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Armijo and Gallagher families papers

Identifier: Ms-0322

Scope and Contents

The Armijo and Gallagher family papers consist largely of material pertaining to Nestor Armijo and his business initiatives. They span the years 1852 to 1990s. The material has been divided into ten series: Family history; Nestor and Josefa Armijo; Charles and Beatriz Armijo; Edward Ascarate and Gertrude Armijo Ascarate; William R. Ascarate and Dolores (Lolita) Armijo Ascarate; Nicolas Armijo and Barbara Chavez Armijo; Gallagher family; Armijo House; Publications and Photographs. Spanish is the predominant language used in this collection.
The family history materials date from circa 1990s and trace the family’s genealogy. The series contains manuscripts compiled by family descendants and have been arranged in alphabetical order by the manuscript compiler.
The Nestor Armijo and Josefa Yrisarri Armijo series spans the years 1852 to 1920 and consists of four subseries: Correspondence, Business/Financial, Legal, and General records. Nestor’s correspondence files are letters he sent to various individuals regarding family and business matters. The correspondence to and from Nestor and Josefa are arranged by year and letters represented in the collections reflect the Armijo family's social connections. There is correspondence with many prominent and influential New Mexicans and Mexicans, such as New Mexico governor L. Bradford Prince, Jean Bapiste Lamy, and Chihuahua governor Luis Terrazas, and Chihuahua banker, industrialist and governor Enrique Creel, to name a few. The correspondence deals with business, ranching, and family matters, dating from 1882-1902. Spanish is the predominant language used in this subseries. The business/financial records contain ledgers, receipts, bills and other transactions and are arranged in chronological order. The legal subseries contains legal records, including many real property deeds. Documents concerning depredation claims made by Nestor to the United States Senate and House of Representatives are in the legal subseries. The legal records are arranged in alphabetical order by type and by date. The general subseries contains a variety of material ranging from insurance policies, notebooks, and a scrapbook containing clippings of various social gathering events.
The Carlos and Beatriz Armijo series span the years 1877 to 1903 and consists of four subseries: Correspondence, Business/Financial records, Legal records and General. The correspondence subseries is composed of correspondence from Beatriz. The business/financial records contain ledgers from the Tres Ritos Ranch, which Carlos oversaw and managed. The legal records make up the bulk of the series and contain various deeds and other legal documents involving the couple. The subseries is arranged in chronological order. The general subseries is composed of marriage announcement and death notices belonging to Carlos and Beatriz.
The Edward Ascarate and Gertrude Armijo Ascarate series spans the years 1901-1915 and consists of four subseries: Correspondence, Business/Financial records, Legal records and General. The correspondence subseries contains letters pertaining to Gertrude and a bound autograph book. The business/financial records contain a bill of costs regarding the estate of Nestor Armijo along with a ledger that contains personal holdings and revenues. The legal records consist of various deeds. The general subseries contains newspaper clippings of the couple.
The William R. Ascarate and Dolores (Lolita) Armijo Ascarate series spans the years 1902-1906 and consists of two subseries: Legal and General. The legal records contain warranty deeds pertaining to William and the general subseries includes the couple’s newspaper wedding announcement.
The Nicolas Armijo and Barbara Chavez Armijo series spans the years 1872-1927 and consists of four subseries: Correspondence, Legal, General and Nicolas and Barbara Armijo’s children. The correspondence contain letters to and from Nicolas, which pertain to family and business matters and span the years 1872-1892. Nicolas' correspondence are in English and Spanish. Letters to and from Barbara Chavez Armijo are included and span the years 1876-1917. The legal records include an inventory of the estate of Nicolas Armijo from 1891. The general subseries includes invitations and documents informing the family about various events and dates from 1930s-1940s. The last subseries includes materials, primarily correspondence, from the children of Nicolas and Barbara Armijo: Juan Cristobal; Aurelia; Eloisa and Sophia. The material is arranged by child and by date.
The Gallagher family series spans the years 1899-1977 and consists of four subseries: Correspondence, Legal records, General and Francis W. Gallagher and other family members. The bulk of the series pertains to Peter and Josephine Gallagher and includes correspondence to the couple, legal records in the form of a quitclaim deed and, in the general subseries, a chemistry notebook belonging to Peter when he attended Notre Dame. The last subseries includes material from Josephine’s husband's family which span the years 1912-1930s.
The Armijo house series spans the years 1860s-1990s and consists of two subseries: Early owners of the Armijo house and newspapers clippings. The bulk of the series is composed of materials pertaining to the early owners of the Armijo home. The newspaper clippings are a mixture of original and xerox copies of local newspaper documenting the historic home and its renovations through the years. The newspaper clippings are arranged by year.
The publications series contains regional New Mexico newspapers from Las Cruces, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Along with the newspapers, included are World War I era periodicals collected by Armijo descendants. The periodicals are arranged in alphabetical order by publication title.
The photographs series includes photographs of both the Armijo and Gallagher families as well as of the Las Cruces area, the Armijo home and miscellaneous scenes. A large number of the images are unidentified. The series also contains copy negatives, postcards sent to Josephine Armijo, 35mm color slides, WWI stereocards and an 8mm movie film. The photograph series spans the years from 1880s-1920s and undated. The material is arranged by format.


  • 1850s-1990s


Conditions Governing Use

Open. All materials in this collection are available for research under supervised conditions in the Research Room. Researchers should contact the department in advance to make arrangements to view unprocessed materials, as these may need to be screened before use.

Biographical / Historical

Nestor Armijo was born on February 28, 1831, in Los Padillas, a small town south of Old Albuquerque, to Colonel Juan Cristobal Armijo and Juana Maria Chavez de Armijo. Nestor was the eldest son of Don Juan Cristobal, who was a native of Spain and an officer in the Spanish Army. Nestor had seven siblings, but only two reached adulthood, Nicolas and Justo. Nicolas and Justo were well known throughout the region and both lived in the Albuquerque area. Nicolas was a pioneer businessman and Justo served as a postmaster and a county treasurer.
At the age of 12, Nestor began attending St. Louis University where he was a student for five years. After his schooling was completed, Nestor returned to Albuquerque at the close of the Mexican American War in 1848. There he learned about the family's business enterprises, which included livestock, trade, business management, and overland transportation.
Nestor conducted his first sheep drive in 1853. Approximately 55,000 sheep belonging to the Armijo-Otero-Chavez families were driven to the prosperous markets of San Francisco, California. The sheep drive took five months to reach the west coast. The overland trip was a huge undertaking. In 1855, Nestor journeyed the opposite direction, across the plains to Westport, Missouri, present day Kansas City, where he made his first purchase of goods for general merchandising. During his trips, he was accompanied by a commanding officer and ammunition to guard him and his group. Despite the difficulties, Nestor continued to make the trip for many years in order to supply his mercantile stores in El Paso and Las Cruces.
In 1862, due to the growth of Las Cruces, Nestor saw an opportunity and opened a general store located in the vicinity of North Main Street, which operated until 1868. After closing the store, Nestor resettled to Chihuahua, Mexico, where he profited by selling American goods at wholesale for a period of 10 years. Along with his mercantile business, Nestor also invested in ranching, real estate and mining.
In 1855, Nestor married Josefa Yrisarri of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. Josefa came from a prominent merchant family. She was the only daughter of Mariano Yrisarri and Juanita Otero de Yrisarri. Together, Nestor and Josefa had two biological children, a son, Carlos “Charles” Armijo, and a daughter, Juanita Carolina. Juana Carolina died in infancy. The couple adopted a son, Federico “Fred,” who later married Mary Stephenson, daughter of Horace Stephenson. After two years of marriage, Fred passed away at 20 due to heart failure.
Carlos “Charles” Armijo was born at the family hacienda at Las Padillas on February 3, 1855. Carlos was educated at Germantown, Pennsylvania and in Germany. After completing his formal schooling, Carlos returned home, where he followed his father’s profession and assisted in the family sheep and cattle business in New Mexico and Mexico. Carlos oversaw the Tres Ritos (Three Rivers) ranch as well as the Mexican ranch and farms located near Janos, Chihuahua.
In 1877, Carlos married Beatriz Otero, the daughter of the well-known Otero family of New Mexico. Carlos and Beatriz together had four children: Nestor, Dolores, Gertrude and Josephine. Beatriz and Carlos both died of pneumonia only three weeks apart. Beatriz died on December 25, 1902, at the age of 45, and Carlos on January 11, 1903, at the age of 49.
Nestor's wife Josefa died in 1905, while being treated for cancer at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. After the deaths of Carlos and Josefa, Nestor sold his ranches at Tres Ritos and Janos. The Tres Ritos ranch eventually became the property of Albert Bacon Fall, U.S. senator from New Mexico and the secretary of the interior under President Warren Harding. The ranch later passed to Thomas Fortune Ryan. Other financial impacts that proved to be detrimental to Nestor’s wealth was the effect of The turmoil of the Mexican Revolution, declining bank stocks in Mexico, and realty depreciation all proved detrimental to Nestor's wealth and well-being. He died May 7, 1911, at the age of 85 in the Armijo residence in Las Cruces. He is buried in the family plot at the San Jose Cemetery in Las Cruces.


20 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Armijo and Gallagher families papers include personal, business and legal documents primarily concerning Nestor Armijo’s involvement in mercantile and ranching interests during the late-1800s in southern New Mexico. The bulk of the papers document how the Armijo family established itself as one of the most well-known mercantile families of territorial New Mexico. A good deal of material pertains to the Armijo home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Related Materials

Amador Family Papers. Ms 0004. New Mexico State University Library, Archives and Special Collections Department.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jennifer Olguin. (2019-2020)
Guide to the Armijo and Gallagher families papers
In Progress
Finding aid by Jennifer Olguin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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