Rebellion in Taos: the Uprising of 1847

Trip Leader: Robert J. Tórrez

Field Trip, Trip is Full

Friday, October 17, 2014, 8:00 am–5:00 pm

Governor BentGovernor BentFrom Billy Hathorn at en.wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons.Governor BentFrom Billy Hathorn at en.wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons.

The years 1846 and 1847 were volatile times in New Mexico, particularly in Taos and Taos Pueblo. On January 19, 1847, Governor Bent, his brother-in-law, and four US-appointed local officials were murdered in Taos. The revolt against the newly instituted US authorities quickly spread to Mora and other communities in northern New Mexico. The reaction from US government officials and the volunteer army was immediate and severe with the destruction of the pueblo church, San Geronimo, the slaughter of 250-300 Indian and Spanish resisters, and the subsequent Treason Trials, which resulted in public hangings in the plazas of Taos and Santa Fe. The revolt of 1847 disrupted the social climate of northern New Mexico for a generation because of the large numbers of men killed, and it changed the course of judicial prosecution in New Mexico.

Historian Robert J. Tórrez, New Mexico State Historian from 1987–2000, will be our trip leader. His research has focused extensively on the history of New Mexico’s judicial institutions and how those institutions responded to crime, punishment, and legal dilemmas under the Spanish, Mexican, and American governments. He is a contributing author to Taos: A Topical History, 2013, and author of Myth of the Hanging Tree: Stories of Crime and Punishment in Territorial New Mexico, 2008.

Our trip will take us on a walking tour of historic sites in Taos and Taos Pueblo, including the church ruins of San Geronimo de Taos, Kit Carson Cemetery (El Cemeterio Militar), and areas around the plaza of Don Fernando de Taos, where Governor Bent and his companions were killed and some of the insurrectionists were later hanged. Our visit to the burnt remains of the San Geronimo church will be led by a member of the pueblo.

Activity Level: Moderate, walking tour of historic sites in Taos and Taos Pueblo.

Cost (per person): $115, includes van transportation, lunch at the beautiful Casa Benavides Bed & Breakfast, guide honorariums, and entrance fees.

Trip Registration: You can register for an open field trip or be placed on the wait list for a filled trip by contacting Janie Miller at jmiller[at] or call (505) 954-7230. Please note, that placing your name on a trip wait list is a good way to get on a trip that is currently full, because we often get cancellations anywhere from a month to a day before the trip departs.

For more information, visit the Field Trips section.

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