Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chavez Roots Part IV: Moving South

Don Fernando Duran y Chaves is considered the 2nd Progenitor of the Chaves family, because he was the only descendent of Pedro Duran y Chaves to move back to New Mexico following the Pueblo Revolt. It’s safe to assume that most long-time New Mexico Chavez families descend from Don Fernando.

Before returning to New Mexico, Don Fernando asked for a land grant in the Atrisco area where his father lived before the Pueblo Revolt. He received the 82,000 acre grant. But it’s the languag in his request to the Governor that is most interesting, because it suggests he was the son of Don Pedro Duran y Chaves II, and not Don Fernando I, as previously believed. On Oct. 28, 1692, “Don Fernando de Chaves requests… The tract is also on the Rio Grande, commonly called Atrisco, also of agricultural land with its acequia madre and this one in from the bluff where there is an old house in which Juan de Perea lived going down the riverside as far as some corrals which Colonel Juan Dominguez, my brother-in-law, had and on said tract my father, Don Pedro Duran y Chaves, lived and also some other persons by permission.” Ernest J. Sanchez, of Las Cruces, pointed out Don Fernando’s request in an article in 2001 that cited the translated Spanish Archives of New Mexico and a privately published history by Margaret Buxton called, “The Other Luna Family.”

In addition to the evidence that Don Fernando was the son of Don Pedro II, the 1692 request also suggests that Don Fernando was looking ahead to his return in New Mexico the following year, with plans to live in the Atrisco area, which was much further south than his El Tunque estancia that he called home before the Pueblo Revolt.

Following the return of colonists to Santa Fe, Don Fernando and his large family spent some time west of the villa near the Pueblo Quemado (present Agua Fria.) But soon after, they returned to the El Tunque estancia, which he had named Bernalillo (just north of present-day Bernalillo). During that time, Governor Vargas went from Santa Fe down to Bernalillo to lead an expedition against the Apaches. But Vargas died before the expedition, apparently at Don Fernando’s residence, because Don Fernando and his son, Bernardo, were listed as witnesses to the Governor’s last will and testament.

Within a few years, following the turn of the century and after the Apaches were driven out, Don Fernando’s sons started moving south. One son, Antonio Duran y Chaves, moved to Atrisco where he headed a squad. After the death of his eldest son in 1705, Don Fernando moved with the rest of his remaining family to Atrisco. He sold his Bernalillo property, the ancestral El Tunque estancia, to his brother-in-law, Manuel Baca, who already owned the estancia to the south (present-day Bernalillo) that he inherited from his own father, Cristóbal Baca.

Another of Fernando’s sons, Pedro Duran y Chaves, was one of the 12 families that founded the villa of Albuquerque.

Nicolás Duran y Chaves, like many of his brothers and sisters, also moved to Atrisco. And like his two older brothers, Antonio and Luis, Nicolás married one of three Montaño sisters – Juana Montaño in 1714. They had eight sons and four daughters.

Atrisco is on the west side of the Rio Grande, just south of the Villa of Alburquerque. Currently, Atrisco is part of the Albuquerque metro area. Colonists started re-settling Atrisco in 1703, building their haciendas along the Rio Grande where their sheep and cattle grazed on the grasses. About 200 people lived in the area by 1760, which was considered crowded at the time. That may be why Nicolás and Juana eventually moved further south to near Los Lunas and Belen. One of their 12 children included yet another Don Fernando Duran y Chaves, who is my ancestor.

This Don Fernando married Maria Quintana and they had several children of their own, who were mentioned in church records throughout the Rio Abajo region, including Isleta, Belen, Alameda and Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. Fernando is mentioned as “Bernardo” in many of the church records. Fray Angelico Chavez, whose research I am relying upon for most of what I know about the Chaves history, wrote that Fernando and Bernardo are the same person, as the two names were often interchanged. He cites as evidence the fact that the first-born daughter of Fernando and Maria Quintana identified him at her marriage as the son of Don Nicolás Duran y Chaves.

In any case, among the subsequent children of Don Fernando and Maria Quintana was Manuel Chaves, identified as español and thirty years of age in 1775 when he married Josefa Baca in Belen. As I said, I relied on Fray Chavez’s research for all of the Chaves ancestors up until this point. I linked all future Chavez ancestors on my maternal line, using a combination of church and census records, back to Manuel Chaves. In my next post, I’ll tell the story of Manuel’s son, Jose Chaves, and his move west.

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