José Manuel Gallegos Is Born

José Manuel Gallegos was born in Spanish colonial Mexico, in the town of Abiquiú, Nuevo México, on October 30, 1815.

His people were Hispanos, descendants of early Spanish settlers.

Raised during the Mexican revolution and educated by Franciscan missionaries in Taos and Durango, Gallegos was surrounded by republican ideals. Ordained a Catholic priest at the age of twenty-five, Gallegos readily added political tasks to his clerical responsibilities. He became pastor of San Felipe de Neri Church in La Villa de Albuquerque, as well as one of the nineteen "electors"—men who chose Nuevo México's deputy to the Mexican Congress.

In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War and ceded the Southwest— from Texas to California, to the United States. Nuevo México became the U.S. Territory of New Mexico, and Gallegos was elected to its first Territorial Council. Gallegos became the first Democrat elected as a delegate to the U.S. Congress from the Territory of New Mexico in 1853. He was the second Hispanic Congressional representative in U.S. history. Thirty-one years had elapsed since Joseph Marion Hernández, delegate from the Whig Territory of Florida, had become the first Hispanic in Congress in 1822.

José Manuel Gallegos (October 30, 1815 – April 21, 1875) was the first delegate to the US Congress from the Territory of New Mexico.

Born in Abiquiú, in what is now Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, Gallegos attended parochial schools. He studied theology at the Jesuit run College of Durango (Colegio de Durango), Republic of Mexico, graduated in 1840, and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest. He served as member of the legislative assembly of what was then the Department of New Mexico, Republic of Mexico from 1843 to 1846. He served as member of the first territorial council of the Territory of New Mexico in 1851.

Gallegos was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-third US Congress (March 4, 1853-March 3, 1855). He was elected to a second term but served only briefly, March 4, 1855, to July 23, 1856, as he was succeeded by Miguel Antonio Otero (I), who had successfully contested Gallegos's election. He served as member of the territorial house of representatives 1860-1862 and served as speaker. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1862 to the Thirty-eighth US Congress.

In 1862, Gallegos was made a prisoner of war by the Texas Confederate troops when they came through Santa Fe. He served as Treasurer of the New Mexico Territory in 1865 and 1866, and as Superintendent of Indian Affairs in New Mexico in 1868.

Gallegos was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-second US Congress (March 4, 1871-March 3, 1873). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1872 to the Forty-third US Congress. He died in Santa Fe, and was interred there in the Catholic Cemetery.

Hermanos pastores, hermanos queridos,
vamos transitando por estos caminos,
vamos transitando por estos caminos…

Ya los corderitos quedan tan cansados,
échenlos al hombro, ya viene el ganado, échenlos al hombro, ya viene el ganado.

Caminen alegres, vamos caminando,
no se desanimen, ya vamos llegando, no se desanimen, ya vamos llegando.”

— "Hermanos pastores" ("Brother Shepherds")