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Beaubien family photographs

Identifier: Ms-0447

Scope and Content

The collections contains 185 photographs of the Beaubien, Abreu, Maxwell and related families as well as photographs of towns once contained in the Beaubien-Miranda (later Maxwell) land grant, such as Cimarron, Rayado and Springer, New Mexico. The photographs date from ca. 1859 to the 1930s.


  • ca. 1859-1930s
  • Majority of material found in Placeholder Unit Date Text

Access Restrictions

Open. All materials in this collection are available for research under supervised conditions in the Research Room.

Copy Restrictions

Copyrights associated with materials in this collection have not been transferred to New Mexico State University.

Biography / History

Alexis (Charles) Hypolite Beaubien was born in Nicolet, Quebec, Canada on October 22, 1800 to Paul Beaubien and Claire Charlotte Durocher. After abandoning his first vocation as a Catholic priest, Beaubien left Quebec in 1821 and traveled to St. Louis, Missouri. In 1823, he arrived in New Mexico, which, with the rest of the Mexican Republic, had just won its independence from Spain and opened its borders to foreign trade. Although French trappers had been trading in northern New Mexico since the early 18th century, after 1821 the number of foreigners in the region began to increase greatly. With business connections in St. Louis, Beaubien began to establish himself as a trader in the Mexican Republic. He settled in Taos, New Mexico in 1827, where he opened a store selling supplies to trappers who worked the local streams for beaver pelts. He married Maria Pabla Lovato, a Mexican citizen and resident of Taos, September 11, 1827. In 1829, Carlos Beaubien was granted Mexican citizenship. His business activities prospered in the 1830s and 1840s and his family grew. Nine children were born to Charles and Maria Pabla: José Narciso, Maria de la Luz, Maria Leonora Dolores, Maria Teodora, Juan Lucas, Maria Juana, Maria Teodora (the first had died in infancy), Petra, and Juan Cristobal Pablo.

In 1841, Beaubien and Guadalupe Miranda petitioned New Mexico Governor Manuel Armijo for a large land grant in the area east of Taos. The governor approved the grant but during the administrations of subsequent governors Mariano Chavez, Mariano Martinez and Jose Chavez legal challenges prevented the petitioners from taking possession of the land. Finally, when Armijo was appointed governor once again in 1845, Beaubien, his family and other interested parties began to settle on the granted land, which amounted to more than 2,000,000 acres. Settlements were occupied at Cimarron and Rayado by Kit Carson, Richard Owens, Lucien B. Maxwell ( Beaubien's son-in-law) and others of Mexican, French and American heritage. In the late 1850s, following the American takeover of New Mexico, the land grant was one of the few to be approved by the American government, although its size was restricted to 96,000 acres. Maxwell began purchasing shares in the grant until he was sole owner of the land. He sold it in 1869 for $650,000.

Beaubien held several political posts for both the Mexican and American governments of New Mexico. United States Brigadier General Stephen Watts Kearny appointed Beaubien Supreme Court Justice and District Court Judge for the northern district of New Mexico in 1846. Beaubien became a strong supporter of the United States cause in New Mexico, putting him in opposition with many of his former Taos neighbors. He served as judge against some of these Mexican supporters who had participated in the Taos rebellion of 1847 in which Beaubien's son, Narciso, and governor Charles Bent were killed. Beaubien remained involved in the political affairs of New Mexico until his death in 1864. His children remained in the Taos, Cimarron and Rayado areas and many of their descendants live there still.


0.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Photographs primarily of the Beaubien and Abreu families of Taos/Wagon Mound/Springer/Cimmaron, New Mexico area. Contains photographs of extended family and friends from the region, such as Clouthier, Jaramillo, Keyes, Maxwell and Valdez families. Also includes photographs of Alta Loma, Ft. Sumner (Sunnyside), Rayado and Rincon, New Mexico.


  1. RG85-063 Gift of Mr. John Grassham
  2. RG85-163 Gift of Mr. John Grassham

Processing Information

Lenny Silverman, 2003

Dennis Daily, 2003
Guide to the Beaubien family photographs, ca. 1859-1930s
Edited Full Draft
Dennis Daily and Lenny Silverman
© 2007
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA