Marc Simmons: New governor battled the powerful Comanches

"On April 6, 1749, young Tomás Vélez Cachupín, newly arrived in New Mexico, took the oath of office to become governor of the province. The document he signed on that occasion is still preserved in the state archives.

As he was settling into his official residence, the aging adobe palacio facing Santa Fe's Plaza, the fledgling governor took stock of his orders given him by the viceroy before Vélez Cachupín left Mexico City.

Although still in his 20s, Vélez Cachupín had a distinguished record of military service behind him. Upon appointment as governor, he also had been promoted to captain and general over all provincial forces.

His central task was to deal with the alarming rise in hostile attacks by Comanches, Utes and Apaches. Of the three, the powerful Comanches posed the greatest threat.

Initially, he worked toward extending the olive branch, in an attempt to build trust with the Comanches. In July 1751, he met with tribal leaders who had come under a truce to trade at Taos. After he showered them with gifts, they all solemnly promised to keep the peace."

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Marc Simmons: Trail Dust: Governor showed foresight, fortitude against Comanches (The Santa Fe New Mexican 5/19)

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