Friday, August 3, 2007

Jose Preciliano Martin and the Santa Fe Trail and the Coming of the railroad to La Junta/Watrous

My Grandfather, Jose Preciliano Martin, was born January 4th of 1868 in La Junta (now Watrous) New Mexico. His parents were Teodoro de Jesus Martin and Maria Simona Benavidez. Teodoro de Jesus and Simona, along with their 4 older kids, moved the 25 - 30 miles to La Junta (now Watrous), New Mexico from Los Valles de San Geronimo, New Mexico sometime after July of 1859 but before December of 1861. It is my guess they moved to be closer to Ft. Union and the "jump off point" for wagon trains heading east. And the many jobs available associated with the fort and the wagon trains.
He was a young boy during the last days of the Santa Fe Trail. La Junta (now Watrous) was a jumping off point for wagon trains going east. First one wagon would arrive and set up and wait for others that were heading in the same direction. When enough were assembled to provide protection and security they would elect a leader and head out. If a wagon arrived after the train had left he would wait till more wagons would arrive and there was enough to form another train.

Jose Preciliano Martin he was 12 years old when the Santa Fe Railroad finally made it to Watrous in the summer of 1880. You have to know he was in town for this momentous occasion. Just the normal curiosity of a young boy would require his being there.