Aunt Francis – Maria Francisca Montoya Sanchez

13 Feb

Maria Francisca Montoya was known to my father as “Aunt Francis.”  She was one of the daughters born to Maximiano Montoya and Juana Martin in Bosque, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico on 3 Aug 1900.  The Montoya families were members of the Catholic faith, and thus, shortly after her birth on 8 Aug 1900 she was christened in the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church in Rio Arriba County. 

Aunt Francis with her brother Jose Celestino Montoya and husband Abel Sanchez in the background

At the age of 16, on 29 Jan 1917, Aunt Francis married Jose Abel Sanchez.  The marriage took place at (and is recorded in the marriage books of) the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church.  Abel, the oldest son of Luis M. Sanchez and Maria Ascension Martinez, was born in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico on 28 Sept. 1890.  When Uncle Abel filled out his World War I Draft Registration Card on 5 June 1917, at the age of 27, he lists himself as “married,” and a railroad track man by occupation.  He is employed by The New Mexico Lumber Company in El Vado.  He described himself as being short and with medium build with black hair and brown eyes.

 In the 1920 census period, Aunt Francis and Uncle Abel are still in Rio Arriba County – living in El Vado.  El Vado, once the “company town” for R.G. & SW rail line and a booming and bustling lumber center in northern Rio Arriba County is now a ghost town.  In the census, Uncle Abel is listed as a “section foreman working for the railroad.”  It is assumed that he was employed by R.G. & SW.  

El Vado Lake - near the defunct lumber/rail town of El Vado, New Mexico

 In 1930, Francis and Abel are still in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, and in fact, I believe they lived their entire lives there.  Interestingly, all of our Hispanic ancestors in New Mexico are listed as “white” because they are of Spanish descent.  According to this census, Francis and Abel owned their own home (which is a farm); but, do not own a radio.  For some strange reason – this was one of the questions on the 1930 census! 

 Aunt Francis and Uncle Abel had the following known children:  Luis in 1918; Augustina/Filomena in 1920; Orlesta in 1922; Delfin in 1924; and Arturo in 1928. 

 This is the last known record that Maria Francisca Montoya Sanchez left us.  The Social Security Death Index has a listing for:  Marie F. Sanchez – 29 Oct. 1988 in Chimayo, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico.  I feel this is probably her – but, unfortunately, the birth date does not match – so I cannot say for certain.  The family recollection is that Aunt Francis died around 1986 in nearby Ojo Caliente. 

Abel Sanchez died 28 January 1978.  His Social Security card was issued in Colorado.  When the railroad town of El Vada shut down in 1923, they moved their operations to Colorado.  So it is very likely that Abel spent some time working in Colorado between the 1920 and 1930 census period. 

I know next to nothing about the children of Francis Montoya and Abel Sanchez.  I assume that there would be some descendants – and that they would probably be living in the Rio Arriba County area of New Mexico.  If any of the children and/or grandchildren of Francis and Abel stumble across this posting – I would love to hear from you !


Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Montoya, Sanchez


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2 responses to “Aunt Francis – Maria Francisca Montoya Sanchez

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