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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.