Category Archives: Montoya

Genealogy of the Montoya Family

Memories and Ramblings

Since I spend so much of my free time researching and writing about dead people, I thought it might be a welcomed change of pace (for me and for you) to let you take a small peek into my childhood.

As some of you may know, I was born at Fort Riley, Kansas into a military family.  I spent the first five years of my life overseas in Nurnberg, Germany. 

During the early 1960s the war in Vietnam was beginning to brew and by 1965 the United States was embroiled in combat operations.  Increased guerrilla insurgency in South Vietnam led to the deployment of the 1st Infantry Division, my father’s division, to Southeast Asia.  It was early 1966 – and we were heading back to Fort Riley, Kansas – where my father would participate in one year of combat training – and then he was scheduled to deploy with his unit to Vietnam.  I was five years old. 

We returned to the United States via a ten-day trip on the USNS Upshur.  I had a lot of fun reading sailors and soldiers who were blogging about the USNS Upshur a/k/a the USNS Upchuck !!!  Apparently military sea travel was not exactly like cruising on the Rhapsody of the Seas!  I have a vivid memory of the muster call (fire drill).  Every hand was required on deck with their life jackets on.  I remember my mother putting life vests on both my younger sister and me and taking us on deck all the while being accompanied by the sounds of wailing sirens.  As little girls, we didn’t understand that it was only a required drill, and we were very frightened.   

USNS Upshur

At the end of the journey, as we neared the shores of the United States, I remember the excitement building.  Everyone was heading to the top deck – including us – and I remember quite clearly passing the Statute of Liberty as we sailed into New York Harbor.  Even as a very small child I understood that I was seeing something special.  Lady Liberty was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and she is the universal symbol of freedom and democracy.  New York City is high up on my list of places to see again, and I hope I make it back there some day.

Once on dry land – my father wasted no time in getting us on the road – and we headed for Kansas.  One thing you need to know about my father – he loved a good road trip – and once he got on the highway there was no stopping him.  And that included little girls whining and fussing in the back seat.  After one particularly long and brutal day on the road my mother finally convinced him to stop at a small motel – where we were I do not know.  After settling into the room we walked across the highway to a small diner.  I had spaghetti which I promptly threw up on the highway as we walked back to our room.  To this day – I get car sick if I have to travel long distances in the back seat.  That night my father tucked me and my sister into bed where we fell asleep watching the Red Skelton Show – and for a small moment in time – all was good with the world.

During our year in Fort Riley, we lived in what my family still calls “the Pink House.”  It was a small two-level duplex, and it was painted – well, pink!  The summer before I started Kindergarten, in preparation for my father’s deployment, he was scheduled to participate in six weeks of specialized training maneuvers at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. Most dependents stayed in Kansas – but my father wanted his family to join him there. In light of my father’s impending departure, my grandmother had arrived from Germany. She would be with us while he was gone, and she was with us that summer in Wisconsin. My parents rented some rooms in a home near his training station in the town of Sparta, Wisconsin. Sparta is a small town on the La Cross River in the western part of the state.

On one random day that year – I found my father sitting on the staircase with his head in his hands and tears trickling down his face. When I asked him what was wrong he told me that it was almost time for him to leave on his tour to Vietnam.  I was a small child and could not understand what he was saying.  I went about my day feeling a great uneasiness settle over me.  What was this Vietnam thing looming over us?

Some time shortly before or right at the time of my father’s deployment our family moved to Salina, Kansas. On the great plains of Kansas – where once stood an old air force base known as Smokey Hill – now stood Schilling Manor (a sub-post of Fort Riley) – the only base ever to be set aside for the wives and children of soldiers assigned to Vietnam. It was known as the “Home of the Waiting Wives.” Our little house was located at 150 Hoover Court.  During the course of the Vietnam war, Shilling Manor became the home of thousands of wives and children of servicemen, of all ranks and branches, serving tours in Vietnam.

All too soon it was time for my father to leave us.  Fortunately my sister and I were too young to fully comprehend the impending heartache.   One day in January of 1967 my father left us.  I was six years old. I remember bits and pieces of that day quite clearly. My father took us to the home of a friend – who was also deploying. The families said their good-byes together and then he was gone. I remember my mother crying silently into a handkerchief as she watched her husband walk out the door. I was frightened and bewildered – I had never seen my mother cry. Only now that I am an adult do I fully appreciate the burden placed upon my mother – a foreign-born woman in a strange new land having the sole responsibility of two small children and a household all alone for 12 months all the while knowing that her husband’s very life would be on the line each and every day.

Unknown to me at the time, but discovered through some research, my father and his unit traveled by train from Fort Riley, Kansas to Oakland, California where they boarded the troop ship USS General John Pope for the three-week trip to southeast Asia. After a beach landing they were shuttled by trucks to what became known as Bearcat Camp. This would be his home for 12 long months.

Bearcat Camp was located some 20 miles northeast of Saigon. It was located in the Viet-Cong infested Mekong Delta.  Legend called the Mekong Delta plain the “Land of Nine Dragons,” named for the nine branches of the mighty Mekong River whose passage to the South China Sea opened into the symbolic mouth of a dragon….and a dangerous dragon it was.

Bearcat Camp - Vietnam

Meanwhile, back in the United States, living at Schilling Manor held many challenges for us as well. Even though I was a young child – and did not really understand the consequences of war – I sensed the unease and stress that surrounded me daily.  We not only heard the death tolls on the evenings news – we lived them in a very real way.

Having a father in Vietnam profoundly changed me (he was deployed twice during his military career).  Of course we counted the days until his return but we were also very aware that a lot of fathers were not returning home.  I have often attempted to explain to my husband and son the trepidation that we felt each time we saw the dark Army car driving up the road with an officer and/or a clergyman inside.  Sadly, even at such a young age, we knew what that meant.  Back in 1967 there was no such thing as the internet and no phone calls came from our father.  We relied solely on the military postal service.  Sometimes my father would be able to record a message on a cassette tape and send it to us.  We looked forward to hearing his voice on those occasions.  Needless to say – checking the mail – was a big deal.  It’s hard to explain the camaraderie that is built with other families when living under these conditions.  My mother has friends that she met at Schilling Manor that she corresponds with to this day. 

Richard Ernest Montoya - One of the Polaroids my dad sent home

Nonetheless, life did go on, and I have many happy memories of our time in Salina, Kansas.  My grandmother was with us, and this eased the burden on all of us while we waited. 

My mother – always the adventurous type – was not content to sit still and mope about for very long.  The four of us took many trips together – the zoo in Manhattan was always a favorite; the old western cattle town of Dodge City where we watched gun-fighting re-enactments on Front Street; the Indian reservations of the Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne and Comanche tribes; the sacred Pawnee Indian burial grounds; Red Rock Canyon; Horse Thief Canyon; and many picnics at Lake Kanapolis in the Smoky Hill River Valley.

My sis and I had our 15 minutes of fame when we made the front page of The Junction City Republic in February of 1967!  “A Valentine to Vietnam – Judy Montoya, age 6, shows her sister, Joan, age 4, a valentine that they could send to their father, E-6, Richard Montoya, who is stationed in Vietnam.  The girls and their mother, Mrs. Richard Montoya, reside at 150 Hoover Court, Schilling Manor, Salina, Kansas.” The news reporter caught us in a drug store and asked us to pose holding a Valentine’s Day card! 

And just like that – my father was back. 




Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Montoya, Times and Places


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Manuelita De Los Reyes Lujan

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


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Army Brat


 After my father’s retirement from the United States Army, my parents bought a home and settled in Austin, Texas, on the Williamson County line. I entered the 10th grade in the fall of 1976 at Round Rock High School. (Yes, I know – that’s ancient history.) I was often asked by other students, “Where are you from?” And I frequently found it difficult to give an answer. I was really from nowhere. My father was born and raised in Utah – but I had never lived there myself – so that wasn’t really home for me. My mother was born in Germany – and even though that had in fact been home for an extended period of time – sadly that wasn’t really home any more either.

My sister and I suffered a double whammy of culture shock: (1) Europe to Round Rock, Texas; and (2) military life to civilian life. It was a very difficult transition for me to make.

When I said “you guys,” and asked which “housing area” people lived in – the Texans looked at me as if I had grown a horn out of the middle of my head. (Okay, it was Round Rock – 1976 – what can I say…..?)  Imagine the look on my face the first time I heard someone being called a “red-neck” or a “goat roper.” Imagine the looks that little white Judy “Montoya” got in the class room. I didn’t know that people actually still wore cowboy boots.I didn’t know what a TV game show was.  I missed my Bavarian bread!  Where’s the PX?!  And where are all those Texas tumbleweeds I had heard about?!

Due to the many moves an Army Brat typically makes – my sister and I were constantly making new friends to replace the ones that we had lost. We learned quickly to adapt to whatever new or different situation presented itself. As highly mobile children we were much more likely to reach out to a new student because we knew what it was like to be the new kid on the block. There are so many names and faces that I would love to reconnect with. I have a very special heart friend – Linda – and we were thick as thieves in Germany. To this day we correspond with each other and we still enjoy talking about “the good old days.”

Although we moved a lot – we did not grow accustomed to it – and the moves actually became increasingly difficult the older we got. Looking back on things now – I would not have traded my experiences for anything. This became abundantly clear when I landed in Round Rock, Texas in 1976!  Military culture is unique in so many ways – I have had the opportunity to live and travel throughout Europe – and have had a wealth of experiences unmatched by most Americans.

And now 36 years have passed since my transition to my new life in America.  I’m happy to say that I’ve been Texan-ized, and like they say:

I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could!





Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Montoya, Odds and Ends, Times and Places


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Estaca – Plaza at an Ancient Crossroads

When my husand and I were deciding on where to vacation last year – New Mexico or the Ozaarks – it was an obvious choice for me!  Of course, I wanted to go to nothern New Mexico to visit the ancestral family home of my Montoya family.
After spending a few days in Santa Fe we headed north. And there we found Estaca – a small series of villages nestled between the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (the lower Rockies) and the mighty Rio Grande on the high road to Taos.  As I understand it, Estaca is comprised of several small communities (or villages) and the names are very often used interchangeably in the records:  Rancho de los Lopez; Acequia de San Rafael; Plaza de San Francisco; Rio Grande Bosque; Rio Grande; and Arroyo del Palacio.  All of these small communities lie in the Espanola Valley which is about halfway between Taos and Santa Fe.  Would it sound cheesy and predictable to say that my spirit immediately felt “at home” ?
Our fist mission was to find the San Juan de los Caballeros Church at San Juan Pueblo. Within the walls of this church are kept the records of at least three generations (and probably four) of my Montoya family recording births, christenings, marriages, deaths and burials. The pueblo was founded around 1200 by the Tewa people who moved there from the north (perhaps southern Colorado). The Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Onate took control in 1598 and renamed the pueblo San Juan de los Caballeros.  He then established the first Spanish capital of New Mexico nearby, thereby merging two great cultures.  In November of 2005 the pueblo returned to its pre-Spanish name – Ihkay Owingeh – “place of the strong people.”

San Juan Pueblo - abt 1906 - church in background

After touring the church grounds and the pueblo, the hunt was on for the ruins of the Montoya adobe. However, before we found them, there were more surprises in store for us. We headed north from the church and crossed the Ro Grande River on the San Juan bridge, from there we took a right on the first road – the Camino Real.  We drove about four miles and we were there.  We came to a small plaza of sorts and in the middle of the road stood a small chapel.

San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church - present day

Unbeknownst to me at the time, we had arrived at The Plaza and La Capilla (Little Chapel) de San Francisco de Asis.  Delfinia Romero lovingly speaks of the Capilla in a book written by Mary Coyne entitled, A History of Estaca, New Mexico:

The Capilla remains at the heart of this community still, and as I look at it from my window, I contemplate how through the passing years it has consistently been solid, true, constantly there. The purpose of the little brown chapel has always been the same: to give devotion to el patroncillo, the patron Saint Francis and his ideals of hard work, poverty and love of animals. The devotion renews the beliefs and values at the very core of existence for the families in Estaca.

When the story is told of the building of the chapel, we recall that the women….Elizaida, Margarita, Rosaura and Ramoncita {Ramoncita Montoya Gallegos – my great aunt} – used their bare hands to spread the mud plaster on the walls, rubbing gently to make them smooth and to forever imprint upon the capillita their souls as well as their very beings. It will be told that the grave in front of the chapel is that of Antonio Martinez, who gave the land for the capilla because the bulto (statute) of the village’s patron saint, San Francisco, didn’t have a home and was passed from house-to-house throughout the years. Antonio’s gift made it possible for the community to come together and build the little chapel.

Capilla – The satisfaction of a beautiful form
Proportion of vision, Crypts close to ancestor roots
Tribes whisper names, stories
Holy ground. Numinous space. Capilla in Estaca
Fresh glitter of the jewels
Private suffering and death
Written by:  Margaret Rose Coyne (1943-2001)

The Plaza and La Capilla (Little Chapel) de San Francisco de Asis

As a postscript:  That day, we did find what I believe are the ruins of my great grandfather Montoya’s adobe home. The ruins sat on fenced property about a mile south of the “little chapel.“ There wasn’t much left of the adobe.  I’ve posted a picture on this site when I wrote about Maximiano Montoya – you can see it there.  Behind the ruins sat a more modern home; although, it was also in disrepair. Behind that I could see what might have been the apple orchards and behind that was the Rio Grande River. I cannot say for certain that this was the right place; however, I felt peace. It was almost as if the ancestors were whispering, “Welcome home.” 

Since we were technically trespassing – we didn’t stay long! There was a car next to the home, but I didn’t feel comfortable about pounding on doors. I would have loved to have been able to visit with the locals. I would surely have found many relatives. However, this is a culture and a community that does not always accept outsiders. We received several uneasy looks from folks. We did strike up a conversation with an older man on his front porch; but, he claimed not to know about any Montoyas or any ruins in the area……..even though we found them less than a mile up the road!!

 New Mexico – I now understand why they call you the Land of Enchantment – I will be back.

Espanola Valley and Sangre de Cristo Mountains

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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Montoya, Times and Places


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Aunt Ramona – Maria Ramoncita Montoya Gallegos

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 Gallegos - Photo from the collection of 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. 

Florentino and Ramona Gallegos - abt 1947 - photo from the collection of Carma Gallegos Owen

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.  

Ramona Montoya and Florentino Gallegos


Posted by on March 19, 2011 in Gallegos, Montoya


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Richard Earnest Montoya – My Dad

So far I’ve resisted writing about those very close to me – don’t know why – too personal – too raw maybe?  However, twice in the last few weeks I’ve had an opportunity to talk to people about my Dad. 

First – Uncle Louie called to ask about my Dad’s military service.  One of the retirement communities in Ogden is having a fundraiser, and Uncle Louie is having a “brick” made for my dad that will list his years of military service, etc. and then it will be placed in a certain area there at the center which will be dedicated to veterans.  It’s good to know that my dad will be honored in his home town.  Thanks Uncle Louie!! 

Richard E. Montoya - abt 18 yrs old

One of the neat things about having the blog is all the wonderful like-minded people who I’ve met online.  One of them being Charles Hale… awesome writer!  I highly recommend his blog to you – “Stories Connect – Love Heals.”  I’ve added his site to my “favorite blogs” in case you want to check back often.  Charles and I got to talking about one of his recent posts and an idea sprung out of that conversation.  He has written a thought-provoking piece on the Vietnam era – and has included my memories of having a father who served in Vietnam.  You can read the story here:

Richard E. Montoya - either 1967 or 1971 - don't remember which tour






Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Montoya, Times and Places


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Aunt Francis – Maria Francisca Montoya Sanchez

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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