Tag Archives: New Mexico Genealogy

Hitting the Lotto – Family History Style

Over the last several years, I have reconnected with many of my Montoya uncles, aunts and many cousins.  Most of them I barely know – some of them I have never met – most live in Utah and California.  One of my younger cousins (everyone is younger than me these days), Syndi, set up a family group page for us on Facebook.  There we have shared our lives with each other – told family stories – and exchanged family pictures.  We are all the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Jose Celestino Montoya – and we share his common ancestry.  In this family line there is a real interest in learning about our family heritage – I wish it were so easy with every family line!  I am planning a trip to Utah next year where we are hoping to organize a family reunion.  Really looking forward to that.

This brings me to the point of this short little entry – you just never know when a brick wall will fall, when you find a new document or story, or when a new and spectacular photograph of your ancestors will surface.  While cleaning and sorting through some things at her mother’s house, my cousin, Melissa, found this old photograph tucked away in the pocket of an old jacket.  Thinking perhaps that the younger man was our grandfather, Joe C. Montoya, she posted it on the family page on Facebook for identification.  I immediately recognized the woman as being Juana Martinez Montoya, my great-grandmother.  Sure enough – according to the writing on the back of the photo the people in the photo are:  Juana Martinez Montoya and Maximiano de Herrera Montoya (my great-grandparents) and their youngest son, Raymundo Montoya.  Raymundo died in 1939 at the age of 20 years – which dates the photo prior to 1939 (probably taken in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico).

I love this photo so much because it is only the second photograph that I have seen of my great-grandparents.  As my father aged, he looked just like Max does in this photo. (I inherited those great big giant ears too.)  When I look at the face of my son – I see these men in him.  After receiving the photograph – I walked around with a giddy grin on my face for days.

A huge thank you to my family – and especially Melissa – for your willingness to share what you know and what you have.  Together we are weaving our family story.


Leave a comment

Posted by on August 22, 2015 in Montoya


Tags: , , , ,

The Murder of Ira Grantham

Ira Grantham was the youngest son born to Hillard Cisero Grantham and Margaret E. Dickson and one of my husband’s first great grand uncles of the Grantham line. Ira was born 12 August 1887 in Whitney, Hill County, Texas.

Ira Grantham

By 1891, the family had relocated to the Oplin/Tecumseh area of Callahan County, Texas. There he met and married Ollie Estelle Arnold some time around 1912. Very often in these smaller communities the families overlap and it takes some time to untangle the web. The Arnold sisters married into our family lines on more than one occasion: Ollie Estelle Arnold married Ira Grantham; her sister Eunice Mae Arnold married Edgar Claude Atwood; and Emma Arnold married Columbus Eugene Atwood. Sheesh…there went an hour of my life linking all that together in the database! It appears that during the first phase of Ira’s and Ollie’s marriage, Ira farmed in Lawn/Oplin, Taylor County, Texas. By 1930 they owned their own home and Ira was working as a salesman for a grocery store. I don’t believe they ever had children, or at least I’ve found no record of any.

Ollie Estelle Arnold Grantham

Sometime in early 1941 Ollie and Ira relocated to Hobbs, Lea County, New Mexico. There he worked as a sales clerk in a clothing store ( K.C. Store).  Shockingly, and sadly, on 7 July 1951, Ira Grantham was murdered in a shoot-out that also killed a Hobbs, New Mexico police officer.  Experts from the Hobbs Daily News, published on 8 July 1951:

Dope Addicts Hopped Up, Police Report – Two men were brutally shot to death in busy downtown yesterday afternoon by a pair of hopped-up gunmen described by police as dope addicts. The dead: City Patrolman Robert B. Butler, 68, father of former Hobbs mayor, Ned Butler; and Ira Grantham, 63, a clerk at the K.C. Store, scene of the shooting. The men were killed almost without provocation. One of the attackers was captured immediately. The other was caught less than an hour later while attempting to steal his fifth car in a wild escape effort. He was wounded.  The prisoners: Speight Fondren Parks, 27 and Gene Afton Parks, 22, both of 422 West Taylor. Both are listed as employees of the National Tank Company, 623 North Grimes. Speight Parks, was shot and captured by Deputy Sheriff Bruce McCallum, Police Chief Ivan Reed and Bill Carpenter, about nine miles from Hobbs on the Denver City highway, and was quoted by McCallum as saying that he “killed a policeman and another man.” Both the brothers are in jail. They were charged on two counts of first degree murder, pending a preliminary hearing. Both Have Police Records – Both men have police records here. Gene Parks, apprehended on Broadway by City Patrolman R. C. (Pinky) Hamlin, had eight or 10 “yellow jacket” dope pills on his person, Hamlin said. Witnesses told this story of the killing: Butler, in charge of parking meters, was walking along Broadway and had stopped to talk with Ira Grantham, a clerk at the K. C. Store, 119 West Broadway, and Phil Veneer, owner of the store. This was about 3:30 p.m. The Parks brothers appeared staggering, and Butler went, to speak to them. He started to put his hand on one of them when the other hit the elderly police officer. In the ensuing scuffle, one of the brothers unfastened Butler’s gun holster and removed his service pistol. Butler Grantham and Vener hurried into the store, seeking to avoid being shot. Butler ran down the west aisle, Grantham the east. One of the brothers fired three times at the patrolman. Butler fell about 12 feet from the doorway. Grantham was shot about 25 feet from the door. Vener had hurried to the back of the store to telephone the police as the fight began.

Ira Grantham at the K.C. Clothing Store

Ira Grantham is laid to rest in Prairie Haven Memorial Park Cemetery in Hobbs, Lea County, New Mexico.

Final Resting Place


Ira’s widow, Ollie Estelle Arnold Grantham, never remarried.  She returned to Texas after Ira’s death, and died 15 Mar 1963 in Gladewater, Gregg County, Texas.  She is laid to rest there in Gladewater Memorial Park.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Grantham


Tags: , , , , ,

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


Tags: , , ,

%d bloggers like this: