Clayton in Union County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Santa Fe Trail
William Becknell, the first Santa Fe Trail trader, entered Santa Fe in 1821 after Mexico became independent from Spain and opened its frontier to foreign traders. The Mountain Branch over Raton Pass divided here. One fork turned to Cimarron, then south and joined a more direct route to Rayado.
The difficulty of bringing caravans over rocky and mountainous Raton Pass kept most wagon traffic on the Cimarron Cutoff of the Santa Fe Trail until the 1840's. Afterwards, the Mountain Branch, which here approaches Raton Pass, became more popular with traders, immigrants, gold-seekers, and government supply trains.
Erected by New Mexico Historic Preservation Division.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Santa Fe Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1821.
Location. 36° 27.418′ N, 103° 10.27′ W. Marker is in Clayton, New Mexico, in Union County. Marker is on U.S. 56 at milepost 83.5, on the left when Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Clayton NM 88415, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Santa Fe Trail / Who Traveled The Trail? (within shouting distance of this marker); Santa Fe Trail - Cimarron Cutoff / Clayton (within shouting distance of this marker); Black Jack Ketchum (approx. 1.1 miles away); Clayton Dinosaur Trackway (approx. 1.2 miles away); Rabbit Ear Mountain (approx. 2.2 miles away); Clayton (approx. 2.2 miles away); a different marker also named Rabbit Ear Mountain (approx. 3.2 miles away); a different marker also named Clayton (approx. 3.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Clayton.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 10, 2012, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 737 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 10, 2012, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.