The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

24 October 2010

First Hand Account of the New Mexico Territorial Period

Recently, I have been researching early Socorro County history, when I came across a book online titled "El Gringo, or New Mexico and Her People". It was written by William Watts Hart Davis, a circuit judge the United States Attorney for New Mexico. He traveled throughout New Mexico for two and a half years in the 1850s. I find the book interesting because he talks a lot about the people he came across in his travels.

What I specifically found useful in my research was his mention of the residence of the last and late Mexican Governor of New Mexico Manuel Armijo:

The mayor domo of the establishment received us in the court-yard and conducted us into the house, where we were welcomed by the owner of the establishment, a son-in-law of the deceased general [Governor Armijo.] As is customary of a Mexican gentleman, he placed everything at our disposal, but we felt well understood that nothing farther was donated to us than accommodations for ourselves and our horses. We were ushered into the main sala, where servants soon made their appearance with water and necessary ablutions and accompanying toilet fixtures...." [page 363]

The son-in-law is undoubtedly Luis Maria Baca, husband of Manuel Armijo's adopted daughter Ramona Armijo. Ramona inherited her father's house after he died. 1. Additionally, Luis Maria Baca was also a grandson and namesake of land grant proprietor Luis Maria Cabeza de Baca, and the brother of my 2nd great-grandfather Martin Baca.2. Through this vignette, I was able to get a better understanding of this family.

To read "El Gringo", click on this link.

1. Fray Angelico Chavez, Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period, Revised Edition (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1992), p. 318. See also J. J. Bowden, "Socorro Land Grant", in the New Mexico Office of the State Historian website>, retrieved 24 October 2010. (Link)

2. Chavez, "Origins of New Mexico Families", p. 152-153. See also J.J. Bowden, "Luis Maria de Baca Grant", in the New Mexico Office of State Historian website,>, retrieved 24 October 2010. (Link)

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