Maximiano de Herrera Montoya – known in life as Max – was my great grandfather. Max was born 21 Aug 1871 in Estaca, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, one of the sons of Jose Ylario Montoya and Maria Augustina de Herrera.
The village of Estaca is located in the Espanola Valley on the “high road” to Taos.
Estaca, also known as the Plaza de San Francisco, is home to the descendants of early Spanish settlers. (The village names of “Plaza de San Francisco” or “Estaca” and even “Bosque” seem to be used interchangeably.) I believe that Max’s genealogy will eventually be tied to that of Bartolome de Montoya (born in Cantillana (near Seville), Spain) who came to New Mexico via Mexico City with the Second Onate Expedition in December of 1600.
It does not appear that Max’s parents were married. Max’s mother, Maria Augustina de Herrera seems to have been the mistress of Max’s father. She lived in the same village – in fact, directly across the street from Jose Ylario Montoya and his wife Josefa. I image THAT could have been awkward.
Max married my great grandmother Maria Juana Adelia Martin on 6 Apr 1896 in the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. The couple had a large family – Maria Romancita (“Aunt Ramona”) born 1897; Elisa born 1899; Maria Francisca (“Aunt Frances”) born 1900; Jose Leopoldo born 1902; Jose Celestino (“Grandpa Joe”) born 1905; Juan Nepomuceno born 1908; Jose Amadeo born 1912; Augustina Felipa born 1914; Jose Hilario (“Larry”) born 1915 and Crecensio Raymundo born 1918.
Max and his wife owned a lovely property in the Espanola Valley bordering the Rio Grande River (Rio Bravo del Norte). On it stood the Montoya adobe compound along with the fruit and vegetable orchards which supported the family. As written to me by my cousin Carma: “In 1980, I traveled with my parents to New Mexico. We saw the home of Max and Juanita and it was made of adobe and was beginning to show its age. It had been vacant for many years and the center beams were falling. As my dad remembered the fun times at his grandparents, he told of wonderful meals, loving hugs and well wishes, of chile ristras and corn hanging from the porch, and of the happier times of youth. Dad told me several times that he truly felt loved by his Grandpa Max and Grandma Juanita.”
When my husband and I traveled to Estaca in 2009 – my goal was to find the remains of the Montoya adobe – and we DID find it! Sadly it is almost in ruins – but still there nonetheless. Very near that location – in Velarde – we found a street named Camino Montoya (“Montoya Way”).
Maximiano de Herrera Montoya died in Lyden, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico on 30 July 1945. He is laid to rest in the Velarde Cemetery – his gravestone is not identified but may “possibly” be marked as M.M.