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The Bent Brothers Part 8
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The Bent Brothers

Charles Louis Bent’s Family

In 1836, Charles Bent took Maria ‘Ignacia’ Jaramillo Luna as a common-law wife. She was a young widow with a daughter, Rumalda. Charles and Ignacia lived in a small adobe house just north of the Taos village plaza. The couple had five children, three that lived to be adults: Alfredo Elfego Jaramillo Bent (1837 – 1865); Maria Estefana Bent Hicklin (1839 – 1927); and Maria Teresina Bent Scheurick (1841 – 1920).

Charles began to spend more time in Taos managing the Company store and mill. In 1839, he was listed as a surveyor. He apparently knew enough about medicine to help his neighbors with their ailments and for a time Charles raised peacocks—which was a novelty in that time and place.

Ceran St. Vrain had also entered into a business partnership with Cornelio Vigil. In 1843, these two men petitioned for and received a land grant of approximately four million acres. Charles could not legally share in the grant, as he was not a Mexican citizen; but on March 11, 1844, St. Vrain and Vigil quietly conveyed to him by parole agreement a one-sixth interest. It was on a portion of his interest in the Vigil-St. Vrain Land Grant that Charles’ daughter, Estefana Bent Hicklin settled on.

On February 6, 1843 Christopher Houston ‘Kit’ Carson married Charles’ wife, Ignacia’s sister, Maria ‘Josefa’ Jaramillo. Kit Carson had a daughter, Adaline with an Arapaho woman, singing Grass (Waa-niche). She died at Bent’s Fort in 1838, leaving Kit with a two-year-old girl. Kit took Adeline to his sister in St. Louis who cared for her and supervised her education.

On March 1, 1845, the state of Texas was admitted to the Union. With Texas came trouble with Mexico. The following year, war broke out between the United States and Mexico.

In 1846, Thomas Boggs, an employee of the Company and the oldest son of Charles’ brother-in-law and his second wife, married Charles’ step-daughter, 14-year-old Rumalda Luna. Thus he became an official member of the Bent family.

With a war dividing the areas the Bent families were living and working in, George Bent and Thomas Boggs took their families to William’s Fort for their safety. In July of 1846, Josefa Jaramillo Carson and Ignacia Jaramillo Bent with her three children joined the family at the fort.

General Stephen Watts Kearney and his Army of the West arrived at Bent’s Fort soon after. William Bent later complained that the military horses devoured all the available grass for miles and took most of the available supplies from the fort without compensation. Business slowed as the native tribes were leery of the troops and stayed away from the fort. Kearney eventually moved on and conquered Santa Fe and northern New Mexico without bloodshed for the United States on August 14, 1846.

On August 17, Charles Bent had reached William’s Fort after another trip to St. Louis. He followed the army to Taos. Charles Louis Bent was appointed as the first Governor of the newly acquired New Mexico Territory by Stephen Watts Kearny in September 1846. His appointment came with an office in Santa Fe.

“This new government and its courts had no law books, no stationery, forms or blank books for the transactions of public business. They needed translators, mail service with the United States and education facilities. The only hope Governor Bent had to make New Mexico self-sufficient was the development of mining. He urged laws to stimulate that industry. He also wanted a board of surveyors to end the chaos about land titles and boundaries.”


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including Colorado City, Rye, San Isabel, Beulah and Hatchet Ranch.

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