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Adios Nuevo Mexico: The Santa Fe Journal of…

Adios Nuevo Mexico: The Santa Fe Journal of John Watts in 1859

by John Watts

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 188132530X, Hardcover)

Foreword by David J. Weber

John Watts came to territorial Santa Fe in 1858 from Bloomington, Indiana. His father believed the clear air of northern New Mexico would be beneficial to John's health. In Santa Fe, they joined John's older brother, J. Howe Watts. The boys' father, Judge John S. Watts, had arrived in the territory in 1851 as a newly appointed judge of the territorial courts. But a change of administration cost him his judgeship and he opened a private law practice as a land grant claims agent. He often traveled between Santa Fe and Washington, D.C., where he was a friend of President Abraham Lincoln.

Brothers John and Howe are left on their own in Santa Fe much of the time, and John decides to improve his penmanship and foster orderly habits by keeping a daily journal. His comments about those high and low around him are not of a kind generally found in public documents. The glimpses John gives into the lives of the women and girls he knew reveal much about the activities and feelings of Santa Fe's women. He offers an interesting mixture of worldliness and naiveté, maturity and boyish enthusiasm, insightful observations of others, and critical comments on his own behavior.

Public officials help in educating the Anglo children living in the capital: Governor Rencher teaches French in his office at the Palace of the Governors, Reverend Gorman of the Baptist Church teaches Spanish. Francis Bauer, the army band director, gives music lessons. John voraciously reads the contemporary literary classics and the major American historians of his day. Books were precious, scarce, and shared. Oliver P. Hovey was generous with his large library, and John made use of Hovey's generosity.

The arrival of the weekly mail stage was a highlight of each week. Correspondence, newspapers, and magazines from home were eagerly received. The brothers regularly wrote to family and friends. Life was leisurely, and entertainment was of the homespun variety--sing-alongs, picnics, walks around Fort Marcy, card games and evening visits to Governor and Mrs. Rencher's parlor.

Remley has provided brief biographies of most of the people mentioned. This is a Who's Who of Territorial New Mexico.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:44 -0400)

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