Friday, February 27, 2015

Father and Son

This is a photograph of Frank Sanchez Jr. and Sr., probably taken in Los Angeles in the 1950s. Father and son weren’t really named the same. The elder was Francisco Fidel Sanchez, born Dec. 26, 1887 in Socorro, New Mexico. His oldest son was named Plutarco Frank Sanchez, born Oct 13, 1913 in Socorro.

The elder Frank married María Eucaris Saavedra Lueras from Albuquerque in 1912.  Their six children were born in Albuquerque. Francisco was a blacksmith and taught his trade at the Indian school. After all their children had moved to Los Angeles, Francisco and María moved in 1955 or '56. He died Jan. 14, 1967 and is buried at Resurrection Cemetery in Monterey Park, California.

Frank Jr. married twice, to Ernestine Whatley Callahan and Marina Loya. He had four children. Among other things, he was a teacher. Frank died in Los Angeles June 18, 1985.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tag-team Marriages

It seems widows and widowers did not stay single for very long in mid-19th-century Socorro – whether it was for the sake of children, or for love, or both. Perhaps the standard period of mourning a spouse was just a few months for our ancestors because the pool of spouse candidates was somewhat limited.

Much can be gleaned from reading the marriage records of the small town of Socorro, New Mexico. Following is a short tale of 1800s tag-team marriages – in which Crespin Torres’ grandfather, Juan Montoya, was at the center.

  • This string of marriages begins with the union of Maria Monica Abeita and Jose Lopez y Chaves in April 1843. He died “at the hands of Apaches” in March 1846, according to Socorro burial records. Monica remarried in 1849, to Juan Jose Tafoya (a widower of Juana Maria Apodaca).  Yet Juan Jose and Monica’s marriage was short-lived as Monica died the same year that they married. Juan Jose Tafoya’s future wife married twice-widowed Juan Montoya in 1847. After Juan Montoya died in March 1854, Tomasa (Luna) Montoya then married two-time widower Juan Jose Tafoya on Oct. 31, 1854. That was just 7 months later.

  • As for Juan Montoya’s second marriage, here's another future-spouse-around-the-corner circumstance. Juan Montoya’s first wife, Maria Manuela Garcia, was buried Dec. 18, 1833. The very next day, on Dec. 19, Tomas Baca, the husband of his next wife, was buried. Both of the deceased spouses were buried in Socorro; their deaths were registered by the same priest.  Juan and Monica Ortega mourned their spouses at the same time, and then married each other within 9 months. Their marriage date was Sept. 24, 1834. She had one son, and he had four children at the time. But this marriage ended with her death in November 1846. He married wife No. 3 just 9 months later.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merry Christmas

A collage of many familiar faces in the Torres family this holiday season. Click on the link to get a better look at the individual photos:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Post Office Job

José T. Torres, right, tried out a lot of jobs before he settled on the Santa Fe Railroad as a means to provide for his family. Here he is in Socorro, New Mexico, circa 1916 before he, his wife and his stepson moved to California. We don’t know who the postmaster was, but José looked quite dapper.

Much earlier, he tried his hand at mining. On the back of a tintype head shot of José (below), there is an address: 220 N. Union Ave., Pueblo, Colo.  That must have been the location of the photo studio, in today’s historic district of Pueblo. José was young when he went to Colorado to work in the mines, but he returned to New Mexico and met his future wife, Josie, in Albuquerque.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Crespin and Civic Duty

Here are some newspaper clippings of interest, showing that our patriarch Crespin Torres was a citizen involved in his community of Socorro, New Mexico.

These are all from the Socorro Chieftain newspaper around the turn of the 20th century.

Crespin was elected to office as enfermerero for the Catholic Knights - Jan. 2, 1897

Crespin on petit jury - May 9, 1903

Running for Fourth Ward council member; he didn't win - April 4, 1908 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Historic 400-year-old San Miguel Catholic Church in Socorro to re -open

Historic Old San Miguel Catholic Church in Socorro New Mexico to re-open.
Present Torres family members and their ancestors do and have attended.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ramon Garcia Jurado: Fleeing The Kingdom

Leaving the Kingdom of New Mexico without permission wasn’t allowed in the early 1700s – not without permission of the governor because the kingdom needed families to populate and defend the remote area.

Our ancestor Ramon Garcia Jurado, who became “procurador” in Albuquerque, learned that lesson in 1715 after the Day of San Juan. Garcia Jurado was Crespin Torres’ 3rd great-grandfather on his mother’s side. As procurador, or lawyer, Garcia Jurado helped another ancestor in a dowry case against her own father-in-law. Click HERE and HERE to read more.

Though Garcia Jurado later settled down in Albuquerque, when he was 23 Garcia Jurado left New Mexico without permission, and documents show that he didn’t get along with his in-laws at the time. He later served as alcalde of Bernalillo and is listed as a retired lieutenant in the 1750 Albuquerque census. He also is believed to have carved his name in Inscription Rock near Zuni Pueblo.

Garcia Jurado remained in New Mexico till his death in 1760 at age 80-plus.

The incident of fleeing the kingdom is reported in the Spanish Archives in a document regarding five men leaving without permission. The other four “fugitives” were Cristobal de Arellano, Bartolome Garduno, Bernardino Fernandez and Carlos Lopez.

Was it an unsanctioned trading expedition? Cristobal de Arellano had been a soldier in the Zuni region, and the group of men are suspected to have gone to the pueblos. Nothing ever came of the investigation by agents of governor and captain general Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollon. But friends and relatives were questioned.

Ramon Garcia’s father-in-law was Martin Hurtado, one of the founders of Albuquerque, the first alcalde of Albuquerque and the captain of a military squad. He told investigators that his son-in-law left on the feast day of San Juan – June 24, 1715 – about 4 in the afternoon. He also said his son-in-law gambled away everything he had, including his buttons. The father-in-law had reprimanded him. He added that his son-in-law had even gambled away his single horse. Hurtado, who said he was 45, signed the statement.

When Bernardina Hurtado (Ramon Garcia Jurado’s second wife) was interviewed, she said that her husband had not told her anything and that he didn’t confide in her because he didn’t want her telling her mother and father. She said he had asked her to make some lengths of cloth for San Juan Day. When he mounted his horse the day that he left, he simply said, “Adios hija.” She did not sign the statement because she did not know how.

Testimony from others such as wife of Cristobal de Arellano said he left without even taking a tortilla. But again nothing came of the investigation except for multiple pages in the Spanish Archives.

As for leaving the kingdom, here’s a 1732 notice from Gov. Gervasio Cruzat y Gongora from Spanish Archives: "No one is to leave the province without my express permission. For all of this, the said alcaldes mayores are to submit a list of all who intend to go, so that upon reviewing it, permission is granted for them to leave."

“Spanish Colonial Lives. Documents from the Spanish Colonial Archives of New Mexico 1705-1774." Linda Tigges, editor and J. Richard Salazar, translator. Pages 106-124. Page 182.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Esther Pool Dies at 95, Leaving Legacy

A family treasure recently joined our ancestors.

Esther Pool, the daughter of Jose T. Torres and Josie Armijo, died on Aug. 9 at age 95.

In those years, she shared so much with so many family members. She gave us her loving spirit and untold family stories.

I’m her daughter. I wouldn’t have become interested in genealogy if I hadn’t had such an inquisitive mom who listened to family stories and retold them accurately.

She knew about her California family, but she heard stories about her New Mexico cousins and ancestors and talked about them. She even listened intently to stories of my father’s Southern and Texas roots and could repeat those tales, as well.

She was ever observant. She soaked up details. I always thought she would have made a good detective.

And most of all, she got her stories right. When I located an actual record, I could see that my mom’s story was verified. When I wrote narratives for personal use, I let her read them. She pointed out a couple of minor mistakes here and there.

She was my editor as well as my trusted source.

Those 95 years of sharing were priceless. CLICK HERE to read her life story

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Widowed at 14

Josefa Montoya, Crespin Torres’ mother, only lived 30 years. She brought 7 children into the world, yet she had little opportunity to know her loved ones.

Born Dec. 6, 1819, Josefa – the daughter of Maria Manuela Garcia and Juan Montoya ­ – was one of the first babies born in the town of Socorro, which was established around that time. Her baptism took place in Belen because the San Miguel church was not yet completed.

Her paternal grandfather, Antonio Montoya, was killed by Navajo Indians in 1822, according to Socorro burial records. Antonio Montoya already was widowed by Guadalupe Salazar by the time of his death and burial on March 19, 1822. Josefa’s  maternal grandmother Josefa Sanchez, also likely died before young Josefa was born. And her maternal grandfather, Xavier Garcia Jurado – an original grantee of the Socorro Land grant – died around the 1820s.

Josefa married in September 1832 – not yet even 14 years old. The next year was perhaps the most significant of her life, as she was soon widowed.

In early 1833, Josefa received her confirmation at St. Miguel church in Socorro. Records show that a woman named Barbara Chaves was her madrina. In December 1833, Josefa’s  husband Antonio Chaves, about age 30, was killed “a manos de enimigos” – presumably at the hands of Indians. Only a couple of weeks later, mom Manuela Garcia died. Both the husband and mom were listed in the 1833 Socorro census, but were gone by year-end, burial records confirm.

A little more than a year later, on Jan. 20 1835, she married Anastacio Torres and had the following children: Juan, Epifano, Melquiades, Apolonio, Canuto, Crespin and Dolores. We suspect that she died in March 1850 during the birth of their daughter, Dolores.

While Josefa’s death doesn’t appear in the Socorro church burial records, her husband Anastacio's death does. He died Nov. 8, 1850. Son Crespin's obituary in 1937 noted that the couple died seven months apart.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cool Ride

Half-brothers Ben Lubbon and Santos Torres hang out circa 1930 in Lubbon’s car in Fresno, California. The Fresno family of José Torres and Josie Armijo sometimes took trips to Los Angeles in the eldest son’s car. The 250-mile trip through a mountain pass took 13 hours in those days. A winding, two-lane highway linking the Los Angeles Basin with the San Joaquin Valley over the Tejon Pass was called the Ridge Route. Now the trip only takes 4 hours on Interstate 5.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

3 Socorro Siblings

Crespin and Andreita’s 3 youngest children were Lola, Rogerio and Lupe Torres, who lived their entire lives in Socorro. Here are three bits of information about each of them.

First: a clipping from the Socorro Chieftain on Oct. 27, 1906 regarding a major accident involving Rogerio (seems like the loss of a young man’s leg might have merited a bigger news story). Rogerio was injured on Tuesday, Oct. 23 -- a couple of months before he turned 19. He married Clara (Sanchez) McCullough and lived till age 46. CLICK I HERE to see the entire front page of the Saturday newspaper. The item is in the third column.

Second: a photo of Lupe with her husband Thomas Olguin from 1960, courtesy of a grandson. The rare photo of the couple was taken near the Socorro home of one of their sons who was named Crespiniano. Lupe enjoyed a long life, sharing time with her family in Socorro until 1881 – when she died at 90 years old.

And finally: the obituary of Lola Stapleton. This copy was passed down from family members. The  actual date and name of the newspaper were not recorded, but it’s a good bet that the obituary appeared in the Socorro Defensor Chieftain in December 1952, or maybe even January 1953.

 P.S.: Note that Lola’s brothers Jose and Apolonio were still living at the time of her death. Jose died in 1959 in Los Angeles, but we still haven’t figured out when and where Apolonio died.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Married 145 Years Ago

This is the entry into the church records that Father Benito Bernard made 145 years ago today when he married our ancestors Crespin Torres and Andrea Trujillo at San Miguel Catholic Church. The couple, who married in Socorro, New Mexico on April 5, 1869, lived together for 56 years until her death in 1926. They were lifelong residents of Socorro. Witnesses to their marriage were Crespin’s first cousins Severo and Catalina Baca. Severo married later that same year.

April 5, 1869 marriage of Crespin Torres and Andrea Trujillo