Taos and Surrounding Communities (17)

Saturday, 18 January 2020 22:51

The Murder of Governor Charles Bent - January 19, 1847

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In January 1847, while serving as territorial governor, Charles Bent traveled to his wife's hometown of Taos, without military protection. There, on January 19, he was scalped alive and murdered in his home by a group of Taos Pueblo Indian attackers, under the orders of Mexican conspirators, who started the Taos Revolt.

His daughter, Teresina Bent Scheurich, later recalled the event:

"He was killed in January 19, 1847 about six in the morning.  We were in bed when the Mesicans and Indians came to the house breaking the doors and some of them were on the top of the house tearing the roofs, so we got up and father step to the porch asking them what they wanted and they answered him, we want your head gringo, we do not want for any of you gringos to govern us, as we have come to kill you.  Father told them what wrong have I done to you, when you come to me for help I always helped you and your familys.  I have cure you people and never charged you anything.  Yes, you did but you have to die now so that no American is going to govern us, then they commenced to shoot him with the arrows and guns, while he was talking to them.  Mother went to him and said why don't you jump on one of those horses that you have in the corral and go somewhere.  Father told her would not do for a Governor to run away and leave his family in danger, if they want to kill me, they can kill me here with my family.  Mrs. Carson and Mrs. Boggs, and an Indian slave dug a hole to the next house, so between the four women they took him where they had dig out the wall.  So he commence to put all of us children first then Mrs. Carson, Mrs. Boggs.  He wanted my mother to go next, but she told him, you go first, but when he was to go through the arrows that he had in his head hurt him so he pull them our, and crushed them against the wall so he went through the hole to the next house.  Then mother was going, and an Indian had found where they went, he was going to shoot Mama, but the slave woman stood in front of mother and the poor Indian was killed.  Then he struck mother on the back with the butt of the gun.  Father went with all of us to a little room, and he sat and took his memorando book, suppose he wanted to write something, but by that time the whole crowd of Mesicans and Indians got to the room where we were so they commence to shoot at him and scalp him and strip him of his clothes and when they killed him, some of the crowd wanted to kill all the family, but some of the Mesicans said, no, woman folks and children we must not kill, but we will not help them in anything. So they left us about three o'clock.  A man by the name of Manuel Gregorio Martin came to see us, and ask mother what are you going to do about the burial of the Governor and she said I have nobody to see about it.  I have no clothes for him nor nothing, so this man told her that he had a pair of trousers and a vest, so he went to his house and brought the clothes and then he went to see if he would find someone to make the coffin, so next day, he had the coffin and buried him.  So we stayed in the Lashones house for three days till Mrs. Catalina Lovato de Valdez sent for us.  Before we went a man by the name of Juan Bautista Vigil, one of the best to do gentlemen, use to come to the house of Lashones about three o'clock in the morning and brought us provisions and clothes as we did not have anything, as they stole everything from our house and all of us were with our night gowns.  We stayed at the house of Mrs. Valdez till the Americans came, that was 15 days after father was killed and the American soldiers got here the 3rd of February 1847 and they went to fight the Mesicans and the Indians the 4th of February, they killed about 250 there in the Pueblo, had 6 Mesicans hanging here in the middle of the Plaza and if I am not mistaken, 16 Indians were hung too somewhere near Mr. Phillip's studio.  At the same time that father was killed they killed here in town Shirif Luis Estaven Lee, Cornilio Vigil, mother's uncle, Provost judge Lawyer Leal, Pablo Jaramillo, mother's brother, and Narcizo Beaubien.  In Arroyo Hondo they killed Turley the owner of the Distelary and seven men more that were working there.

This is my recollections, as a child of 5 years"

From the original transcript.  Grammar, spelling, and punctuation not corrected

Wednesday, 30 October 2019 20:27

Taos: A Topical History

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Wednesday, 30 October 2019 20:17

Taos: A Topical History

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