Bent’s Fort Santa Fe Trail Chapter Hosting Speakers on Amtrak Service, Local Family History

PROMO 660 x 440 History - Post Cards Pocket Watch Keys Spectacles - iStock
Published Saturday, July 7, 2018
by Dorothy Russell

The Bent's Fort Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association will be meeting July 14 at the Rocky Ford Grand Theatre located at 405 S. Main in Rocky Ford.  The general meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m.

PROMO 660 x 440 History - Bents Old Fort - NPS

PROMO 660 x 440 History - Bents Old Fort - NPS
Bent's Old Fort. Courtesy NPS.

Rick Klein, La Junta City Manager, will speak about Amtrak and the Southwest Chief.  Following the general meeting will be a presentation by Bill Gwaltney titled, "Mixed Blood: Love and Lineage among the First Families of the Santa Fe Trail."  

Popular entertainment and popular culture tend to depict the frontier as a place where white males brought white females as "civilizing influences" to raise families.  Contrary to that view, an investigation of the history of the early west shows those hailed as original pioneers married local women and had mixed blood families for reasons of human love, political acceptance, and business convenience, necessitating a substantial change in the view of Colorado's past.

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PICT Bill Gwaltney - Santa Fe Trail Association
Bill Gwaltney. Courtesy Santa Fe Trail Association.

The talk will cover the families of William Bent, Charles Bent, Kit Carson, James Magoffin, "Blackfoot John" Smith, and John Prowers.

Bill Gwaltney has held several positions in the National Park Service at various locations east of the Rockies including Bent's Old Fort, Fort Laramie and Santa Fe.  From 2001 to 2013 he served as Assistant Regional Director, National Park Service, Intermountain Region, Denver.  His extensive service also includes serving as Regional Interpretive Specialist, receiving the Distinguished Professional Interpreter Award from the National Association for Interpretation in 2001.   

There is no cost to attend the meeting, which is open to the public.