Three Hundred Years in Chimayó


Three Hundred Years in Chimayó
Ortega Papers Trace Family’s
Three Hundred Years in Chimayó
Additional Photography and Documents from the El Palacio Summer 2010 article | Photography ©Don J. Usner
The Oratorio and the abandoned home of Rafael and Perfecta Martinez
on the west side of the plaza.
The Ortega Papers mention most of the families and some of the physical features
shown on this map, drawn by Sabino Trujillo in the 1970s to represent his memory of
the plaza around 1900. The papers, along with this map, photographs, and oral
history recounted by plaza residents and their descendants, make it possible to
construct a history of the plaza during the past three centuries.
2 El Palacio
Looking out a window of Isidorio and Pablita Ortega’s abandoned home on the plaza.
Window on the room once known as “el Cuarto del Pancho,” the
home of Francisco (Pancho) Jaramillo.
Doorway of the abandoned home of Doroteo and Carmelita Cruz on
the north side of the plaza.
A petition by Antonia Lópes requesting the partition of her father’s land grant, dated
17 April 1766. Highlighted is the reference, in Spanish, to the “blue rock outcrop at
the edge of the hill,” a landmark clearly identifiable in Chimayó today.
This document records Mariano Cruz’s sale of a four-room house (one room having
a door) in the “Plasa de San Buenabentura” for the price of ten “pesos de la tierra.”
Since Cruz didn’t know how to sign, he made a small cross near his name at the top
of document to affirm his consent, and asked Rumaldo de Herrera to sign for him.
Sunset illuminates the wall of a plaza home that once belonged to Francisco Jaramillo
and later became the residence of the first Presbyterian mission teacher in Chimayó.
Side one of Luis López’s petition for a land grant in Chimayó, received in
Santa Fe on September 10, 1706.
Side two of Luis López’s land grant petition, signed by Governor Francisco Cuervo y
Valdes and his secretary, Alphonso Rael de Aguilár. A faint annotation is signed by
Juan Paez Hurtado, who served as governor before Cuervo y Valdes and later.
View of Chimayó from the cerros (hills).
Gervacio Ortega left two wills, dated 17 years apart. In this, the first, he mentions
owning “hun torion,” a reference to a torreon, or watchtower—perhaps the tower
that still stands on the south side of the Plaza del Cerro, near a building
once owned by his grandson, Victor Ortega (October 11, 1851).
This arrest warrant, included among the many justice of the peace records
of José Ramón Ortega, accuses Encarnación Córdoba and Felipe Trujillo of the
murder of Patricio Baca (24 December 1875).
Francisco Antonio Mestas, known as El Guëro because of his blonde hair and blue eyes, wrote
this letter to his grandson, Victor Ortega, on August 17, 1880. In it, he reports on the weather, his
crops, and his health, and offers Victor some grandfatherly advice about business.