Manuelita De Los Reyes Lujan

12 Apr

Manuelita De Los Reyes Lujan was my grandfather Montoya’s first wife.  She was born in San Francisco (also known as Estaca) Rio Arriba County, New Mexico on the 10th day of June 1904.  She was christened two days later on the 12th of June, 1904 at the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church.  Manuelita was the first daughter born to Antonio Jose Lujan (1861-1935) and his wife Maria Encarnacion Martinez (or perhaps Martin) (1857-1926).  The Lujan surname has a long history in northern New Mexico.  Manuelita’s line seems to have been traced back at least to Jose Santos Lujan born 1808 in Abiquiu, when New Mexico was under Spanish rule. 

Manuelita grew up in and lived all of her life in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico.  In the 1910 census (where she is about 5 years old) and in the 1920 census (where she is about 15 years old), she can be found living with her father Antonio, who was a farmer and who later owned his own farm and her mother Maria.  Manuelita had the following known siblings, who can be found in the census records with her:  Antonio (or Bernardo) born 1900; Jose B., born 1907; Tomas or Tomacito born 1908; and Juana Elisaida born 1911.  The family were Spanish speakers.

State of New Mexico – highlighting Rio Arriba County

On 23 February, 1925 Manuelita married my grandfather, Jose Celestino Encarnacion Montoya at the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico.  You can see a picture of the church here:

The couple had three boys:  Jose Encarnacion Antonio Montoya who was born 1926 and died in 1927; David Alfonzo Montoya who was born in 1928 and is thought still to be alive and Peter Augustine Montoya who was born in 1929 and died in 1997. 

The 1930 census, which was enumerated on April 2nd, finds Manuelita and Celestino living in Alcalde in Rio Arriba County.  Alcalde (or sometimes Los Luceros) translated means “mayor,” and lies in one of the oldest viticulture sites in North America.  It is reported that Don Juan de Oñate brought grapevines with him over four centuries ago.  When my husband and I traveled there, we were very surprised to see all the fruit trees and grape vineyards flourishing in the Espanola Valley.  I am given to understand that my great-grandfather Maximiano Montoya owned a very large apple orchard with which he supported his family. 

In the census Manuelita is indexed as “wife Manuelita Montoya,” age 24, born about 1906.  She is with her husband who is misindexed as “Celestina,” age 25 and sons David, 2 and Pedro, 6 months (Family #9).  The couple owns their own home which is worth $300 – and they own a radio too!  My grandfather lists his occupation as “laborer doing odd jobs.”  Family #6 is Florentino and Ramoncita Gallegos; Ramona being Celestino’s oldest sister and Family #8 is Jose Antonio Lujan, the father of Manuelita.

1930 Census


A little over a year later, on 13 Aug 1931, Manuelita died. This date was taken from the New Mexico Deaths database, and I do not have a copy of her death certificate. No one in the family seems to know what caused her death at the age of 27. She was laid to rest the next day at the San Rafael de Guigne Cemetery in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico.

After the death of Manuelita, my grandfather, along with his brother Leopoldo,left for Utah during the Great Depression to work the Kennecott Mine in Bingham Canyon, Utah, where he met my grandmother, Pearl Eva Spencer.  It is presumed by family members that the two boys Dave and Pete were left behind in New Mexico with relatives.  It is unknown to me when the family reunited.

David Alfonzo Montoya (Dave to his family) was my father’s half-brother.  He married Adela Garcia on 9 Apr 1951. Adela recently died in 2009, and it is thought that Dave may still be alive and living in Utah. Dave and Adela Montoya were my Godparents. The couple had at least the following children: Lee; Leo; Lois; Madeline; Mark; Raymond; George; David; James; and Manuelita.

Me – on the day of my christening – with Dave and Dela Montoya


Peter Augustine Montoya (Pete to his family) was also my father’s half-brother.  I am fairly certain that Pete married and had children; however, I know nothing about them.  Pete was living in Castro Valley, Alameda County, California at the time of his death in 1997.

Jose Celestino Montoya in his old age - Dave on left and Pete on right

I would very much like to be in touch with any of Dave’s or Pete’s children or grandchildren to talk about the Montoya/Lujan genealogy.










Posted by on April 12, 2011 in Lujan, Montoya


Tags: , , , ,

8 responses to “Manuelita De Los Reyes Lujan

  1. Christopher Montoya

    March 27, 2012 at 2:24 am

    I am the grandson of David and Adela Montoya. I am the son of their son George.

    • Judy Curbow

      March 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      Hi Christopher – always love to hear from cousins! I sent you an email privately as well. Thanks for stopping by. Judy

  2. Madeline Montoya Ortega

    March 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Hello Judy,my name is Madeline Montoya Ortega,I am the first born daughter of David and Adela Montoya.I am pleased to tell you that my dad is still alive and well.He lives here in Salt Lake City,Utah,it would be nice to connect with you.

    • Judy Curbow

      March 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Hi Madeline – I’m glad you found me! I sent you an email at your personal email address. Best regards, Judy

  3. tobias lujan

    June 18, 2013 at 9:21 am

    my name tobias lujan dave montoya is godfather he is my fathers nephew sevedeo lujan antonio lujan was my grandfather

    • Judy Curbow

      June 24, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      Hi Tobias: Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me this message. I spoke to Dave Montoya for the first time last year! He and his wife were my god parents! He is also my uncle – my father’s oldest brother. I would like to learn more about the Lujan family if you would like to share. I have your grandfather in my database – here is the link: My father was Richard E. Montoya, a son of Jose Celestino Montoya and Pearl Eva Spencer. Joe was first married to Manuelita Lujan. Do you know what happened to her that she died so young? I am glad you emailed and would love to hear from you. Best regards, Judy

  4. Manuelita Montoya

    March 7, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Hello Judy, my name is Manuelita Montoya I am David and Adela Montoya’s only other living daughter I am sad to say my dad passed away yesterday. My brother George and I came across your blog and started reading and of course sharing memories, stories, and things we know that our dad has always told us. It would be nice to hear from you

    • Judy Curbow

      March 13, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Again, your Austin cousins are so sorry to hear about the loss of Uncle David. I hope this blog in some small way gave you some comfort and that you enjoyed the stories and the photographs. I sent you a private email. Love Judy


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