The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 463
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The Struggle over the Upper Rio Grande Region
Neighbors must be given some credit for Texas' holding as much
territory as it did. His expedition to lay out a road to El Paso in
1849 opened communications with that region, and made it pos-
sible for him to organize a county there the next year. He was
responsible to some extent also for Texas' being able to make good
its claim to the rest of the region, and for the state's being able
to sell it for enough money to pay the public debt of the Republic
of Texas. Yet, unfortunately, not a county in that vast region
bears his name.
A prominent Texan contemporary, Colonel John S. Ford, ap-
praised the contribution of Major Neighbors thusly:
Previous to the expedition of Lieut. Whiting [who explored an
alternate route], and Maj. Neighbors, the country between San An-
tonio and El Paso was esteemed almost a desert. The public was now
placed in possession of proofs to the reverse. At the next meeting of
the Texas Legislature Major Neighbors was sent to El Paso, as the
Agent of the State. He organized the country of El Paso and pro-
ceeded to Santa Fe. President Taylor claimed that, the territory be-
longed to the United States, and issued a proclamation and designated
"one Robert S. Neighbors" as a tresspasser, etc.
The contest between the General Government and the State of Tex-
as concerning the ownership of this territory became a political ques-
tion, and engendered bad blood. Mr. Clay introduced a bill known
as "The Compromise Measure," which became a law and probably
prevented serious trouble to the people of the United States. The
sale of a part of New Mexico to the United States for ten millions of
dollars furnished Texas the means to settle her revolutionary debt,
and she did so. It is no strain upon truth to assume that, the expedi-
tion of Maj. Neighbors was a factor in these important events. It
certainly precipitated action in the manner.'10
Colonel Ford stressed the expedition of Major Neighbors of
1849. When the major's mission of 1850 is also thrown in the
scales, his influence on the Great Compromise of that year is seen
to have been even more decisive. With the slender resources at
his command, the Texan commissioner had given the President
of the United States a titanic struggle indeed for the control of
the upper Rio Grande.
107John S. Ford, Memoirs of John Salmon Ford (transcript, 7 vols.; Archives,
University of Texas Library), III, 524.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/565/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.