Monday, November 14, 2011

Portuguese Roots

I am proud of my Hispanic New Mexico roots, most of which go back at least two centuries, and in some cases three and four centuries. My family tree includes fifteen generations of Chavez who have lived in New Mexico; at least nine generations of Gallegos; 11 generations of Oteros; and on and on with the Trujillos, another Gallegos line, Pino, Duran, Alires, Carrillo, LeDoux, Sisneros, Apodaca, Cordova, Padilla, Roybal, Vallejos, Garcia, Santillanes, Alari, Apodaca, Lucero, Serrano, Sanchez, Borrego, Ortega, Gonzalez, Quintana, and Montano.

The vast majority of my ancestors appear to have come from Spain during the first and second centuries of the Spanish rule in what was then New Spain. So far, I’ve come across one and possibly two ancestors who may have been from Indian, or Native American ancestry; and two ancestors with French-Canadian ancestry.

Probably one of the most recent immigrant ancestors (actually not so recent…arriving some 180 years ago) is also one of the most intriguing – and mysterious. Antonio Jose DeTevis traveled to America from his home in Sao Miguel, one of the Azore Islands. Despite the 900-mile distance from Iberian Peninsula, the Azores have been part of Portugal for some five centuries. There are many Teves families living on Sao Miguel, although it is not clear whether the DeTevis, or de Tevis, originated from those families. Early New Mexico records include several spellings, including De Tebis and Sebis.

Antonio DeTevis, my third-great Grandfather on my paternal side, may have traveled with his older brother, Pedro Jose DeTevis, who is believed to have arrived in New Orleans about 1830, before traveling to St. Louis and finally to Taos, according to several historical accounts. I am intrigued by their Portuguese roots and the mystery surrounding their migration.

Antonio is something of a mystery, while Pedro, who was known as Peter Joseph, left his mark in New Mexico’s history as a fur trader and a successful merchant who owned a lot of real estate, including a trading post and several buildings on the Taos Plaza. He played a role in the aftermath of the Taos Rebellion of 1847. He was a close associate of Kit Carson and acted as an Indian Agent on Carson’s behalf. He is buried next to Carson at the Kit Carson Cemetery in Taos. (I will write more about Peter Joseph in the future.)

Antonio DeTevis, on the other hand, wasn’t as famous as his older brother, and appeared to have lived a much more low-key, and probably difficult life in much the same way as most other long-time natives of Taos and the New Mexico territory.

While I continue to search, I have only found some church and census records that mention Antonio. He doesn’t show up in the 1850 Census for Taos, like his brother, which makes me wonder if he was in New Mexico by that time. The first mention of Antonio is his Feb. 4, 1858 marriage to Maria Salome Trujillo, of Taos. The 1860 Census for Fernando de Taos shows the first mention of their son, Jose Cayetano, who was born earlier that year. Antonio was about 29 years old and worked as a day laborer. Antonio and Salome had a daughter in 1862; they named her Carolina DeTevis. Unfortunately, Maria Salome must have died during the 1860s because she is not listed in the 1870 Census with the family, and Antonio, now a farmer, re-married in 1878 with Felipa Arguello, with whom he had two more children, Juana and Maria Emilia. Antonio died sometime before 1888.

Antonio’s son, Cayetano, married Virginia LeDoux, of Taos, in 1883. They moved to Las Gallinas, near Las Vegas. There, they had their first child on Oct. 10, 1892, and named him Antonio after his grandfather.

He was baptized at Our Lady of Sorrows in Las Vegas. Antonio DeTevis and his wife, Maria Emilia Alires, were the only great-grandparents I would ever know. I don’t remember a lot, but I do remember his hat, his cane, his smoking pipe and his distinctive Portuguese accent, which was different from the Northern New Mexico Spanish. My Dad recently told me that his Grandpa Tony was a Cincinnati Reds fan and loved to watch baseball in his small home in Las Vegas. Some of my fondest memories of Las Vegas involved exploring what I remember as a junkyard full of old cars in Grandpa’s yard. Grandpa Tony died in 1980 at the age of 88. My Grandma Rise and my Dad have many memories of Grandpa Tony, which I will also share in the near future.

1 comment:


    Please see #40