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Monday, November 4, 2013

AN INDELIBLE MARK BY ONE MAN




ANASTACIO TORRES
Another Torres family that left an indelible mark on
Socorro was Anastacio "A.C." Torres. Born in 1868 to
Canuto Torres and Isabelita Padilla y Abeyta, he was
educated at the Sisters of Loretto Convent in Socorro.
In 1883 he worked as a clerk at the Price Brothers
Mercantile store in San Antonio. Studying to be an
educator, he mastered both the Spanish and English
languages. With these skills, he worked as a school
teacher and court interpreter in Socorro for many years.
In 1890, he was also elected City Clerk.
In 1904, while teaching 3rd grade in San Antonio, he
bought the El Republicano Printing Company. Armed
with a printing press and his language skills, he
published the first edition of Socorro's bilingual
newspaper, the "El Defensor," on May 7, 1904.
He married Margarita Montoya of Socorro in 1915,
raising 2 sons and 5 daughters. While still the publisher
and editor of the El Defensor, he was elected as State
Representative in 1931, and the following year as State
Senator, representing Socorro and Catron Counties for
two terms. From 1953 through 1957, A.C. Torres
proudly added "The Free State of Socorro" to the
newspaper's masthead, being a spirited supporter of the
movement.
In 1957, A.C. Torres semi-retired. After all, he was now
87 years old! He sold the paper to the Morgan family
from Kansas, though he stayed on as Honorary Editor
and continued writing the Spanish language portions of
the paper. In 1959, the Morgan's ceased publishing the
El Defensor for personal reasons. At 89 years of age,
A.C. Torres was in no position to reassume the daily
operation of the paper.
In October 1959, he merged his beloved newspaper
with the Socorro Chieftain. The first issue of the
combined "Socorro El Defensor-Chieftain" was
published on November 3, 1959.
Printing the El Defensor for 55 years, Anastacio C.
Torres was the longest enduring publisher and editor in
Socorro's history, and perhaps in New Mexico. The
merger of these two institutions has brought continuous
newspaper service to Socorro County for over 120
years. The El Defensor Chieftain is recognized as the
3rd oldest newspaper in New Mexico, and one of the
longest running historical records in the Southwest.

Originally published in El Defensor Chieftain
newspaper, Saturday, October 1, 2005

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