Chihuahua Expedition ends after blazing trade route
On this day in 1840, the Chihuahua Expedition arrived back in Chihuahua City after exploring a trade route to Texas and the United States. Henry Connelly, a wealthy Missouri merchant, had organized a party of 100 merchants and fifty Mexican dragoons and left Chihuahua City in April 1839 to explore the route. Carrying some $200 thousand to $300 thousand in specie, the expedition crossed the Rio Grande at Presidio, traveled down the Brazos and Red rivers, and reached Fort Towson in April 1840. They were allowed to proceed to Arkansas and Louisiana, and returned to Fort Towson with sixty to eighty new wagons loaded with merchandise. Accompanied by a party of American circus performers, they traveled through much of North Texas, maintaining cordial relations with the settlers, who were eager to purchase the trade goods. They eventually crossed back into Mexico at Presidio and reached Chihuahua City on August 27. Because of higher than expected tariffs and unfavorable reports on the trail, use of the route was curtailed until the late 1840s.