Among the Cottonwoods
The Enduring Rio Abajo Villages of Peralta and Los Pinos, New Mexico before 1940
by Francelle E. Alexander
400 pages, 89 illustrations/maps/charts, 7 x 10
ISBN 978-1-890689-83-4 ($29.95) (pbk.,alk.paper)

New Mexico Press Women, 2013
Third Place, Nonfiction History, "Among the Cottonwoods," by Francelle Alexander

International Book Awards, 2013
Finalist, History, U.S., "Among the Cottonwoods" by Francelle Alexander



In New Mexico, people have a keen interest in the villages of their ancestors and derive part of their identity from their villages. Although the villages of the lower Rio Grande, the Rio Abajo, have been a significant part of New Mexico, they have not been studied as often as villages in the upper Rio Grande, the Rio Arriba. This book is an effort to begin to fill a gap that has long existed in scholarly studies and histories. It is also intended to appeal to an audience that enjoys local New Mexico history and has a keen interest in the Rio Abajo region, especially the people and the politics of Valencia County. Covered in this work are some of the notable people of the area, i.e., Col. J. Francisco Chaves, Henry Connelly and the Oteros, who had significant roles in the history of nineteenth century New Mexico. Rarely have their lives been covered in this detail, especially in the context of their region and villages.

Francelle Alexander is a native New Mexican, having grown up in Albuquerque, both the South Valley and the North Valley. She attended UNM where she earned her B.A. and M.A. After a career in the Albuquerque Public Schools, she lived and worked overseas. For almost ten years, she was able to travel and study villages in Asia and Europe. Upon returning from abroad, she began extensive research on the villages of Peralta and Los Pinos (now Bosque Farms).

This book is the first that I have read that has put my family stories in the context of the history and geography
of the region, linking everything together. It has answered so many questions and connected me
to more of my family’s history, which reinforces my love of family traditions and culture. This book will be
invaluable to anyone studying New Mexico history.—Maria Toledo-Ifill, descendant of many families in
Valencia County.

New Mexico is well known for its cities and its science, but the real heart of the state can be found in the little towns and villages that dot the landscape along the many “roads less traveled.” It is in these communities that the vibrant traditions that define the New Mexico culture continue to thrive. Peralta and Los Pinos (now Bosque Farms) are two of these villages with rich histories that date back to the early nineteenth century. This landmark book is a must read for anyone who wants to experience New Mexico village life first hand and should be on every serious historian’s bookshelf.—John Taylor, noted New Mexico historian and author.