Borderlands Lecture Series

From Cañones, New Mexico to Turkey Creek, Colorado: The life of José Mariano de Jesús Valdés, an early settler of Huerfano County

José Mariano de Jesús Valdés had a penchant for moving north. Born in Cañones, New Mexico, during the Spanish period, he married in 1829 during the Mexican period. As the danger from Native Americans diminished and treaties were secured, he made his home in present-day Questa, New Mexico, where he served as alcalde in 1850, the year New Mexico became a U.S. Territory. With the opening up of today's southern Colorado, he and his family ventured further north to Costilla County. In 1867 he again moved his family, this time to Los Germanes, a town east of Walsenburg. Finally, he bought a ranch in Turkey Creek, received a U.S. land patent, and lived out his days there. For so many settlers, the borders didn't exist; people moved from place to place in search of their forever home. Today, Valdés has countless descendants, many still living in Colorado. The speaker, Marcus Flores, is his great-great-great-great grandson.