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Archive for the 'Gadsden Purchase' Category

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Rough and Ready – Butterfield Stage Stop

Rough and Ready was the second stop of the Overland Mail Stage Line after leaving Mesilla. (The first stop was Picacho.)

The Rough and Ready station is on the west side of the Rough and Ready Hills. Upon leaving Picacho, the trail led through Box Canyon north of Picacho peak, across flat tableland, and then through a pass to the station, as shown below. The hills to the north of the pass are the Sleeping Lady Hills, to the south the Rough and Ready Hills. The distance as traveled by the trail is about 15 miles. Traces of the trail are still easily seen in damage to the terrain and wagon-wheel wear-marks in rocks.Rough and Ready Butterfield Stage Stop

Here is a close view of the station location:
Rough and Ready Butterfield Stage Stop

If you climb the summit above the station, you see Picacho Peak in the distance (circled) and the environmental disturbance due to the trail:
Rough and Ready Butterfield Trail

In the foreground of the photo above is one of the cairns established by the Bartlett-Conde* survey to mark the border between Mexico and the United States. Following the end of the Mexican-American war in 1848, both countries agreed to a joint survey to establish the border. The survey was to start at El Paso del Norte and go west. Because of a bad map, the starting location was mistakenly set 42 miles north of where it should have been. This mistake put Mesilla in Mexico and led to a nasty border dispute that was only settled by the Gadsden Purchase of 1853. The map below shows the mistaken area (click for a larger map):
Bartlett-Conde Survey Map - 1848

There is little left of the Rough and Ready station. Many of the still visible ruins are likely of a later date. An archaeological excavation established that the station consisted of a two-room stone and adobe house with chimneys and a large adobe corral. There was no water source at the station. A dirt tank was dug to capture rain water and water was also hauled from Mesilla.

Here are some ruins:
Rough and Ready Butterfield Stage Stop

Here is one of the stakes marking a corner of the archaeological excavation:
Rough and Ready Butterfield Stage Stop

There is a mysterious burial or memorial of unknown origin a short distance from the old station that reads “Stubs, RIP.” It has no date, but can not be more than 20 years old. If you have any information on this cement marker, please communicate it.
Rough and Ready Butterfield Stage Stop - Stubs, RIP

*The lead American surveyor was John Russell Bartlett, the lead Mexican surveyor was Pedro Garcia Conde.

See also:
Picacho Cemetery
Picacho – A Brief History
Picacho Peak
Picacho — Forgotten Butterfield Stage Stop
Trip to Mason’s Ranch

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Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

More on Gadsden Purchase

The Gadsden Purchase was signed in Mesilla on November 16, 1854. This is reflected in the Mexican name for the Purchase, the Treaty of Mesilla. A bronze plaque in the Mesilla plaza commemorates this agreement between the two countries.


Following the signing of the treaty, the Mexican flag was lowered and the American flag raised. The people of Mesilla, who had previously been citizens of Mexico, became citizens of the United States. The agreements between Mexico and the inhabitants of the Gadsden Purchase area were respected by the US Government, including all land grants made by Mexico that were eventually adjudicated as valid.

Las Cruces, which today adjoins Mesilla, was just outside the Purchase area, being already part of the United States.

See also:
Rough and Ready — Butterfield Stage Stop

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Saturday, August 26th, 2006

Mesilla History

Welcome to Mesilla.

It is generally accepted that the town of Mesilla was founded some time in the late 1840s, although it had been visited by various European travelers since the mid-1500s. Of course, Native Americans were familiar with this area and had camped here for thousands of years. They were not pleased to see settlers.

Mesilla means “little tableland.”

In 1851, Fort Fillmore was established to protect Mesilla from raids by Apaches.

In 1854, The Gadsden Purchase made Mesilla officially part of the United States. The treaty is named after the person who represented the United States in the negotiations with Mexico, James Gadsden.

With this treaty, Mexico sold the United States approximately 29,000 square miles of land for $10 million.



The map shows the location of the Purchase.

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See also:
Rough and Ready — Butterfield Stage Stop

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Mesilla

Today Mesilla has a population of about 2400.

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