The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 252
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252 The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
of Arizona and New Mexico disclose a mass of material which
Chittenden apparently did not examine. Still another unused
source, which would have thrown light on the subject, is the docu-
mentary material in the archives of Mexico. Many of the trans-
actions of the fur traders within Mexican territory were surrep-
titious, and just as it is difficult to get at the truth about piracy
and smuggling, so it is difficult to obtain information about South-
western fur traders. They left few documents, and those few
were usually but adorned tales. The views of Mexican officials
are as valuable in explaining the history of the fur trade as are
the reports of the English colonial customs officials, or the records
of court proceedings in trials of piracy.
The following account of Ceran St. Vrain's expedition to the
Gila in 1826 is based upon this class of materials, three expedientes
being used. One is to be found in the archives of the State of
Sonora at Hermosillo, book 42, number 7; the others are in the
Archivo de Gobernaci6n at Mexico City; one being in the division
Comercio, number 44; the other in the same archive, in the division
of Jefes Politicos, 1831-1833, being expedient number 1, legajo
59, folio 28. These expedientes comprise thirty pages. Many of
the documents are extremely difficult, being in colloquial Spanish,
frequently spelled phonetically, and innocent of accents.
Up to the present time our knowledge of St. Vrain's expedition
has been based upon Inman's Old Santa FP Trail" and upon Chit-
tenden. Inman says that late in the spring of 1826 Kit Carson
joined an expedition gotten up by Ceran St. Vrain, which was
destined for the Rocky Mountains. It left Fort Osage one morn-
ing in May and "in a few hours turned abruptly to the west on
the broad Trail to the mountains." As to the exact destination
the author fails to enlighten us, due no doubt to the fact that his
object in introducing this bit of information was to tell the story
of a fight with the Pawnees.
Chittenden says regarding the expedition, "It appears that in
September of this year a party under Ceran St. Vrain (if we
may trust Inman) set out for Santa Fe, arriving there in Novem-
'H. II. Bancroft, History of Arizona and New Mexico (San Francisco,
1889), 297-299, 332-338.
8Henry Inman, The Old Santa Fe Trail (Topeka, 1914), 406-410. This
work also appeared in earlier editions.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916, periodical, 1916; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/m1/273/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.