The Santa Fe Trail

Today in History, November 16: 1822 – William Becknell arrives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with a train of mules loaded down with supplies. Recently, he had been jailed for the more than $20,000 in debts (today’s dollars) that he owed. In desperation he put together a trip with supplies across the dangerous midwest to Santa Fe, Mexico, in an attempt to make the money to pay his creditors. On his first trip he made an incredible profit from the Mexicans living in Santa Fe, since Mexico had recently won it’s Independence from Spain and could trade with Americans again. On his second trip, he turned a $3,000 investment into a $91,000 return for the people of Franklin, Missouri. Before his death in 1865, he would run for the state legislature, own land once owned by the survivors of Daniel Boone, be a Captain in the Texas War for Independence, and be a Texas Ranger. Oh…and before all this happened, he served under Daniel Boone’s son in the War of 1812. He would be honored for blazing the trail to Santa Fe. His father and two of his uncles served in the Revolutionary War…the uncles were killed in battle. What a life!

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