Born in Charleston, West Virginia and a graduate of West Point Military Academy, Charles Bent (1799~1847) was a mercantile trader who became the first Governor of the New Mexico Territory in September 1846. He established an office in Santa Fe, while retaining his retail business and home in Taos.
Tragically, Bent's time as Governor was quite short. In January 19, 1847, he was assassinated during the Taos Revolt, as an angry mob protested American rule.
Today, the Governor Bent House and Museum commemorates this historical figure and serves as the Gallery of Western Art. This is the actual adobe house where Bent died He was scalped alive and murdered, as members of his household escaped through a hole in the parlor wall.
Apart from the mid-19th century furnishings, artifacts, memorabilia, and exhibits related to Governor Bent's life, there are works on display by noted local artists. They include a series of paintings entitled "Rural Americana'' by Leal Mack, as well as pieces by Robert Dennis, O.E. Berninghaus, Endre Szabo, Ann Mallen, and Tom Waugh, among many others.
The Governor Bent House and Museum is open to the public daily from 9am to 5pm in summer and 10am to 4pm in winter. The fee for admission is $1 for adults and 50? for children. It is located a block north of Taos Plaza at 117 Bent Street, Taos, New Mexico 87571.