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Fray Cristobal paraje

Named for a member of the Oñate entrada, the Paraje de Fray Cristóbal remained important throughout the period in which the Camino Real was in use. Oñate’s men facetiously remarked that the outline of the ridge of the mountain near present Elephant Butte Reservoir looked like the profile of Fray Cristóbal, saying he was “feisimo” (politely, not very good looking). It was described as a general area rather than a particular point but can be defined by its proximity to both the Río Grande and the Jornada del Muerto. In the nineteenth century, Fray Cristóbal became Fra Cristobal, as a modern local spelling and pronunciation without a “y” in Fray and without an accent in Cristóbal.