Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico: Diary of Susan Shelby
Magofin, 1846-1847. Edited by Stella M. Drum with a Fore-
word by Howard R. Lamar. New Haven and London (Yale
University Press), 1962. Pp. xxxv+294. Illustrations, map,
notes, index. $1.95.
Since its appearance in 1926, Susan Shelby Magoffin's Down the
Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico (edited by Stella M. Drum) has
been acclaimed increasingly as a classic of the Southwestern fron-
tier. Long out of print, a new edition of the rare book happily
has been made available for a new generation of readers in a
Yale Western Americana Paperbound with Miss Drum's scholarly
apparatus supplemented by a foreword by Howard R. Lamar.
The contents of the original edition need no critique here; al-
most forty years of reader approval have attested its value. But a
word or two about Lamar's foreword may not be amiss.
As is quite proper, he devotes a greater part of his introduction
to the Magoffin family, or, more specifically, to James Wiley
Magoffin, trader, merchant, gourmet, diplomat, Susan's brother-
in-law. Lamar has fallen into the tired, old error concerning the
identity of James Magoffin's wife whom he says was "Dona Maria
Gertrudes de Beremende, who came from a prominent Chihuahua
family" (p. xix). Maria Gertrudis de los Santos Valdez y Vera-
mendi was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 18o8, the daughter of
Tomas Valdez and Josefa Amondarain. Prior to her marriage to
Magoffin, it appears that she had married a scion of the Veramendi
family; one surmises an uncle of Ursula Veramendi, James Bowie's
wife. (See Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio, 56, 61.)
Her first husband was dead by 1833 when she met and married
James Magoffin in Monclova or Saltillo. They moved to Chi-
huahua at the outbreak of the Texas Revolution and resided there
for the next nine years. But the gracious Senora Magoffin was a
Texan by birth, not a Chihuahuense.
Manuel Armijo was not a cousin of Maria Gertrudis Magoffin
(p. xx); Joseph Magoffin was not the first mayor of El Paso (p.
The reader can applaud Lamar's decision to use Miss Drum's
edition of the diary-"an excellent piece of research which re-
mains so useful and valid after thirty-five years that her annota-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed February 1, 2015.