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Armijo and Gallagher families papers

Identifier: Ms-0322

Scope and Contents

The papers consist largely of materials pertaining to Nestor Armijo and his business initiatives and spans the years 1852 to 1990s. The materials have been divided into ten series: Family history; Nestor and Josefa Armijo; Charles and Beatriz Armijo; Edward Ascarate and Gertrude Armijo Ascarate; William R. Ascarate and Dolores (Lolita) Armijo Ascarate; Nicolas Armijo and Barbara Chavez Armijo; Gallagher family; Armijo House; Publications and Photographs. Spanish is the predominant language used in this collection.
The family history materials date from circa 1990s and documents the family’s origin. The series contains manuscripts compiled by family descendants and have been arranged in alphabetical order by the manuscript compiler.
The Nestor Armijo and Josefa Yrisarri Armijo series spans the years 1852 to 1920 and consists of four subseries: Correspondence, Business/Financial, Legal and General records. Nestor’s correspondence files are letters he sent to various individuals regarding family and business matters. The correspondence to and from Nestor and Josefa are arranged by year and letters represented in the collections is a reflection of the Armijos social connection. Letters represented within the collection are to and from many prominent and influential New Mexicans and Mexicans such as New Mexico Governor L. Bradford Prince, first Archbishop of Santa Fe Jean Bapiste Lamy and Governor Luis Terrazas, Chihuahua banker, industrialist and Governor Enrique Creel to name a few individuals. Nestor's correspondence is mainly about his ranching business and to family members dating from 1882-1902. Spanish is the predominant language used in this subseries. The business/financial records contain ledgers, receipts, bills and other transactions and arranged in chronological order. The legal subseries contains legal records in forms of deeds, which consists of the bulk of the material. Documents concerning the depredation claims made by Nestor to the United States Senate and House of Representatives are represented in the legal subseries. The legal records are arranged in alphabetical order by type and by date. The general subseries contains a variety of material ranging from insurance policies, notebooks and a scrapbook containing clippings of various social gathering events.
The Carlos and Beatriz Armijo series span the years 1877 to 1903 and consists of four subseries: Correspondence, Business/Financial records, Legal records and General. The correspondence subseries is composed of correspondence from Beatriz. The business/financial records contain ledgers from the Tres Ritos ranch in which Carlos oversaw and managed. The legal records makes the bulk of the series and it contains various deeds and other legal documents involving the couple. The subseries is arranged in chronological order. The general subseries is composed of marriage announcement and death notices belonging to Carlos and Beatriz.
The Edward Ascarate and Gertrude Armijo Ascarate series span the years 1901-1915 and consists of four subseries: Correspondence, Business/Financial records, Legal records and General. The correspondence subseries contains letters pertaining to Gertrude and a bound autograph book. The business/financial records contains a bill of costs regarding the estate of Nestor Armijo along with a ledger that contains personal holdings revenues. The legal records consists of various deeds involving the couple. The general subseries solely contains newspaper clippings of the couple.
The William R. Ascarate and Dolores (Lolita) Armijo Ascarate series span the years 1902-1906 and consists of two subseries: Legal and General. The legal records contain warranty deeds pertaining to William and the general subseries includes the couple’s newspaper wedding announcement.
The Nicolas Armijo and Barbara Chavez Armijo series span the years 1872-1927 and consists of four subseries: Correspondence, Legal, General and Nicolas and Barbara Armijo’s children. The correspondence contain letters to and from Nicolas, which pertain to family and business matters and span the years 1872-1892. Nicolas' correspondence are in English and Spanish. Letters to and from Barbara Chavez Armijo are included and span the years 1876-1917. The legal records includes an inventory of the estate belonging to Nicolas from 1891. The general subseries includes invitations and various documents informing the family about events which dates from the 1930s-1940s. The last subseries includes materials (primarily correspondence) from the children of Nicolas and Barbara Armijo: Juan Cristobal; Aurelia; Eloisa and Sophia. The material is arranged by child and by date.
The Gallagher family series spans the years 1899-1977 and consists of four subseries: Correspondence, Legal records, General and Francis W. Gallagher and other family members. The bulk of the series pertains to Peter and Josephine Gallagher and includes correspondence to the couple, legal records in the form of a quitclaim deed and lastly within the general subseries a chemistry notebook belonging to Peter when he attended Norte Dame. The last subseries includes material from Josephine’s husbands’ family which span the years 1912-1930s.
The Armijo house series spans the years 1860s-1990s and consists of two subseries: Early owners of the Armijo house and newspapers clippings. The bulk of the series is composed of materials pertaining to the early owners of the Armijo home. The newspaper clippings is a mixture of original and xerox copies of local newspaper documenting the historical home and its renovation throughout the years. The newspaper clippings is arranged by years.
The publications series contains regional New Mexico newspapers from Las Cruces, Albuquerque and Santa Fe dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Along with the newspapers, included are World War I era periodicals collected by Armijo descendants. The series is arranged in alphabetical order by publication title, with the exception of the newspapers.
The final series photographs include both the Armijo and Gallagher families as well as of the Las Cruces area, the Armijo home and miscellaneous scenes. A large number of the images are unidentified. The series also contains copy negatives, postcards sent to Josephine Armijo, 35mm color slides, WWI stereocards and a 8mm movie film. The photograph series span the years from 1880s-1920s and undated. The material is arranged by format.


  • 1850s-1990s

Conditions Governing Use

Open. All materials in this collection are available for research under supervised conditions in the Research Room. Researchers should contact the department in advance to make arrangements to view unprocessed materials, as these may need to be screened before use.

Biographical / Historical

Nestor Armijo was born on February 28, 1831 in Los Padillas, a small town south of Old Albuquerque to Colonel Juan Cristobal Armijo and Juana Maria Chavez de Armijo. Nestor was the eldest son of Don Juan Cristobal who was a native of Spain and an officer in the Spanish Army. Nestor had seven siblings, but only two reached adulthood, which were Nicolas and Justo. Nicolas and Justo were well known throughout the region and both were from Albuquerque area. Nicolas was a pioneer businessman and Justo served as a postmaster and a county treasurer.
Nestor at the young age of twelve attended St. Louis University where he was a student for five years. After his schooling was completed, Nestor returned to Albuquerque at the close of the Mexican war in 1846. In his twenties, Nestor was taught the family business in which he received training in the Armijo profession and tradition of livestock, trade, money, risks and profits and lastly overland transportation.
After receiving the training to continue with the family business, Nestor conducted his first sheep drive in his early twenties in 1853. Approximately 55,000 sheep belonging to the Armijo-Otero-Chavez families were driven to the prosperous markets of San Francisco, California. The sheep drive took the duration of five months to reach the west coast. The overland trip was a huge undertaking considering it was pre railroad days and the conditions were not favorable. A few years later, in 1855 Nestor made the journey to the opposite direction across the plains to Westport – present day Kansas City where he made his first purchase of goods for general merchandising. During Nestor’s trips, he was provided with protection to successfully reach his destinations. He was accompanied with a commanding officer and ammunition to guard him and his group. Despite the difficulties, Nestor and his group encountered along the way he continued to make the trip for many years in order to supply his mercantile stores soon to be established in El Paso and Las Cruces.
In 1862, due to somewhat of a growth Las Cruces was undergoing, Nestor saw an opportunity and opened a general store located in the vicinity of North Main Street which lasted until 1868. After the closure of the store, Nestor visited Chihuahua, Mexico and made a profit by selling American goods at wholesale for a period of ten years. Along with being in the mercantile business, Nestor also was invested in ranching, real estate and mining.
In 1855, Nestor married Josefa Yrisarri of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. Josefa came from a prominent merchant family. She was the only daughter of Mariano Yrisarri and Juanita Otero de Yrisarri. Together Nestor and Josefa had two biological children, which consisted of one son, Carlos “Charles” Armijo and one daughter Juanita Carolina. Juana Carolina died at infancy and in addition, the couple adopted a son. Federico “Fred” was the adopted son who later married Mary Stephenson, daughter of Horace Stephenson. After two years of being married, Fred passed away at twenty due to heart failure complications.
Carlos “Charles” Armijo, the biological son of Carlos and Beatriz was born at the family hacienda at Las Padillas on February 3, 1855. Carlos was educated at Germantown, Pennsylvania and in Germany. After completing his formal schooling, Carlos returned home, followed his father’s profession and assisted in the family sheep and cattle business in New Mexico and Mexico. Carlos assisted his father by overseeing the Tres Ritos (Three Rivers) ranch as well as the Mexican ranch and farms located in Janos, Chihuahua.
In 1877, Carlos married Beatriz Otero, the daughter of the well-known Otero family of New Mexico. Carlos and Beatriz together had four children: Nestor, Dolores, Gertrude and Josephine. Beatriz and Carlos both passed away due to pneumonia three weeks apart from one another. Beatriz passed away on December 25, 1902 at the age of 45 and Carlos on January 11, 1903 at the age of 49.
A few years after experiencing the loss of Carlos, Nestor experienced the loss of his wife Josefa. In 1905 while being treated at the Mayo Clinic for cancer in Rochester, Minnesota Josefa succumbed to the illness and passed away. After the deaths of Carlos and Josefa, Nestor sold his ranches at Tres Ritos and Janos. The Tres Ritos ranch eventually became the property of A.B. Fall – the secretary of the Interior under President Warren Harding then passed to Thomas Fortune Ryan. Other financial impacts that proved to be detrimental to Nestor’s wealth was the effect of the Mexican Revolution turmoil, declining bank stocks in Mexico and realty depreciation. Nestor passed away on May 7, 1911 at the age of 85 in the Armijo residence in Las Cruces and his buried at the San Jose Cemetery in the family plot.


20 linear feet

Language of Materials



The family papers include personal, business and legal documents primarily concerning Nestor Armijo’s involvement in mercantile and ranching interests during the mid-1800s in southern New Mexico. The bulk of the papers document how the Armijo family used their social and cultural experiences to their advantage, in which they became a well-known family of territorial New Mexico. In addition, a vast amount of material pertains to the Armijo house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Related Materials

Amador Family Papers. Ms 0004. New Mexico State University Library, Archives and Special Collections Department.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jennifer Olguin. (2019-2020)
Guide to the Armijo and Gallagher families papers
In Progress
Finding aid by Jennifer Olguin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository