My great great grandfather, Jose Ylario Montoya, remains in large part a mystery. In the two census records where we can reliably identify him, we are told that he was born in January 1844 and the next one states 1845 in the New Mexico Territory. The San Juan baptismal and marriage records are silent when it comes to Ylario, only his death date is recorded there. I have long speculated that perhaps he was the first Montoya of our line to settle in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, perhaps arriving from another region of New Mexico. We cannot state with specificity who his parents are – but we have a potentially important lead in the 1850 census.
My cousin Carma and I have both gone through the 1850 New Mexico Territory census, line-by-line and name-by-name. We found only one Jose Hilario Montoya – and we found him in Santa Ana County, New Mexico Territory. Santa Ana was one of the seven original partidos created in New Mexico under Mexican rule. Under American rule, it became a U.S. territorial county from 1852 until 1876, when it was absorbed by Bernalillo County. Santa Ana County does not exist today.
1852 Territorial Map of New Mexico Territory
The 1850 census was enumerated January of 1850 – The person that I believe to be my great great grandfather Jose Hilario Montoya is indexed as “Jose Ilaria Montoya, age 6 born 1844 in New Mexico. He is living with his grandfather Joaquim Montoya, age 81, a farmer who owns $1,400 worth of real estate; his father, Jose Ignacio Montoya, age 47, a farmer; his mother Anna, age 30. Also in the home are 4 siblings: Mercia, age 14; Justo, age 8; Rebecca, age 3; and Jose Bernardo, 10 months. Also in the home are six children with the last name of Baca. Their connection to the family is unknown at this time. It should be noted that later in life Justo Montoya can be found in Rio Arriba County and Jose Hilario named one of his daughters Rebecca.
Could this be the family of my great great grandfather?
If – and it’s still an if – I can prove that this is the right family (and I believe it is) then Hilario’s father, mother and grandfather are identified. Further, with the grandfather’s name, this line can be tied back to Bartolome de Montoya through his son Diego de Montoya, a Spanish Alferez. (An Alferez was the next highest ranking official after the Majordomo. He was generally in charge of the king or magnate’s private army, his knights and his armory.) But I am getting ahead of myself – back to what we do know!
In June of 1860 the family is still present in Santa Ana County, in Pena Blanca. My Montoya grandfather (if this is him) is indexed as “Jose Lario,” age 20 born 1840. He is living with Jose Ignacio, age 90 (the grandfather – but the name is misindexed) who owns real estate worth $1,800 and personal property worth $10,800. Also in the home is his mother Anna Maria, age 40; and nine siblings. Jose Ignacio (the father) must have been skipped by the enumerator – or he has died. There are many Montoya and Gallegos families nearby.
Based on later census records we know that our Jose Ylario Montoya had a wife named Josefa. In the Marriage Books of Santo Domingo and Pena Blanca, there is a marriage record that indicates that Jose Ylario Montoya was the legitimate son of Jose Ignacio Montoya and Ana Maria Gallegos, and that he married Josefa Montoya on 26 November 1863. In my mind the clues are adding up that this is more than likely my great great grandfather, Jose Ylario Montoya.
The 1870 census was enumerated on the 5th day of July, and we see that the family has relocated to Trinidad, Las Animas County, Colorado Territory. My Ylario is indexed as “Jose Hilario,” age 33, he is a farmer who owns $200 worth of real estate and $178 worth of personal property, he states that he was born in New Mexico; he cannot read/write; We find him living with a daughter, age 6, Versele and a son, age 5, Ambrosio. There is no wife in the home. Ylario is living next door to mother Anna, age 54 who is a housekeeper. She owns $350 worth of real estate and $218 worth of personal property. Five of her children, and Ylario’s siblings, are still in the home. Interestingly, living on the other side of Ylario Montoya is the family of Polaris de Herrera. I do not know the connection; however, Ylario would later in life take a mistress, Augustina de Herrera, and have a large family with her, including my great grandfather Maximiano de Herrera Montoya.
1870 Census - Colorado Territory
And here’s where it gets very confusing – the 1880 census finds Jose Ylario Montoya in Bosque, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, where my grandfather and great-grandfather were born. He is indexed as “Ilario,” age 35 born 1845 in New Mexico. He is a laborer living with his wife Josefa, age 30. The children all belong to Augustina de Herrera, and she cannot be found in any census record – Jose, 16; Marina, 10; Maximiano, 8; Rebecca, 6; Albina 4; Anastario, 2; and Albina, 2 months.
The 1900 census was enumerated in June of that year. Ylario is still in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. He is indexed as “Ilario J.,” age 56 born Jan 1844; He states that he has been married for 36 years, which matches the marriage record out of Santa Ana County. Ylario is living with wife Josefa who is 50 born Mar 1850; She states that she has given birth 2 times and that both children are living. Living right next door is the mother of Ylario’s other children – who is indexed as Augustina Herrera who was born Oct 1850. She still has four children in the home. Augustina states that she is divorced and that she has given birth to 9 children – 7 are living.
The family story is that Augustina de Herrera was the mistress of Jose Ylario Montoya – and that she lived right next door to Ylario and Josefa. Based on these census records, it is unknown to me who raised my great gandfather, Ylario or Augustina.
According to the death/burial records of the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church in Rio Arriba County, Jose Ylario Montoya died and was laid to rest in Velarde Cemetery on 7 Oct 1902. I have no information on what became of Josefa Montoya or Maria Augustina de Herrera.