Treasure Hunt & Mysteries

THE GREAT FRENCH NEW MEXICO TREASURE HUNT
CAN YOU HELP IN MY TREASURE HUNT?
FIND TREASURES AND TELL ME WHAT OTHERS LAY HIDDEN
Scroll down to see what has already been found.
Other items are more or less entered with the most recent first.
IRON GATE OF FATHER LASSAIGNE
Half is missing!
The old St. Genevieve Church in Las Cruces had a wrought iron gate with the initials P.L. of Father Pierre Lassaigne. It was taken away, but the St. Genevieve Historical Society in Las Cruces preserved part of it. However, the left gate which had the big initials P.L. is missing. Please look around for it! See pictures at http://www.stgen.info/
MYSTERIOUS FRENCH REPORT
In August 1818, Viceroy Juan Ruíz de Apodaca received documents written by an anonymous visitor to New Mexico. The report was written in French, and included the observations of a military expert who had visited New Mexico some time during the summer of 1817. Who wrote this report? For more info, see http://newmexicohistory.org/people/facundo-melgares
STATUE of  SAN MIGUEL
Not yet found.
In the church in the village of San Miguel near Mesilla, according to Arizona  Bishop Henry Granjon, in 1902 there was a statue of San Miguel imported from France. In 1883, the church burned and was rebuilt. The statue might have been moved to a museum in Texas but its precise location is unknown.

WHERE IS FRANCOIS MALLET’S SHOTGUN?
Not yet found.
In 1879, John B. Lamy Jr., nephew of Archbishop Lamy, shot and killed François Mallet, architect working of the cathedral, because he believed his fellow Frenchman was involved in a relationship with his wife. Mallet’s estate included a double-barreled shotgun, which was given by Mallet’s parents to Captain Louis Felsenthal, a hero of the Civil War in New Mexico. I am trying to locate this gun.

WHO WAS LOUIS BOUCHER?
The life of Louis Boucher (Louis de Bouchere) is elusive. Little is known of his beginnings, and nothing of his final years.  He might have resided in Quebec in 1875, was a trail guide at Grand Canyon in 1891 and 1892, and was known as “the Hermit”. There was a Louis Boucher associated with the Sioux who married a daughter of Chief Spotted Tail (Chief of the Brules Sioux tribe) and niece of Crazy Horse, Chief of the Oglala Sioux tribe, and smuggled guns to the Sioux, but it is not certain that this is the same person. He left the Grand Canyon region in 1909 when the Santa Fe Railway interfered with the mining he had filed with the County. There are records of his grievances to the U.S. Forest Service, and of a visit to Albuquerque where he met District Forester Ringland in 1909. By way of New Mexico and Colorado, Louis journeyed to central Utah working in coal mines. He returned to Colorado only once, in 1912, and visited the Grandview Hotel at Grand Canyon.
WHAT HAPPENED TO CORSICAN PRIEST F.M.  PAOLI?
The Paoli family of Corsica is legendary. Pascal Paoli is the Corsican Jefferson, he helped draft the US Constitution, and several US towns bear his name. Rev. James de Fouri, in his Historical Skectch of the Catholic Church in New Mexico, wrote:
“In May 1867, Bishop Lamy was returning from France where he had been recruiting priests.  He sailed from Le Havre … accompanied by a cohort of young men, many of them were French: …  Father J.M.(sic)  Paoli, a priest from the island of Corsica …”.What happened to F.M. Paoli? I could not find his name in any record.
FRENCH WIFE OF DIEGO DIONISIO DE PENALOSA
Not yet found.
In 1660, Diego Dionisio de Peñalosa had been appointed Spanish provincial governor of New Mexico.  In the eyes of the Roman Catholic friars, his administration was treating too well the Pueblo Indians and their religious practices.  Peñalosa was declared a heretic, had his property confiscated and was forced into exile in 1663. He ended up in France around 1673, and is said to have married a French wife. Who was this lady? He died in France in 1687.

BISHOP LAMY’S HAT

Not yet Found.
The hat was stolen a few years ago at Bishop’s Lodge during a party.  No questions asked if you find it.

NAPOLEON’S PAINTING

Not yet Found, but getting closer.
This is a large painting of Napoleon which was acquired by retreating Confederates during the civil war in New Mexico. It was said to be for some time in San Miguel Church in Socorro. In 1887, it was hanging in the office of the El Paso newspaper, The Bullion, then in 1899 it was no longer there. Historian Marc Simmons has the beginning of the story (but not the painting) which you can read at http://www.santafenewmexican.com/LocalNews/Napoleon-s-image-lands-on-Rio-Grande#disqus_thread
GOLDEN BULLETS FROM FRANCOIS AUBRY
Not yet found.
In one of his diaries (entry of August 27, 1853), François-Xavier Aubry, “the Skimmer of the Plains” states that “The Indians use gold bullets for their guns. They are of different sizes and each Indian has a pouch of them … They proposed exchanging them for lead …”.

PEDRO VIAL’S ORIGINAL DIARY and MAP of 1787

Not yet found.
Pedro Vial (from Lyons, France), is considered to be the founder of the Santa Fe Trail. His diary was copied and survived to our times, but the original has never been found.
The map vanished in the 20th Century, below if a copy made around 1840.
Map Vial 1787
Map image: Courtesy Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps – RareMaps.com

SANTA FE CATHEDRAL’S CORNER STONE
Not yet Found.
The corner-stone was laid in 1869. A casket buried with the stone  contained the names of the President of the United States, General Grant, of the Governor of the Territory, and other Territorial officers, together with some coins of gold, silver and copper, and also some documents and newspapers. Three days afterwards someone stole the corner-stone, with its contents, and nothing has been heard of it since.

GARNIER CLOCK OF THE PARROQUIA
FOUND!
It is in the museum of the Archdiocese in Santa Fe. For a while, a large clock graced the center façade of the Parroquia. The clock was built in 1869 by the renowned French clockmaker house of Jean-Paul Garnier of Paris, France. There are fifty-six pieces by Garnier in the Louvre Museum in Paris where a gallery is named after him. There are many other famous Garnier clocks in the world, for instance on the Tour de l’Horloge of the Gare de Lyon in Paris, the clock above the entry gate of the Court of Cassation also in Paris, and the Tour de l’Horloge Dolmabahçe in Istanbul. Reverend Pierre Eguillon donated eight-hundred dollars to buy and install the clock. The clock, however, never worked correctly in spite of attempts to fix it. The original clock face was stored in various places with its gears missing, and it is now (2015) in the museum of the Archdiocese in Santa Fe.A small uncertainty remains: the clock in the Archdiocese museum has a brown face, while the clock in old photographs is white. Upon close examination of the old photograph, it seems that the white clock might have rusted and/or have been repainted.
Garnier comps
FRENCH GOODS FROM THE SANTA FE TRAIL
Not yet found.
Tin Cans:
In 1859, Randolph B. Marcy, Captain U.S. Army published The Prairie Traveler as “the best-selling handbook for American pioneers”. This is a practical manual for safe travel across the prairies to the West. This book recommends canned vegetables from Chollet and Co. in Paris. Would anyone have saved some of these cans?
Cigars & Cigarettes:
Pierre Abraham Lorillard (1742-1776) emigrated from France to the US and founded a cigarette and cigar factory. Lorillard was a familiar brand on the Santa Fe Trail and in New Mexico. Lorillard (Greensboro, North Carolina) is America’s oldest tobacco company with over $5 billion sales in the US (in 2010).

LETTERS FROM FRENCH PRIESTS AND OTHER FRENCH TO FAMILIES IN FRANCE
Not yet found.
There was a big pile of such letters on a priest’s desk in France, but it seems that they were thrown away. More must remain in attics.

PELLO ETCHEVERRY’S BELT BUCKLE AND OTHER BELONGINGS
Not yet found.
Pello Etcheverry (1875-1964) was born in the Basque region of France.  He was awarded one of the first Bronze Cowboy Awards in recognition of the distinction he brought the livestock and ranching industry. He died in Lovington July 20, 1964 at age 89. There is an exhibit about him at the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame, Hobbs, New Mexico http://www.museumshobbsnm.org/lea-county-cowboy-hall-of-fame

FURNITURE AND TAPESTRIES OF FATHER FRANCOLON’S MOTHER

Not yet found.
Father Jean-Baptiste Francolon (1854-1922 ) arrived from France in 1878 at age 24 with his mother, as secretary to Bishop Lamy in Santa Fe. In 1892, he moved as a missionary priest to Manitou, Colorado,  in hopes of restoring his failing health. His mother arrived in Manitou from New Mexico in July 1893, bringing four French-speaking servants, as well as furnishings, tapestries, oils, statuary, antique vestments and laces, and native artifacts, which were displayed in the gallery on the third level of what is now Miramont Castle. See story at http://www.dreamcoloradosprings.com/miramont-castle.html
WHO KILLED CAPT. DUMAS PROVENCHER?
He was shot on November 6, 1888 in San Rafael near Socorro while supervising the tally of the elections. A $500 reward was offered but the culprits were never found. It is believed that he was victim of a conspiracy from Santa Fe. Descendents of the murderers, through family oral history, probably have the answer.
BISHOP LAMY’S UMBRELLA
Found!
It has an ivory handle with Lamy’s name carved on it. The “Fabrique de Parapluies François Frères”,  established in 1882 ( http://www.parapluie-artisanal.com/) has examined detailed photographs and confirmed that this umbrella was most likely engraved for Bishop Lamy personally. Call me to come, see and touch it.
LUCIEN BONAPARTE MAXWELL’S PIANOS
Not yet found.
Many leads but so far dead ends. It turns out that the piano at the Girls Camp in Cimarroncita, was made in 1878 (too late to belong to Maxwell),  came from the St. James Hotel (owned by Frenchman Henri Lambert) but not from Maxwell’s house in Cimarron.

PHOTOGRAPHS AND LETTERS OF THE GIRARD FAMILY (Of Albuquerque’s Girard Avenue)
Found!

Thank you to Nancy Tucker’s Postcard Collection for locating this extraordinary documents, a huge box of photos, letters and other stuff, some of it from France. The collection has been digitized. See upcoming article in the April 2013 issue of Nuestras Raices, the journal of the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America.

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One Response to Treasure Hunt & Mysteries

  1. Michael E. Pitel says:

    Santa Fe’s Trujillo and Prince Plazas were once the 1828-to-mid-1830s home of French-Canadian fur trapper and trader Antoine Robidoux, Brig. Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny’s interpreter in 1846. His widow sold it to New Mexico Territorial Supreme Court Chief Justice L. Bradford Prince in 1879. Santa Fe Plaza’s La Plaza Galeria approximates the site of the Montreal-born Mercure Brothers (Joseph and Henri) Store. It was there that Quebec-born Francois-Xavier Aubry died after a barroom argument with ex-army-officer-turned-newspaperman Richard H. Weightman in 1854. The Mercures, Aubry’s friends, tried to intervene, but Aubry’s knife wound was fatal, and he bled out in minutes.

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