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George Donoho Bayless looks out over the last miles of the Santa Fe Trail from the Journey's End monument Wednesday on Museum Hill. Bayless’ great-great-grandmother, Mary Dodson Donoho, is believed to be the first woman from back East to make the crossing.

You could see the pride in George Donoho Bayless’ face as he surveyed the last two miles of the Santa Fe Trail.

His great-great-grandmother, Mary Dodson Donoho, likely traversed this piece of land in 1833. Historians believe she was one of the first, if not the first, Anglo woman to make it from Missouri to New Mexico, setting aside a long-held belief the first lady of the trail was Susan Shelby Magoffin in 1846.

From his perch next to the Journey’s End monument near Museum Hill, which depicts a wagon coming into Santa Fe on the trail, Bayless, 90, said he believes he knows what Donoho and the others in her caravan were thinking as they first saw the distinctive — and for Americans, unusual — adobe dwellings of their destination.

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A picture of Mary Dodson Donoho. Historians believe she was one of the first, if not the first, Anglo woman to make it from Missouri to New Mexico on the Santa Fe Trail, setting aside a long-held belief the first lady of the trail was Susan Shelby Magoffin in 1846.

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A herd of antelope grazes in the plains near the old Santa Fe Trail in early November. Among the women who left a diary while traveling the Santa Fe Trail was Susan Shelby Magoffin. In addition to daily life, Magoffin wrote about the scenery along the trail, including the open plains and herds of antelope that roamed them.

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

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