Thursday, May 27, 2021

Maximilliano Mike "Max” Henderson

This is Maximilliano Mike "Max” Henderson. He was my first cousin, the son of my mother's older sister, Maria Padilla Henderson and my Uncle Sam Henderson.

I love this photo of Mike because he reminds me of my brother, Phillip.

Mike was born in Puerto de Luna, June 10, 1937. Ten years later, his family moved to Tucumcari. The move was a traumatic one for Mike because he had gone to school in a one-room schoolhouse, surrounded by his family's Spanish language. This was the complete opposite experience I had of growing up in Amarillo, Texas and then going to live in Puerto de Luna with my Spanish speaking grandma in the eleventh grade. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

April 19, 1954, the year before I was born, Mike married, Mary Esther Moya  in Amarillo, TX. He was 17. The couple moved to Los Angeles where they stayed for 10 years. They then moved to Albuquerque and eventually back to Tucumcari, where Mike did car paint and body work. By this time, the couple had eight children. Mike had began to create furniture and art for their house.

Later Mike started selling some of art in Santa Fe. Then when an elderly man showed him a wooden figure of Christ that was broken and held together with duct tape, Mike volunteered to repair it, taking the opportunity to examine the design. He began studying the work of famous artists and books of saints and found encouragement from several famous santeros in northern New Mexico.
Santeros are artists who carve and paint santos, images of saints.

Mike was an International Artist with artwork in Wood Carving and Religious Statues. He was a member the New Mexico Spanish Colonial Art Society.

Mike was closer to my mother's age than he was to my age so I didn't know him very well. We would often stop at my Aunt Mary and Uncle Sam's house when we drove from Amarillo to Puerto de Luna to visit my grandma but Mike was rarely around so we usually only saw each other at weddings and funerals.

When he passed away he was survived by his wife Mary Esther Henderson; two daughters, Cynthia (Larry) Winn of Gallup, NM, and Judith (Phillip) Guttman of Rio Rancho, NM; six sons, Michael (Cris) Henderson of Pojoaque, NM, David Henderson Clovis, NM, Ronnie (Dawn) Henderson of Rio Rancho, NM, Ray Henderson of Tucumcari, NM, Jay (Louella) Henderson of Pecos, NM, and Tom Henderson of Altus, OK; two brothers, Gracien Henderson of Los Angeles, CA, and Walter (Bertha) Henderson Tucumcari, NM; and numerous granchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, one son, three brothers, and three sisters.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Parallels ~ History and Current Events

When I was young my mother would sometimes, in passing, mention her uncles and great uncles who were politicians in New Mexico. When she spoke the surnames of her family, she did so with such pride. Unfortunately, I didn't know enough about New Mexico history to show interest in the conversation or to ask important questions. I hadn't a clue that my family, on both sides were the founding families of New Mexico. Throughout the four centuries that my family had lived in New Mexico, each generation had experienced a very different New Mexico. 

It wasn't until after my parents had passes away that I feverishly became interested in family history. In a very small way, I've seen a similar interest from my son and grandson for the events I experienced in the early 70's in Austin when Willie Nelson moved to Austin from Nashville and the hippies and the cowboys collectively created the cosmic cowboy scene at the Armadillo World Headquarters. Ecstatically, I offer up as much information as possible when they ask about a particular song or artist because I realize my missed opportunity of gathering information from my parents. I've had to rely on what has been written about my family in books, newspapers and on the internet. 

I've mentioned in past blogs that I started doing ancestry research partially because I felt there was a lack of information about women in our history books. I wish to change that, at least for my family. I then started to realize that even though there's a lot of history written even documentaries filmed, the stories are told with a slant that I'm not in the least bit satisfied with. Therefore, I have made an effort to enlighten myself and those who care about the truth that isn't often mentioned in whitewashed history books.

Over the past 10 years of research, I have found the Padilla and the Labadie families to be the most interesting in my direct lineage. It's not surprising that both surnames are deeply embedded on both my mother and my father's side of the family which is a common phenomenon in the founding families of New Mexico. In my 10 plus years of research I always circle back around to the Padilla and the Labadie lineage.

This week it became a bit surreal as I was digging around into my family history. Unpleasant current day events mirrored events that I was reading about in my family's history. What were the chances that I would decide to reread the book "Juan Patron: A Fallen Star in the Days of Billy the Kid" just the day before the attempted coup at the United States Capitol by the white supremacists Trump supporters?

January 6, 2021 should have been a great day in American history. The Democrats in Georgia had won the runoff for the US Senate. Instead that day turned into one of the darkest days of the Unites States history. It marked the first time the US Capitol building had been breached since the early 1800's. It wasn't a demonstration, it was a desecration of our democracy incited by the president.

I watched in disbelief as our Capitol was being vandalized. I was shocked when I saw a photo of a man sitting at the desk of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, taking selfies of himself with his feet on her desk. It was surreal that the night before I had been reading a parallel story about my cousin, Juan Patron. In April of 1884 Juan Parton was the Speaker of the House in New Mexico. He was assassinated in cold blood by white supremacists. Eleven years prior, Juan's father had been murdered at Juan's younger sister's wedding reception. Much like our present day Capitol being broken into, the white supremacists of the 1800's knew the Patron family would be gathered for a wedding in Lincoln and they broke in and started randomly shooting. Juan Patron's father was murdered because he looked much like his son in the dark. Patron had been targeted because he had been fighting for democracy against the Santa Fe Ring. If you are remotely familiar with New Mexico history, you know New Mexico held unadulterated opportunity. The land-grant legacy in New Mexico made the region attractive for the  members of the Santa Fe Ring.They were politicians, lawyers, military officers, ranchers and retailers. They had power, money and few scruples. They were infamous for public corruption, with varied skills and their goal was to take land from the Hispanic land owners, illegally. Needless to say, Juan Patron was standing in their way. 

It's no surprise that you won't find much about this horrific shadow government in history books any more than you will read about the shadow government of today. It infuriates me that justice was never served for the assassination of my cousin Juan Patron. Mike Maney went to trial yet he was acquitted because the prosecutor, Thomas B. Carton was one of the most active members of the Santa Fe Ring. He had stolen more land from the Hispanic population than anyone, acquiring title to more than 3 million acres, making him the largest landowner in New Mexico.

Juan Patron isn't just a New Mexico hero. He stood for everything I stand for. He was a blood relative. His mother was a Padilla and he was married to Beatriz Labadie, daughter of my Great Great Uncle Lieutenant Colonel Lorenzo Labadie. The Labadies and Padillas were well respected families who owned thousands of acres of land and cattle in New Mexico. Juan was born and raised in Santa Fe. He was in the first graduating class at St Michael's Catholic School in Santa Fe. He graduated with honors. He became a school teacher, he owned a store and he became a politician. Always working for the better of his community with his main goal was to tame a frontier plagued with greed and violence. 

The Patron family had moved from Santa Fe to Lincoln and opened a store, built a school and a church. In 1978, when his father was killed in Lincoln, the president called the one mile main street in Lincoln was "the deadliest street in America." Juan decided to moved his family to his wife, Beatriz's home town of Puerto de Luna. Upon their arrival, Juan raised money have the church in Puerto de Luna built. I've mentioned a million times in past blogs how important that church is to me. My parents were baptized and married there. It breaks my heart that the first church service there was Juan Patron's funeral service. He is buried under the nave of the church. He could have very well become the governor of New Mexico but instead he was needlessly assassinated before the age of 30.

Beatriz Labadie Patron and Juan Patron

This week, feeling the ongoing grief of the year long, worldwide pandemic and the events at our Capitol, I was reading Juan's story from a different perspective. I wondered what happened to Juan's widow, Beatriz after her husband was assassinated in cold blood in Puerto de Luna. He had merely gone to Moore's Saloon for a single beer to never return home. 
I discovered that Beatriz married again and then after her second husband died she owned a house in Santa Rosa and lived with her younger siblings Roman, Lorenzo Jr. and Josefita. One thought lead to another and I started thinking about some of the women in the Labadie family that had never been written about. Just as the male names repeat in families, generation after generation, so do the female names. My sister is going to hate this part of my blog but I think it is kind of special so I am just going with it. My sister, Nita's given name at birth was Josie Ann. She was named after our grandmother Josefita Labadie. We never met our paternal grandmother because she died during the last pandemic at the age of 24. Our dad was only 3 and and had a younger sister Anita. For whatever reason, in the second grade, my sister started going by the name Nita. Here's the cool part. Josefita is an old family name and I never put it all together because again men are named "Senior" and "Junior" or I, II, III and so on. Women are not and the lineage gets lost in the shuffle because they also have to change their last name when they get married. So below is the the lineage of the Josefita Labadies in our family.

Our 4th Great-Grandparents Dr Dominique Labadie and Maria Micaela Padilla had a daughter named:

Josefa Labadie    Born 1783 Died 1810

She is our 3rd Great-Grand Aunt (Great-Great-Great-Aunt)

Our Great-Great Uncle Lieutenant Colonel Lorenzo Labadie and his wife Maria Rayitos Giddings Gutierrez Labadie

had a daughter named:

Josefita Labadie    Born 1864 Died 1941

She is our 1st Cousin 3x removed  (1st cousin 3 generations ago)

Our Great-Grandparents Captain Juan Labadie y Sanchez and Dorotea Maria Chavez had a daughter named: 

Josefita Labadie Born 1894 Died 1918 

She is our Paternal Grandmother

My sister: Josie Ann Fajardo AKA Nita Fajardo   Born 1951

Recap: Dr Dominique Labadie born in 1738 Gascony, France first settled in St Louis, MO and the arrived in New Mexico in 1775, He married Maria Micaela Padilla, the daughter of one of the founding families of Albuquerque. They had 15 children, among them was a daughter named Josefa, One of their grandsons was Lieutenant Colonel Lorenzo Labadie. Not only was Lorenzo a Lieutenant Colonel, he was a sheriff in 3 New Mexico counties, he served as an Indian Agent for 8 years and then in his old age, he became a census taker. When I first started doing ancestry research, most of my important information came from the census he recorded in Puerto de Luna and surrounding areas in the late 1800’s and in 1900. He too had a daughter named Josefa Labadie born in 1864. She was the sister-in-law of Juan Patron who was the first speaker of the house in New Mexico. Then there was our grandmother Josefita Labadie. This is the sad part of the story. She died at the age of 24 during the last pandemic of 1918. My dad was only 3 years old and he had a younger sister. My heart has always ached for my dad because it was so obvious that he missed having his mother. I have an adorable portrait of my him when he was a baby and I am sure there would have been many more photos and stories about his life had his mother not died at such a young age. The current pandemic has made that pain much more real to me.

My grandmother Josefita Labadie Fajardo

To my sister Josie Ann, AKA Nita, I hope you know deep in your heart that you come from a very long line of beautiful souls who walk with you daily and give you strength.

Thank you Kimberly Harris, who now owns the Juan and Beatriz Labadie Patron's ranch for sharing with me stories and photos. I will forever send you, your horses and rescued animals love and light.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

In Honor of My Father

Today has been 19 years since my dad passed away at the age of 86. His mother died in the last pandemic of 1918, when he was only 3 yrs old. It wasn't until this world pandemic of 2020 that I had a clue what it must have been like for my father. His 24 year old mother died in the second wave of the pandemic of 1918. Some say my mother's uncle, Francisco Padilla brought the Spanish flu back to the small community of Puerto de Luna, NM. when he returned from Kansas City, Missouri after he had gone there to sell his livestock at market. Everyone in the community was celebrating the end of WWI. So many people contracted the virus and died in the harsh winter of 1918 that they couldn't have funerals and had to bury families in unmarked group graves.
Thinking of you and your mom today Daddy.

Written by my nephew Derek Hatley

Native son who fought for his country
Left no one behind as the bullets were strafing
Standing up to the Nazi’s and the communists armies
Better men, were born back then
What have we become since the days back when
We’re now all shitty and thin
Sucking up to things we don’t believe in
Corruption sucks, yet we are licking it’s boots thin
In a way I can’t describe now
Better men, were born back then
My grandpa would rather be
Buried alive
Than to see what has become
that came after his life
Radical fists punching up to the sky
Break the silence left behind
Let’s shout it out now
And leave it loose at the ends, because...
Better men, were born back then
Yeah better men were born back then. 
Better men were born back then
Yeah better men were born back.
In your time then. You were the better man!

Love you grandpa!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy 4th of July to My Extended Family

I created this timely blog on the 4th of July as a gift to my extended family including my children Adriane Ethridge and Christian Ethridge, my grandchildren, Dylan Ethridge, Andrew Ethridge and Jacqueline Ethridge. My step-daughter Sarah Ethridge and her daughter Emerson Ethridge. Also to my nephew Derek Hatley and his two daughters Bianca Hatley and Ava Hatley. And to my ex-husband, Davis Ethridge and my sister's ex-husband, Jack Hatley.

Happy 4th of July!

You are related to Thomas Jefferson!

In case you have forgotten the reason we celebrate the 4th of July, the Americans were fighting for their rights as subjects of the British crown in 1775. By the following summer, with the Revolutionary War in full swing, the movement for independence from Britain had grown and delegates of the Continental Congress were faced with a vote on the issue. In mid-June 1776, a five-man committee including Thomas Jefferson drew up a formal statement of the colonies’ intentions. The Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, written mostly by Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.

I made the primary discovery last week that my ex-husband, Davie and Nita's ex-husband, Jack are coincidentally cousins. They grew up on opposites ends of Texas and met one time at my wedding in 1977. It is uncanny that Nita and I would marry cousins, wouldn't you say?

As I was leisurely having my morning coffee and reading Facebook posts, I found a photo of my nephew, Derek and his two daughters and decided to download it and place it on Ancestry. com. The ancestry website notified me that there was some updated info in the Hatley lineage. I've spent a considerable amount of time in the past ten years researching my side of the family yet I've not done much research into the Ethridges because I didn't have any leads. But this little hit on the Hatley lineage lead me to an unexpected discovery and/or gold mine. After several hours of research, I discovered that Jack Hatley and Davis Ethridge are 5th cousins. My first clue was finding a woman named Sarah Elizabeth Ethridge born on June 15, 1841 in the Hatley lineage. After about eight hours of research I traced both the Ethridge and the Hatley lineages back to Thomas William Etheridge I born in England in 1564.

This information opened another can of worms. I discovered that Captain William Ethridge was married to Judith Marmaduke and then I noticed that her mother was Judith Randolph. The Randolph family is a prominent Virginia political family.The first Randolph to come to America was Henry Randolph in 1643. His nephew, William Randolph later came to Virginia as an orphan in 1669. Because of their numerous progeny, William Randolph and his wife, Mary Isham Randolph, have been referred to as "the Adam and Eve of Virginia ." The Randolph family was the wealthiest and most powerful family in 18th-century Virginia.

President Thomas Jefferson was the great-grandson of William Randolph and is the second cousin seven generations back of both my ex-husband Davis and Nita's ex-husband, Jack.

Yeah.... the 3rd President of the United States who oversaw the Louisiana Purchase leading the United States to double in size during his presidency.

I'll go into Robert E Lee being the great-great-great grandson of William Randolph at a later date. Today isn't the day to talk about the commander of the Confederate Army of North Virginia in the Civil War.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been - Sad News From New Mexico

Just when I thought our country couldn't feel any more divided, ugly and violent, there was a shooting yesterday outside of the Albuquerque Museum. A petition to remove the statue of Juan de Oñate in front of the museum had been circulating and then a protest followed with protesters trying to remove the Spanish conquistador statue. 

There's no doubt in my mind that the multitude of protests due to wide spread social injustice in our country caused this issue to resurface. History repeats itself and the upheaval of current day America mirrors what was going on in the 1600's in New Mexico. The common denominator always goes hand in hand with having a demagogue leader. I never dreamed I would live to see the division and protests in my country and it is touching each of us on a very deep level and bringing up the hurt and betrayal each of us have felt to the core. Whether or not each of us are aware of it, we all have the memories of our ancestors stored in our DNA. 

La Jornada Sculpture
Women and Children
Click on photo to enlarge
La Jornada Sculpture
Women and Children
Click on photo to enlarge
La Jornada Sculpture
Click on photo to enlarge
La Jornada Sculpture
Front Center -  Juan de Oñate
Click on photo to enlarge

La Jornada Sculpture
Click on photo to enlarge
National news doesn't often cover the issues of the southwest. Issues I felt that Beto O'Rourke was very familiar with and was trying to take to a national level. Nobody on the east coast wanted to listen. It isn't their personal story. The story of their journey began at Ellis Island in 1892. Our journey was long before that, with the Oñate expedition of 1598. He has been seen as a heroic figure who lead the colonization of New Mexico and others view him as a killer who repressed and enslaved Native Americans. So here it is, bubbling over again. People still in cages at the border and now the raging Oñate controversy on national news. 

I am torn. The issues in New Mexico are very personal and complicated for me. I am 71% Spanish/European descent and 29% Native American. My ancestors were both the oppressors and the oppressed. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the Oñate expeditions yet I find his tactics disturbing. He was operating in the name of Christianity, outlawing the rituals of the Native Americans that had been practiced for centuries. He was eventually banished from New Mexico and convicted by the Spanish government of using "excessive force" against the Native Americans.

Juan Oñate leading the way at the La Jornada Sculpture
Click on photo to enlarge
You know those members of your family that you would just as soon not claim? Juan Oñate is one of them, but I have a list of them. Oñate was married to my 3rd cousin 9 generations ago, Isabel de Tolosa Cortés de Moctezuma. She was the granddaughter of my 1st cousin 10 generations back, Hernando Cortes. You know, the Spanish conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire. And her mother, Isabel Tecuichpo de Moctezuma was the daughter of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma. It seems that raping and pillaging was a widespread practice to gain power.

So when you look at the whole art installation, it is very symbolic of what was truly going on. Oñate marching forward acting as a conquistador while the women and children were simply living in involuntary servitude to the powers who were in charge. If you think that protesting and voting doesn't work, think again. We have come a long way.

Juan de Oñate
La Jornada Sculpture
Click on photo to enlarge
Oñate colonized New Mexico in 1598 then in 1599 he wrote to the viceroy of New Spain (present day Mexico) and requested additional soldiers and families to help strengthen the colony that had been established.  In the year 1600, sixty-five Spaniards and twenty-five servants were recruited, including women and children. The families from this second wave of colonization were my ancestors and the ancestors of most people with Hispanic roots in New Mexico.

Here is an example of some of my ancestors that came on the expedition:

My 9th great-grandparents, the progenitors of the Baca family of New Mexico. Capitan Cristóbal Baca III and his wife Ana Maria Ortiz Pacheco y Coronado. They had three daughters and two sons.

There are an estimated five million descendants from Cristobal Baca and Ana Ortiz. Almost anyone who has a lineage of seven or more generations in New Mexico are descendants of one of the many Baca lines, if not several times over.

My 7th great-grandparents, the progenitors of the Chavez family of New Mexico. Pedro Gomez Duran y Chaves, and his wife Isabel de Bohorguez Baca. She was the daughter of Cristobal Baca and Ana Ortiz. They had one daughter and two sons.

My 8th great-grandparents the progenitors of the Montoya family of New Mexico. Bartolome de Montoya and his wife Maria de Zamora  They had three sons and two daughters. 

Plaques with names of my ancestors
La Jornada Sculpture
Click on photo to enlarge
I could go on and on, but you get the gist. Yes, the multi-figure art installation titled “La Jornada.” (The Journey)  pays homage to a man that committed atrocities in the name of Christianity. But it also pays homage to other men, women and children. My ancestors. Most of whom I assume were innocent. I am very sad. It's the only place I've ever been where I saw rows and rows of plaques with the names of my ancestors who were the founding fathers of New Mexico. It stood prominently in front of the Albuquerque Museum. It's sad to negate the contributions that the expeditions made to New Mexico's history. Oñate himself was an ugly demagogue but there's a positive side. They brought horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, irrigation, wine and mining.

Woman, child and pig
La Jornada
Click on photo to enlarge
I took the above photos of “La Jornada” on my last trip to Albuquerque. I never dreamed it would be the last time I saw it. I choose to see the beauty in these photos of women, children and animals who I am sure were doing their best just to survive. I honor those who made the long journey. I pray that we learn to live together in peace.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Spanish Influenza of 1918 - Coronavirus 2020

I haven't written in my blog since August, 2019. No reason in particular. Now that I have been sitting in quarantine with my thoughts for 6 weeks, due to the world wide pandemic, COVID-19, I've decided it's time to write about how deeply I feel about our situation.

When the quarantine began, I approached it with fear and grief. Fear because I am over 60 with a heart condition and grief because I couldn't get my grandmother, Josefita Labadie Fajardo off of my mind. She died 102 years ago due to the Spanish Influenza of 1918 when an estimated 1/3 of the world’s population was infected  – resulting in at least 50 million deaths worldwide. I never imagined with the incredible advances we have made in medicine that we would be facing a pandemic in 2020.

My grandparents - Josefita Labadie Fajardo and Doroteo Chavez Fajardo
My father, Felipe Montoya Fajardo, was only three years old when his mother died. This I know, he spent his whole life with a huge hole in his broken heart, looking for his mother's grave. He never found it. After my dad had passed away, I read  that so many people had died in the winter of 1918 that the victims had to be buried in unmarked group graves. It was too risky to have funerals.

My Father, Felipe Montoya Fajardo when he was a baby

My Father,  Felipe Montoya Fajardo when he was a boy
The Spanish Influenza had showed up on the west coast of the United States in the Spring of 1918. Then the curve had flatted, however when WWI ended, on November 11, 1918, people came out of quarantine to celebrate and the second and worst wave of the flu hit in the winter of 1918. That is when my grandmas died. It didn't stop there, it hit again in 1919. 

Have you ever wondered why it was called the Spanish Influenza? It was a misnomer. It didn’t start in Spain. During WWI Spain was neutral so censorship wasn't impose the press. France, England and the United States newspapers weren’t allowed to report on anything that could harm the war effort, including news that a crippling virus was sweeping through and killing the troops. Since Spanish journalists were some of the only ones reporting on a widespread flu outbreak in the spring of 1918, the pandemic became known as the “Spanish flu.”

Notice the cat had a mask on as well

As fate would have it, just a few weeks prior to the COVID-19 quarantine, I was chatting on Facebook with my friend/prima, Jasmine, who lives in Santa Rosa, NM. A friend of hers chimed into the conversation and we ended up chatting for a long time and it felt like another one of those God sends that I happen onto once in a while. 

Her name is Kimberly and she said "I think I have read your blog on your ancestry. You are descended from the Labadie family. I am fascinated by that family. I live on a piece of their property, between the hemp farms." 
I replied "Oh Wow! Yes, my paternal grandmother was Josefita Labadie. I didn't know there were hemp farms in Puerto de Luna! I am totally fascinated by that lineage of my family as well. I never knew anything about them until I started doing research because my grandmother died of the Spanish Influenza in 1918 when my dad was only 3 yrs old. I discovered so much of my ancestry from the census taken in Puerto de Luna in 1900 by Lorenzo Labadie, but he had such an amazing life before that. He was a Lieutenant Colonel. His daughter, Beatriz was married to Juan Patron, another very interesting person. There is a book written about him called "Juan Patron: A Fallen Star in the Days of Billy the Kid." 

Beatriz Labadie Patron and Juan Patron

Then Kimberly wrote "That was the best book! Sadly the Labadie homestead was bought up. They have built a huge four story CBD processing facility. They have basically destroyed the beauty of the ranch. However, Lorenzo’s original Adobe is still there. Plans to tear it down were abandoned. Now they know they historical significance of it. The people who owned this land and who sub-divided it, were obsessed with Lorenzo Labadie as well. The wife did a ton of research on him and passed it on to me. It is all stuff you have found, Im sure. Richard Delgado said my place is where Juan Patron and Beatrice lived. I found Roman’s grave and Beatrice’s next to him at the cemetery on Reilly Road.

Beatriz Labadie's Grave

And Lorenzo's grave is in Puerto de Luna. I am trying to find the truth about my house. It was a ruin that someone enlarged in the early 2000’s. It makes sense it was Beatrice and Juan's house. I’ve often wondered where all the Labadies scattered to. Most of the other old families have a presence here. The location of Lorenzo’s Adobe is the second drive way coming from Santa Rosa on the west side of the highway before Blue Jay Rd which is where the Delgado’s live. There are county dumpsters at the gate." 
I wrote back "Oh my goodness, this is very touching! I have lived in Texas most of my life so I haven't had the opportunity to do much physical research. It is really very cool that you live there. I would love to see photos!"

Present day Labadie Ranch

Kimberly posted this iris photo on
Easter Sunday, April 12
Not knowing what it would mean to me.
It was the 15 year anniversary of my mom's passing.
Mom and Dad always had iris plants in their yard.
Mom and her iris plants - Amarillo, TX
My mother used to mention the Labadie family on occasion when she talked about her uncles who were politicians in New Mexico. I wish I had paid closer attention to the stories she told. After my grandmother Josefita died, my grandfather, Doroteo remarried and started another family so my grandmother's memory was all but erased, except from the heart of her only son Felipe. 

So I started doing my own research about 10 years ago. My Great-Great-Great Uncle, Lorenzo Labadie was the census taker in Puerto de Luna and surrounding areas in the late 1800's to the early 1900's. I discovered some of the most important information from these documents. I always felt like I had hit a jackpot of information if I found a census taken by Lorenzo because all of his census documentation was very accurate and legible. He not only knew everyone in each household, he was related to all of the ones that I was researching. I felt like I grew to know him, late at night as I drank tea and combed through his well recorded documents.

Lorenzo Labadie's House as it looks today
Nobody lives there.

The census in Puerto de Luna in 1900 was a huge find for me. I found that my Grandmother Josefita Labadie and her sisters were living with her mother Dorotea and her stepfather, Antonio Montoya in Puerto de Luna. Up to that time I thought my grandmother was a Montoya but it listed all the children as step-children to the head of the household, Antonio Montoya and they all had the last name Labadie.

A Portion of the 1900 Puerto de Luna Census

Lorenzo Labadie lead a very active life. He was born August 10, 1825 in the Rio Grande Valley, south of Albuquerque. He was a sheriff of Valencia County, then a sheriff of Santa Fe. He then became an Indian agent for several tribes. Then my favorite part of Lorenzo's life, in 1871 He got a merchant's license to open a wine shop in Puerto de Luna. It's not hard for me to imagine the grape vines and orchards along the Pecos in Puerto de Luna. And then at last in 1880 - 1900 he was the census taker. The documents he recorded confirmed the stories I had heard that Billy the Kid had taught my great Uncle Hilario Valdez how to read and write in English, in the evenings after the ranch work was done when Hilario was 7 yrs old. He was also the Post Master of Santa Rosa 1884 - 1898. Lorenzo died on August 10, 1904, in Puerto De Luna, New Mexico and was buried there in the El Calvario Cemetery.

My thoughts now, six weeks into quarantine. I am so grateful to have a safe home and groceries. I thought I loved HEB before but I love them even more now because they have provided curbside pickup for groceries. I have been impressed with most of my family and friends and our effort to flatten the curve by staying home. I think with greater awareness of how viruses and pandemics work, along with better healthcare, we have a better chance than they did in 1918, even if we are working against a president who urges us to not trust the press and has followers who believe the pandemic is a hoax. I feel badly for those areas with dense populations like NYC who rely on public transportation. I am grateful to all my musician friends for the streaming concerts on Facebook and ZOOM conversations with friends. I am grateful for everyone who has checked in on me by phone, text or Facebook. I am grateful for the essential workforce who has continued to work such as healthcare workers and those who work at the grocery stores and pharmacies. I pray that this pandemic takes a downward turn by May 15 so my son can reopen his restaurant. For now I am home, watching lots of movies, eating lots of home cooked meals and feeling grateful that in this moment I feel healthy and I have a cat. And to all that read this please stay safe, stay home as much as possible and be grateful in every moment.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

My Personal Story of Kit Carson - The Trailblazer

A few days ago I was reminiscing about a trip that I took to Taos last September to attend the 16th Annual Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance Music Festival. I knew it would be a great time because I had been prompted by my friend, Jimmy LaFave to go to The Folk Alliance Convention in Albuquerque in 1999 to hang out with my Austin musician friends in the Land of Enchantment. Needless to say, it was a blast having sleep overs with my cousins Albuquerque and then going to listen to Austin music in my beloved New Mexico. My lifelong dream had come true, if only for a weekend.

Kit Carson Park, Taos, NM

Christina and Brenda at the Barn Dance in Kit Carson Park
Christina in Taos, September 2018

My weekend in Taos proved to be just as magical. The annual Barn Dance is held in downtown Taos, at the Kit Carson Park, named after the notable frontiersman, Kit Carson. There's a family graveyard in the park where Kit and his family are buried. Between musical sets, I wondered around looking at the graves, taking photos, thinking I should do some research when I got home. I had noticed his wife's name was Josephine Jaramillo, a surname that I had seen in my family tree. I finally got around to doing the research this week, almost a year later.

The Graves of Kit Carson and his wife Josephine Jaramillo Carson
In the Kit Carson Park, Taos, NM

Lt. Colonel Christopher Kit Houston Carson 

I was taken by this photo of Josepha and one of her children
The baby looks so much like
my grandson, Andrew, the baby on the left.

As expected, Kit Carson's third wife, Josefa "Josephine" Jaramillo, was in fact, my 3rd cousin 3 generations back (In genealogical lingo - 3rd cousin 3X removed.) This storyline repeats numerous times over the centuries in my family history. This, of course is not the focus of historians, but I am a hopeless romantic. A handsome stranger blows into town and falls in love with a beautiful young maiden, who just happens to be part of a local, prominent, wealthy family. In this chapter of my family history, it's the family of Maria Apolonia Vigil Jaramillo and her husband Francisco Estevan Jaramillo. They were descendants of two of New Mexico territory's oldest and most respected families. I've been able to trace our Vigil family tree back to Zenobio de Jesus Vigil, born in 1500 in San Martino, Asturias, Spain. He was  my 11th great grandfather and Josepha Jaramillo's 8th great-grandfather. These families were some of the earliest of settlers and played an important role in the history of the northern New Mexico Territory during the tumultuous 1800s.

Josepha Jaramillo's older sister Ignacia Jaramillo was a common law wife to Charles Bent. Both Kit and Charles had come west from Missouri in the fur trapping business. Charles didn't want to marry Ignacia in the Catholic church because he was from a protestant family but they had a family together. Here's the spoiler alert! Even though Kit Carson is very much the star of this story, it takes a turn that I wasn't expecting when I was doing the research. If you are a history buff, you already know the story. I have to confess that until I started researching my ancestry, I had little or no interest in history. Now that I know how whitewashed our history books have been, it makes total sense that the stories we were taught didn't capture my attention. The real stories are much more colorful and make much more sense. There are always two sides to every story and the truth lies somewhere in between. 

I am going to tell the warm fuzzy part of the story first. From what I gather Kit Carson, the American frontiersman, soldier, western guide and Indian agent was an honorable benevolent leader. He was born on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1809 in Richmond, Kentucky. He was only a year old when his family moved west to Missouri. They settled in Howard County, between St Louis and Kansas City. When Kit was only nine years old, his father was hit by a tree limb and died. Two weeks later his mother gave birth to her tenth child. I can't imagine what it may have been like to be a single mother in the 1800's. She remarried four years later to a widower with seven children, so together they had seventeen children. Kit didn't get along with his stepfather and at the age of fourteen he became an apprentice to a saddle maker. Needless to say, the death of his father changed the trajectory of this his life. Many of the customers at the saddle shop were trappers and traders. Kit heard stirring tales of the west and at the age of sixteen, he secretly signed on with a large merchant caravan heading to Santa Fe. During the winter of 1826 he stayed in Taos with a trapper and explorer who had been a friend of Kit's father. Kit learned the skills of a trapper. 

In the summer of 1835, at the age of 25, Kit attended an annual mountain man rendezvous, which was held in Wyoming. He became interested in a beautiful Arapaho woman named Waa-Nibe ("Singing Grass" in English) Her tribe was camping nearby. They were married and had one daughter, Adaline in 1837 then Waanibe died giving birth to their second child. In 1840 he married a Cheyenne woman named Making-Out-Road Carson  but that marriage only lasted about a year.

By this time, Kit's friends and associates read like a who’s who of the rich and famous on the American frontier, yet his friends were diverse. He became friends with Charles and William Bent who had establishing 'Bent's Fort' in Colorado. The only major permanent white settlement on the Santa Fe Trail in 1833. It was the commercial link between St Louis and Santa Fe, the capital of the Mexican province of New Mexico. 

Bent's Fort

So think about this and compare it to the headlines you read today. The Arkansas River was just a few hundred yards to the south of "Bent's Fort." and until 1848, the international border between Mexico and the United States was Arkansas River. It was like the modern day Texas/ Mexico border on the Rio Grande. 'Bent's Fort' made trade between the United States and Mexico very easy. So even though it may have seemed to be the middle of nowhere, on the contrary, it was in the middle of everywhere. In a time when most people used products from no farther than 30 miles from where they were born, Bent’s Fort was the modern version of an international trade center. There were glass beads from Venice, blankets from England, guns from Belgium, trade silver from Germany, ginger and tea from China, sugar from Havana and much more. The fort wasn't just a trade center, it had a bar, a kitchen and dining room 
with 40-60 employees. There were wild parties called fandangos that allowed people from all backgrounds mingled and danced together.  The traders and customers were diverse, with several languages spoken daily - Spanish being the most common. Kit became fluent in Spanish, Navajo, Apache, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Paiute, Shoshone and Ute.

From St Louis, it would take travelers 50 or 60 days to get to 'Bent’s Fort.' When travelers arrived to this destination, it was a big deal. Throughout history, there's this indescribable thread that's connects my family to someone in St Louis. Even now, my son and two grandchildren live in St Louis. Christian owns a restaurant serving my mother's recipes of our homeland, New Mexico. Bent Ave in St Louis is just a stone's throw away from the new Taco Circus location. The Bent family was from St Louis and they are now buried there. In Taos, the Bent Museum is on Bent Street, a couple of blocks from the Kit Carson Park. 

Then there was Kit’s best friend, Luciano Bonaparte Maxwell. His story reads like an old western adventure — because it was. Kit and Luciano married their wives in a double ceremony in 1843 at the Guadalupe Church in Taos. Kit was 33 when he married 15 year old Josepha. Luciano married Luz Beaubien. As a wedding gift, Luz' parents, Maria Paula Lovato and Charles Beaubien, gave the couple 15,000 acres of the Miranda-Beaubien Land Grant which consisted in part the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. At one time Luciano Maxwell owned more than 1,700,000 acres, making him the largest private landowners in United States history. 

Here's more mind blowing ancestral information that I just put together while combing through literature for this blog. Luciano's wife Luz is my 4th cousin 4 generations ago AND ..... Drum Roll Please...... Luciano and Luz were the parents of Paulita Maxwell Jaramillo. Do you know who Paulita Maxwell Jaramillo was? She was Billy the Kid's girlfriend. When I was a high school senior, I just knew her as the character that Rita Coolidge played in my favorite movie of 1973, "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid." I later discovered that Billy the Kid lived on my great uncle's ranch and taught my great uncle Hilario Valdez to read and write in English when he was 7 yrs old. I verified much of what I read by combing through all the census documents taken by my great great Uncle Lorenzo Labadie. 38 years after Paulita's parents were married, Billy the Kid was killed at the Maxwell's home in Ft Sumner by Pat Garrett. Luciano had left the house to his son Peter.

The Maxwell House Where Billy The Kid Was Killed By Pat Garrett
July 14, 1881, In Ft Sumner, NM.
Luz Beaubien Maxwell and Luciano Bonaparte Maxwell's
son, Pedro was living at the house at the time.

So that's the story I expected and was extremely excited to find while doing the research on the Kit Carson family cemetery and I was very excited to finally make the DNA connection to Paulita Maxwell. Now comes the real history lesson. As I mentioned, Josepha Jaramillo's older sister Ignacia was married to Charles Bent, the successful trader who had established 'Bent's Fort.' In 1829, he and his younger brother William escorted a caravan of 93 wagonloads of goods from Missouri to the New Mexico Territory. After this highly lucrative expedition, Charles went into business with a French trapper named Ceran St. Vrain. Their firm Bent, St. Vrain and Co became one of the west’s leading mercantile enterprises. Annual profits from the fur trade alone averaged $40,000. They had stores in Santa Fe and in Taos.

Charles Bent's considerable wealth and his common law marriage into one of the New Mexico territory's oldest and most respected families helped him win acceptance among the political elites. He became a close associate of New Mexico's governor, Manuel Armijo. Then the U.S. Congress approved the declaration of war against Mexico on May 13, 1846. The Bent brothers had opened the gate to the west and welcomed the United States General Stephen Kearney’s conquest of New Mexico with open arms. Kearny informed Governor Armijo of the U.S. government’s intent to annex New Mexico. Sensing major trouble, Governor Armijo deserted. 

Christina at Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, NM 2017

On August 18, 1846, Brigadier General Kearny raised the American flag and fired a 13 gun salute at the Palace of the Governors as he informed the people of New Mexico’s capital of the annexation. Prominent New Mexicans were outraged at the United States aggression and were ashamed of Armijo’s desertion. They began making plans to defend their country against American occupation. In September 1846, Kearney appointed Charles Bent as the first American Territorial Governor of the newly acquired New Mexico Territory. Kearney and most of his soldiers then moved on to take over California, leaving the new governor to fend for himself. Bent's actions had earned him many enemies in Taos. Many of the Hispanic families naturally resented the American conquest of their home and the Native Americans had long disliked Bent because of his trade relations with their northern Native enemies. 

On the morning of January 19, 1847, the Taos Revolt began. It was led by Pablo Montoya, a Hispano and Tomás Romero, a Native of the Taos Pueblo. A violent mob attacked the Bent home, murdered his guards, and then assassinated and scalped Charles Bent, dragging Bent’s mangled body through the streets of Taos. The mob called for a full-scale rebellion against the American occupation and by the end of the evening, 15 others had been killed including Pablo Jaramillo, Josephine's brother and Narcisco Beaubien the brother of Luz Beaubien. They were the brother-in-laws of Kit and Luciano, both of them blood relatives of mine. Fortunately, Kit was on a fur trapping trip, Ignacia Jaramillo Bent, her sister Josefa Jaramillo Carson and the children escaped through a hole in the adobe wall. Ignacia and Josefa begged the bloodthirsty mob for mercy. Buenaventura De Jesus Valdez (another 2nd cousin of mine) entered the Bent house too late to save Charles Bent. He told the attackers they were only sent to take Charles Bent in, not to kill him. He intervened and spared the women’s lives. The attackers left, leaving the family in a state of shock. They went to stayed in the home of Maria Juana Catarina Lovato and Buenaventura De Jesus Valdez for three days until they could escaped to Santa Fe with their children. With the end of the Mexican War in 1848, New Mexico and all the rest of Mexico’s old northern frontier became the American Southwest.

The two accused rebellion leaders, Pablo Montoya and Tomás Romero, were captured. Tomás was murdered in his jail cell before being brought to trial. Montoya was convicted of treason and hanged. Later trials resulted in 14 additional public hangings. The Taos Pueblo women had to carry their dead husbands’ bodies the few miles back to the Pueblo.

After the American takeover of New Mexico, Kit Carson and Lucieno Maxwell moved their families to Rayado, where they built a trading post and supply station for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. When Lucieno Maxwell's father-in-law,  Charles Beaubien died, Lucieno bought out the rest of the family and became sole owner of the Maxwell Land Grant. It took two acts of Congress to validate his ownership.

I have extremely mixed emotions about the above chapter of my family history but it's an informative history lesson and considering our county's current state of affairs with Mexico, it is a history lesson I needed to read. Wikipedia gives a mostly white washed version, yet when I read Native American websites the story is very graphic and real. For instance, the Native websites brought to my attention that official permission to enter the New Mexico Territory to set up  trade would have had to come from 1600 miles away in Mexico City. So the opening of the Santa Fe Trail not only allowed American traders set up shop illegally, it very conveniently opened up the west to be invaded by the United States. I had family members on both sides of the aisle just as and I have family members on both sides of the aisle today. My thoughts .... why can't we all just get along?

Back to the warm fuzzy part of this family story...

As a wedding gift, Kit had given Josepha an adobe home in Taos that they lived in for twenty-some years. Today this home houses the Kit Carson Museum. They brought eight children into the world in that house. (The first one died as an infant) Their niece, Teresina Bent, once described her Aunt Josepha and Uncle Kit: “She was very dark headed, with large bright eyes, graceful in every way, beautiful and the best of mothers. The Carson door was always open to neighbors, Spanish, Native and Anglo. Kit was a kind hearted man. Once he was lying on a blanket with his pockets stuffed with candy. His children jumped on top of him, raided his pockets and ate the candy. Clearly such small episodes brought him great pleasure.

The oldest known photo of the Kit Carson home in Taos
The Kit Carson Home Today In Taos Is A Museum
The Courtyard of the Kit Carson Home

In 1854 Carson became an Indian Agent for the Utes and Apaches, a job that allowed him to stay home more. He worked to keep peace and to ensure fair treatment of Native Americans. Once while away on business, a party of Utes stopped by his office. Josefa, who was a strong and equal match to Kit, went out to speak with him. After telling them that her husband wasn't there, she noticed a small Navajo boy sobbing on the saddle behind one of the Utes. When she asked about him she was told that after they were out of sight, they were going to kill him because of his constant crying. Horrified, Josefa asked them what they would accept in trade for the boy. The Utes replied that they would trade him for a horse. The trade was made. When Kit returned home he noticed a horse was missing When Josephine told him what had happened he accepted the boy gracefully and named him Juan Carson. Juan remained with the Carson's until their deaths a decade later.

In January 1868, General Kit Carson, frontiersman, was appointed superintendent of Indian Affairs for Colorado Territory. He traveled to Washington with a group of Ute chiefs to negotiate a treaty. He also consulted with a number of doctors on the East Coast about chest pains and other health problems. By then, it was apparent that he was quite ill. He was suffering from an aortic aneurysm that was so large that he had a bulge on his chest.

Kit returned home in time for the birth of his seventh child. It was a difficult birth and his beloved Josepha died on April 23, 1868, shortly after the birth of their healthy baby. Kit named their daughter Josefita in memory of his beloved wife. He lost the will to live and made arrangements for his children, wrote his will and  died at the age of 59 on May 23, 1868 one month to the day after his wife’s death. Theirs had been one of the great love stories of the American frontier.

Cheers to all my ancestors in New Mexico
Thank you for blazing the trails
I honor you

This shows our family tree matches.
My 4th great-grandmother was Josephine's great aunt.
Click on it to make it bigger.