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, Davis 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 Ethridge family 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 Baca, who lives in Santa Rosa, NM. A friend of hers, Kimberly Harris, chimed in on the conversation and we ended up chatting for a long time. It felt like another one of those God sends that I happen onto once in a while. 

Kimberly said "I think I have read your blog about your ancestry. You are descended from the Labadie family, right?" I said "Yes!" She said "I'm fascinated by that family. I live on a piece of their property, between the hemp farms in Puerto de Luna."  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 tree as well. I never knew anything about them until I started doing research because my grandmother Josefita died of the Spanish Influenza in 1918 when my father 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. He was the census taker that year, at the age of 75, but he had such an amazing life in his younger years. 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

Kimberly continued "Lorenzo's grave is in in the El Calvario Cemetery 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. Most of the old families of Puerto de Luna have a presence here. I’ve often wondered where all the Labadie family scattered to." She went on to say "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 Richard and Julie Delgado 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. Why do you live there? I would love to see photos!" She answered that she worked in the movie industry and was working on a movie in New Mexico. She decided she just had to live there. She found the ranch on 'Craig's list' and bought it.

Present day Labadie Ranch
Now the Kimberly Harris Ranch

Kimberly Harris

Kimberly posted this iris photo on
Easter Sunday, April 12,2020
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. When he was in the service he had a tattoo on his upper left arm with a heart that read "In Memory of Mother"

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 while I 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 grandma Josefita 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. This was a HUGE find.

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. In 1851 he was the sheriff of Valencia County, On February 16, 1852, he married Maria de los Reyes Refugio Rayitos Giddings-Gutierrez. (A very colorful personality herself) In 1854 there is documentation of him being a sheriff of Santa Fe. He then became an Indian agent for several tribes. In 1855 he was an Indian agent for Utes. In 1856 he was an Indian agent in Abiquiú. In1862 he was an Indian agent at Anton Chico. In 1863 he was an Indian agent in Bosque Redondo, just out side of Fort Sumner. The present day address is 3647 Billy the Kid Rd, Fort Sumner, NM. There was a lot going on there at that time and I am still doing research. In 1865 he was an Indian agent for the Jicarilla Indians near Agua Negra present day Santa Rosa. In 1867 he was sent to Texas to get Indians to release white captives, another cool story I need to research. Then my favorite part of Lorenzo's life.... In 1871 He got a merchant's license and opened 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 he was the census taker. Billy the Kid was on the census, confirming the stories I had heard that Billy the Kid had taught my great Uncle Hilario Valdez how to read and write in English when he was 7 yrs old. Lot of history here also. Then on May 8, 1884 he became the Post Master of Santa Rosa until Dec. 14, 1898. April 20, 1885 he signed a petition to get Rifles for Puerto de Luna. On February 2, 1893 won case against Celso Baca for cheating on Election for seat on the 30th. Legislation Assembly of N.M. as representation for Guadalupe Co. 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.