The October release of Territorial Papers of the United States, 1765-1953, includes many letters and little-known documents tracking New Mexico’s controversial Secretary of the Territory, H.H. Heath.
An unsigned memoir from 1868 offers some background:
Mr. Heath is a native of New York, for several years a resident of Washington, he was for a time a (deputy) clerk of the House of Representatives and established here in 1849 or 1850 a newspaper called the “Southern Press” for the express purpose of defending “Southern rights.”
During the Lecompton struggle he was editor of “The North West” “which supported Southern men and Northern, too, who supported them.”
He held the Post Office at Dubuke [sic] for three years, until ejected by Mr. Lincoln.
Heath’s service to New Mexico Territory began a year earlier in 1867 after a brief delay. Writing to Secretary of State William Henry Seward on March 15, 1867, Heath asked:
I have the honor to request permission to delay my departure for New Mexico…to afford me time to make my arrangements for taking my family and household goods with me.
Four months later Heath sent another letter to Seward, this time writing:
I have the honor to report my arrival in this place and the assumption of the duties of Secretary of this Territory.
I arrived her yesterday after a very protracted and tedious trek…of 47 days…
In August Heath wrote again to Seward, this time about documents uncovered in his New Mexico office. Describing the find, he writes: