10 April 2011

New Mexican U.S. Congressmen (and one woman)

Do you have an ancestor or other relative who served in the United States Congress? Even before New Mexico was a state, there were a number of men who represented New Mexico as a non-voting members of congress. There are a number of websites that include information about the history and biography of our state's congressional delegations.

If you're looking for a list of people who served on Congress, you can go to the New Mexico Secretary of State's website. On the site are complete digital copies of the last two New Mexico Blue Books. In "Federal" section of the 2009-2010 Blue Book is a list of New Mexico representatives who served on the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives - their names and terms of service.

Biographies of U.S. Congressmen - and one Congresswoman, Heather Wilson - can be found in the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. A search engine on the site allows you to search for any specific person you wish - or if you would like to read the biographies of all the congressmen from New Mexico, just search for "New Mexico" under the "state" drop box. A Facebook buddy of mine pointed me to this website, which featured an ancestor of his who served as a delegate from the Territory of New Mexico, Jose Francisco Chaves. From the Biography Directory of the United States Website:
CHAVES, José Francisco, a Delegate from the Territory of New Mexico; born in Padillas, Mexico (now New Mexico), June 27, 1833; attended schools in St. Louis, Mo.; studied medicine at the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons; engaged in the stock-raising business in the Territory of New Mexico; president of the Territorial council for eight sessions; major of the First New Mexico Infantry in the Union Army during the Civil War; promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel; took part in the Battle of Valverde in 1862; elected as a Republican to the Thirty-ninth Congress (March 4, 1865-March 3, 1867); successfully contested the election of Charles P. Clever to the Fortieth Congress; reelected to the Forty-first Congress and served from February 20, 1869, to March 3, 1871; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1870 to the Forty-second Congress; engaged in farming and stock raising; district attorney of the second judicial district 1875-1877; member and president of the State constitutional convention in 1889; State superintendent of public instruction from 1903 until his death; appointed State historian of New Mexico in 1903, but died before his term of service began; assassinated in Pinos Wells (near Cedar Vale, Torrance County), N.Mex., November 26, 1904; interment in the United States National Cemetery at Santa Fe, N.Mex.
Another good site is the Library of Congress. You can find photographs, biographies and other information on the website. A particular book that is found complete online is the title "Hispanic Americans in Congress". This book includes a table of contents with names that you can click on to read the particular congressman's biography.

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