The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

06 April 2014

Socorro Poltiical History Notes - early 1900s.

A Republican political rally reported in the 5 November 1904 issue of the Socorro Chieftain.
My 2nd great-grandfather Jose Epitacio Torres was a prominent Republican politician in late 1800s and early 1900s Socorro County. Among the offices that he held were mayor of Socorro, a member of the Socorro city council, and Socorro County Treasurer and Collector. He was also at one point the Chairman of the Socorro County Republican Party Central Committee.

On Wednesday, November 2, 1904, the Socorro County Republicans held a political rally for Governor Miguel A. Otero II and "Senate" candidate William Henry Andrews (he actually was running for, and was elected, as a non-voting delegate to the U.S. Congress.) At 7:30 PM, Chairman Jose E. Torres called the assembly to order. He chaired the election of Juan Jose Baca as president of the county Republican Party and M. Cooney and A. Shey as Vice-presidents. Other luminaries at the rally included Mayor A. C. Abeytia, Elfego Baca, A.A. Sedillo, and, Juan Juan Baca's brother Sevaro Baca.

According to the November 5th newspaper, the rally was "the greatest political demonstration witnessed in Socorro in recent years". The paper reported that "all day long the crowd in the city kept increasing by the coming of people from the surrounding country and villages...." and "...the spacious auditorium was crowded with expectant people ...."

Back in April 1903, Socorro was in a political crises. Mayor M. Cooney had apparently abandoned the city,  and the city council had neglected to issue a proclamation announcing the upcoming election. At an April 7th meeting, five councilmen met to issue the election proclamation. The mayor, city clerk and three other councilmen did not attend. A.C. Abeytia was elected as president pro-tempore, effectively making him mayor of the city.

The proclamation declared that the council was unsure as to their duties as per changes in law. However, they said that "the voters of the city of Socorro, New Mexico, are entitled to and it is their right to have a general city election on the day and date aforesaid" and it was "likewise the duty of the present city officers" to provide the legal means for the election.The wording of the document seems to be justifying the council's power to issue the proclamation.  There may have been questions as to whether they had that power.

The proclamation stated that the election would be held on April 7th, just 6 days after the issuance of the proclamation, and three days after it was published in the newspaper. The city clerk was ordered to provide ballots, polling places were set up in four wards - three of them in the homes of prominent Socorro men: Don Esquipula Pino, Sevaro A. Baca, and Francisco Padilla y Lucero. Councilmen Anastacio C. Torres and Florentino Gallegos were appointed as the election commission. Sixty dollars was set aside to pay for the election.

On April 3rd, "a meeting of prominent citizens was held". The chairman of the meeting was attorney James G. Fitch. He argued that Socorro needed reforming because taxes had been collected and no one knew where the money was spent. The interest on city bonds had not been paid and the roads were in bad condition. He would support "capable and honest candidates for city offices regardless of political considerations." J. A. Smiley was chosen as secretary of the meeting and J. J. Trujillo was the interpreter.

Jose E. Torres moved to nominate a ticket known as the "People's Ticket". A. C. Abeytia moved that the secretary be instructed to issue a call to the citizens of Socorro to attend a convention at the courthouse on April 4th. Both motions passed.

J. J. Trujillo then moved to have an advisory committee be set up to help the chairman for the election. These men included Masias Baca, Frank Abeyta (1st ward); L. A. Kittrell, B.A. Pino (2nd ward);  J. W. Terry, J.E. Torres (3rd ward); Florentino Gallegos, Rafael Lopez (4th ward.) This committee was to report to the convention names of available candidates for office. The motion was passed.

"Convention and Election" in the 11 April 1903 "The Socorro Chieftain"
Why did the city council move so quickly to hold an election? The April 11th issue of "The Socorro Chieftain" had an explanation:
The state of political affairs in Socorro promises interesting developments. It will be remembered that the 35th general assembly passed a law extending the terms of elective city officers one year, and afterwards passed another law exempting the terms of the officers of the city of Socorro from the provisions of the first law. It was intended, therefore, that the city of Socorro should hold a regular annual election on the first Tuesday in April under the provisions of the old election law, and Socorro
was the only city in New Mexico that might do so.
Originally, there was no quorum for the April 1st council meeting. Therefore, the council adjourned to the house of Councilman Cortinas who was too sick to be out. It also appears that Mayor Cooney was simply out of town, and had not actually abandoned the city. According to the article, all councilmen were informed of the meeting

On April 4th, seventy-five people met at the courthouse for the People's Ticket convention. The meeting was called to ordered by the Honorable A. C. Abeytia, who had A. C. Torres read the proclamation. James G. Fitch was elected as president of the convention. He gave another speech in which he said that Socorro "should at once solve 'the question as to whether the city is to be governed by the people or a clique who are afraid to go before the people on their record."

After Fitch's speech, A. C. Abeytia nominated J. W. Terry as mayor. Estevan Baca second the nomination which was approved by acclamation. Frank Abeytia nominated Eduardo V. Baca for city clerk and E. L. Price for treasurer. Both were accepted by acclamation. Candidates were then nominated for city council and board of education.

A committee of eight were chosen to employ judges and clerks for the election. At the end, the convention chose a clasped hands emblem for the party.

Although not all of the votes were counted by the April 11th issue, it was a foregone conclusion that the People's Ticket won. They had the only candidates on the ballot. However, The Socorro Chieftain figured that some questions would have to be decided in court before the results could be released.

The controversy over the election could be read about in the same newspaper. On the Monday before the election, a city council meeting was called. Abran Abeyta, one of the councilmen who did not attend the special council meeting, objected to the acceptance of the minutes of that meeting. A vote was taken, and the council approved the minutes, with the mayor vetoing the vote. (Did you know that a mayor could veto an approval of the minutes?)

I went through a few more months of issues, and I wasn't able to find out the resolution of this controversy. If I find out, I will add the story to this post.

The Socorro chieftain. (Socorro, N.M.), 05 Nov. 1904. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>, retrieved 6 April 2014.

The Socorro chieftain. (Socorro, N.M.), 04 April 1903. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>, retrieved 6 April 2014.

The Socorro chieftain. (Socorro, N.M.), 11 April 1903. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>, retrieved 6 April 2014.

01 April 2014

Jose Epitacio Torres - the untimely death of his infant daughter: February 1905

The February 4, 1905, Socorro Chieftain newspaper above has two notices about Jose Epitacio Torres, my 2nd great grandfather. The first one, on the left, is a notice of dissolution in the partnership between W. I. Liles and Jose E. Torres. Jose E. Torres was to assume all debts and liabilities of the firm.

The second notice, on the right, is about the untimely death of Jose E. Torres' infant. I believe this to be Maria Dolores Torres, who was born on October 9, 1904 to Jose Epitacio Torres and his wife Maria Guadalupe Padilla.

The Socorro chieftain. (Socorro, N.M.), 04 Feb. 1905. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Roll # 16994, baptism of Maria Dolores Torres, 4 October 1904.


Two Bourguignon siblings are caught ill - February 1905

According to the "Notas de Lemitar" in the February 4, 1905 issue of the Socorro Chieftain, siblings Charles Bourguignon and Carolina (Bourguignon) Baca were hit hard by the flu or a cold. Did they catch it from each other?

Carolina Bourguignon was the wife of Juan C. de Baca y Luna. Juan and Carolina Baca were my great-grandparents.

El joven Charles Bourguignon ha estado en cama por algunos dias de un fuerte ataque del trancaso (grip.)

The young Charles Bourguignon has been in bed for a few days of a strong attack "del trancaso" ("of the grip" - or, in other words, the flu.)

La señora de Don Juan Baca, Doña Carolina, hace días que está en cama á resultas de un fuerte resfrío que la fatiga mucho.

Roughly translated: "Doña Carolina, the wife of Don Juan Baca, has been in bed for days due to fatigue from the cold."

Below is the complete column "Notas de Lemitar" that includes paragraphs about other Lemitar residents:

I used the website BabelFish for this translation. 


The Socorro chieftain. (Socorro, N.M.), 04 Feb. 1905. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

31 March 2014

Zimmerly Family Marriages in Socorro newspapers

In the early 1900s, four of Samuel Zimmerly and Maria Pabla Torres' children were married. All four were announced in Socorro newspapers. Although Samuel Zimmerly was not alive to see any of his children marry, his wife, Pabla (Torres) Zimmerly attended each of her children's weddings.

Two announcements are not shown here: those for Juan Jose Zimmerly and Maria Gertrudis Zimmerly. Both were married before the turn of the century.

The March 3, 1900 issue of "The Chieftain" had this notice:

Married, at the Catholic church of this city on Monday, February 26, Ricardo M. Zimmerly and
Miss Eloise Stackpole, both of Socorro. There was a large attendance at the reception which followed the wedding ceremony, also at the ball in the evening. The happy couple were the recipients of many presents from friends who thus expressed their good wishes. 

The March 29, 1902 issue of "The Socorro Chieftain" had an announcement for Ricardo Abeyta and Maria Dolores (a.k.a."Lola") Zimmerly.  

 Prospective Wedding.
It is announced that Ricardo Abeyta, nominee for city treasurer, will on Monday lead to the matrimonial altar Miss Lola Zimmerly, also of this city. The happy pair will start upon their journey of married life with the good wishes of a large circle of relatives and friends.

In the same issue "The Socorro Chieftain" published a slate of Republican Party candidates. Ricardo Abeyta is listed as the candidate for City Treasurer. Ricardo's brothers Seferino and Abran are also on the slate, running for the Board of Education and Alderman respectively.

The April 5, 1902 issue had an announcement about one couple that attended to the wedding:

Mr. and Mrs. Victor Sais of Casa Colorada were in the city Monday to attend the Abeyta-Zimmerly

The June 2, 1906 issue had an announcement of the Miera/Zimmerly wedding. The wedding reception occurred at the house of the bride's mother.
On last Monday young Estanislao Miera from San Antonio surrendered his heart to beautiful Miss Teresita Zimmerly of this town, being united in the holy bonds of wedlock by Rev. Ph. Martin at Saint Michael's church. After a bountiful repast at Mrs. Zimmerly's, with many relatives and friends, the happy couple left for San Antonio where they will make their future home.

Lastly, on April 18, 1908, the newspaper had this announcement for my great-grandparent's wedding:

Zimmerly Torres.
There will be a notable wedding in Socorro next Wednesday morning. invitations as follows: "Yourself and family are respectfully invited to attend the wedding of our children, Delfina Torres and Estevan Zimmerly, which will be celebrated the 22nd of April, A. D. 1908, 7 a.m. at the
Catholic church of San Miguel in Socorro, N. M., and from there to a refreshment at the house of J. E. Torres, and the same night to ball which will be given at the Garcia opera house.
Jose E. Torres
Paulita T. Zimmerly

The chieftain. (Socorro, N.M.), 03 March 1900. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>

The Socorro chieftain. (Socorro, N.M.), 29 March 1902. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

The Socorro chieftain. (Socorro, N.M.), 05 April 1902. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
The Socorro chieftain. (Socorro, N.M.), 02 June 1906. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

The Socorro chieftain. (Socorro, N.M.), 18 April 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>

29 March 2014

Henrietta M. Christmas - Digging Up Your Roots - April 19, 2014

April 2014

The Genealogy Center
On the Second Level of
The Albuquerque Main Library
501 Copper Street
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(on the northwest corner of 5th and Copper)
nmgs logo

Saturday, April 19, 2014
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

The New Mexico Genealogical Society


Henrietta Martinez Christmas
Digging Up Your Roots -
Using Land Grant Records;
With a Focus on the
Albuquerque/ Bernalillo Area
Land grants were handed out to individuals and communities during Spain and Mexico's control of the Southwest. This lecture will focus on records for the Albuquerque and Bernalillo land.

Henrietta M. Christmas is an author, lecturer, and full-time genealogist. She lectures statewide in New Mexico and Colorado on topics related to Hispanics from as early as 1542 through 1850. A native New Mexican who descends from eleven soldiers who came with Oñate in 1598; she currently resides in Corrales.

This program is free and open to the public.

Questions? Call (505) 796-0376 or email

25 February 2014

March 15, 2014 NMGS Program - Dr. William Litchman, CG

March 15, 2014

The Genealogy Center
On the Second Level of
The Albuquerque Main Library
501 Copper Street
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(on the northwest corner of 5th and Copper)
Saturday, March 15, 2014
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

The New Mexico Genealogical Society
Dr. William Litchman, CG

Practicing Logic and Analysis: The Case of Henry F Neher
Research problems in genealogy are as varied as life itself. As decision-making in life is helped by knowing a few facts and acting with common sense on them, so research into family structure is like life decisions. Begin with as much evidence as you have at hand, and then add to that store one piece at a time until you have enough to make a sensible, fact-supported conclusion. Sometimes it takes only the tiniest tidbit of truth to clinch the conclusion.

This program is free and open to the public.

Questions? Call (505) 848-1376 or email

24 February 2014

Ignacio Baca - POW who died in Manchuria during World War II

On December 12, 1942, Pfc. Ignacio Baca died in the Hoten POW Camp in Mukden, Manchuria. He had been captured in the Bataan Peninsula of the Philippines. He was put on the ship Tottori Maru with 1,200 other men and shipped off to Japan. Because of the terrible crowded conditions on the ship, and the fact that the ship survived both a torpedo attack and a typhoon, the ship was called a "hell ship" by the survivors. Most of the soldiers on the ship were sent to the Manchurian prison camp.

 On June 22, 1943, the El Paso Herald announced the death of Pfc.Ignacio Baca in an article titled "Socorro Man Dies in Prison Camp". The article reads "Pfc. Ignacio Baca, son of Serito Baca of Socorro, N.M., died in a prison camp in Asia, the War Department announced today." The rest of the article mentioned other New Mexicans who died in the war.

Ignacio was born on May 20, 1915. He was 27 years old.

Ignacio was the 1st cousin of my maternal grandfather Santiago Baca.

For more information about Pfc. Ignacio Baca, click on this link. The link is part of the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico, Inc. website.

A Tragic Fire

 My grandfather's business and his dreams were burned down in 1959. Below is an excerpt from my article "A Baca Family in Socorro County, New Mexico: 1808- Present" (New Mexico Genealogist 44, December 2010, p. 199.)

On Wednesday, March 13, 1959, at 3:30 PM, my grandparent’s business burned down. At the time, only two businesses were operating in the building: Baca’s Clothier’s and Scotty’s Hardware and Appliance Company. The fire apparently started in a locked shop in the rear of the building. Since the phone lines had burned, employees were unable to immediately make a call to the Socorro Hose Company. In little over an hour, the entire building was lost. The only good news was that my grandparent’s home, which was located just west of the building, escaped damage.[1] Two weeks later, it was estimated that my grandfather lost $50,000 in building and stock, while the owner of the other business, J.E. Scott, lost up to $100,000 in merchandise. Neither business owner believed that their insurance would cover their entire losses; my grandfather estimated that only half of his claim would be paid. The newspaper reports at the time indicated that this was one of the worst fires in Socorro history.[2]

Santiago would not rebuild his business. Within two years, he would be gone. Santiago died suddenly at home on 19 July 1961.[3]

Photos of the Baca Clothier/Scotty's Appliances fire

[1] “Fire Destroys Two Stores: Scotty’s and Baca’s Clothiers Gutted Today by Roaring Flames”, El Defensor - Socorro County News, Socorro, New Mexico, 13 May 1959, pp. 1 & 8
[2] Untitled caption to three photos of the Scotty/Baca fire, El Defensor - Socorro County News, Socorro, New Mexico, 27 May 1959, p. 1.
[3] "Albuquerque Journal obituaries", Santiago Baca obituary, 20 July 1961. Retrieved from the Albuquerque Special Collections Library databases, retrieved 10 May 2008.