Maria Ramoncita Montoya Gallegos was my grand-aunt – she was known as Aunt Ramona to my father – and she was the dearly loved grandmother of my second cousin Carma Gallegos Owen.
Ramoncita Montoya was the first child born to Maximiano de Herrera Montoya and Maria Juana Adelia Martin”ez.” Born 27 Feb 1897 in Bosque, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, her birth and christening (7 Mar 1897) are recorded in the books of the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church.
Aunt Ramona lived in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico her entire life. We can find her there in the 1900 census where she is three years old. Her parents at this point have been married four years. Her mother has given birth twice but only Ramona is alive. Sister Elisa was born in 31 Jan 1899 and died before the 1900 census. Living nearby is Ilario J. Montoya and wife Josefa Montoya. Ilario is Ramoncita’s grandfather. Also close by is her grandmother – Agustina Herrera with several of Ramoncita’s aunts and uncles. Additionally, her future husband, Florentino Gallegos can be found in the census living nearby with his uncle Roybal Soledad.
By the 1910 census Ramona is 13 years old. She is with her parents, Max and Juanita, who have been married 14 years. Her siblings present in the home are: Francisca, 10, Leopoldo, 8, Celestino, 6 (my grandfather), and Juan, age 6.
On 5 July 1916, Ramona married Florentino Gallegos in the San Juan de los Caballos Catholic Church in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. Florentino was born on 11 Nov. 1873 to Juan Francisco Gallegos and Maria Isabel Martin.
My Aunt Margie and Uncle Louie (along with their other siblings, including my father) spent some summer vacation time with their grandparents in New Mexico. What Aunt Margie remembers the most about Aunt Ramona was that her house was always very neat and clean. She doesn’t remember much about Ramona’s husband other than she remembers him being very tall and quiet. Aunt Ramona spoke no English – only Spanish so there was somewhat of a language barrier. Margie said that one afternoon she was at Aunt Ramona’s house – in one of the bedrooms – and a snake slithered in and hit itself under the bed. Margie was screaming out the Spanish word for snake – but must have gotten it wrong – because Aunt Ramona just laughed and shook her head at little Margie!
My cousin Carma Gallegos Owen has done extensive research on her grandparents, and all her family, and has written about them comprehensively. Here is an excerpt of a piece that was published in the New Mexico Genealogist – The Journal of the New Mexico Genealogical Society, which was published June 2006 (Vol. 45, No. 2):
Florentino and Ramoncita had five children, two of whom died in childhood.* Florentino was a well-respected carpenter and was known for his large vegetable garden and fruit orchard. He was well over 6 feet tall. In contrast Ramoncita was short. She enjoyed sewing and embroidery and was an excellent cook. Besides raising their family, one of their contributions to the community was the assisting in building of the Capilla de San Francisco de Asis in 1936. The construction, in the center of Estaca village, took two years to complete.
*Maria de los Angeles born 1918; Jose Eugenio born in 1920; Juan born in 1923 and Josifita “Josie” born in 1926. The name and birth year of the fifth child are unknown to me.
Florentino Gallegos died at the age of 84 on 5 Nov. 1958. He is laid to rest in El Guigue Cemetery in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. Ramona lived to be 84 years old as well, dying on 27 Oct 1981 in Espanola, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. She is laid to rest with her husband in El Guigue Cemetery.
- Aunt Francis – Maria Francisca Montoya Sanchez (curbowfamily.wordpress.com)
- Jose Leopoldo Montoya (curbowfamily.wordpress.com)
- Our Roots Run Deep (curbowfamily.wordpress.com)