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James Wiley Magoffin

Born in Kentucky, James Wiley Magoffin ventured to Mexico in the early 1820s seeking adventure and opportunity. There he married the socially prominent Maria Gertrudis Valdez de Veramendi in 1834. His business sense and respect for Mexican culture won him standing as a trusted trader and merchant on the Santa Fe and Chihuahua Trails. Magoffin's influence extended into politics as he arranged the peaceful surrender of the New Mexico Territory to American forces during the Mexican War.

After the war, James Magoffin settled opposite El Paso del Norte. There, he established a trading post that catered to speculators and settlers as they rushed to the California gold fields. The community surrounding the trading post, named Magoffinsville, flourished and was the forerunner of present-day El Paso.

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Make a mini-mural of all of the contributions James Wiley Magoffin made to the El Paso area. Be sure to include things that we still see or use today.

Related Links:

From the Handbook of Texas Online

From the El Paso Times, “El Paso At the Millennium” series

From the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Read More, Learn More:

Buckley B. Paddock, ed., A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis, 1906).