twice. He had 18 children with his first wife, Dolores Otero (a niece of Territorial Delegate Miguel Antonio Otero’s), whom he wed in 1851, but many of them died in infancy. Dolores died in 1866. In 1875 Perea married Gabriela Montoya, with whom he had 18 more children, but only 10 were living at the time of his death.1

Perea entered politics when he was elected to New Mexico’s Eighth Legislative Assembly in 1858 for a two-year term representing Bernalillo County.2 Aside from his pedigree, his motivation to run for political office is unclear. A staunch Republican, Perea considered Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency in 1860 to be fortuitous for the Union. The news of Lincoln’s election, Perea recalled, “was celebrated by immense processions of men and boys marching through the principal streets to the music of many brass bands, the firing of cannon, and the discharging of anvils.”3 Nevertheless, New Mexican loyalties were split between pro-Confederate Democrats and pro-Union Republicans; the territory became a flashpoint for conflict during 1861 and 1862.

In the summer and fall of 1861, Perea advocated for New Mexico to remain in the Union by appealing to “every prominent man in the … territory.” In light of New Mexico’s precarious condition, Lincoln authorized Governor Henry Connelly to raise two full regiments and four battalions of four companies each. Perea organized a volunteer battalion at his own expense and was commissioned as a regimental lieutenant colonel.4 Dubbed “Perea’s Battalion,” the unit was stationed near Albuquerque, where its namesake commander led various campaigns against Apaches and Navajos in 1861 and 1862. The battalion also saw action in the Apache Canyon at the Battle of Glorieta Pass, a pivotal engagement that forced the Confederates out of New Mexico in March 1862. Shortly thereafter, Perea resigned his commission and returned to civilian life.5

In January 1863, Perea ran for the position of Territorial Delegate to the U.S. House in the 38th Congress (1863–1865), winning the Republican nomination that June. He outlined his proposed legislative priorities in a public letter that was printed in New Mexico newspapers. Perea’s experience fighting Indians convinced him that the two cultures could not coexist. He condemned past treaties as “worse than useless,” suggesting that American Indians were liable “to do wrong in accordance with the instincts of the savage nature.” Justifying his solution—to remove Indians to reservations—he argued, “It will be acting the part of wisdom in our own behalf and the part of philanthropy on behalf of the savages … [there] they may be compelled to earn their subsistence by the labor of their own hands, and have the opportunity given them to cultivate the habits and enjoy the blessings of civilization and Christianity.”6

The economic leg of his platform was closely associated with suppressing American Indians, particularly the Apaches, because their removal would open more land to settlers and allow the exploitation of New Mexico’s mineral resources. Perea believed mining would determine the territory’s financial fortunes. “Nothing can give our Territory as much prominence in the eyes of the people throughout the United States as the fact of the existence of rich gold producing mines in our midst,” he wrote. To remove the Indians, Perea promised that as Delegate, he would make “every exertion I can put forth … to strengthen the hands of our [military] Department commander and give him sufficient force to expel the savages from the bounteous fields which should now be furnishing profitable employment to thousands of our people.”7

Perea advised against implementing statehood in the midst of war, noting that the issue might be exploited by “men ambitious of place and power” and arguing that public sentiment did not support it.8 Nevertheless, he urged continued support for the Lincoln administration, asserting, “It is the duty of all citizens to occupy themselves with the stern realities with which we are confronted and do all in their power to maintain the integrity of the government.” He left no doubt that as Delegate, he would exert “the whole of my influence … in favor of the reestablishment of the Union as it was and the enforcement of the constitution as it is.”9

Perea’s opponents were José Manuel Gallegos and Judge Joab Houghton, a former chief justice of the superior court under New Mexico’s military government and an associate of Miguel Otero’s brother Antonio José.10 Houghton dropped out of the race in July 1863 and threw his support to Perea.11 Gallegos, a prominent but controversial priest-turned-politician, served as a Territorial Delegate in the 33rd and 34th Congresses (1853–1857), but was unseated in his second term after Miguel Otero contested his election. However, Gallegos remained a power in territorial politics, serving as speaker in the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Legislative Assemblies (1860–1862).12 Although Gallegos ran as a Democrat, he was pro-Union and was imprisoned during the Confederate occupation of Santa Fe, but his party designation left him open to charges of collaborating with secessionists.

Perea’s supporters resurrected tactics other territorial politicians had used against Gallegos, advertising his suspension from the Catholic priesthood and his affiliation with a cadre of activist priests before the American occupation. A seamy campaign poem entitled El Padrecillo (“The Father”), circulated by Perea’s backers, mocked Gallegos’s connections to administrative corruption and his obliviousness to such ethical lapses. The poem also publicized Gallegos’s controversial relationship with Candelaria Montoya, a widow.13 According to one account, Perea visited nearly every part of the territory and frequently spoke to crowds.14 The initial results showed that Perea won the election, with 7,231 votes to Gallegos’s 6,425.15 However, a variety of seeming irregularities in various counties persuaded Republican governor Henry Connelly to have “the vote reconstructed from the tallies kept by election officials in the precincts, and these were tabulated in place of the actual ballots.” The recount confirmed Perea’s majority.16 Gallegos and his supporters contested the results, arguing that Connelly had exceeded his authority, but when Gallegos was denied an extension to obtain more testimony from voters, his case fell apart, and the House Committee on Elections awarded the seat to Perea.17

Like the other Delegates of the era, Perea was not permitted to sit on a standing committee when he was sworn in to the 38th Congress (1863–1865). Nevertheless, he submitted bills regarding a range of constituent services and personal legislative interests; but because Republicans controlled the chamber and tended to support the development of national infrastructure, Perea’s initiatives enjoyed only modest success.18 In early 1864, Perea requested funds to construct a military road between Taos, New Mexico, and the territorial capital of Santa Fe. Another measure requested financial aid for communities in the New Mexico Territory and the newly created Arizona Territory, and a third measure asked for the implementation of boundaries between the New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona Territories. Perea responded to the needs of military veterans by submitting private relief bills and requesting payments for volunteer companies that served against hostile Indian tribes and in the Mexican-American War. All the bills were read and submitted to the appropriate committees, but no action was taken.19 Perea tried to secure money for surveying land in New Mexico in H.R. 786, a miscellaneous appropriations bill, but he was unsuccessful.20 True to his campaign promise, he took particular interest in a Senate bill that requested “aid in the settlement, subsistence, and support of the Navajo Indian captives upon a reservation in the Territory of New Mexico.” The bill mustered enough votes to pass, but Senator William Windom of Minnesota killed it using a parliamentary tactic.21

During his tenure, Perea became close friends with President Lincoln, to whom he was introduced by former New Mexico Territorial Delegate John S. Watts in 1864. “I met the President in the White House, in company with a number of senators, representatives, and others,” Perea recalled. Perea went to see Lincoln “time after time on business connected with complaints against [territorial] officials and other difficulties.” Perea reported that he “occupied the seat in the pit of the theater directly under the Lincoln box” on the evening of April 14, 1865. “I heard the shot fired by [John Wilkes] Booth,” he said.22 Also, Perea served as one of three delegates to the Republican National Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1864.23 According to a contemporary account, Perea “bore aloft the Star Spangled banner, over which streamed a pure white penant bearing … the motto: ‘New Mexico–the Union and the Monroe Doctrine forever.’ The flag and its motto attracted great attention and elicited loud applause.”24

Perea used his influence as a Territorial Delegate to persuade federal officials in Washington, D.C., to attack political opponents and promote the careers of his allies back home. During the contested election case, Perea wrote a number of letters to Secretary of State William H. Seward about the professional conduct of William F. M. Arny, the territorial secretary and a committed ally of José Manuel Gallegos. In one letter, Perea enclosed documents alleging that Arny’s performance had alienated constituents. Perea also noted that Arny had “undertaken to come to Washington with(out) leave” from territorial superiors to hire lawyers to represent Gallegos in February 1864.25 A month later, Perea informed Seward about Arny’s support of Gallegos, neglecting to tell him about Governor Connelly’s relationship with the Perea family. Perea wrote, “It becomes obvious beyond question, that he has been not only instrumental in exciting a contest for my seat in Congrefs, but that the principal object … is to act as an agent in behalf of the contestant.” Perea considered Arny’s conduct “reprehensible, in disturbing the political quietude of the Territory by agitating this contest, after the voice of the people had spoken and their decision had been announced in the form of law” and asked that he be removed.26

Early in 1865, Perea became involved in a dispute between the New Mexico and Colorado Territories concerning The Conejos, a large tract of land on New Mexico’s northern border that was ceded to Colorado upon its incorporation in 1861. In a published letter to James Ashley of Ohio, Chairman of the House Committee on Territories, Perea alleged that “the sole purpose of such a severance was to give evenness and symmetry to the southern boundary of Colorado … at the serious expense of New Mexico.” Perea noted that the “population of Los Conejos … are almost entirely Mexicans. They are foreign in language … from the great body of the people of Colorado. The laws of that Territory are enacted and published only in the English language, which they do not understand and the legislative discussions and deliberations are conducted in the same language.” Perea emphasized the Conejans’ foreignness, their affinity for Spanish institutions, and their incompatibility with Colorado Anglos and American jurisprudence. He deemed the situation “utterly repugnant to the true principles of liberty” and requested its immediate amelioration.27

Perea insisted that New Mexican citizenship would satisfy the cultural aspirations of the Conejans. He noted that one of the earliest acts of the New Mexico territorial government was to declare “that the principles of the civil law should prevail in all civil causes that might arise before their courts; and the Congress of the United States, in approving that legislation … manifested its appreciation of their desire to preserve and perpetuate their ancient and venerated system of jurisprudence.”28 New Mexicans, Perea maintained, were uniquely suited to managing this still-foreign people. Although “they have formed a patriotic fondness for this government, and are now earned and true in their allegiance to their new sovereign, the change was not a matter of their own choice. The acquisition of their country was the fruit of war waged by the United States against their native land, and by every consideration of justice and humanity they are entitled to the enjoyment of their native language, and their system of law and domestic usages, so long … as they do not conflict with the principles of the general government.” Perea submitted the bill in the waning weeks of the session, and the Committee on Territories did not act on it. After acquiring the region, Colorado retained it through its territorial period (1861–1876); today Los Conejos remains part of that state.29

Perea began running for re-election in January 1865. In a glowing editorial, the Santa Fe Weekly Gazette noted that he had been a highly effective legislator and had stood firm in his support of the Lincoln administration. While admitting Perea’s “efforts have secured but very meager appropriations—sums far below the amounts obtained by his predecessors,” the editors blamed the war for siphoning off federal funds. Alluding to the tempestuous tenures of earlier Territorial Delegates, they appealed to constituents to keep Perea in office because he was experienced. In an effort to defuse potential contenders’ use of a native-son platform, the editors suggested that replacing Perea would be “unfair to the Mexican people as a race” because it would deprive New Mexicans of an incumbent with seniority. Other Members of Congress “are possessed of advantages which the New Mexican people are unwilling to give to their own sons,” they wrote. If Perea “is successfully opposed by a native, that native will be no further advanced than his predecessor.… Thus always we shall have inexperienced Representatives, and so always be subjected to the same imputation and disadvantages.”30 To Perea, the editors wrote, “[You are] worthy of our confidence; you have done your work well and are entitled to the reward of re-election to the place which for two years you have so worthily filled.”31 Perea responded that he was “grateful to the public for past favors” [and] would “endeavor to continue to merit their approbation” upon being re-elected.32

Perea’s acceptance letter for the Republican nomination in July 1865 outlined his successes and his plans for another term. Adopting the party platform, he acknowledged that much of his energy was focused on containing “our deadly enemies” the Navajo Indians. As part of that platform, he embraced a developing military-led effort to forcibly remove Navajos to a reservation known as the Bosque Redondo in eastern New Mexico. Perea noted, “I have steadfastly, in Congress, before the Committees on Indian Affairs in both Houses and before the Interior and War Departments of the Government, advocated the policy which is now observed of keeping that tribe on the Reservation at the Bosque Redondo.” After vigorously defending the policy, he added, “Those who oppose the Government in its efforts to thus relieve us of our despoilers are the worst enemies the Territory can have.” If he was re-elected for another term, Perea promised, “I shall continue to use all the influence I possess to have the reservation system made permanent and in this way, secure lasting peace with the Indians.”33

Perea’s principal election opponent was his cousin, José Francisco Chaves. Although both men were Republicans, they represented distinct territorial factions. Perea was nominated to lead the Union Party ticket. Unionists, explains historian Howard Lamar, “supported the Indian reservation policy … praised General [James H.] Carleton and the troops participating in the Indian campaigns, recognized the supremacy of the United States Government, and condemned Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.” Chaves was an Administration Party candidate. The Administration faction’s loyalties were identical to those of Unionists, but they opposed Carleton’s policy of forcing the Navajos onto the Bosque Redondo Reservation.34

Perea noted that although he and Chaves were “connected by the most endearing ties of consanguinity,” his cousin had “allowed himself to pass into the hands of my enemies, the enemies of my political friends and, as I hold, the enemies of the Territory.”35 The campaign hinged on the Bosque Redondo Reservation experiment. Perea fully supported its expansion, whereas Chaves opposed it. Chaves also criticized Perea’s efforts to regain Los Conejos. Throughout the summer of 1865, Perea’s political standing suffered from his association with the controversial General Carleton, who was eventually removed from his post.36 Chaves prevailed, with a 58 to 42 percent victory.37

Afterward, Perea returned to his business activities in New Mexico and, according to his eulogist W. H. H. Allison, retained a large amount of political influence by controlling federal appointments to the territory under President Andrew Johnson’s administration. Later, Perea was elected to the territory’s Sixteenth and Twenty-Sixth Legislative Assemblies (1866–1867 and 1886–1887, respectively) as a representative of Bernalillo County. In 1881 Perea owned and operated a resort hotel in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, where he also served as postmaster from 1894 to 1905. Perea died in Albuquerque at age 83 on May 21, 1913.38

Footnotes

1“Francisco Perea,” in Maurilio E. Vigil, Los Patrones: Profiles of Hispanic Political Leaders in New Mexico History (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1980): 53–55; “Francisco Perea,” in Matt S. Meier, Mexican American Biographies: A Historical Dictionary, 1836–1987 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1988): 175; W. H. H. Allison, “Francisco Perea, Delegate to 38th Congress, Dies at Home Here,” 22 May 1913, Albuquerque Morning Journal: 1. This obituary was reprinted verbatim in W. H. H. Allison, “Colonel Francisco Perea,” in Ralph Emerson Twitchell, ed., Old Santa Fe: A Magazine of History, Archaeology, Genealogy, and Biography, vol. 1, no. 2 (October 1913): 210–222. See also Carlos Brazil Ramirez, “The Hispanic Political Elite in Territorial New Mexico: A Study of Classical Colonialism,” (Ph.D. diss., University of California–Santa Barbara, 1979): 274, 285.

2W. G. Ritch, The Legislative Blue Book of the Territory of New Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1968; reprint of 1882 edition): 105–106.

3Allison, “Francisco Perea, Delegate to 38th Congress.”

4Ibid.

5“Francisco Perea,” in Vigil, Los Patrones: 53–55; Ralph Emerson Twitchell, ed., Leading Facts of New Mexican History, vol. 2 (Cedar Rapids, IA: Torch Press, 1912): 399–400; Allison, “Francisco Perea, Delegate to 38th Congress.” According to Twitchell, Perea “engaged in repairing his houses and fortune, both of which had been severely wrecked by the invading Texans” during 1863.

6Francisco Perea, “To the People of New Mexico,” 13 June 1863, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 2.

7Perea, “To the People of New Mexico.”

8Ibid.

9Ibid.

10For a brief biography of Houghton, see Twitchell, Leading Facts of New Mexico History, vol. 2: 272–273, 398–399.

11“The Canvass for Delegate,” 4 July 1863, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 2.

12Ritch, The Legislative Blue Book of New Mexico: 107–109; Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, “José Manuel Gallegos,” http://bioguide.congress.gov.

13“The Canvass for Delegate.” The Santa Fe Weekly Gazette described Gallegos as a “disgraced priest, adulterer, sacreligist, [and] trickster.”

14Allison, “Francisco Perea, Delegate to 38th Congress.” Some of Gallegos’s supporters “had favored the dissolution of the union of the state, and later had welcomed the advent into the territory of the Texas Rangers.”

15Certified Election Results of New Mexico Delegate’s Race, Copy of Record of Executive Proceedings of the Territory of New Mexico from the 10th Day of November 1862 to the 28th Day of October 1863, Department of State Territorial Papers, New Mexico, 1851–1872 (National Archives Microfilm Publication T17, Roll 2), General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59, National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD (NACP).

16Gerald Arthur Theisen, “Jose Manuel Gallegos (1815–75): The First Mexican-American in the United States Congress,” (Ph.D. diss., University of New Mexico, 1985): 132–143. Theisen writes that votes for one county could not be counted because the poll books were burned.

17Chester H. Rowell, A Historical and Legal Digest of All the Contested Election Cases in the House of Representatives of the United States from the First to the Fifty-Sixth Congress, 1789–1901 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1976; reprint of 1901 edition): 188; Theisen, “Jose Manuel Gallegos (1815–75)”: 144–145.

18For an overview of Congress’s activities during the Civil War, see Mark Neely, “The Civil War,” in Julian Zelizer, ed., The American Congress: The Building of Democracy (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2004): 207–223.

19Congressional Globe, House, 38th Cong., 1st sess. (11 January 1864): 149–150; Congressional Globe, House, 38th Cong., 1st sess. (5 April 1864): 1425; Congressional Globe, House, 38th Cong., 1st sess. (11 April 1864): 1532; Congressional Globe, House, 38th Cong., 1st sess. (10 May 1864): 2207. For a summary of Perea’s legislative activities, see “Col. Perea,” 30 January 1864, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 2.

20Congressional Globe, House, 38th Cong., 2nd sess. (1 March 1865): 1260. Perea objected to New Mexico’s allocation of $5,000 because the Colorado Territory (part of which belonged to New Mexico prior to its creation in 1861) was receiving $15,000 for its surveys. Perea pointed out, “New Mexico is paying $150,000 a year in the United States Treasury, while in Colorado … there is not even a collector of revenue yet.” However, Delegate Hiram Bennet of Colorado argued, “Surveys have not been ordered in Colorado … for two years previous to this appropriation.” He also noted, “New Mexico has a large amount of private lands, and consequently there is less of the public domain [there] than in Colorado.” Perea withdrew his amendment after Bennet’s explanation.

21Congressional Globe, House, 38th Cong., 1st sess. (29 June 1864): 3389. Perea supported and tried to acquire appropriations for the Bosque Redondo Reservation experiment and took credit for his efforts in “Col. Perea’s Acceptance,” 8 July 1865, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 2. For background, see Peter Iverson, Diné: A History of the Navajos (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2002).

22“Mr. Lincoln Was Always Intensely Interested in Affairs of New Mexico,” 12 February 1909, Albuquerque Morning Journal: 1, 2.

23Allison, “Francisco Perea, Delegate to 38th Congress”: 1. Allison claims that in 1864 New Mexico “was for the first time represented in a national convention.” However, Miguel Otero had attended the Democratic National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1860.

24“From Washington City,” 23 July 1864, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 2; Allison, “Francisco Perea, Delegate to 38th Congress.” Perea’s obituary states that he attended the Republican National Convention with two other delegates from New Mexico, “which was for the first time represented in a national convention.”

25Francisco Perea to William H. Seward, 20 February 1864, Department of State Territorial Papers, New Mexico, 1851–1872, RG 59, NACP. Gallegos authorized Arny to represent him and to hire legal representation when necessary. See José Manuel Gallegos to William F. M. Arny, 6 February 1864, Department of State Territorial Papers, New Mexico, 1851–1872, RG 59, NACP. Perea took particular issue with Arny’s “abandonment of his post of duty without lawful permission to come here for the purpose of prosecuting that contest.” Perea continued, “And it is still more worthy of condemnation in the assault he has insidiously made … on the rectitude of his co-officials of the Territory, for the purpose of gaining a personal or political end.”

26The spelling “Congrefs” is from Perea’s original. Francisco Perea to William H. Seward, 21 March 1864, Department of State Territorial Papers, New Mexico, 1851–1872, RG 59, NACP. Although Perea claimed Arny did not get permission from the governor to visit Washington, José Gallegos wrote that the New Mexico legislative assembly, where Gallegos had a great deal of support, authorized Arny’s trip to Washington. See José Manuel Gallegos to William F. M. Arny, 5 February 1864, Department of State Territorial Papers, New Mexico 1851–1872, RG 59, NACP. Perea suggested that the documents he had sent Seward (a memorial from Gallegos and affidavits by Arny confirming Gallegos’s election complaints) indicated that Arny had lied to officials in Washington about political developments in the territory. Perea penned additional letters calling for Arny’s ouster, but the State Department did not act on his requests. See Francisco Perea to William H. Seward, 26 June 1864, and Francisco Perea to William H. Seward, 6 March 1865, Department of State Territorial Papers, 1851–1872, RG 59, NACP. Arny continued to serve as secretary and also spearheaded the effort to outlaw slavery in the territory. For biographical information about Arny, see Lawrence R. Murphy, Frontier Crusader: William F. M. Arny (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1972), especially pp. 124–132, for the 1863 contested election case and Perea’s complaints to Secretary of State Seward. For information about Arny and slavery in New Mexico, see Alvin R. Sunseri, Seeds of Discord: New Mexico in the Aftermath of the American Conquest, 1846–1861 (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1979): 41–42. For an overview of the period, see Lawrence R. Murphy, “Reconstruction in New Mexico,” New Mexico Historical Review 43 (April 1968): 99–115.

27Perea further asserted that the Conejans “can neither take an intelligent part in legislation, nor understand from their laws … either the rights they confer or the obligations they impose; and they must remain in darkness as to the character of the laws under which they live, until the government of the United States shall, at its own great expense, have those laws translated into their native tongue.” This lack of understanding “is tantamount to their exclusion from every share in the legislation of the country.” See Francisco Perea, “Letter of Hon. Francisco Perea to Hon. Jas M. Ashley, Chairman of the Committee on Territories, of the House of Representatives, Reclaiming a Certain Portion of the Territory of New Mexico, Which Has Been Included in the Boundaries of Colorado,” 18 February 1865, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 1. See also “Shame, Where Is Thy Blush?” 11 March 1865, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 2.

28Perea, “Letter of Hon. Francisco Perea to Hon. Jas M. Ashley, Chairman of the Committee on Territories.”

29Ibid. See “The Conejos,” 1 July 1865, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 2; for E. C. Ingersoll’s letter to Perea explaining why the bill did not progress. The committee endorsed Perea for re-election to Congress by sending the Santa Fe Weekly Gazette a letter attesting to Perea’s professionalism and effectiveness as an advocate for New Mexico. For background information about Los Conejos, see Ray C. Colton, The Civil War in the Western Territories: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1959): 197–198; William A. Keleher, Turmoil in New Mexico, 1846–1868 (Santa Fe: Sunstone Press, 2008; reprint of 1952 edition): 126–127. Los Conejos, “being the extreme northern portion of New Mexico, was severed from New Mexico and annexed to the territory of Colorado by act of congress approved February 28, 1861. The sole purpose of the severance, affecting 3,000 native born New Mexicans, was to give evenness and symmetry to the southern boundary of Colorado. Hon. Francisco Perea … belatedly protested against the severance, in a letter written to James M. Ashley, chairman of the Committee on Territories in the House … and attempted to reclaim the lost territory for New Mexico, contending the act of severance had passed without consultation or warning.”

30“Congressional Election,” 25 February 1865, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 2.

31“Hon. Francisco Perea,” 14 January 1865, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 2. According to the article, Perea secured “$100,000 for the Navajos, nearly $23,000 for the legislative fund, $50,000 for the general and incidental expenses of the Indian Superintendency in the Territory, $25,000 for deficiencies, and other amounts sufficient to keep in operation the various civil offices of the Territory.”

32Francisco Perea, “A Card,” 14 January 1865, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 2. Perea wrote this opinion piece on 6 December 1864.

33“Col. Perea’s Acceptance,” 8 July 1865, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 2.

34Colton, The Civil War in the Western Territories: 197–198; Howard R. Lamar, The Far Southwest, 1846–1912: A Territorial History, rev. ed. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000): 109–112. By the 1864 presidential election, New Mexico Republicans had split into three groups, as Lamar explains, “the regulars, consisting of Governor [Henry] Connelly, Delegate Perea, and Judge John S. Watts, who openly declared for Lincoln; another faction, led by Connelly’s own secretary [of the territory], W. F. M. Arny, who supported [Salmon] Chase and the Radicals [Republicans]; and still a third group, who were actually old-time Democrats and wanted [George B.] McClellan for President.” By the 1865 Delegate election, Chaves “ran on a pro-Arny and anti-Bosque ticket, while his cousin Francisco Perea … defended the General.”

35Colton, The Civil War in the Western Territories: 197–198; Lamar, The Far Southwest, 1846–1912: A Territorial History: 109–112; “Col. Perea’s Acceptance.”

36Allison, “Francisco Perea, Delegate to 38th Congress”; Martha Durant Read, “Colonel Jose Francisco Chaves: A Short Biography of the Father of the New Mexico Statehood Movement,” Southwest Heritage 8, no. 4 (Winter 1978–1979): 13–21, 30; for more information about Carleton, see Aurora Hunt, Maj. Gen. James H. Carleton (1814–73), Western Frontier Dragoon (Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1958). The Santa Fe Weekly Gazette published a September 1864 letter from Chaves to Perea describing Chaves’s opposition to the reservation in “Chavez and the Reservation Question,” 5 August 1865, Santa Fe Weekly Gazette: 2.

37Certified Election Results of 1865 Delegate Election, 21 September 1865 entry of Governor’s Journal, Copy of the Executive Records of the Territory of New Mexico, Department of State Territorial Papers, New Mexico, 1851–1872, RG 59, NACP. The official totals were 8,571 votes for Chaves and 6,180 votes for Perea.

38Allison, “Francisco Perea, Delegate to 38th Congress”; Ritch, New Mexico Blue Book, 111; Territory of New Mexico, Report of the Secretary of the Territory, 1905–1906 and Legislative Manual 1907 (Albuquerque, NM: Morning Journal, 1907): 169.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

University of New Mexico
Center for Southwest Research

Albuquerque, NM
Papers: In the Charles Lanman correspondence, 1860-1868, 1 folder. Correspondents include Perea.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Allison, W. H. H. "Colonel Francisco Perea," in Ralph Emerson Twitchell, ed. Old Santa Fe. Volume I, 1913-1914: 202-222.

"Francisco Perea" in Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-2012. Prepared under the direction of the Committee on House Administration by the Office of the Historian and the Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Washington: Government Printing Office, 2013.

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