Presented at the Torres / Baca Family and Friend Reunion, 13 August 2006
by Robert J. C. Baca
Copyright (c) 2006. Permission is granted to copy this article for personal use only.
TORRES FAMILY IN EARLY NEW MEXICO HISTORY
New Mexico was founded as a Spanish colony of Nueva España (Mexico) in 1598. Among the colonists that followed don Juan de Oñate into New Mexico was Juan de Torres, the son of Baltasar de Torres. Early New Mexico records are few and far between, so we do not know much about this man. Another man by the name of Melchor de Torres also seems to be part of the colony in the early 1600s, however it is unknown how he was related to Juan. One of these men may have been the progenitor of the New Mexico Torres family.
In 1680, Pueblo Indians revolted and forced the Spaniards out of New Mexico. One of the many refugees was a man by the name of Cristóbal Torres. Cristóbal was born in New Mexico around 1641. He was a heavy-set man of average height, had dark hair, a crooked nose and walked with an awkward gait.
The Spaniards re-conquered New Mexico in 1693. At the time another Cristóbal Torres was living in Guadalupe del Paso (Juarez, Mexico.) He probably was the son of the first Cristóbal, and was born sometime in the 1660s. Before coming to New Mexico, Cristóbal married Angela de Leyva. Cristóbal and his family were living in Alburquerque in 1710. Later they moved to Santa Cruz. In 1724 Cristóbal was awarded a land grant near Chama.
BELEN AND SOCORRO
Belen was originally named “Nuestra Señora de Belén” which means “our lady of Bethlehem.” Genízaro Indians (Hispanicized Indians) were already living in the area. The genízaros protested against the grant to the Spanish authorities, but the Spaniards were allowed to settle it anyway. There were originally eight Belen plazas. The Torreses were in charge of at least two of these plazas in the 1790s and 1800s.
One of Cristóbal's sons was Diego de Torres who was born in the late 1690s. In the 1730s Diego was the assistant Alcalde (deputy mayor) of Santa Clara. In 1742 Diego, his brother-in-law Antonio Salazar, and thirty others settled the Belen land grant. Diego was married three times. His first wife was Rosa de Varela; the second was Maria Martin who he married in 1712; and lastly he married Rafaela Baca, who survived him.
José Joaquin Torres was born about 1740. He probably was Diego de Torres' grandson. Joaquin married Isabel Chavez of Los Padillas on 12 January 1764. In the 1790s and early 1800s, Joaquin was living in on of the Belen plazas Los Garcias. He was a commissioner of that plaza.
Socorro, New Mexico was originally founded in 1598. When the Spanish settlers emerged from the inhospitable desert, the people of the Piro Pueblo of Teypama gave them food and water. Oñate renamed this pueblo “Socorro” which means “help” or “aid.” The name Socorro was later applied to the nearby Piro Pueblo of Pilabó. A Spanish mission was set up there, however in 1680 Socorro was abandoned. Socorro and the surrounding area was not resettled until 1817 when a number of Belen residents moved into the area.
Joaquin's son Santiago Torres was probably born sometime in the 1770s. Santiago was married to Maria Barbara Ortiz. She was born around 1779 to Francisco Xavier Ortiz and Josefa Tenorio. In 1833 this Torres family was living east of Socorro across the Rio Grande in the Plaza de la Parida.
Santiago's son Jose Anastacio Torres was born on 20 January 1810 in the Plaza de los Garcias (near Belen.) He married Maria Josepha Montoya in Socorro on his birthday 20 January 1835. Maria Josepha was born around 1816 to Juan Montoya and Maria Manuela Garcia Jurado. In 1845, Anastacio and Josepha were living with their family in San Miguelito de las Cañas, southeast of Socorro.
Crespin Torres, Anastacio's son, was born on 26 October 1847 in La Parida. He married Andrea Trujillo in Socorro on 5 April 1869. Andrea was the daughter of Jose Trujillo and Dolores Marquez. Crespin worked as a farmer until 1925. On 21 October 1937, just five days shy of his 90th birthday, Crespin died of complications from diabetes.
IGNACIO TORRES' FAMILY
Crespin's son Ignacio Torres was born in Socorro on 25 October 1875. He married Andrea Montoya on 18 August 1906. Andrea was born on 30 November 1883 to José Casimiro Montoya and Manuela Abeyta.* Andrea was the widow of Miguel Marquez. Andrea and Miguel had been married exactly six years prior to her marriage to Ignacio. Miguel and Ignacio were distant cousins.** Ignacio died on 18 March 1950, while Andrea survived until 9 July 1974.
Miguel Marquez and Andrea Montoya had one daughter:
1.) Manuelita Marquez, born around 1901. Manuelita married Pantaleon Baca.
Ignacio Torres and Andrea Montoya had four children:
1.) José Manuel Torres was born on 19 May 1907. He married Tomasita Rivera. They had six children.
2.) Maria Teresa Torres was born on 19 January 1912. She married Robert B. Baca. They had five children.
3.) Margarita Torres was born about 1917. She married Atanacio Lujan. They had five sons.
4.) Anastacio Torres was born around 1920. He married Piedad Baca. They had eight children.
* Andrea Montoya's sister Sophia was married to Amadeo Luna. Their son was Casmiro D. Luna, who was married to Ruby Armenta. Casmiro and Ruby's son was Casey Luna, the famed Belen car dealer and former Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico. Casey Luna is the second cousin to all of the Andrea Montoya's grandchildren.
**They were half first cousins, once removed. In this case what that means is that Ignacio Torres's great-grandfather Antonio Marquez was first married to his great-grandmother Maria de Loreta Vigil. While Miguel Marquez's grandfather, the same Antonio Marquez, was married a second time to his grandmother Ana Maria Florencia Marquez.
1930 United States Census: New Mexico, Socorro County. Microfilm.
Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Baptisms and Marriages, microfilm.
Armijo Pfeufer, Lila, et al, New Mexico Baptisms San Miguel de Socorro Church 1821-1853, (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogy Society, 1998)
Armijo Pfeufer, Lila, et. al, New Mexico Marriages and Baptisms: San Augustin de la Isleta Church, (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogical Society, 1996.)
Birth Certificate: Ignacio Torres, Delayed Certificates of Birth, Sierra-Valencia counties, Roll # 1992058, microfilm.
Buxton, Margaret L., et al, New Mexico Baptisms Nuestra Senora de la Inmaculada Concepcion de Tome Volume I, (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogy Society, 1998)
Chavez, Angelico, Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period. Revised Edition, (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1992.)
Death Certificate: Crespin Torres, 21 October 1937, microfilm.
Espinoza, Gilberto, et. al, El Rio Abajo, (Portales, NM: Bishop Publishing Co., 197?)
Interviews: Joe Torres and Rosemary (Torres) Mora.
Julyan, Robert, The Place Names of New Mexico, rev. ed. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998.)
Marshall, Michael P. & Walt, Henry J., Rio Abajo: Prehistory and History of a Rio Grande Province, (Santa Fe: New Mexico Historic Preservation Program, 1984.)
Matrimonios San Miguel del Socorro, San Ignacio y San Cristobal, San Marcial & Our Lady of Guadalupe of La Jolla, (Albuquerque: Hispanic Genealogical Research Center, 1999.)
Olmsted, Virginia Langham, Spanish and Mexican Censuses of New Mexico: 1750-1830, (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogical Society, 1981.)
Olmsted, Virginia L., Spanish and Mexican Colonial Censuses of New Mexico: 1790, 1823, and 1845, (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogical Society, 1975.)
Ramirez Alief, Teresa, et. al, New Mexico Censuses of 1833 and 1845: Socorro and Surrounding Communities of the Rio Abajo, (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogical Society, 1994.)
Roberts, Susan and Roberts, Calvin, A History of New Mexico, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991.)
Salas, Raymond P. and Leonard Windham, Margaret, New Mexico Marriages Church of Immaculate Conception of Tomé and Our Lady of Belén, (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogical Society, 1994.)
Sanchez, Joe III, San Miguel del Socorro, New Mexico: Marriage Records 1821-1853, (Whittier, CA: Independently published, 1999.)