The southern Saints traveled to and wintered in Pueblo, CO. Elder James Z, Stewart was appointed to assist Elder Morgan in the selection of a suitable permanent location. Elder Stewart selected three men to undertake an exploratory journey into the San Luis Valley. The three men were George Wilson, Milton Evans and A. B. Bagwell. The four men traveled with few perversions and bedding, plus axes, spades and firearms. They traveled by train to Garland and then on foot to the Rio Grande, where a Mexican freighter hauled them across the river and near Los Cerritos. It was there they met Elder Peterson, whose knowledge of the area and the Spanish language was able to assist in arranging for food and temporary lodging for the families who would arrive shortly from Pueblo.
Elder Stewart successfully purchased two farms, totaling one hundred and sixty acres for eighty-five dollars from a Mexican family who believed the grazing-land to be exhausted. There were two houses already constructed on the land.
Daniel Sellers and family, Mary A. Kirkland(widow) and family, Patrick C. Haynie and wife, Mrs. Carlyn M. Bagwell and Brother Alonzo S. Blair along with the families of Brothers Peterson and Trujillo, were the first Latter-Day Saints to establish their homes in the San Luis Valley. They made several settlements including Manassa, Richfield and Sandford.
To learn more about the settlement by Mormons in the San Luis Valley watch this video made in collaboration between Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area, Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area and the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.