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The MuralThe 360 Degree View

Hugh Stephenson

Hugh Stephenson was an El Paso pioneer, settler and trader who grew up in Concordia, Missouri. He was one of the first Anglo-Americans to come to the El Paso area. He settled in El Paso del Norte (today’s Ciudad Juarez) around 1824 and acquired two land grants: one in present-day El Paso, and the other south of what is now Las Cruces, New Mexico. Stephenson married Juana María Ascárate in August 1828.

In 1843 Stephenson moved to Corralitos to manage the silver mine belonging to his wife's family. In 1844 he established a community and called it Concordia, after his childhood home. Stephenson was the first Anglo-American to prospect in New Mexico. His silver mine, known in later years as the Stephenson and Bennett Mine, was in the Organ Mountains, east of Las Cruces. When the Civil War broke out, Stephenson purchased some Confederate bonds, which angered Union officials. They confiscated and sold his properties at Concordia and Brazito.

In November 1867 the Rio Grande flooded the garrison at Magoffinsville so Fort Bliss, the Army post, was moved to Concordia and known as Camp Concordia. Stephenson died on October 11, 1870, in La Mesa, New Mexico and was buried in Las Cruces.

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critical thinking
Hugh Stephenson was a pioneer, and he traveled from a place he knew well to one he’d never seen before. Imagine that you are a pioneer, traveling across the country to a new land in the days before cars and airplanes. How would you get there? What would your travels be like? What would you do when you got there and found out that everyone was different from you? Explain.

Related Links:


The Concordia Heritage Association

Read More, Learn More:

Rex W. Strickland, Six Who Came to El Paso: Pioneers of the 1840's (El Paso: Texas Western College Press, 1963).