The Southern Trails Chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association Presents "The El Paso Trails Gathering at the Historic Oñate Crossing"

March 12-16, 2024 

El Paso, Texas

The Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA) and our Southern Trails Chapter are very excited to present "The El Paso Trails Gathering at the Historic Oñate Crossing" in El Paso, Texas, from Tuesday, March 12 to Saturday, March 16. We will focus on the historic trails of west Texas, southern New Mexico, and northern Chihuahua, as well as the surrounding area, and will include looks at local tribes, early El Paso, military expeditions, the Southern Route to California, El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the Butterfield Overland Stage, the importance of the Oñate Crossing of the Rio Grande, the railroad, disease, and the Magoffin family.

The Holiday Inn El Paso West - Sunland Park at 900 Sunland Park Drive in El Paso is our host hotel. It is conveniently located right along I-10, just 20 minutes west of the El Paso Airport. OCTA has a room block with single kings and double queens available. Rates are $109 per night and include a full cooked breakfast. Reserve your room by calling the hotel at (915) 833-2900 and ask for the OCTA room block. Reservations must be made by February 12 to receive the discounted rate. The hotel offers free parking. You can also book online at 

There are also a number of RV parks in the area. 

El Paso Roadrunner RV Park is at 1212 Lafayette in El Paso, can be reached at (915) 598-4469. Their daily rate is $41.95, and their weekly rate is $ 84.00. It is 18 miles to Holiday Inn. Learn more at

El Paso West RV Park is at 1415 Anthony Dr. in Anthony, New Mexico and can be reached at (575) 882-7172. Their daily rate is $47.36 (including tax) or $42.62 (with discount). It is 17 miles to Holiday Inn. Learn more at 

The Rio Grande Valley Ranch has 41 RV sites and is located at 220 FM 259 in Canutillo, TX. Their daily rate is $75.00 and their weekly rate is $375.00. It is 9 miles to Holiday Inn.

The Mission RV Park is at 1420 R.V. Drive in El Paso. They can be reached at (915) 859-1133. The daily rate is $48.00, and their weekly rate is $215.00. They have night patrol supervision from 8 pm 4 am and are located 22 miles from Holiday Inn. Learn more at

If you go on the tours, bring hats and windbreakers. Though we fully expect sunny skies and 70-degree temperatures, weather in the Chihuahuan Desert in March can be very unpredictable. The board of directors does not have a requirement for COVID vaccination and is not requiring masks, though they are recommended. 

Includes receptions on Thursday and Friday night plus all speakers on Saturday. Tours can be taken for optional extra fees. Each person must register separately. There is no family option.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2024

09:00 AM - 03:00 PM: OCTA board meeting at the Holiday Inn, including lunch from noon to 1 PM (free for board members, officers, chapter presidents, and committee chairs; $20 for all others)

06:00 PM - 08:00 PM: Opening reception at the Abara House at the famed Oñate Crossing of El Camino Real Tierra Adentro

Wednesday, March 13, 2024


Dr. Troy Ainsworth - El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro

Dr. Miguel Juarez - Early El Paso

Dr. Doug Dinwiddie - Destiny's Spearhead: Alexander Doniphan's Mexican War March 


Larry Francell - Emil Whipple's Survey of the 35th Parallel 

Cecilia Bell - Anna Maria Morris: Territorial Military Wife in El Paso and Southern New Mexico

Lt. Col. John Hamilton - Old Fort Bliss

Mike Bilbo - Biological Crusts on Historic Trails: Nature's Way of Locking in Authenticity

Dinner on your own

Thursday, March 14, 2024

8 AM to 4 PM - Tour one - "Mesilla and Las Cruces"

Dinner on your own

6 PM to 7 PM - Southern Trails Chapter business meeting

Friday, March 15, 2024


Dan Judkins - Henry Skillman, Mail Carrier and Stage Driver, 1849-1861 

Doug Hocking - Escape from Mesilla, 1861

Prince McKenzie - The Railroad Arrives in El Paso


Dr. John Bell - The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Tuberculosis on the Trails

Dennis Daily (New Mexico State University) and Claudia Rivers (University of Texas - El Paso) - Trail Archive Research Materials at NMSU and UTEP

Patricia Kiddney - Women Bring the Gospel to SW New Mexico and El Paso 

Danielle Brissette - The Magoffin Family in El Paso

7 PM - 9 PM - Dinner Banquet with Keynote Speaker Dr. Maria-Elena Giner, International Boundary and Water Commissioner

Saturday, March 16, 2024

8 AM to 4 PM - Tour two - "Three Missions in El Paso, Concordia Cemetery, Chamizal National Memorial, and the Magoffin House"

Sunday, March 17, 2024, and Monday, March 18, 2024

Post-Gathering Tour of Fort Davis and Big Bend National Park

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

  • Deli Buffet Lunch

    Deli Buffet Lunch

    The buffet includes all-you-can-eat turkey, ham, roast beef, and salami along with macaroni salad, choice of chips, chocolate chip cookies, and iced tea. Board members, chapter presidents, and committee chairs have their lunch included, but others are welcome to join us as well for a fee. If you'd like to join us for lunch, please sign up here.

    Price $28.00

  • Opening reception at the Abara House 6 PM - 8 PM

    Opening reception at the Abara House 6 PM - 8 PM

    Please join us at the Abara House, which is located right at the famed Oñate Crossing of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. Hors d'oeuvres and a tour of the Abara House are included in your registration. A cash bar will also be available. The address for the reception is 1720 W. Paisano Drive in El Paso.

    Price $10.00

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

  • 9:00 AM: Dr. Troy Ainsworth - El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro

    9:00 AM: Dr. Troy Ainsworth - El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro [85 remaining]

    Troy M. Ainsworth, Ph.D., serves as the Historic Preservation Specialist for the City of Las Cruces. He is a three-time alumnus of Texas Tech University, where he was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy in Land-Use Planning, Management, and Design with a specialization in Historic Preservation. In addition to preservation-related work, he researches and writes on various aspects of Borderlands history and is the past Executive Director of CARTA, or El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association.

    Price $0.00

  • 10:00 AM: Dr. Miguel Juarez - Early El Paso

    10:00 AM: Dr. Miguel Juarez - Early El Paso [86 remaining]

    Dr. Miguel Juárez was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. He is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Texas - El Paso (UTEP). He received his PhD in 2018 from UTEP. He also has an MLS from the State University of New York - Buffalo, an MA in Border History with graduate coursework in arts administration, museum studies, and arts practice from California State University - Dominguez Hills and California State University - Long Beach, and a BA in Journalism (marketing and public relations focus) from UTEP.

    Price $0.00

  • 11:00 AM: Dr. Doug Dinwiddie - Destiny’s Spearhead: Alexander Doniphan’s Mexican War March

    11:00 AM: Dr. Doug Dinwiddie - Destiny’s Spearhead: Alexander Doniphan’s Mexican War March [84 remaining]

    Dr. Doug Dinwiddie earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Western New Mexico University, and a PhD in history and political science from Northern Arizona University. He served as curator and director of the WNMU Museum for thirteen years. From 1987-2009 he was Professor of Social Science at the Carlsbad campus of New Mexico State University. Following retirement from NMSU, he taught in the history department at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He earned awards for excellence in classroom teaching at both NMSU and CSU. Following his return to the Silver City area, he became an active member of the Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society and has served the organization as President and historian/tour guide.

    The Missouri Volunteers under the command of Alexander Doniphan played a central role in the American victory in the Mexican War. This paper will examine their expedition across the Southwest in 1846-47, including their participation in the only battle of the war fought on the soil of today’s New Mexico, the Battle of Brazito.

    Price $0.00

  • Noon: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

    Noon: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

    Includes iced tea. Price includes tax and gratuity.

    Price $20.00

  • Noon: California Club

    Noon: California Club

    Turkey, ham, bacon, and Swiss with chips and iced tea. Price includes tax and gratuity.

    Price $22.00

  • Noon: Chicken Salad Croissant

    Noon: Chicken Salad Croissant

    Served with chips and iced tea. Price includes tax and gratuity.

    Price $22.00

  • 1:00 PM: Larry Francell - Emil Whipple's Survey of the 35th Parallel

    1:00 PM: Larry Francell - Emil Whipple's Survey of the 35th Parallel [85 remaining]

    Larry Francell is the former Director of the Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross State University. He has degrees from Austin College (B.A- History) and the University of Texas at Austin (M.A.-History} and began a 40-year career in museums at Fort Davis National Historic Site.

    He was the Director of the Wichita Falls Museum and Art Center, Project Manager for the construction of the new Dallas Museum of Art, as well as Director of Operations. For fifteen years he was a partner in FAE, Worldwide, a museum and arts services company.

    He the author of Fort Lancaster: Texas Frontier Sentinel published by the Texas State Historical Association; Fort Davis, an Arcadia Images of America Publication; and the Introduction to Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country by Paul Chaplo and published by Texas A&M Press. He has authored numerous articles and spoken numerous times on topics related to museums and history of his region.

    The Whipple Expedition (1853–1854) was led by Lieutenant Amiel Weeks Whipple, who was tasked with conducting a survey from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Los Angeles, California, along the 35th parallel north. The expedition lasted for nine months and traveled 1,800 miles.

    The expedition was one of several surveys approved in 1853-4, when funding was added to the War Department budget. This allowed Secretary of War Jefferson Davis to send out surveying expeditions to explore potential transcontinental railroad routes across the United States.

    Reports from these expeditions were published between 1855 and 1861 by the federal government in a twelve-volume report titled "Reports of explorations and surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean". These reports were also known as the Pacific Railroad Surveys. Volumes III and IV contain the reports from Whipple's expedition.

    Price $0.00

  • 2:00 PM: Cecilia Bell - Anna Maria Morris: Territorial Military Wife in El Paso and Southern New Mexico

    2:00 PM: Cecilia Bell - Anna Maria Morris: Territorial Military Wife in El Paso and Southern New Mexico [86 remaining]

    Cecilia Bell grew up in the panhandle of Wester Nebraska, not five miles from the 1851 Horse Creek Treaty. School excursions and family outings were along the Oregon and Mormon Trail. Her Wyoming grandparents homesteaded near Fort Laramie. Cecilia attended high school in Austin, Texas and Nursing School in Dallas. There she met John Bell, who was a medical student.

    While John was in the army, she discovered through the William Beaumont Wives Book Club the fascinating history of the area. In 1973, John and Cecilia moved to Silver City, New Mexico, with their family of three boys and several Rotary Exchange students whom they later visited in Europe and India.

    After receiving a master's degree in history from Western New Mexico University, she taught American History with a focus on the Southwest, which included the Butterfield Overland Stage Trail. From its inception, she served as many years as President of the Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society. In 2009, Cecilia was awarded the Silver City Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award and in 2022 was awarded the Daughter's of the American Revolution Historic Preservation Award. In 2016, Cecilia was awarded the L. Bradford Prince Award by the Historical Society of New Mexico.

    At a Southern Trails Chapter meeting in Yuma, she found her "home" in OCTA. She served on the OCTA Board for 6 years and co-chaired the Santa Fe Conference in Santa Fe. On the Southern Trail Chapter Board, she served as vice-president and co-planner of two symposia and as chair of the membership committee.

    Her talk will focus on Anna Marie Morris, who experienced territorial military life in the southwest. In 1851, Anna Marie and Major Morros were assigned to El Paso and planted roots at Fort Bliss and in southern New Mexico posts.

    Price $0.00

  • 3:00 PM: Lt. Col. John Hamilton - Old Fort Bliss

    3:00 PM: Lt. Col. John Hamilton - Old Fort Bliss [85 remaining]

    Lt. Col. John Hamilton served as the Fort Bliss Museums director from 2015 to 2017. He is the author of "Ft Bliss," published by Arcadia Press, and "Blazing Skies: Air Defense at Ft. Bliss, 1940-2009."

    Old Fort Bliss is a pair of two-story adobe buildings in El Paso. They were built in the 1850s and designed in the Victorian architectural style. They were army barracks and later remodeled into apartment buildings. The structures were listed on the National Register of Historic Places since February 23, 1972. They stand right next to the famed Oñate Crossing, site of the opening reception at this trail gathering.

    Price $0.00

  • 4:00 PM: Mike Bilbo - Biological Crusts on Historic Trails: Nature's Way of Locking in Authenticity

    4:00 PM: Mike Bilbo - Biological Crusts on Historic Trails: Nature's Way of Locking in Authenticity [100 remaining]

    Mike Bilbo noticed that cryptobiotic crusts cover fairly extensive parts of undisturbed historic trails. A number of species take as much as 100 years to develop, although others develop much quicker. In 1997, out on the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, he was stockpiling some BLM signs off the county road between Gerlach and Winnemucca. Late OCTA member Chuck Dodd had told him that they couldn't seem to find about 15 miles of the Nobles Route. Bilbo saw a U-bolt sticking up out of the ground and kicked it, but what popped out was a tug line hook from a 19th-Century wagon, and at the same moment he realized he was impacting a rich dark-grey cryptobiotic crust, and looking left and right he could see that it defined the width and length of the missing rut, which actually was parallel to the county road. He'd seen the same thing on the Anza NHT and Camino Real de Tierra Adentro NHT.

    Bio: Since around 1997 when Bilbo was working in the BLM, Winnemucca Field Office and helping manage the Applegate-Lassen Route of the California Trail, and the Nobles Route across their district, he was immediately working with OCTA, and have been an on and off member of OCTA ever since. Having learned Mapping Emigrant Trails (MET), it greatly helped him identify and document parts of the Camino Real. He was a career BLM outdoor recreation planner, 1991-2016. A collateral duty was cave management at his various duty stations, which included Roswell, Winnemucca, and Socorro. Also, since 1994, he became a Leave No Trace Master Educator and related, one of the founders in 1998 of Earth Guardians, the Burning Man LNT Camp. When Kevin Henson and family followed the Mormon Battalion Route, he was their New Mexico BLM liaison and walked some of the trail with them in period clothing as a hobby is 19th-Century living history. Mike is veteran of the U.S. Army Infantry and Army Reserve, 1974-2004. He is a member of the Archaeological Society of New Mexico, El Paso Archaeological Society; Jornada Research Institute; OCTA, Southern Trails Chapter; American
    Rock Art Research Association; Life Member, National Speleological Society; Life Member, Mormon Battalion Association (recently attained), and the Lincoln (New Mexico) Volunteer Fire Department. Hobbies are long-distance hiking, especially following historic trails, caving, 16th and 19th Century living history, and rock art research.

    Price $0.00

Thursday, March 14, 2024 - Bus Tour to Las Cruces and Mesilla, New Mexico

  • 8 AM to 4 PM: Bus Tour of Mesilla & Las Cruces

    8 AM to 4 PM: Bus Tour of Mesilla & Las Cruces

    The heart of the picturesque village of Mesilla is much the same as it was one hundred years ago. Thick-walled adobe buildings, which once protected residents against Apache attacks, now house art galleries, restaurants, museums and gift shops. Today, tourists stroll on the peaceful plaza and imagine life as it might have been many years ago.

    After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which concluded the Mexican-American War in 1848, the Mexican government commissioned Cura Ramon Ortiz to settle Mesilla. He brought families from New Mexico and from Paso del Norte (modern Ciudad Juarez) to populate the Mesilla Civil Colony Grant, which by 1850 had more than 800 inhabitants.

    On November 16, 1854, a detachment from nearby Fort Fillmore raised the U.S. flag here confirming the Gadsden Purchase; thus, the Gadsden territory was officially recognized as part of the United States. In 1858, the Butterfield stage began its run through Mesilla. During the Civil War, Mesilla was the capital of the Confederate Arizona Territory.

    Mesilla's most notorious resident, Billy the Kid, was sentenced to death at the county courthouse, but escaped before the sentence was carried out. Pat Garrett eventually tracked down and killed the Kid; later, Garrett was mysteriously murdered in an arroyo just outside of Las Cruces. He is buried in a local cemetery.

    San Albino Church, on the plaza, is one of the oldest churches in the Mesilla Valley. Constructed in 1851, the present structure was built some 55 years later. The nearby Gadsden Museum houses Indian and Civil War relics and Southwest New Mexico artifacts.

    Throughout Mesilla, colorful ristras, red chile strung together, decorate homes and businesses symbolizing the hospitality of the Southwest. Old Mesilla is located 5 minutes south of Las Cruces.

    During the Mexican–American War, the Battle of El Bracito was fought nearby on Christmas Day, 1846. The settlement of Las Cruces was founded in 1849 when the US Army first surveyed the town, thus opening up the area for American settlement. The town was first surveyed as the result of the American acquisition of the land surrounding Las Cruces, which later became the New Mexico Territory. This land had been ceded to the United States as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848, which ended the Mexican-American War. The town was named "Las Cruces" after three crosses which were once located just north of the town.

    Initially, Mesilla became the leading settlement of the area, with more than 2,000 residents in 1860, more than twice what Las Cruces had; at that time, Mesilla had a population primarily of Mexican descent.  When the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway reached the area, the landowners of Mesilla refused to sell it the rights-of-way, and instead residents of Las Cruces donated the rights-of-way and land for a depot in Las Cruces. The first train reached Las Cruces in 1881. Las Cruces was not affected as strongly by the train as some other villages, as it was not a terminus or a crossroads, but the population did grow to 2,300 in the 1880s. Las Cruces was incorporated as a town in 1907 and today is the second largest city in New Mexico.

    Price $65.00

Friday, March 15, 2024

  • 9:00 AM: Dan Judkins - Henry Skillman, Mail Carrier and Stage Driver, 1849-1861

    9:00 AM: Dan Judkins - Henry Skillman, Mail Carrier and Stage Driver, 1849-1861 [85 remaining]

    After serving as a Santa Trail trader, and as a soldier and guide in the Mexican-American War, Henry Skillman first carried the mail on horseback in 1849-1850 from San Antonio to El Paso. By 1852 he obtained a formal contract with the U. S. Post Office to deliver the mail between San Antonio, El Paso, and Santa Fé. He also carried passengers, using a light wagon. In 1857 he drove stages for the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line, and in 1858 was the first stage driver on the west-bound (Butterfield) Overland Mail from the Pecos River to El Paso. He continued working for the Overland Mail until the end of its southern-route days in 1861. He had a home in El Paso, then was owner of the Cottonwood Ranch, a few miles north of the Texas-New Mexico border. When the Civil War began, he served as an undercover operative in West Texas for the Confederacy, ultimately being shot to death in 1864 by Union troops.

    Dan Judkins is currently the editor of Desert Tracks, the journal of OCTA's Southern Trails Chapter. He has been interested in early southern-route trails and roads since 2015, and enjoys looking at it from a broad perspective, that is, all travelers over those routes from the coming of humans into the Southwest thousands of years ago to the coming of the railroads. Dan has served for more than 20 years on various historical society boards of directors, and currently is a member of the Southern Trails Chapter board. He also volunteers as a docent at the Tumacácori National Historical Park. He is the author of 120 papers, articles, chapters, and several books on both southern trails and emergency and trauma care, epidemiology, and emergency medical services. His talk here today is: "Henry Skillman, Mail Carrier and Stage Driver, 1849-1861."

    Price $0.00

  • 10:00 AM: Doug Hocking - Escape From Mesilla, 1861

    10:00 AM: Doug Hocking - Escape From Mesilla, 1861 [85 remaining]

    Doug Hocking is an independent scholar who has completed advanced studies in American history, ethnology, and historical archaeology. Raised on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in New Mexico, Doug retired from the US Army after serving in Military Intelligence and as an officer in Armored Cavalry. His most recent history, "Southwest Train Robberies: Hijacking the Tracks Along the Southern Corridor," came out in May 2023. His history of the Jicarilla tribe, "Terror on the Santa Fe Trail," won the 2020 Will Rogers Medallion, the Co-Founders’ Award, and a Spur. His biography of Tom Jeffords won Spur and Co-Founders’ Awards while "Black Legend" won a Will Rogers Medallion and a New Mexico-Arizona Book Award.

    Doug is the Sheriff of the Cochise County Corral, and a member of the board of the Southern Trails Chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association and the Cochise County Historical Society. As Ink Slinger for the Cochise County Corral (Schieffelin Hall, Tombstone), he is editor for the "Border Vidette," a quarterly journal of Frontier History, and for the "Fremont Street Mail;" he also edits "Trail Diary," a newsletter, for Southern Trails Chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association. He recently won the “Coke” Woods Award for best article. He lives between Tombstone and Sierra Vista with his wife, Debbie and presides over the Tombstone Festival of Western Books.

    Price $0.00

  • 11:00 AM: Prince McKenzie - The Railroad Arrives in El Paso

    11:00 AM: Prince McKenzie - The Railroad Arrives in El Paso [86 remaining]

    Prince McKenzie is the Executive Director of the Railroad & Transportation Museum of El Paso. He is descended from a pioneer family that has been involved in the history of the Southwest and Northern Mexico since 1881.

    He received a BA in History from the University of Texas at El Paso and an ROTC Commission in the Military Intelligence Corps. After graduate studies in Art History and Photography (UTEP & Sam Houston State), he contributed to the development of the new El Paso Museum of Archaeology.

    He managed a forensic photography business, exhibited in fine art shows, and taught field archaeology methods. As a Collections Manager and Art Museum Curator, he installed exhibits in all the City Museums. After retirement in 2001, he became a co-founder of the Railroad Museum, an officer of the Streetcar Preservation Society, and the Southwest Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society.

    In 2017 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the El Paso Archaeological Society for his work in historic preservation and archaeology. He serves on the El Paso County Historic Commission and regularly sets up displays of Military History and Railroad History at National Historic Sites around the Southwest.

    After gold was discovered in California, initial Congressional plans for the First Transcontinental Railroad intended for it to follow the most Southern Trail across Texas and the Gasden Purchase of Arizona and New Mexico Territory. When a more northern route was selected, the Southern Pacific built east from Southern California toward Texas with several thousand Chinese workers. It illegally crossed into Arizona Territory and later illegally into Texas.

    Meanwhile, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, started in Kansas, headed for Colorado and Santa Fe with an objective to reach California. Competition and land disputes led to blockades and the potential for shootouts by the gunmen of both sides. All the railroad construction crews needed the constant support of the Army against the Kiowa, Comanche and Apache. Until the Indian Wars ended in the 1890s, every railroad man had to provide his own gun.

    After the railroads linked up, they all converged on El Paso and it became the greatest rail hub of the southwest. The transcontinental links allowed the Southwest to begin real economic and industrial development.

    Price $0.00

  • Noon: Cobb Salad

    Noon: Cobb Salad

    Includes iced tea. Price includes tax and gratuity.

    Price $22.00

  • Noon: Italian Sandwich

    Noon: Italian Sandwich

    Roast beef, salami, and provolone cheese with chips and iced tea. Price includes tax and gratuity.

    Price $23.00

  • Noon: Tuna Salad Croissant

    Noon: Tuna Salad Croissant

    Served with chips and iced tea, Price includes tax and gratuity.

    Price $22.00

  • 1:00 PM: Dr. John Bell - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Tuberculosis on the Trail

    1:00 PM: Dr. John Bell - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Tuberculosis on the Trail [86 remaining]

    John Bell was raised in Aledo, Texas, and graduated from Texas Christian University and the University of Texas School of Medicine at Parkland Hospital in Dallas in 1966.

    After serving in U.S. Army hospitals at William Beaumont in El Paso and at Fort Hood, John moved to Silver City, New Mexico, and served as an Internist in Silver City for 35 years. He is active in the Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society doing medical history.

    He is a member of the Southern Trails Chapter of OCTA and the Historical Society of New Mexico, where he has presented papers regarding Col. Bushnell and his work in tuberculosis care at Fort Bayard U.S. Army Hospital.

    Price $0.00

  • 2:00 PM: Patricia Kiddney - Women Bring the Gospel to SW New Mexico and El Paso

    2:00 PM: Patricia Kiddney - Women Bring the Gospel to SW New Mexico and El Paso [87 remaining]

    They came by wagon or on foot some walked thousands of miles over plains and mountains, pulling handcarts of supplies while enduring all manner of danger, from Indian attack to the onslaughts of hostile nature, disease, and death. They came with their men, these pioneer women, or alone, to bring the Word of God and the light of education to the lawless, illiterate, often corrupt Southwest.

    This is their story, the story of adventurous “Anglo” women whose vision stirred them to settle in a new land and to bring the spirit of charity, service to mankind, and by their teaching and example, law, order, reverence, and a better life to a region seemingly in need.

    Patricia Kiddney serves as the President of the Concordia Cemetery Historical Association.

    Price $0.00

  • 3:00 PM: Danielle Brissette - The Magoffin Family in El Paso

    3:00 PM: Danielle Brissette - The Magoffin Family in El Paso [87 remaining]

    The Magoffin Home, built in 1875, is a combination of the local adobe style combined with Greek revival details and is an example of the Territorial style. The thick adobe walls keep the house cool in the summer heat and warm in the winter. The house consists of three wings, each built at a different time, the last being built in the 1880s as the center that connected the two previous wings. There are 19 rooms, 8 fireplaces, and 14-foot ceilings. Members of the family lived in it for 109 years, and many of the original furnishings are still displayed, including a 11.5-foot-tall half-tester bed.

    The home was built by pioneer Joseph Magoffin, who lived there with his wife, Octavia (MacGreal) until their deaths. They had two children, James (Jim) and Josephine. James married Anne Buford and had four children, Anne, James, Mary and Jim. After James died in 1913 from appendicitis, Anne continued to care for her father-in-law at the homestead until his death in September 1923. Josephine married William Jefferson Glasgow, a future Brigadier General in an extravaganza newspapers hailed as the 'wedding of the century'.

    After the death of Joseph, Josephine inherited the house and James' family settled in Los Angeles where Anne lived until her death in 1962. The last member of the family to live in the home was Octavia Magoffin Glasgow, Josephine's daughter, who died in 1986.

    After retiring from the military, the Glasgows returned to El Paso, Texas, and remodeled the interior of the home, installing gas heat and electrical service, updating plumbing, and modernizing the kitchen. The remodeling included plastering directly over her mother's Victorian wallpapers and removing the canvas ceilings. In 1976, the home was sold to the City and State, although Joseph's granddaughter, Octavia Magoffin Glasgow, retained lifetime tenancy and continued to live in the home until her death in 1986. In 1977–1978, the house was restored by historic preservationist Eugene George, a professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin.

    The homestead is located at 1120 Magoffin Ave. in El Paso and is currently jointly owned by the City of El Paso and the State of Texas. It has been maintained by the Texas Historical Commission since 2007 when authority of that agency was transferred from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department which had overseen the historic site since 1976.

    Danielle Brissette is the Site Manager for the Magoffin Home State Historic Site. She holds an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester and a BA from Baylor University.

    Price $0.00

  • 4:00 PM: Dennis Daily & Claudia Rivers - Trail Research in the Special Collections at New Mexico State University and the University of Texas - El Paso

    4:00 PM: Dennis Daily & Claudia Rivers - Trail Research in the Special Collections at New Mexico State University and the University of Texas - El Paso [85 remaining]

    Dennis Daily has worked at New Mexico State University since 1997 in the areas of archives and special collections, both in academic and public library settings. Since 2016, he has served as department head of Archives and Special Collections at the NMSU Library. From 2007 to 2016, he managed Special Collections at the Pikes Peak Library District, a public library system serving 400,000 in Colorado Springs. Prior to that, he was reprographics manager at the NMSU Library Archives, where, among other duties, he managed the photograph collection and helped coordinate microfilming projects in Durango, Mexico. Special interests include Mexico and border history, photographic history and practice, oral history, folk traditions, preservation of archival materials, digital archives, and the use of archival resources in humanities research.

    Claudia Rivers is the head of the C. L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department at University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). The book collections include the Chicano Collection, the Judaica Collection, the S. L. A. Marshall Military History Collection, the Southwest and Border Studies Collection, as well as collections of art and rare books. In addition to printed sources, the department has manuscript and archival collections available. There is also an oral history collection documenting the region. The department is named after longtime English professor and historian C.L. Sonnichsen (1901 1991). Dr. Sonnichsen taught at UTEP for 41 years and wrote over 30 books mainly histories of the southwestern United States.

    Their session will focus on the use of their special collections for trail research.

    Price $0.00

  • 6:00 PM: Mexican Buffet Dinner with Keynote Speaker Dr. Maria-Elena Giner

    6:00 PM: Mexican Buffet Dinner with Keynote Speaker Dr. Maria-Elena Giner [112 remaining]

    Join us for Cheese Enchiladas, Grilled Chicken Breast Topped with a Red Pepper Sauce, Spanish Rice, Charro Beans, Diced Tomatoes, Lettuce, Sour Cream, Jalapeno Corn Bread, Chips and Salsa, followed by a keynote address from Dr. Maria-Elena Giner.

    President Joe Biden in August 2021 appointed Dr. Giner to serve as the United States Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico. Dr. Giner, the second woman and first Latina to hold the post, previously served as General Manager of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC), an institution that developed environmental infrastructure along the U.S.-Mexico border in association with the North American Development Bank. During her tenure at the BECC, she focused on policies that addressed U.S.-Mexico cooperation on water, energy, and climate change.

    Dr. Giner is well regarded among state agencies and local communities in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and the six Mexican border states. With the support of the BECC staff, she led the development and financing of $9 billion in environmental infrastructure, benefitting about 100 communities and over 10 million residents. In addition, she has published extensively on water policy and transboundary bilateral cooperation. Dr. Giner’s education includes a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Loyola Marymount University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a registered professional engineer, first-generation college graduate, and daughter of an immigrant. Dr. Giner is from the border region and attended Loretto Academy High School in El Paso, Texas. She is bicultural and bilingual.

    The International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico, is responsible for applying the boundary and water treaties between the two countries and settling differences that arise in their application. The Commission operates and maintains flood control levees, international storage reservoirs, diversion dams, wastewater treatment plants, and boundary monuments at various locations on the U.S.-Mexico border. In addition to its Headquarters in El Paso, Texas, the U.S. Section has offices at San Diego, California; Nogales and Yuma, Arizona; Las Cruces, New Mexico; El Paso/American Dam, Ft. Hancock, Presidio, Del Rio/Amistad Dam, Laredo, Falcon Heights/Falcon Dam, and Mercedes in Texas; and Washington, DC.

    Price $30.00

Saturday, March 16, 2024

  • "Missions in El Paso, Concordia Cemetery, Chamizal National Memorial, and the Magoffin House"

    "Missions in El Paso, Concordia Cemetery, Chamizal National Memorial, and the Magoffin House"

    The oldest of the El Paso mission churches is the Ysleta Mission, located in the community of Ysleta within the city limits of El Paso and part of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish. The parish was established in 1682 and the mission completed in 1692. The Spanish originally named the church Misión de Corpus Christi de Ysleta del Sur but it also has been known as Misión de San Antonio, in honor of the patron saint of the Tigua Indians who have worshipped at the parish since its beginnings and still do today. In 1740, the Rio Grande washed the original church away and settlers began the construction of the new structure in 1744. Like the Socorro Mission, the layout of the Ysleta Mission is an example of the New Mexican style of mission churches which were built during the 17th and 18th centuries, characterized by their linear, boxlike forms, with simplicity in their exterior decoration. In 1907, the church was partially destroyed during a fire, but was reconstructed with the addition of a three-story tower incorporating traditional Spanish mission decorations Today, the parish has nearly 1,200 registered families.

    Nuestra Señora de la Concepción del Socorro is located in the town of Socorro. The Socorro Mission was established in 1680 when Spanish colonizers from northern New Mexico fled the Pueblo Revolt with Piro natives and other tribes. Flooding caused by the Rio Grande River twice forced the community to rebuild the mission, the third and final building being completed in 1848. The mission, constructed of adobe surfaced with stucco, is particularly notable for its interior. The finely painted beams, or vigas, contain decorations of the original Native American builders and date from the first structure. The massing, details and use of decorative elements of the Socorro Mission show a strong relationship to the building traditions of 17th-century Spanish New Mexico. Today, the Socorro Mission belongs to La Purisima Parish, which has 660 registered families.

    San Elceario Mission, located in the town of San Elizario, was founded by the Spanish in 1789 as a presidio or fort for Mexican troops stationed in the Mission Valley. U.S. troops were assigned to the presidio in 1850 and during the Civil War volunteers from California were stationed there to prevent a reoccupation of the area by Confederate forces. The present Chapel of San Elceario was constructed in 1877 to replace the original chapel that had been destroyed by a flood. The one-story chapel is built in the traditional Spanish Mission style. Today, San Elceario Parish has 470 registered families.

    Historic Concordia Cemetery (aka El Paso's Boot Hill) is a resting place for over 66,000 members of the El Paso community. Some are well known, some are unknown, while others are unmarked but each contributing to the story of El Paso and Historic Concordia Cemetery. Known as Concordia during the 1840s, this area was the home of Chihuahua trader Hugh & Juana Stephenson. In 1856 his wife, Juana (Ascarate), was buried in what is now part of Concordia Cemetery. The graveyard gained widespread use in the 1880s when El Pasoans drove three miles to Concordia to bury their dead. By 1890, various sections had been purchased by different groups and were designated Catholic, Masonic, Jewish, Black, Chinese, Military, Jesuit, city, and county. Concordia residents such as gunfighter John Wesley Hardin, Buffalo Soldiers, Texas Rangers, Civil War Veterans, early Mormon pioneers, Florida (Lady Flo) Wolf, Lawman John Selman, and numerous other civic leaders, pioneers, and war veterans. Concordia was formerly the first burial site for Mexican Revolution President Victoriano Huerta.

    Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso is along the United States–Mexico international border. It is a National Park Service site commemorating the peaceful settlement of the Chamizal boundary dispute. The 54.90-acre memorial park serves primarily as a cultural center and contains art galleries, a theater, and an amphitheater. A museum, which details the history of the U.S.–Mexico border, is located inside the visitor center. The park honors the peaceful resolution of the Chamizal dispute, a more than 100-year border dispute between the United States and Mexico that resulted from the natural change of course of the Rio Grande between the cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. This national memorial was established on part of the disputed land that was assigned to the United States according to the Chamizal Convention of 1963; a corresponding Parque Público Federal El Chamizal was created on the now-Mexican portion of the land. The Chamizal Convention was negotiated by the International Boundary and Water Commission, which was established in 1889 to maintain the border, and pursuant to later treaties to allocate river waters between the two nations and provide for flood control and water sanitation. The National Memorial was authorized on June 30, 1966. It was established as a National Park Service unit on February 4, 1974, and was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places the same day.
    A striking adobe structure, Magoffin Home State Historic Site explores the stories of a multicultural family who actively participated in U.S. expansion and settlement, military service, trade on the Santa Fe–Chihuahua Trail, Civil War turmoil, and U.S.–Mexico relations. The 1875 home is part of the Magoffin Historic District and is one of the oldest surviving adobe structures in the area. The 1.5-acre site offers a glimpse of the past as visitors explore its lovely grounds and renovated rooms. The historical significance of the home lies in its unique architecture and in the history of the Magoffins and their descendants who lived in the home for more than 100 years. A multicultural family, they were active and influential participants in their community, served during military conflicts, and witnessed important historic events. Their home is a prime example of Territorial style architecture and features a center courtyard and peaceful landscape. Numerous authentic artifacts including furniture, textiles, photographs, art, and documents are on display in the home. These are supplemented with period pieces to give a more complete view of what the home looked like in different time periods. It is El Paso’s only house museum.

    Price $65.00

Sunday, March 17, 2024, and Monday, March 18, 2024

  • Optional Post-Gathering Tour to Fort Davis and Big Bend National Park

    Optional Post-Gathering Tour to Fort Davis and Big Bend National Park

    OCTA is not charging for this tour, but you will have to pay as you go for hotels, meals, and any entrance fees. Larry Francell, one of our speakers, will serve as guide. We need a headcount of how many people he can expect to meet at Fort Davis.

    Indian Lodge and the Black Bear Restaurant have re-opened, but this is in the middle of Spring Break and reservations should be made immediately. Reservations have to be made through the Texas Parks & Wildlife Davis Mountains State Park website at

    The historic downtown Fort Davis features numerous small hotels. The Limpia Hotel has a bar and restaurant, but the same Spring Break conditions apply. They are located at 101 Memorial Square and can be reached at (432) 426-3237.

    Downtown is the Harvard Hotel, more modern and smaller. They are located at 109 State St in Fort Davis and can be reached at (432) 426-2500.

    The Fort Davis Drug Store Hotel has accommodation but no food service or retail, regardless of the name. It is located at 111 State St. in Fort Davis, and they can be reached at (432) 426-3929.

    Cueva de Leon is the local Tex and American food restaurant and open but does not take reservations. It is located at 611 State St in Fort Davis.

    The Fort Davis Inn and RV Park is a large motel and clean, but no food service. It is located at 2201 N. State St. in Fort Davis. You can reach them at (855) 516-1090.

    Price $0.00

Special Instructions

Options for dietary restrictions (such as vegetarian or gluten-free) are available. Please use the space below or contact us at (816) 252-2276 or to discuss your needs and reserve these options.

Please read the liability waiver and indicate your acceptance by checking the box.

The undersigned agrees that neither the Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA), its directors, officers, employees, and agents, nor, to the extent legally permissible, any private or public (state or federal or instrumentality of either), landowner or tenant licensee in possession of any land on or over which any tour, field trip, or outing takes place, or through which it travels, in connection with or as part of any meeting or convention of OCTA, shall have any responsibility or liability, in whole or in part for any loss, damage, injury to person or property, delays and delayed departure or arrival, missed carrier connection, cancellations.

Changes in schedules, program, or itinerary, or mechanical defect or failures, or for any negligent act or omission of any nature whatsoever which results from, or arises out of, or occurs at or during any activities, programs, tours, field trips, or outing there at, or part thereof, or any accommodations, transportation, food, or other services or facilities furnished or supplies there at, or any additional expenses occasioned thereby, or any liability sustained or incurred as a result of any of the foregoing.

All persons registering at or attending any such meeting, convention, or symposium shall be bound by the foregoing and deemed to have consented to the same by such registration or attendance.

The refund schedule is as follows:

On or before February 12: 100% refund
On or before February 26: 50% refund
On or before March 5 5: 25% refund
After March 5: no refund


Registration fee is $1.00 plus 3% credit card fee:


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