Saturday, June 14, 2014

Las Ruedas, For Sale Again

The old Las Ruedas town site is the grassy area on the upper right hand of the picture.  Click on the image(s) to make them larger.

Las Ruedas is for sale again. Jane Fonda put it up this past week. Here are some photos of Las Ruedas and environs today.

I last visited the area a few years ago with some relatives who had arranged with the ranch foreman, the late Gilbert (Gille) Ortiz, another Archuleta descendant, to visit the site. Gilbert led us down and briefed us on the site as he was probably the best informed. He had worked the ranch since he was in high school.

Las Ruedas was one of 3 small Hispanic villages on the old Los Trigos Land Grant.  The others being Pajarito and Los Trigos. The only one still in the hands of descendants is Pajarito. Las Ruedas is about 2 miles away from Rowe, New Mexico and I-25.

Anyway, Las Ruedas is long gone. The last person buried in the old cemetery is my great grand mother Maria Ana Duran. Her husband, Juan de Jesus Archuleta is most likely buried there also. No way to identify the few graves still visible.
This is one of the several houses and out buildings on the property for sale.
The grassy area to the right is immediately below the old Las Ruedas town site.

Jane Fonda is letting go of her New Mexico ranch, "a sanctuary and a place of great joy" known as Forked Lightning.

"The ranch encompasses 2,300 acres outside Santa Fe, and includes 3.5 winding miles of the Pecos River. The actress and activist bought the property -- part of a larger historic ranch once owned by oilman Buddy Fogelson and his wife, actress Greer Garson -- back in 2000. She is asking  $19.5 million. That includes the 10,000-square-foot River House, which is the main residence; a 2,000-square-foot guest house dubbed the Hacienda; and a 3,500-square-foot Log House, where Fonda lived while she was building the River House."

To have $19.5 million laying around. 

Alas, the old home of my ancestors will change hands again. My hope is that who ever buys it takes care of it and allows some limited access to it for folks wanting to see where their ancestors once lived.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ocho Reales

Two "ocho reales" Mexican coins. The top one from1886 and the bottom from 1836. This was THE coin in New Mexico, in the the west as a whole and even the western part of the United States for the better part of the early and mid 1800's.

The term "real or reales" hung around a lot longer than the coin really. In my youth the term ocho reales meant one American dollar, quatro reales was a 50 cent piece and dos reales was a quarter. It was understood all over the place by Spanish speaking New Mexicans. Since there was no 12 and 1/2 cent piece there were no uno real coin. Dos, quatro and ocho reales was it.  Mostly applied to coin.... as compared to the greenback which was called a peso.

The English term two bits, four bits, six bits a dollar referred to the Mexican Ocho real coin.

There were no Mexican dos or quatro real coins, it is my understanding they cut the ocho real coin into 8 pieces. Thus the 2 bit English term.

Money spoke Spanish back then, especially in the frontier. And New Mexico seems like the eternal frontier.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Our New Mexican History is like a Multi Dimensional Puzzle

Our New Mexican history is a huge multidimensional puzzle. It  is made up of the people. This includes and included mostly Hispanic New Mexicans, Native Americans, a few Africans and later French. Lastly, starting about 1810, the Americans.

This history includes the land, New Mexico, and the lands our ancestors utilized. We must keep in mind that initially New Mexico was huge, huge! It has been shrinking ever since the Spanish took possession of the province. Initially, as part of New Spain, it included everything west of the Mississippi all the way to the Pacific Ocean and north to places unknown. On the south it was bounded by the Rio Grande (El Rio Bravo del Norte).

This history also includes time, for Hispanic New Mexicans, our history in the area starts  in 1527 with Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. It proceeds  through 1540 with the explorations of Francisco Coronado and others and then begins in earnest in 1598 with don Juan de Onate and our ancestors who came north from Mexico to establish the colony. It includes the expulsion of our ancestors by the Native Americans in the 1680 revolt. It encompasses their return, with additional settlers who again came north, this time led by don Diego de Vargas in 1693 -1695. The revolt was by the Native Americans and some mixed Spanish/Native Americans and the expelled included most of the Spanish and some Native Americans who had embraced Catholicism. A mixed bag as we say today.

The New Mexican land was vast, though shrinking over time, it was still vast. The time was long, interrupted at various intervals, but still very, very long, 1527 to the present. Almost 500 years. The people, our ancestors, were few. Very few, especially when taken into the perspective of time and space. The actual numbers never amounted to much until here recently. And those numbers have dispersed all over the country and many foreign countries.

And they all fit together, not real neat, but they all fit. Just like a multidimensional puzzle. The most interesting to me is the people, our ancestors. Since they were few it is possible to find out who they were, when and where they were born and how they lived and died. Their trials, the hardships, the triumphs. Like it or not we ended up being related by blood to one degree or another. The poor, the rich, the educated and the illerate, we all ended up related. Como luego dicen, una gran familia.

Our New Mexican history is not like American history. Not at all and not in the least. The "Americans" were scattered (concentrated) over a much smaller area with much greater numbers and a much reduced time frame. The American history starts about 1620 and proceeds from there. This is 93 years shorter than our history here in New Mexico! 93 years shorter and millions upon millions of people coming from many countries and the African continent. Santa Fe was an established place way before the first "Pilgrim" set foot on Plymouth Rock. The Americans in the then America came in droves, in huge human waves from all over Europe and Africa.

Not so our ancestors, they came and stayed and added a few here and there. But so few were added that you can identify them, sometimes individually, as you look at the historical documents. You can identify the "heroes", the idiots, the priests, the church goers the nay sayers the soldiers, etc., etc.

One bad thing about this is that the New Mexican population(s) remained stable, or grew very slowly. The New Mexicans had great difficulty getting people, any material needed and direction from the center of government in far away Mexico or Spain. As a result time seemed to stand still between 1598 and about 1810 when the "Americans" arrived. They came with their new technologies which New Mexicans had only vague ideas what they were.

Native Americans in New Mexico were essentially stuck in the stone age. Dependent on Hispanic New Mexicans for any thing that did not grow or was born locally. That includes the horse that changed the way they lived. All of a sudden, with the arrival of the Spanish, they were a stone age people but now were mounted on a horse.

This is what the Americans found in 1846 when they captured and annexed New Mexico. The Americans had known how many New Mexicans there were and how many ancient weapons they had. It would and was a cakewalk taking control. And that is what they did.

Monday, June 2, 2014

General Kearney in Las Vegas, New Mexico

August 15, 1846

Mr. Acalde, and people of New Mexico: I have come amongst you by the orders of my government, to take possession of your country, and extend over it the law of the United States, we consider it, and have done so for some time, a part of the territory of the United States.  We come amongst you as friends - not as enemies; as protectors not as conquerors.  We come among you for your benefit[not for your injury, "Henceforth I absolve you from all allegiance to the Mexican government, and from all obedience to General Armijo.  He is no longer your governor [great sensation] I am your governor.  

I shall not expect you to take up arms and follow me to fight your own people, who may oppose me; but I now tell you, that those who remain peaceably at home, attending to their corps and their herds, shall be protected by me, in their property, their persons, and their religion; not a pepper nor an onion, shall be disturbed or taken by my troops without pay, or by the consent of the owner.  

But listen! he who promises to be quiet, and is found in arms against me, I will hang.  From the Mexican government you have never received protection.  The Apaches and Navajoes come down from the mountains and carry off your sheep, and even your women, whenever they please.  My government will correct all this.  It will keep off the Indians, protect you and your persons and property; and, I repeat again, will protect you in your religion.  

I know you are all great Catholics; that some of your priests have told you all sorts of stories-that we should ill-treat your women, and brand them on the cheek as you do your mules on the hip.  It is all false.  My government respects your religion as much as the Protestant religion, and allows each man to worship his Creator as his heart tells him best.  The laws protect the Catholic as well as the Protestant, the weak as well as the strong; the poor as well as the rich.

  I am not a Catholic myself - I was not brought up in that faith; but at least one-third of my army are Catholics and I respect a good Catholic as much as a good Protestant.  There goes my army - you see but a small portion of it; there are many more behind - resistance is useless. "Mr. Alcaide, and you two captains of militia, the laws of my country require that all men who hold office under me shall take the oath of allegiance I do not wish, for the present, until affairs become more settled, to disturb your form of government.  if you are prepared to take oaths of allegiance, I shall continue you in office, and support your authority.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Que Hera Su Nombre?

What was your New Mexican ancestors real name? Was it Jane or Juana? Was it Juan or Johnny? Was it Juan de Jesus or J.J.? Was it Juan Carlos or J.C.?

Sort of hard to tell what name New Mexican's used a few years ago. Especially if they had names that were hard to pronounce in English. People changed their names, I did too. Hard to go through life with a name like Nemesio, Maria del Carmel, Chrisostomo or Chrisostoma, Higino, Veneranda or Policarpio... You get the drift. Our parents gave us names that meant something to them at the time. I have a cousin, who shall remain unnamed, who is always deploring names our common ancestors saddled us with. I personally do not mind the name given to me, but understand his concern.

I have used various different names over the years, as have a lot of us. I recall a special day for me, a very special day. My very first day of school with the Catholic Sisters at Saint Anthoney's School in Pecos, New Mexico.  At our first recesses we realized we had all been given brand new names by the nuns who did not know a word of Spanish. We spent our free time over the next few days getting used to them. Francisco (Kiko) was now Frank, Manuel (Melo) was now Manny, Hernandez (Nandes) was now Ernie, Mariquita was Mary, Jacinta was now Jackie. Again you get the picture.

Sometimes the time we were baptized was the last time we used the baptismal name. I remember my mother. I knew her as Ruby or Refugio. It was not until after she passed that I got to know her birth name, Maria del Refugio.

It is different now with names for the descendants of New Mexicans, gone, for the most part are the old Spanish names. Instead we have Josh, Mariah, Jacob etc., etc.

That is not bad, it just is.