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.