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Lucien Bonaparte Maxwell

Born in Illinois prior to it becoming a state, Lucien’s father, Hugh Maxwell,

was an Irish immigrant. His mother was French nobility. Lucien left home

at fifteen to attend Vincentian College in Missouri. He then headed west

with the American Fur Company where he met a trapper named Kit Carson,

they became lifelong friends. John Fremont hired Lucien to hunt for his

first expedition to Oregon. He then went with Fremont to California in

1845-46 to claim it as U.S. Territory. He married Charles Beaubien’s

daughter Luz. Lucien and Luz would inherit her father’s large land holdings

in New Mexico and Colorado. They would acquire additional lands over the

years until they owned 1.7 million acres of northeast New Mexico and

southern Colorado. He employed a young Buffalo Bill Cody to take care of a

goat ranch. Maxwell and Kit Carson founded the town of Rayado in 1847.

Lucien and Luz built a house there in 1848. The Maxwell house is now part

of the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch serving as a museum.


They sold the land grant in 1870 to the Maxwell Land Grant and Railroad

Company. Property lines were disputed. Native people were removed from

their lands; resulting in the Colfax County War that lasted for twenty years.


Learn more about Lucien Maxwell and his encounter with Will Smith,

Texas Ranger, in the award-winning Comanche Trace Book 4 of the

Westward Sagas Series.

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