History Library


By George A. Sanchez

(The people in this article are ancestors of the Antonio Sanchez and Cornelia Sanchez Borrego families of San Elizario, Texas.)

Jose Gregorio de la Trinidad Sanchez, the son of Capitan Juan Cristobal Sanchez and Juana Maria Duran y Chavez, was born November 19, 1777 at Los Chaves. Jose Gregorio married Maria Rita Baca on June 5, 1805, and they are my fourth grandparents. Maria Rita Baca was the daughter of Captain Don Bartolome Baca, who was the Governor of New Mexico from 1823-1825, and Dona Maria de la Luz Chavez. So one of my fifth grandfathers was in the early group of Mexican Governors of New Mexico after Mexico got its independence from Spain in 1821.

Don Bartolome Baca was born in Belen. He was the legitimate son of Don Diego Domingo Baca and his second wife, Dona Maria Antonia Montoya. Diego Domingo was the son of Dona Josefa Baca who was the daughter of Captain Manuel Baca who was the son of Captain Cristobal Baca II who was the son of Captain Alonso Baca who was the son of Captain Cristobal Baca (Vaca) who came to New Mexico with his family in the reinforcement expedition of 1600.

Don Bartolome and Dona Maria were married May 2, 1790. Dona Maria de la Luz Chavez was a descendant of the Chavez family who also came to New Mexico in 1600.

First official mention of Don Bartolome Baca was when he signed his military record in 1815. He had served His Majesty without pay for seven years as captain. Participating in many actions of war, he fought bravely, taking many prisoners and engaging the enemy in personal combat. His service is also recorded in the Pino Exposition which was presented to the Spanish Cortes in 1812. This can be found in Don Pedro Bautista Pino’s The Exposition on the Province of New Mexico, 1812, translated and an introduction by Adrian Bustamante and Marc Simmons.

Towards the end of his military career, the governor appointed him alcalde of Tome and Belen. He retired from this position in 1815 and in 1819 Don Bartolome petitioned Governor Don Facundo Melgares for a tract of land east of the Manzano Mountains stating that he had a number of horses, sheep, and cattle without sufficient land to pasture them on. His petition was granted in July of that same year and he was formally placed in ownership of the tract of land on September 12, 1819 by justice of the district, Lt. Don Jose Garcia de la Mora. This area was later referred to as El Torreon after a two story fortification constructed there by Don Bartolome . It was manned by the families of his sons and daughters and their servants who all had houses around the torreon. The town of Estancia grew around Don Bartolome's ranch at that site. Manzano to the north, which was outside his boundry, was under his protection but also had its own torreon.

At the height of his power, Don Bartolome Baca had some 300 servants taking care of his livestock. He was appointed governor of New Mexico after the overthrow of the Emperor Iturbide by the executive committee in charge in September 1823 while he was residing at his residence in the town of El Paso del Norte.

The immediate heirs of Don Bartolome and Dona Maria de la Luz received houses, land and other valuables in the El Paso, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Belen areas but they did not defend their rights in court to the immense hacienda due to conflicting wills and complications with the original Mexican land grant. Instead they sold their shares to Eloisa Luna Bergere, the widow of Don Manuel B. Otero, who was killed in a shootout over the land grant. She eventually lost her court case but was granted a few hundred acres by the court. This was much less than the 1,250,000 acres contained in the original grant. Don Bartolome Baca died in Tome on April 30, 1834. Dona Maria de la Luz Chavez died in Tome on November 3, 1844.

In the church records New Mexico Marriages, Immaculate Conception of Tome 1800-1855, Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Microfilm #33, page 59, frame 871, I found my fourth grandparents as the "padrinos" in THE wedding of the early 1800s. It is the marriage of my fourth grandmother Maria Rita’s sister but note the honorific titles of all these ricos!:

25 Sep 1814 Dn Juan de Jesus Chavez, son of Dn Santiago Chaves and Dna Ma Luz Garcia, m. Dna Ma Manuela Baca, dau. of Snr Capitan Dn Bartolome Baca and Dna Ma de la Cruz Chaves, res. of Sn Fernando. Pad: Dn Gregorio Sanchez and Dna Rita Baca.

Contact me at GSanchez011@ELP.RR.COM or H (915)755-7135 or C (915)373-0127.

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