THE PROGENY OF PADRE MARTINEZ OF TAOS
By Vicente M. Martínez ©
Published in NEW MEXICO GENEALOGIST: The Journal of the New Mexico Genealogical Society, Vol. 46, No. 2, pages 55-65.
Much has been written about the life and legacy of Padre Martínez, Cura de Taos, and his achievements as a leader and visionary in the fields of religion, politics, and education. Yet, little is known about his personal life and the people involved in his daily activities. In 2003 I began the task of transcribing his Last Will and Testament, from a handwritten copy of the 1867 Spanish document, and then translating it into English.
A thorough examination of the personal estate of Padre Martínez, who died on July 25, 1867, provides insight into secular and post-excommunication religious aspects of his life, and sheds some light on his activities during his final years. The issue of progeny is but one of many issues that I examined and am honored to present it in this article. While it is known that Padre Martínez had putative children, few know that he acknowledged and provided for them in his last will and testament, the “Administration of the Presbyter Don Antonio José Martínez.” The late Fray Angélico Chávez, in his book But Time and Chance: The Story of Padre Martínez of Taos, 1793-1867, researched and wrote about the progeny and the extent of relationship, but he made little mention of the will and its detailed contents. His research, however, provided me with information that enabled me to follow and expand the family ties. The Padre’s lifetime gifts and bequeaths to his children stated in the will provided me with an indication as to the strength and degree of these shared familial bonds. My personal interest in this aspect of the will is that I, based on family oral history, have always believed myself to be a descendant of Padre Martínez through my great grandfather Santiago Valdez Also, I had never explored the Romero claim to patrimony as I have done in writing this article.
Progeny is a controversial issue with respect to Padre Martínez because of the moral issues it raises with regard to the priesthood and vows of celibacy. Within the historical context, in my opinion, this issue was insignificant when compared to the magnitude of his accomplishments, and it must be pointed out, his moral conduct was not listed as a factor in his excommunication. It is only through the will that we understand the love shown for his progeny through gifts and bequests of goods and property before and upon his death. He conveyed property to individuals identified by name without specifying their relationship to him, except for his brothers and sisters. Another exception was Santiago Valdez who he identifies as “mi familiar, ” (of my family) and
Padre Martínez was well versed in property rights and estates, both subjects that he likely taught students in his law school, which was the first in the Territory of New Mexico and one of the first west of the Mississippi. The baptismal information presented below, except for that of María Teodora Romero, is taken from: New Mexico Baptisms, Catholic Parishes and Missions in Taos, Volume II, 7 January 1827 ~ 13 July 1837 and Volume III, 10 November 1837 ~ 8 September 1844, extracted and translated from the Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fé and published by the New Mexico Genealogical Society (2004); and scanned copies of baptismal records provided by NMGS, or other source as annotated. I am grateful to the Taos born Rev. Juan Romero of Palm Springs, California and my son Antonio José Martínez, Esq. of Coral Gables, Florida for their insight and valuable contributions to this article.
His Marriage and First Child
The Last Will and Testament of Padre Martínez contains a brief statement acknowledging his legitimate wife and daughter as follows: “I declare that in 1812 I was married and veiled in first nuptials with María de la Luz Martínez, and by this union we had a daughter who died in 1824. I have nothing more to say about this.”
Santiago Valdez: Obedient Son, Controversial Parentage
A cursory search of the Márques family reveals that they may have been from Santa Cruz. Baptismal records for the parish of Santa Cruz de la Cañada show that three of their children -two sons and a daughter- were baptized there between 1798 and 1802, but none the children bear the name, María Teodora. Their only daughter, baptized on 8 July 1802, was named María Manuela. An amplified search by Nancy Anderson of the surrounding parishes of San Juan, Abiquiú, Pojoaque, Nambé, Santa Clara, and Picurís produced no baptismal record for a María Teodora Márques. Is it possible that María Teodora Márques and María Teodora Romero might be one and the same? Chávez does not mention this and apparently did not pursue the identity of María Teodora Márquez. Experienced genealogist, Alberto Vidaurre of Taos, has informed me that missing records were not unusual due to the mobility of either the family, or the priest. Nor would it be unusual for itinerant priests to record daily entries in notebooks at night or later, possibly resulting in forgotten or misspelled names.
Combined, the information contained in the baptismal record poses some additional questions regarding Santiago who was allegedly from El Rancho (de la Purísima). All baptisms were recorded in the parish seat of San Geronimo but the records do not identify the church where the baptisms took place, however, they do identify the parishes of the parents and godparents. Santiago’s baptism most likely would have taken place at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Church in Taos, a mission of San Geronimo until 1834 when the Taos church became the parish seat. The notation about the secret tablet containing information on the father indicates that there was a strong reason to conceal the paternity for reasons that will be examined. According to Rev. Juan Romero some information is contained in marginal notations on the actual record, but that it would not be unusual for a parish to have a confidential book on matters not intended for the public. Finally, we do not know if, or when, the maternal grandparents moved to El Rancho de la Purísima, as the only records that we have located for them are in Santa Cruz.
Because of the documents cited above, the debate continues around the paternity of Santiago Valdez, with the oral history of his descendants on my side (Martínez) of the family stating, unequivocally, that he was the illegitimate son of Padre Martínez. While I grew up with the knowledge that my great grandfather Santiago de Jesús Valdez was the first-born son of Padre Martínez no one in the family was certain as to the identity of Santiago’s mother until Chávez published the information about the Márquez connection in “But Time and Chance.” Chávez, and other scholars, speculate that Santiago may have been the illegitimate son of José Santiago Martínez, the padre’s brother and that is why the child was given the name. He further suggests that this paternity required secrecy to avoid scandal, to which I would agree, but to whom? Santiago was raised by the family of José Ignacio Valdez and his wife María Manuela Sánchez, who lived on a farm at Placita de los Dolores, (also known as Estiércoles, and now known as Placitas/El Prado) and he took the surname Valdez. On 29 October1849 Santiago married a Valdez daughter, María Agustina, with whom he was raised. According to Chávez, Padre Martínez continued to hide Santiago’s paternity when he performed the marriage without entering the parents of either party, noting….”Bans dispensed with for reasons contained in the Dilengencias Matrimoniales” a document yet to be found.
Despite his uncertain paternity, the will leaves no doubt about Santiago Valdez’ patrimony, and the degree that he was favored by Padre Martínez and where he is recognized as a family member: “I declare and dispose that in consideration to Santiago Valdez, a member of my family, who I raised since infancy and adopted with all of the privileges of a formal adoption, I educated, and that he recognizes no other father, or mother, than me, and in addition to this he has been obedient to me, for this I dispose, and it is my will that his children take, share, and carry my surname in the future.“ In the will Santiago is identified as the recipient of lifetime gifts of lands from the padre in Taos, and particularly, Estiérocles as follows: “I declare that to Santiago Valdez, a member of my family, I have made a gift, and later made additional gifts, because I agreed to provide for his subsistence. I now bequeath, one hundred varas of land in the place of Estiércoles from where the road dips and then begins to climb…” And further, “I constitute Santiago Valdez and Vicente Romero as patrons of my chapel, its belongings and rights, so that in their presence and at their choice, Divine Offices may be held… I declare, command, and dispose that my papers and books, of whatever nature, and those that contain accounts, I bequeath and place with Santiago Valdez, a member of my family, so that they will be preserved, kept, and secured for further use, and be safeguarded in the bookcase abovementioned to serve him as a memorial [record] of my legacy.” And finally, “I declare, and constitute as witnesses, executors, and administrators of this, my last will and testament Santiago Valdez and Pedro Sánchez, to both and each one “in solidum.”
Of the twelve children that Santiago and Agustina had, seven survived and they were: Daniel, José David, Teodora (Read), Malaquias, Marina (Romero), Mariquita (Montaner), and Demóstenes, and all were given, and retained, the Martínez surname. Demóstenes would be my biological grandfather and his sister, Mariquita, who, with her husband, José Montaner, adopted my mother, was my adoptive grandmother.
Santiago Valdez was educated in the Padre’s school and went on to become a successful attorney and politician. His political service included the following positions: Probate Clerk of Taos County; Probate Judge and School Board member of Mora County; State Senator of Taos County (for 20 years), and a member of the New Mexico Statutes Commission that compiled laws in 1884. Santiago served as the Captain of Company H 1st New Mexico Volunteer but resigned his commission in late 1861 prior to the U S Civil War. In 1877 Santiago Valdez authored, as charged by Padre Martínez in his Will, the manuscript Biografía del Presbítero Don Antonio José Martínez, Cura de Taos. The original manuscript is stored at the Huntington Library near Los Angeles. Santiago died on April 19, 1888.
María Teodora Romero and Her Children
Little is known about the early life of María Teodora Romero, but she was baptized on April 1, 1809 as María Josefa Romero. Her parents were José Romero and María de la Luz Trujilllo, vecinos of San Fernandes de Taos. In Teodora Romero’s Last Will and Testament of December 1888 she declared that she had been previously married to José Oliver Vigil and that they had a daughter who was baptized and buried, and that her husband had died in the same year as the child. She further states that in her state of widowhood she had the children named below whom she recognized as her legitimate heirs. When their first son, George Antonio, was born she would have been twenty-two years old and the Padre thirty-eight. This would make Santiago fifteen months older than George.
George Antonio Martínes was baptized shortly after birth “out of necessity” by Don Santiago Martínez, brother of Padre Martínez and the child’s Padrino. Nine days after his birth on 1 May1831 Padre Martínez anointed the newborn child with Holy Oil and Chrism. It has been speculated in Romero family lore that the English name, George, not the Spanish “Jorge,” was given to honor George Washington. The baptismal entry of George Antonio reads that he was the legitimate son of “Antonio Martínez” and María Teodora Romero. His paternal grandparents were the Padre´s parents, Antonio Severino Martínez and his wife María del Carmel (Santistevan), both deceased. His maternal grandparents were José Romero (deceased) and his widow, María de la Luz Trujillo. Godparents were Santiago Martínez, who performed the baptism, and his wife María Dolores Lucero. All were listed as being, vecinos del varrio de San Fernandes.
In his Will Padre Martínez wrote: “I command, in favor of George Antonio Romero, who is currently staying in the two rooms where he dwells, from the corner on the North and continuing to the rooms where my books and papers are, and inclusive of a small room that forms a passage to the house of Teodora Romero, shall be the property of said George Antonio Romero-“ This description indicates a portion of the Padre’s own home. George was also given land in Estiércoles during the Padre’s lifetime.
George married María Dolores Medina and they had three children, Gustavo, María de la Luz, and Bernardo. In 1882, fifteen years after the death of Padre Martínez, the family sold their share of the Padre’s home to Santiago Valdez, and moved to the Ocate Valley in Mora County. Their granddaughter, Dora Ortiz Vásquez, a daughter of María de la Luz, became the voice of the Romero progeny of Padre Martínez when she wrote her book, Enchanted Temples of Taos: My Story of Rosario, cited in a footnote above. In her book Vásquez relates a series of stories about life in the Padre´s household as told to her by Rosario, the Navajo captive of Padre Martínez. In the book she refers to the relationship between Padre Martínez and María Teodora Romero as a marriage. To my knowledge no record of a marriage exists, however, the relatioship is recognized by most Padre Martínez scholars, including Chávez, as a conjugal relationship.
On May 3, 1833, “Antonio Martínez” and María Teodora Romero had a legitimate daughter named María de la Luz Martínez, who was baptized shortly after birth, again, “by necessity” by Don Antonio Ortiz. On May 9, eleven days after her birth, Padre Martínez anointed the newborn child with Holy Oil and [Sacred] Chrism. It is presumed that she died shortly thereafter. The paternal and maternal grandparents were the same as with George; the godparents were Don Antonio Ortiz and his wife, María Dolores Trujillo of Holy Trinity Church in Arroyo Seco.
More than two years later, “Antonio Martínez” and María Teodora (vecina del la plasa de de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) had another legitimate daughter who was also named María de la Luz Martínez. She was baptized on 1 June 1835 by Don Francisco Leyva, a visiting priest from Abiquiú. Again, Don Severino and Doña María del Carmel were listed as the paternal grandparents and José Romero and María de la Luz Trujillo as the maternal grandparents. The godparents were the Padre’s sister Juana María and her husband Juan Manuel Lucero - vecinos de la plaza de San Francisco de Paula. Obviously, Padre Martínez had an affinity for the name María de la Luz, perhaps to honor his first wife and daughter. According to the Padre’s Will, and prior to his death, María de la Luz was given a large portion of the Padre´s home as well as a house and land in Estiércoles. She seems to have been favored among the daughters.
A second daughter, María Soledad Romero was baptized by the Padre’s associate priest, Don José Vigil, on 1 June 1842, eight days after her birth. This time, the daughter is listed as the hija natural [illegitimate daughter] of María Teodora who is listed as viuda (widow), and no name is given for the father or the paternal grandparents, but the maternal grandparents remain the same. The godparents were Antonio Otero and María Nicolasa Trujillo also of San Fernandes. In the Will, no bequests are made to María Soledad except to note that in describing his house, Padre Martínez states the following: “It is a small square surrounded by porches on the inside, and the wall on the north side belongs to the house of María Soledad, that I deeded to her with a yard and back-corrals.”
On April 5, 1844, Vicente Ferrer Romero was born to the “widow” María Teodora as hijo natural [illegitimate son] and was baptized by Padre Martínez on April 21, with the entry recorded on the following day. Again, neither the father nor the paternal grandparents are listed. José Romero and María de la Luz Trujillo are listed as the maternal grandparents. The Padrinos were Pascual Martínez and his wife María Teodora Gallegos, the brother and sister-in-law of Padre Martínez. Like Santiago Valdez, Vicente Romero was also favored by Padre Martínez and was given a portion of the Estiércoles land prior to the Padre´s death. In the Will the Padre bequeathed to Vicente goods from the estate valued at one hundred and forty-one dollars. Padre Martínez named Vicente, along with Santiago Valdez, as Patrónes of the “Chapel, its property and rights.”
During his young life, Vicente witnessed the turmoil in which Padre Martínez was embroiled. He was barely a teenager when the Padre’s letters decrying the re-imposition of church tithes were printed in the Santa Fe Gazette, and about 14 when Padre Martínez was publicly excommunicated. These events most likely influenced Vicente to turn away from the Catholic Church. Later, Vicente seems to have had access to the Padre’s printing press and used it to print religious tracts hostile to the Catholic Church.
In 1872, Vicente Ferrer and a legislator by the name of José Domingo Mondragón, approached early Presbyterian missionaries and became founding members of the Taos Presbyterian Church and Mission School, which they established on Vicente’s land in El Prado (Estiércoles ). Although they were licensed lay preachers, they were never ordained. Vicente Ferrer served as an active and effective lay-evangelizer for the Presbyterian Church at Laguna Pueblo and the Taos/El Prado area. Vicente was married in the Presbyterian Church to Anastacia Lucero of the family of Don Agustín Lucero. He died in 1924 at the age of 80. Most, if not all, of the Romero family members became Presbyterians, as did Pascual Bailón Martínez, the Padre’s brother.
Finally, José Julio María de Jesús Romero was baptized on December 25, 1850, six days after he was born, as hijo natural [illegitimate son] of the “widow” María Teodora Romero. Father and paternal grandparents are unknown, and José Romero and his wife María de La Luz Trujillo were listed as maternal grandparents. The Padrinos were Juan Ygnacio and María Casilda Martínez of San Francisco del Rancho. Little is known about Julio, but Padre Martínez, who acknowledged that he had not given Julio anything during his lifetime, did, in his Will, make a sizable bequest of land, a sizeable portion of his house, and livestock with a total value of $800: “My house of residence, starting with the two rooms where I now reside, including the blacksmith shop and continuing to the corral, a room that serves as a pig-pen, and a wall that continues to a door in the corral… He [Julio] shall also be given sixty-three varas of farmland, which belonged to one Coca… I order that he [Julio] he be given fifteen cows and two bulls, at fifteen dollars per head…”
Verification to support either side of the presumed paternity of Santiago Valdez, will always remain contentious because of the absence of the “secret tablet” from Santiago’s baptismal record and Diligencias Matrimoniales [Premarital Investigations] from his marriage to Agustina Valdez. Chávez speculates that Santiago was the illegitimate son of José Santiago Martínez, the Padre’s brother and that is why the child was given the name. Chávez further suggests that Santiago Martínez, the Padre’s brother and alleged father of Santiago Márquez required secrecy to avoid scandal. In my opinion, the name of Santiago shared by both the Priest’s brother and the young Valdez “adopted” by Padre Martinez, might have drawn more attention to the issue. Finally, there is no written record that shows how José Santiago Márquez (baptismal record) became Santiago de Jesús Valdez (marriage record). Are they the same person? Rev. Juan Romero suggests that the name change may have been the result of the adoption, for which we have no written record. A more extensive search and study of the baptismal, marriage and death records of Santiago and Agustina, and their children might yield additional clues.
Also, during the course of writing this article a second major problem was uncovered with this complex issue of Padre Martínez’ paternity of Santiago Valdez, since the identity of Santiago’s mother remains in question. Was María Manuela the only daughter of record of Vicente Márquez and María Guadalupe Trujillo the actual mother? Could Padre Martínez have made an error in the entry of her name – inadvertently or, intentionally? Was this a cover name for María Teodora Romero, his longtime housekeeper and companion? An extensive search for her needs to continue in the marriage and death records in order to verify her existence.
We may never know the answers to these questions, but because of the stated adoption, Santiago’s descendents have the right to refer to Padre Martinez as their progenitor - regardless of whether the relationship is blood or adoptive. Perhaps DNA evidence can someday be collected from both the Romero and Martínez descendants to clarify the parentage of Santiago Valdez as well as the progeny of the Padre’s many descendants who, to this day, carry the Martínez surname.
Of the all progeny, Santiago Valdez and Vicente Ferrer Romero went on to gain political or religious recognition in their respective careers. Santiago became a politician and attorney and Vicente, the Presbyterian lay minister, and both continued the Padre’s legacy. More information needs to be gathered on the descendants of George, María de la Luz, María Soledad, and Julio about whom we know so little. Some of the Martínez-Romero descendants might still live in Taos, and we know others moved to Ocaté. In my lifetime I have gathered much genealogical information on the Valdez/Martínez families, but need more on the Romeros.
ã Vicente M. Martínez, all rights reserved 4/30/07
Postscript: Follow this link.
Identified as housekeeper in my family oral history, as Madre Teodorita and “wife” of Padre Martínez by Dora Ortiz Vásquez, Enchanted Temples of Taos: My Story of Rosario, Rydall Press, Santa Fe, NM, 1975, and as a neighbor by Fray Angélico Chávez, in But Time and Chance: The Story of Padre Martínez of Taos, 1793-1867, The Sunstone Press, Santa Fe, NM, First Edition, 1981, pp. 38-39 Chávez also cites the 1850 Territorial Census that lists Teodora as living next door to Padre Martínez.
I am grateful to Nancy Anderson, President of the New Mexico Genealogy Society and Alberto Vidaurre, an independent genealogy expert from Taos, who searched archives and other resources to help clarify the records. Nancy scanned AASF microfilm and sent me the actual baptismal records.
Chávez argues that Padre Martínez would not have performed the baptism of his own son because it is “forbidden by canon law and proscribed by much more ancient Church custom, even in the case of legitimate parents, but it had taken on an aura of superstition which was more compelling than church laws and dogmas.” p.38 However, the baptismal record of Vicente Ferrer Romero, discussed below, contains no information that someone else performed the baptism.
Nancy Anderson, Alberto Vidaurre, and Tómas D. Martínez of California provided information on Vicente Márquez and his family, indicating two, possibly three, sons: Miguel Antonio bap 16 Oct 1798, Remigio bap 6 Oct 1799. A forth baptism, Luis María - bap 25 Aug 1789 has not been verified because the mother’s name is listed as María Guadalupe Martín.
According to my late mother, Teodora Martínez y Salazar, my grandmother, Mariquita Montaner, burned several documents and papers belonging to Padre Martínez. The reason given was that she did not want anyone to know her age. My aunt Marina Gaunder, now deceased, told me that some of Mariquita’s siblings, upon learning of the burning, rescued several documents, papers, and books. I do not know if age was the real reason, perhaps it was verguenza (shame), because the papers may have contained information relative to Santiago’s true parentage. My grandmother always claimed she knew the truth, but would never tell!
Ibid. Chávez. p. 34. Also, Chávez mistakenly identifies the Valdez family as being from El Rancho de la Purisima, “(where Santiago’s mother Teodora Márquez also lived)”. p. 34. Not to be confused with two other churches dedicated to Nuestra Señora de los Dolores: one in Cañon, two miles east of Taos, and the other in Arroyo Hondo, twelve miles north.
Premarital Investigations: A major step in Catholic preparation for a marriage whereby the priest interviews the bride and groom with the intention of getting a sworn statement on two points – 1) Do you really love him/her? 2) Are you entering this marriage freely and fully knowing what you are doing? There are a variety of other peripheral questions, such as names of parents and godparents. Email correspondence from Rev. Juan Romero 4/27/07
This document is currently being edited by Fr. Thomas Steele, S.J. and will be published, along with the Padre´s 1838 autobiography Relación de Méritos, and the Administration of the Presbyter Don Antonio José Martínez by UNM Press sometime in the near future.
Padre Martínez made a later notation to the baptismal record giving her name as María Teodora (Chávez, p. 37). Vásquez, provides a genealogical sketch that shows María Teodora as Teodorita Santistevan y Romero. (p. x) Also, the name Teodora recurs in the family four times: mother of Santiago, mother of Romeros, Santiago’s daughter married to Benjamin Read, and my mother.
Chávez, most likely, did not know about this will, he states: “She was later mentioned as a widow at the baptism of a subsequent natural child, but thus far, no trace of a previous marriage exists.” P. 37
An emergency baptism by water can take place by a layman when the child may be in danger of dying and no priest is available. Only a priest can supply the other ceremonies of anointing with Holy Oil and Chrisms in a subsequent ceremony.
Ibid. Vásquez "He believed priests should marry. He was married to Madre Teodorita and his family was legitimate. He had been married before he was a priest, and his first wife died; he had a daughter from her who also died." (p. 50)
Chávez mistakenly attributed this late entry to the baptismal record of María Soledad (p. 39), but it was actually that of Vicente Ferrer – “ pues ayer debidó de apuntar“[well, yesterday I should have written].
Ibid. Administration, p. 6 Also, Rev. Juan Romero speculates that: Padre Martínez was, by the time of his Will, well aware of the religious “proclivities” of his sons Santiago and Vicente—the former very Catholic, and the latter flirting with Protestantism. “It seems clear to me that the Padre favored Santiago a lot more, but wanted some religious ‘healing’ between his two sons.” It seems the Padre thought that putting his Chapel under the charge of both of them would somehow bring reconciliation between them. Email correspondence on 4/27/07.
The Estiércoles land is quite controversial with Taos Pueblo oral history claiming that Padre Martínez was given this land in exchange for intervention for the lives Pueblo leaders hanged during the 1847 insurrection. The claim is that intervention did not occur and the Padre kept the land. I am currently preparing another paper for publication on padremartinez.org that disputes this claim by examining the events of 1847, the transaction, and the role of Padre Martínez.
"The Empty Cross: the First Hispano Presbyterian in Northern New Mexico" article by Tomás Atencio, ca. 1990. Also, according to Rev. Juan Romero and others, the purported ruins of the mission church are located just north of Overland Sheepskin Co. in El Prado.
Presbyterian records: Early New Mexico and Colorado Protestants Compiled by Crystal Baca Slater and John E. Chávez list Vicente as the son of Padre Martínez. See: http://newmexicoalhn.net/coloradoprotestants.htm
When a natural son, after Baptism, is adopted, the most normal thing is to have the child take on the last name of the adopting parents. A marginal note in the Baptism Register is supposed to be made—or a note with that information is supposed to be put in a “cuarderno secreto,” where confidential information of this type is stored. This still goes on. Usually, the "secret" stuff re: actual parentage an adopted child is put in the back of the Baptism Register Book. This is one of the main, official record books in the Catholic Church. We (priests) are seriously charged to be responsible for keeping the record accurate and truthful. Hence, any further church record (or for that matter, civil record) of Santiago would have his name as Valdez.