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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