About José Antonio Chávez
José Antonio Cháves (or Chávez) was géfe político or Governor of the territory of Santa Fe de Nuevo México (New Mexico) from September 1829 until 1832.
José Antonio Cháves was a descendent of don Pedro Durán de Chavéz, a conquistador from the Extremadura province of Spain. Other prominent members of the Chavez family in New Mexico were Governors Francisco Xavier Chávez (1822-23) and his son Mariano Cháves (1833-34), and don Mariano's son Colonel José Francisco Chaves, a delegate to the United States Congress for three terms, starting in 1865, and after whom Chaves County, New Mexico is named.
Cháves was New Mexican deputy to the Congress in Mexico City for the 1827-1828 term. The Guerrero government appointed him governor of New Mexico in March 1829. He took office as géfe político or Governor in September 1829, holding office until 1832. In October 1843, as a step to reestablishing constitutional government, elections were held in New Mexico. José Antonio Cháves was chosen as one of the electors who chose a representative to Congress from New Mexico and chose the members of the first departmental assembly. Cháves was among the assembly members.
Governor of New Mexico
In November 1829 Cháves dispatched an expedition of 60 men led by Antonio Armijo to discover a route to the Californias. In May 1830 they had returned and Cháves was able to send the expedition's diary to Mexico City, pointing out that the route was not as long as had been thought and could be commercially valuable. In 1830 Cháves complained to the ayuntamiento (council) of Santa Fe that although the material had been provided, they had still not constructed a cemetery. The council retorted that in a republic they could not force anyone to do the work, and had been unable to contract any bricklayers.