William Becknell, the husband of Hannah’s sister Mary, is widely recognized as the father of the Santa Fe Trail.
Unlike the other two men whose stories are told here, Becknell has previously been the subject of extensive research efforts. The most complete work is Larry M. Beachum’s book, William Becknell: Father of the Santa Fe Trade (El Paso, Tex.: Texas Western Press, 1982). The essential facts about Becknell’s public life have also been recognized by numerous organizations in the region where he lived, including
- the Texas State Historical Association,
- the Oklahoma Historical Society,
- the State of New Mexico, and
- the City of La Junta, Colorado.
The following pages are not intended to repeat Beachum’s work. Instead, images and transcriptions of historical documents are presented, along with further research into Becknell’s relationship with his wife’s family. The result is perhaps a more personal portrait of the man.
Some details described by Beachum are omitted here. His book is recommended as a supplemental source of details. In some instances, of course, new or conflicting information has been found.
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Copyright 2012-2014 Gregory Hancks
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