Charles Lawrence Thayer Santa Fé County, New Mexico

Charles Lawrence Thayer, of Santa Fé, is one of the survivors of the pioneers who came to New Mexico in 1849. Born at Milton, Massachusetts, August 8, 1823, in January, 1849, he left New Orleans with the intention of seeking the gold fields of California. Between St. Louis and Fort Leavenworth twenty-three of his party died of the cholera, and he himself was ill of that disease. On recovering, he drove an ox team for the government from Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fé, 125 citizens' wagons being escorted by the government train, which arrived in August.

Mr. Thayer went to El Paso in two weeks, but while preparing to continue his journey to the coast was robbed of all he had by a man whom he had befriended. Being stranded financially, he returned to Santa Fé in June 1850. On this trip he had as traveling companion the noted gambler. Major John R. Wells, of Mississippi, who was carrying $15,000 in gold packed on horseback. At the government post at Dona Ana an officer informed them of the intention of four soldiers to steal this rich luggage, their murder and the robbery being planned to take place as they passed Point of Rocks on the Jornada del Muerto. They succeeded in foiling the thieves by burying the gold under a cottonwood tree and returning to the barracks until the danger was over.

Since coming to Santa Fé the second time Mr. Thayer has been a continuous resident of the capital city, and has become one of the most widely known pioneer inhabitants of New Mexico.


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Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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Created 1996 by Charles Barnum & 2016 by Judy White