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TOPIC: El Paso del Norte - redux


Subject: El Paso del Norte
Posted: May 26, 2011 3:09 PM MDT
Comments: Re: earlier posts about a Tale of Two El Pasos and El Paso del Norte Some information about the actual name of the town can be found in two government documents: The Supreme Court Reporter, Vol. 18 and The Miscellaneous Documents of the Senate of the United States for the Third Session of the Forty-Fifth Congress, 1878-'79. In the first reference the Supreme Court ruled on an appeal in the case of Cessna et al v. United States et al in 1898 concerning the El Bracito land grant. Many original documents from the Republic of Mexico were reviewed by the Court. In these documents are found references to the name of the place in question ranging from the simple Paso to El Paso but the most relevant reference is to the 'President of the Council of the Town of El Paso del Norte'. Naturally these original documents were written in Spanish and refer to dates of 1823 and 1828. The Senate document is a reprint of documents from the Thirty-Fifth Congress, First Session dated May 29, 1858 relating to Land Claims in New Mexico Territory. These documents also refer to the El Bracito land grant and go back to the testimonies of the original claimants (Mexican citizens) in 1805. The various claimants refer to the town in a interesting variety of ways - Town of Our Lady of Guadalupe del El Paso, El Paso del Rio del Norte, Paso, El Paso, etc. It should be clear that the name was not simply Paso as was used by the writers of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and it should be equally clear that the town was known by many names, the most striking and probably most ancient was El Paso del Norte. So much for the argument that the absence of an El meant a crossing rather than a pass. As for the two names, if you accept the argument that the actual name was El Paso del Norte, how the name El Paso came to be attached to the present day Texas city is found in many (too many to list here) other documents. The present day city was originally a scattering of settlements which included Fort Bliss. Places with the names Franklin, Magoffinsville, Concordia and Molino (Hart's Mill)as well as Fort Bliss. These were basically all refered to as Franklin. Some reports say that the Postmaster General gathered all of these places together in 1852 and called them ElPaso when a Post Office was established there. I have been unable to confirm this story of the PMG and the Post Office but there was much Congressional debate about establishing a new county in Texas to be called El Paso County, a port of entry in that County of the State of Texas at Frontera, and make in the Territory of New Mexico a collection district to be called Paso del Norte (on the north side of the river naturally)with the port of entry being at Fronteraopposite the Mexican town of El Paso in 1854. This debate can be found in the Congressional Globe of June 27,1854, Pg. 1825. As regarding the book written by George Frederick Ruxton, one simply cannot assume that just because a book is old that it contains factual information - such as the meaning of the name of the Mexican town of El Paso. One has to look at original documents and completely disregard what one finds in books, old books, new books, books by accredited historians or by amateur historians. If a tidbit of information that you are intereseted in is found in a book you absolutely must verify the information independently before accepting it as fact - regardless as to the stature of the author. Accredited historians are often the sources of a great deal of misinformation that is perpetuated for years simply because no one bothers to check their references...and often their references are to previous articles or books that they themselves have written. Historians who use as books by others as references should be disregarded completely.Oral histories, memoirs and folkloric 'old timers' tales are not worth paying attention to, they are invariably and verifiably filled with errors. Human memory of events that took place years before being recalled for a memoir or oral history is not to be trusted even if the orator/author was an eyewitness. This website might be of some interest to those interested in the history of New Mexico or for just about any subject: http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search The Supreme Court Reporter referred to above can be found at: http://books.google.com/books?id=q-8GAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA315&dq=el+bracito&hl=en&ei=JZbeTeeKM-jdiAKt26XMCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&sqi=2&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=el%20bracito&f=false The Senate document can be found at: http://books.google.com/books?id=7l5HAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA883&dq=el+bracito+%22new+mexico%22&hl=en&ei=b5DeTYuLBqbiiAKp6pzjCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=bracito&f=false The Congressional Globe of June 27, 1854 is found at: http://books.google.com/books?id=LD8FAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1525&dq=el+paso+%22postmaster+general%22&hl=en&ei=e2DeTeTjEbHViAKYl-HbCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CGwQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=el%20paso%20%22postmaster%20general%22&f=false I hope you find some of this information useful or at least of some interest. The town of El Paso del Norte played a big role in the history of Territorial New Mexico.
Posted By: -jp


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