This letter is through the Courtesy of Carol Herrington
A copy of this letter was given to me (and other members of the family) by the late John Garza's former wife Carol Herrington, who was kind enough to share it with us. We are all grateful. I consider this letter to be a historical family document, and will treat it as such. John Garza interviewed and spoke with many family members whom are now part of the De la O family history. Though any information should always be verified, this letter serves as a valuable source of historical family information. We are indebted to John.
I tried to be as faithful as possible when transcribing Primo John Garza’s letter, adding a period, comma or notation where I thought it was needed for clarification. The words are copied verbatim. Though De La O is usually spelled in upper case, John used lower case in his letter. For the record John is my second cousin. His grandfather Manuel De La O was my grandfather Santiago's older brother.
John Garza’s Letter to His Aunt Lucy
October 21, 1993
Dear Tia Lucy
Sorry I took so long to send you this information. It’s just that I needed to verify the information from some tapes I took when Mi Tio Ramon and Pantaleon were alive. And much of what is written comes from them. I also referred to things my mom told me.
But before I start, I need to also tell you that there are (3) versions of where Papa Pasqual de la O was born.
According to Mi Tio Juan de la O - he came from Chihauhau, Mex. but was born in Cuba.
According to mi Tio Ramon - he came from Spain to Cuba then to Chihuahua, Mex. and then to Tularosa, New Mex.
According to Mi Tio Pantaleon they came from Mexico and it was Papa Pasqual’s father who came from Spain than Mexico.
So pick one - personally Mi Tio Ramon’s version was more credible to me because , he had such a good memory and remembered in such detail, plus he wrote things down.
So here goes - Papa Pasqual de la O came to Tularosa N. Mex and later moved to Dona Ana N. Mexico, probably late 1700’s. He had several children.
Mano Cosme - ( My words-John used lines and arrows to refer to Cosme, Victor and Victor’s son Alejandro - Randy) All three were killed by Apaches by or in a place called Santa Barbara, New Mexico - 1860 - 1870.
Mano Antonio - Killed in a fight in Mexico (Shot)
Mano Rafael - My great grandfather
Mano Martina (Campa) married the council to Mex. Arturo Campa
Incidentally, Tia Martina and Arturo Campa had a son Arturo, also. And is the guy that taught romance Language at Univ. of Denver for many years. (I can’t make out the next word - Randy) he also authored several books on the subject.
Our family comes from Rafael de la O, who was born in Tularosa, New Mexico. Papa Rafael died in 1914 at the age of 84, which means he was born in 1930. He is buried in Salem, N. Mex. (1834) - (84 yrs old)
He was married to Margarita Madrid. She was born in Santo Tomas, N. Mex, but after the Rio Grande took the whole town in a flood, went to live in Anthony, Texas. She had a sister mama Marcos, she married a man with the last name of Montoya, and they had a son - Mi Tio Casimiro Montoya, who was Max Montoya’s father. Mama Margarita (Maita) died Dec 4, 1922 en Los Ranchos de Dona Ana, New Mexico and is buried there.
Papa Rafael and Mama Margarita had several children in the following order.
Mi Tia Sarapia Tellez - born in 1871, died e buried in Loveland, Colorado.
Mi Grandpa Manuel de la O, died e buried Greeley, Colo. Was born Dec 25, 1873
Mi Tia Nieves - (can’t make out the word - Randy) Looks like Hovie
Mi Tio Andres - buried in los Angeles
Mi Tia Juana - Martinez - married Mi Tio Pancho (Francisco), incidentally they had a daughter Juanita who is the one married to Jose Esquivel - another daughter Elvira Atencio
Mi Tio Alejo
Mi Tio Santiago - died in Los Angeles
Mi Tia Gregoria - Martinez - buried in (Can‘t make out the name of the town- Randy) Ariz.
Mi Tio Macedonio - who was shot and killed accidentally by mi tia Grace
Mi Tia Pablita
All this family was born in Dona Ana, County of Dona Ana, New Mexico.
We come from my Grandpa Manuel de la O born 12/25/73 (1873-Randy) who married Viviane Valenzuela. He died in 1945 in Greeley, Colorado and is buried there. She died May 30, 1920 at the age of 41 yrs old. She is buried on the grounds of the original Rancho de los de la O in Hatch, N. Mexico. Incidentally Tia, when the freeway I-10 was built, her grave was left approx 50 ft from the road. Graces are marked by a very high pile of river rock. Also Mi Tio Felipe is buried next to her. He froze to death December 23, 1923.
Anyway, they had several children in this order.
Mi Tia Anastacia Aragon
Mi Tia Pablo - died Las Cruces, N. Mex.
Mi Tio Felipe - Froze to death
Mi Tio Pantaleon - died Phx Ariz
Mi Tio Ramon - Died Norwalk, Ca
Mi Tio Gregorio - Died Denver, Colo
Mi Tio Juan - Died Albuquerque, N. Mex.
Mi Mama Emma - Garza Died Corona, Ca
Mi Tia Sarapia - Mendez Died Los Angels, Ca
Mi Tio Rafael - Died Albuquerque N. Mex.
Mi Tia Lucinda - Abeyta That’s you - and I love you
Finally I’d like to also tell you about mama Viviane’s family. Although she used the name Valenzuela, her. real name was Chavez. Her real father was a full blooded Apache from San Carlos, Ariz. (Uncle Ramon remembered him, he told me he actually wore his hair long like a woman and he remembered him as a very old man affectionate with his grandchildren.
She had a half brother. Mi Tio Pifanio Valenzuela, and here is the supposed connection to Robert E. Lee of Civil War fame
I personally don’t buy it because the dates just don’t square.
Anyway, Apparently Mama Viviane’s mother was, how do you say, a party animal, loose woman, whatever, she had children from several men.
MamaViviane and Mi Tio Pifanio were half brother e sister, same mother, different father - but was also adopted or taken in byEl Senor Valenzuela. She also had one named Tio Senovio, Tio Benito Lee, Tia Sylvestra and Tia Isabel. I believe Sylvestra was also a Lee.
Mi Tio Pantaleon and Mi Tio Ramon, always spoke of Tio Senovio and Benito Lee, very highly and I had the impression the family (de la O) were very close to them.
Well Tia, I hope you are able to get some information from the Mormons with this. But since our family was probably in Dona Ana, Tularosa, N. Mex as far back as probably the late 1700’s, and since they were probably all baptized, married etc, in those churches it’s possible to get the information. As you know, those old Catholic churches kept pretty detailed records.
Anyway, please give me a copy of anything you find out. I love you Tia, and I always think of you.