Friday, May 27, 2011

A Death in a Lesser Known Battle

A New Mexican battling the French was killed in modern-day Nebraska during the 1720 Villasur Expedition.

He was Domingo Pedraza Romero, grandfather of Eduarda Yturrieta (from the previous two posts).

The expedition began in June when Lt. Gov. and veteran soldier Pedro de Villasur was appointed by New Mexico Gov. Antonio Valverde to lead a Spanish army into central Nebraska to investigate French ambitions in territory that Spain claimed. The expedition 600 miles away included more than 40 soldiers and more than 60 Indian allies. Villasur, 34 of his soldiers, and 11 Pueblo scouts were killed in an attack by Pawnee Indians – who were allied with the French – after they crossed onto the North Platte River in August of that year. The Spanish called the North Platte the Rio de San Lorenzo, and they called the South Platte the Rio Jesus María.

Romero’s father-in-law, Santa Fe Presidio Lt. Francisco Montes Vigil, was one of the survivors of the campaign.

Romero was born in Guadalupe del Paso (modern-day El Paso) in 1686 during a period when Spanish settlers were living there – awaiting a return north following the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. Don Diego de Vargas led the re-conquest of the exiled and other families in the 1690s.

After his death, Romero’s wife, María Montes Vigil, married José Tenorio, who also came to New Mexico with the de Vargas expedition. This family, sans mother María, was living in Albuquerque at the time of the 1750 Spanish census. The census entry states that Tenorio is “widower of Maria Montes Vijil (sic), who had been married to Domingo Romero.” No last names are given for stepdaughter Juana Romero’s children.

Note: María Montes Vigil’s daughter was Juana Teresa Romero. And María’s second husband was José Tenorio. Those three names appear among the first settlers of the Belen Land Grant in 1740. Even Juana’s children appear to be listed, but under the Romero name.

“Blood on the Boulders: The Journals of Don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico 1694-97, Vol. 1.” By Diego de Vargas. John L. Kessell, Rick Hendricks & Meredith Dodge, editors. 1998. University of New Mexico Press. Page 561. (available in part online through Google ebooks.)

“Spanish and Mexican Censuses of New Mexico 1750 to 1830.” Compiled by Virginia Langham Olmsted, C.G. Pg. 82.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dowry Dispute Addenda

An article in the publication “Herencia” fleshes out the story of Doña Eduarda Yturrieta. Writer Francisco Sisneros read the 16-page report in the Spanish Archives of New Mexico and learned many more details about the dowry dispute in 1751.
Among his findings:

  • The proceeding concerned the dowry promised by Don Nicolás Durán y Cháves, Eduarda’s father-in-law. Apparently, he promised in writing on April 15, 1747, that he would give livestock and a choice piece of land near Belen to the newlyweds. That was one week before they married and about four years before Luís died. The letter was missing at the time of the 1751 depositions.

  • Eduarda had initially given power of attorney to her brother, José Mariano, but he apparently was paid off by Don Nicolás and went away to Zuñi, far north of Albuquerque, on urgent business. In a deposition, he said that he was satisfied that Don Nicolás had acted properly. If Eduarda leaned on anyone at this time, it would have been her step-grandfather, José Tenorio (her father apparently had dropped out the picture).

  • Don Nicolás said he had already given many gifts to the couple, listing numerous items such as: arms, a saddle, clothing, mattresses, etc.

  • By Oct. 15, 1751, the depositions were collected. Gov. Vélez Cachupín decided in Eduarda’s favor. She was to receive 730 pesos of livestock and land, as specified in the original dowry.

Another interesting fact in Sisneros’ article was that Luís died in late 1750 or early 1751 “after a prolonged infirmity, the result of an infectious wound from an arrow taken while on an Indian campaign.”

Source: “The Genealogy and Dowry of Doña Eduarda Yturrieta.” By Francisco Sisneros. “Herencia.” Volume 13, Issue 1, January 2005. Pgs. 32-39.
"Herencia" is a quarterly journal of the Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Young Woman's Dowry Dispute

One woman in 1700s New Mexico named Eduarda Yturrieta represents so many other women’s stories of the time. She married young, was widowed twice, and raised many children. But she was atypical because she sued her father-in-law in a dowry dispute.

Eduarda was a young Spanish woman who married into the famed Durán y Cháves clan that settled the northernmost region of New Spain in the 1600s. Her father-in-law was Don Nicolás Durán y Cháves, who was a landowner south of Albuquerque.

Eduarda Yturrieta, whose parents were José Mariano Yturrieta and Juana Teresa Romero, married Luís Chavez in April 1747. The couple had a daughter named Maria Isabel, who grew up in Los Padillas and is believed to have married Joaquin Torres – the great-grandfather of our progenitor Crespin Torres. Eduarda married her first husband 100 years before Crespin was born.

Eduarda reportedly was born in the 1730s in Plaza de Gutierres near Albuquerque. She and Luís lived in a place called Sitio de Gutierres in the 1750 Spanish census with their infant daughter Maria. Their family servants at the time were named Magdalena and Antonio.

Eduarda’s second husband was Diego Padilla. She had about 10 children with him born in the 1750s-’70s. But she was a widow by the time of the 1790 Spanish census, living at the Plaza de Los Padillas. And she likely died before 1802, when another Spanish census makes no mention of her in Plaza de Los Padillas or any other nearby community.


Online abstracts of the proceeding and book excerpts help explain the dispute, although we have not seen the original Spanish document:

Luís must have died in 1751 after only four years of marriage. While a dowry helped finance initial costs of creating a household, it also provided some economic security in the event of an early widowhood, according to author Ramón A. Gutiérrez. Livestock was the item most frequently used for dowries in New Mexico.

“Don Luís Durán y Chávez received ‘700 pesos … in 200 young, healthy and sheared ewes, 14 cows, and one team of plow oxen,’ from Doña Eduarda Itturrieta’s father at their 1747 betrothal,” Gutiérrez says.

With the help of her brother or father (they had the same name) and Albuquerque procurador Ramon Garcia Jurado, the nearly 20-year-old Eduarda sought to recover 730 pesos worth of the dowry to be paid in livestock. The matter was resolved in her favor as long as she would not make another claim that the debt was unpaid.

700-730 pesos? It wasn’t an exorbitant dowry but was a good sum at that time. An unrelated Spanish Archives entry – from a 1740s estate matter– gives an example of the value of some everyday items: steers were worth 20 pesos, cows were worth 16 pesos; mares were valued at 15 pesos; ewes were 2 pesos; a gun was about 40 pesos; a pair of silk stockings with gold embroidery, 8 pesos; and a saddle with silver mount, 120 pesos.

Dowry proceeding source: “The Spanish Archives of New Mexico: Compiled and chronologically arranged with historical, genealogical, geographical, and other annotations, by authority of the State of New Mexico. Vol. 2.” By Ralph Emerson Twitchell. The Torch Press. 1914. Page 229. Entry # 516.

Primary source: Spanish Archives of New Mexico (SANM II), 1621-1821; Roll 008, Frames. 0720-0735 (in Spanish).

“When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846.” By Ramón A. Gutiérrez.
Stanford University Press. 1991. Page 262.

“The Legal Culture of Northern New Spain 1700-1810.” By Charles R. Cutter. University of New Mexico Press. 1995. Pages 101, 192.