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The story of the Casad family began as a classic westering tale with families moving from New Jersey to Ohio to Illinois to Kansas. There, an act of violence propelled the family on a flight from justice that took it to New York to Panama to California to New Mexico.
Along the way, fortunes were made and lost and made again. In southern New Mexico, the Casads became large landowners, agricultural innovators and leading families.
Rick Hendricks, Ph.D. is the current State Historian of New Mexico and will talk about his upcoming book on the Casad family of the Mesilla Valley. He will be part of the Authors Speak Series at 7 p.m. Thursday in the upstairs rotunda of Mesa Public Library.
Though the Casads are almost forgotten, Hendricks’ book seeks to restore them to their rightful place in the history of the Mesilla Valley.
The Office of the State Historian is a division of the Commission of Public Records, State Records Center and Archives in Santa Fe. The mission of the Office of the State Historian is to foster and facilitate an appreciation and understanding of New Mexico history and culture through education, research, preservation and community outreach.
Hendricks was born in Waynesville, N.C., nestled between the Great Smokey and Blue Ridge Mountains.
He received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his doctorate in Ibero American Studies from the University of New Mexico. He also attended the Universidad de Sevilla in Spain.
He is a former editor of the “Vargas Project” at the University of New Mexico, a long-term, historical editing project that transcribed, translated and annotated the papers of New Mexico governor Don Diego de Vargas. Hendicks has been an historical consultant for Sandia, Santa Ana and Picuris Pueblos in New Mexico and Ysleta del Sur in Texas.
Following the conclusion of the Vargas Project, he worked in the Archives and Special Collections Department at New Mexico State University Library.
While there, he took part in the project to microfilm the Archivos Históricos del Arzobispado de Durango and the Archivos Históricos de Sombrerete and edited the guides to those collections. At New Mexico State University, Hendricks also taught courses in colonial Latin America and Mexican history.
He has written or collaborated on more than 16 books and 70 articles on the Spanish colonial period in the American Southwest and Mexico. His writings have garnered awards from the Historical Society of New Mexico, the New Mexico Historical Review, the El Paso County Historical Society, the Border Regional Library Association and the Doña Ana County Historical Society.
His most recent book, “New Mexico in 1801: The Priests Report,” was published in June 2008 by Rio Grande Books. He edited the “Southern New Mexico Historical Review,” a publication of the Doña Ana Historical Society, for a decade.