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Manuel Reyes Martinez
Scanned by Dick Chenault
Edited by Louise Adams
Date of Interview - 1-5-1980
Interviewed by DM
Manuel Reyes Martinez
Parents - Manuel Martinez and Nievesita Martinez
Paternal grandparents - Felipe Martinez, Natividad Martinez
Ethnic group – Spanish
Date of Family arrival in County – 1897 (Las Animas); 1954 (Huerfano)
Location of first family settlement – Trinidad, Las Animas County, Colorado
DM: What is your name?
MM: Manuel Reyes Martinez.
DM: And when were you born?
MM: In 1890.
DM: Where were you born?
MM: In the Canyon of Costilla. (New Mexico)
DM: Did you always live there?
MM: No, until I was seven years old and then we came to Colorado, to Trinidad, and then from Trinidad to Rouse, and from Rouse to Walsenburg.
DM: What was your father and mother's name?
MM: Manuel Martinez and Nievesita Martinez.
DM: And did you have brothers and sisters?
MM: Yes, do I have to say their names?
DM: Yes, please.
MM: Isabel Martinez, Sedita Martinez, Emilio Martinez and Torodita, Ducinea Martinez and me, Manuel Martinez, Eusebio Martinez, Casio Martinez, Luis Martinez and Felipe Martinez.
DM: You say that you came from Costilla. Did you have a ranch over there?
MM: Yes, my father had a ranch.
DM: About how many acres?
MM: About one hundred and sixty acres.
DM: How would you plant in those days?
MM: With a team of horses and an old fashion plough.
DM: Would you plant a lot?
MM: Yes, quite a bit.
DM: What would you harvest in those days?
MM: Wheat, corn and grain and beans.
DM: What is the difference in having a ranch in those days comparing to today?
MM: There is a lot of difference in planting. Today they plant with gas. Now days they don't plant with horses or old fashion plough.
DM: Would the people plant a lot in those days?
MM: Yes, they would plant quite a bit.
DM: Would everything grow better in those days?
MM: Things would grow even if you didn't water them.
DM: And would it snow or rain more in those days?
MM: Yes, a lot more snow and rain in those days.
DM: Why don't food grow today like it used to in those days?
MM: They don't plant it like they used to in those days.
DM: Does it seem like to you that things have changed today?
MM: Oh, yes, it has changed a lot.
DM: Did you have a lot of animals in your ranch?
MM: My father had two hundred and fifty goats there.
DM: What would you do with them?
MM: Sell the little goats and make cheese with the milk.
DM: How would the people get along over there?
MM: Everybody used to get along real good. Everybody used to visit each other.
DM: Did everyone help each other?
MM: Yes, everyone would help one another. When it was time to cut wheat the neighbors would come and help. Then they would go and help another neighbor and so forth. Everybody would get together to help each other. In those days a lot of people had ranches.
DM: How would they get these ranches?
MM: I think they would get them through the state and then three years later it was theirs.
DM: What happened that your parents decided to come over here?
MM: Because over there, there was no jobs. The only job he had was in the ranch, and he sold his goats and came to work for Casimino Barela.
DM: Where was this at?
MM: In El Moro.
DM: Where is El Moro located?
MM: Near Trinidad.
DM: So, your dad came to work with him.
MM: Casimino was a senator for thirty-six years in Washington.
DM: What would your father do there?
MM: He was a sheepherder for him. He had a lot of sheep.
DM: Did he have a big ranch?
MM: He had several ranches. I don't remember how many.
DM: When did your grandpa die?
MM: My grandpa died in the year of 1938.
DM: Do you remember your grandmother?
MM: I don't remember her very well. I just know that her name was Natividad.
DM: Did they live in Costilla too?
DM: Do you remember any of your neighbors' names?
MM: Some. Avaisto Garcia and Manuel Steven Valdez and Edimeo Vallejos.
DM: Where did they live?
MM: In the canyon of Costilla, neighbors of ours.
DM: How would you travel in those days?
MM: In covered wagons.
DM: And when you came from Costilla, how long did it take you to get here?
MM: About three days in the covered wagons from Costilla to El Moro.
DM: Did you have any problems on the way?
MM: Sometimes the storms of rain would get us. That was the only problem.
DM: Was it harder to live in those days or easier?
MM: It. was a lot harder.
DM: But the people were happy or not?
MM: Yes, they were happier because they were used to living like that.
DM: Did the people work hard in those days?
MM: Yes, very hard?
DM: What kind of work was there in those days?
MM: Well, they used to plant. They used to have cows and sheep on the ranches.
DM: What did your father used to do for a living?
MM: He would plant and also watch his goats. He had two hundred and sixty.
DM: What kinds of foods did you have in those days?
MM: Whatever we planted in the ranch such as beans, peas; then we had meat from the goats.
DM: You told me that you remember a little about your grandpa. What do you remember about him?
MM: When I met him he was very old already. He was a very big man and also very strong.
DM: What was his name again?
MM: Felipe Martinez. He was very rich.
DM: Why do you say he was rich?
MM: Because he had a lot of money and a lot of sheep. One night he lost two thousand sheep in a blizzard of snow. The sheep were going to cross a big river called the North River and when they tried to cross a lot of them drowned. Some of them passed over the others to the other side.
DM: How did he get so much money?
MM: He had a tavern. The Indians used to pass through there and they had a lot of gold with them and they used to trade the gold for whiskey. They used to drink a lot. My grandpa finally died of old age. He was about eighty- five years old when he died.
DM: You say your parents came from Costilla to El Moro and from El Moro to Rouse. Where is Rouse located?
MM: Thirteen miles from Walsenburg to the south.
DM: Did you find a place there?
MM: We worked in the mine there.
DM: In what mine did you work in?
MM: In the C.F. & I. in Rouse.
DM: Who worked there?
MM: My brothers, Milio, Eusebio, Casio, Felipe and me.
DM: How long did you work there?
MM: A long time. I came there when I was ten years old. Then in the year l954, I came to Walsenburg.
DM: Did the mines have strikes in those days?
MM: Yes, they sure did.
DM: What was the reasons for having strikes?
MM: They wanted more money because they wouldn't pay enough for the work we would do.
DM: How much would they pay in those days?
MM: About two dollars for ten hours. We would work really hard too.
DM: How old were you when you started working in the mine?
MM: I started working in the mine when I was about fourteen years old. First we would haul props (logs) to the mine. Then I entered the mine to dig coal.
DM: Who was the boss there?
MM: Martin, I don't remember his full name.
DM: Did a lot of people from Rouse work there in that mine?
DM: How would you live in those houses, did you have electricity?
MM: We would make our own houses and live in them, but we didn't have to pay rent or anything.
DM: How would you get the place you were gonna live on?
MM: These people called the Thachers had the place loaned to the people so the people were able to live there. The Thachers were from Pueblo.
DM: Would they leave you live there as long as you wanted or what?
MM: Yes, as long as we wanted.
DM: What happened to the ranch your father had in Costilla?
MM: My father sold it. I don't remember for how much.
DM: Was there a lot of water in those days?
MM: Yes, there was. It would rain a lot in those days. I don't know what it was, but it was a lot prettier in those days. I liked it better back then.
DM: Were the people poor in those days?
MM: Yes, almost everybody was poor. Just some people had cows and sheep and goats and they would make their living by planting and with the animals they had. They used to make their life pretty good.
DM: Did the Spanish people have land in those days?
MM: Yes, they did, but it was run by the rich people. Now lately the Spanish people begin to fight for their land and they have gotten it back; miles and miles of it. It is all theirs now.
DM: Where did this take place?
MM: In the canyon of Costilla. The canyon of Costilla has a lot of timber and water and the people have won it back by court.
DM: How was the law in those days?
MM: The rich people used to run the law in those days. The one that had the most money was the one that had a better chance with the law.
DM: Was the law different back then comparing to today?
MM: I think the people respect the law today more because in those days it was the one that had the most money that would win the case.
DM: Weren't you a judge before?
MM: Yes, many years ago, in about the year 1928, I think.
DM: Tell me about it.
MM: Well, I was a judge for a while. I had two small cases. One time that I had a very heavy case, that is when I resigned. I didn't dare run this case. Someone else ran it for me.
DM: Where were you a judge at?
MM: In the county of Costilla.
DM: What kind of case was this?
MM: About someone stealing cows.
DM: What other things have you done in your times passed?
MM: I worked very hard. As for games, in those times we would play a game called Shinney Ball every Sunday.
DM: How was this game played?
MM: We would play this game with a piece of wood that had like a hook on the end; we would call it “Shinney.” Then some would play on this side and some on the other side and the one that would hit the ball to the opposite end was the winner.
DM: What other games would you play in those days?
MM: We would play baseball sometimes, and that was all the games.
DM: One day you told me that you had worked all day for a trompo.
MM: Yes, I worked all day for a trompo.
DM: What is a trompo?
MM: It's a top. I worked all day watching goats for an Italian so I could get that top.
DM: Where was this?
MM: Hezron. Coal mines.
DM: Weren't you a barber at one time?
MM: Yes, I was a barber for about a year. I also would run a tavern in Fort Garland and I would cut hair too.
DM: How long did you run the tavern?
MM: One year, from 1914 to 1915 when they closed it down. They closed them down in all Colorado.
DM: Why did they close them?
MM: By voting. They didn't want taverns. They were closed for about five years. In this tavern I used to have a pool hall and I had bought this place.
DM: Were there outlaws in those days?
MM: Oh, yes, I remember one time in a dance there was a fight and they killed a real good friend of mine. They used to fight quite a bit in the dances.
DM: Were there men that claimed they were very brave?
MM: Oh, yes. There was one there that they called him Tereso. He killed his wife and sister-in-law and then killed himself. His last name was Brennan. He was from Fort Garland.
DM: Why did he killed them?
MM: Because he was separated from his wife and wanted to get back together again and she didn't want to. So he went to her house where she was and killed her and her sister-in-law. He wounded the sister-in-law first but she had a chance to run out of the house and then he shot at his wife and she ran and fell dead in the middle of the road. They took the sister-in-law to the hospital and that is where she died.
DM: How were the hospitals in those days? Did they have any?
MM: I don't remember.
DM: How would they cure the sick?
MM: The doctors, they used to go to the houses before.
DM: Would they charge quite a bit? How much, do you remember?
MM: The most they would charge is ten dollar for a trip that was a long ways.
DM: Do you remember the names of any doctors?
MM: I remember two of them, Chapman and Stanley.
DM: Were they real good doctors?
MM: Yes, very good doctors, one lived in Pryor and the other in Rouse.
DM: Would the people get real sick? What type of sicknesses were there?
MM: First there were colds. And then the flu came and a lot of people died. A brother of mine died with that flu, Eusebio. A lot of people died. Every day they would take about five to eight dead people out from Rouse and Pryor. It was a very strong sickness.
DM: How would the flu affect the person?
MM: They would be sick for about four or five days and then die. People from San Luis and Rouse and all the country would die with that flu.
DM: How were they buried?
MM: They would put them in a truck and take them, and we never knew where they would bury them. When the person was sick no one could visit them or they couldn't go out anywhere. The doctor and the man from the store would take them groceries.
DM: So, they usually died?
MM: Most would and some would get well. I got well from that flu.
DM: So you had the flu too?
MM: Oh, yes, I almost died with the flu. Most of the time my mom and my sister didn't know if I was dead or alive anymore. But there was a doctor that was in Rouse first and then they changed him to Sopris. But the same day that I got sick was the day that they changed that doctor back to Rouse so he could help with the sickness. Him and Dr. Chapman went to see me. Chapman sat by my bed and begin to ask me questions and then the other doctor told him, “We are not going to cure him like that, we have to examine him to find out what he has.” Me and that doctor used to be real good friends. You wouldn't believe how good that doctor attended me. Sometimes he wouldn't have time to go see the other patients, but he would come to my house twice a day. First in the morning and then at evening time. When he knew I was getting better he made me cough from the evening about five o'clock till five o'clock in the morning and when he came back next day he looked at the 5-lb. can I had spit in and said he didn't have to return because I was going to be alright. He told me I had gotten well but to drink plenty of water and not to go out for five days. He went back to Sopris and in five days I was able to go out anywhere.
DM: Did he give you something so that you could cough?
MM: Yes, he gave me something but I don't remember what it was. But I coughed all night long until I put out everything that was in my chest.
DM: What types of medicines or herbs did they use in those days?
MM: A pinks weed called Chamiso Pardo and they would get well with that. They would use the juice. First they would boil it and then drink the juice. They would use a lot of different types of herbs such as Plumajillo, Mariola, Estviate. That's what the pills are made out of.
DM: Did you go to school?
MM: Not one day. The first time I went to a school was when they had a dance in the school building. That's where they taught me how to dance. I learned something. My father never send us to school. Instead we were always working. There were big families and for the work we did we earned very little.
DM: What other types of entertainment did you have? What days would you celebrate?
MM: The day of San Antonia.
DM: Where most of the people Catholics in those days?
MM: Oh yes. Since 1914 other churches begin to start, but before that they were mostly Catholics. I went to confess one time, me and another friend of mine, but we didn't confess after all. We heard the mass and then went to the bar. A person never tells them the whole truth.
DM: When did you get married the first time?
DM: With who did you get married?
MM: Genevieve Romero. I was twenty-five years old and she was twenty-one.
DM: Did you have a big wedding?
MM: Yes, a dance in the night. The priest from San Luis married us, but he would come to Fort Garland, and that's where we got married.
DM: Where did you live after that?
MM: We lived in Fort Garland because that's when I had the tavern and all that. When they closed the bars, we came to Rouse.
DM: Where was she from before?
MM: She was from San Luis first and then her parents moved to Fort Garland.
DM: Did they have other sons and daughters?
MM: Yes they had Micheal, Sedilia, Femia.
DM: Did you and Genevieve have family of your own?
MM: Yes, we had eight with the one that died. The first one was named Archie and then Natividad (China), and Henry, Sedia, Rufus, Eusebio and then Louie.
DM: Where were you living at the time?
MM: China was born in Fort Garland, Henry in Russel, Sedia and Rufus were born in Rouse.
DM: In what year did your wife die?
MM: 1937. Then I got married with this one in 1943. And we had one son named Ernest Martinez.
DM: Were the children raised different in those days comparing to today?
MM: Oh, yes. We would teach them with good words and they would attend a person very good. Like if you would ask for water, when they would bring it they would stand in front of you and wait for the glass, with their arms crossed. When you were finished they would then take the glass.
DM: What would happen if a child talked back?
MM: They would really hit them.
DM: How would they hit them or with what?
MM: Some would get hit with a whip and others they would hit them just with their hand.
DM: Did they ever hit you?
MM: Oh, yes. One time I got in a fight with this guy and they went to tell our parents. They got there unexpectedly. My father hit me with the rein of a horse. The other guy ran up a hill and his father couldn't catch him. He caught him later.
DM: Did your mother ever hit you?
MM: I don't remember my mother hitting me. I remember that she used to hit my sister Dulcinea, but she was terrible.
DM: What would she do?
MM: She would fight with the kids. That's how it happened that we killed our little brother. Her and I were fighting.
DM: What happened?
MM: I was fighting with my brother Eusebio who is dead now and my sister Dulcinea used to defend him all the time. My little brother was laying on a mattress on the floor. My parents had went to the canyon of Costilla and they left the baby, he was about three months. So her and I were fighting and she pushed me and by accident I put my feet on the baby and stepped on him very hard. He begin to get sicker and sicker until my parents came. They finally said it was pains from laying down too much because his body had bruised right there. That's the ways it passed.
When we finally came from Costilla to Rouse, Dulcinea was going to get married and that's when they discovered what really happened. It had already happened long time ago.
DM: Who told them?
MM: Dulcinea was the one that told them.
DM: What did they say?
MM: Nothing, they just called us down, it was so many years ago. Dulcinea was already gonna get married and she was just a little girl when that happened. The baby was named Louie.
DM: And the baby did die?
MM: Yes, he died the same day in the evening when my parents came home from Costilla. We must of busted something inside, I guess, but I didn't expect her to push me like that.
DM: Weren't you a boxer before?
MM: I started. I fought five times and I won all five times, but after that I didn't feel like fighting anymore.
DM: Where at would you box?
MM: In Aguilar.
DM: Do you remember any of the ones you boxed with? What were their names?
MM: One was named Roberto Mestas and Manuel Martinez was the name of another one. The other one was Tafoya but I don't remember his full name. I don't remember the names of the rest of them. Just that one was Trinidad and another from Aguilar and from Trujillo and another one from Lester, which is on this side of Rouse by the mines. Oh, and another one from Walsenburg.
DM: They used to have all that going on in Aguilar?
MM: Yes. The one man that was from Walsenburg was a real good boxer, but I still won him. In the YMCA there in Rouse.
DM: Did they pay you for boxing?
MM: People would bet and men used to put us in the ring to box, the ones that would bet on us. What they would make they would give us some of the share. The most they gave me was seventy-five dollars for one fight.
DM: Do you remember who bet for you?
MM: Daniel, Nasadio Maes, Juan Paiz, there were about five of them. But I never felt like fighting any more. A person gets so tired that it is really hard and a person just has to keep on going, or lose the fight.
DM: How long would you stay boxing?
MM: One time we stayed seven rounds and another five rounds, and I was so tired; another one was eight. The one that was five round I really got tired and I said to myself, if I sit down I won't be able to stand up again because they would give us three minutes to rest, but I seen that the other man was tired too so I thought I better go another round. As soon as we begin to fight I hit him right here and he fell with his legs up in the air, and that is where I won. His name was Roberto Mestas.
DM: Are any of them alive today?
MM: No, he is dead. All of them are dead, Juan Paiz, Nasadio Maes, Roberto, all of them are dead, they had moved to Denver so they all died up there.
DM: Did they have a lot of dances in those days?
MM: Yes, they had dances and shows. In the YMCA they would have shows, dances, services or recite the rosary. You should of seen how big that house was, they had of everything.
DM: Did a lot of people live in Aguilar?
MM: Oh, yes, a lot of people lived in Rouse. It was a camp, a beautiful camp. It also was a clean camp. I am pictured on a cart of horses and with that we would clean the camp. Everything that was thrown on the ground or street we would pick up and throw. Not only myself but there were others working.
DM: Would they pay you to do this?
MM: Yes, we were working for the company, CF&I. There were a lot of beautiful flowers and beautiful gardens. That camp was the prettiest you ever seen. Right now there isn't no one living there but Sam Capps.
DM: Why do you think the people left?
MM: The mine stopped. It drowned with the water. There was a river that would run under the mine and it busted and filled the mine up with water. So everything stayed there. Some men even left their lunch buckets because they had to come out running. That is why the people left because they couldn't get any coal out.
That camp used to produce a lot of coal. They had carts made out of tin or iron and they were very long and high. Around fourteen of those carts used to come out every fifteen minutes full of coal. Imagine how much coal would come out in ten hours because a person used to work ten hours in those days.
DM: Where did most of the people go to?
MM: To other camps or to Walsenburg.
DM: Were there a lot of Anglos, etc...?
MM: Yes, that's where the Italians and Japanese begin to come in. They had a place for the Japanese alone and a hotel for them. They were good on doing tricks on ropes and all that. A lot of them also worked in the mine. One time eight at one time got killed in the mine. Like they were new, they didn't know that before you come out of the mine they had to wait for the coal to come out and they went before so the carts got them.
DM: And from Rouse did you move to Walsenburg?
MM: From Rouse we moved to Russel and we worked on the props. Then when I got married my father wanted me in Fort Garland that is when I bought the bar off an Italian called Pugnetti. I had of everything there, including a pool hall, barber shop.
Then I worked in Trinchera Ranch for this man cutting props. His name was Colonio Duran. We worked a lot there including my brothers and brother-in-laws.
I remember that I went to the hill to cut props and ties and I met up with two more men, my uncle Fronoso and my Cousin Manuel Martinez, there were about five. In those days a person didn't earn much money, just work hard, and I made four hundred dollar in one month, but I wouldn't sleep, I was like your dad. Since three o'clock in the morning I was getting the horses ready so I could go look for ties. I was so good at figuring out everything that my boss used to get surprised with me. Now, I can't even hold a cup in my hand to drink coffee.
DM: How old are you now?
DM: Did you like living in those days?
MM: Yes, because I could do what I wanted. Also it was prettier in those days. It's so different now, the living as well as the people. The good times, the snow, the water, everything has changed. Back then even if you didn't plant they used to come out anywhere on a hill. But now even if you, plant nothing comes out.
DM: Why do you think this is so?
MM: Because it doesn't rain or snow like it used to before.
I remember there in Rouse my father had a lot of goats and he would milk them in the morning and it would start raining in the evening and it lasted twelve days. When they would go milk the goats they would go out and get so wet that they would have to take a bath when they would come in. The hills that were there, the rocks used to come down with so much water running.
It would rain real hard too. It also would snow a lot but the snow wasn't cold like now. It would snow so silent and beautiful.
DM: About how high would it snow?
MM: It wouldn't snow too high, but the snow wasn't cold, cold and without wind.
DM: Would you ever work in the snow?
MM: Yes. My father would haul props when we were small and we would help. We didn't have good shoes at all but we would be out there in the snow. It wouldn't do us nothing. I never remember putting overshoes on and our shoes were torn and we used to be out there in the snow all day. We never had good clothes. It was hard in those days but God always helped us because we worked in the snow without good clothes or shoes and nothing ever happened to us.
I knew a boy that would work with me. He was a nephew of the doctor Baca, and that boy used to use white shoes that are so cold and he used to work all day long in the hills with those shoes in the snow and nothing ever happened with him. He used to fall off the horse and the cart but nothing ever happened to him. His feet were hard as a rock.
DM: Would you come to town very often?
MM: No, we had everything that we needed right there.
DM: When you were small would they give you money like they do the children today?
MM: Oh no, we barely had enough to buy clothes and shoes.
DM: When the depression was here, did it affect your family living?
MM: Some people. But I was working most of the time the depression was going on. I worked in the WPA and Leder mine.
DM: But it did affect other people's living?
MM: Yes, a lot of people. They would have to come to Walsenburg because they would give them flour and lard and they would just give a little bit. They also gave meat and flour, twenty-five pounds to a certain number of people. It was hard for people during those times. After the war everything begin to change.
DM: What was the difference?
MM: Better jobs begin to start and Roosevelt put different programs to help the people. We are getting everything from the laws that Roosevelt put.
DM: But they killed Roosevelt.
MM: In those days if someone would kill they would hang them. That's what happened to the person that killed Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a good President. Today no one starves of hunger. In fact, now there is more then enough food. Sabino Archuleta and I would get together to talk, he was the secretary before. He would tell me,
“Do you remember of Huey Long, that would say that there was going to be money running in the streets but there wasn't gonna be not one place to buy a loaf of bread?” But Sabino would say it was the cars; that's where you find all the peoples' money, everyone buys cars and put all their money into cars.
DM: Would they punish the stealers?
MM: In this county was Montez and if you did something and had money you could get away with it, but if you didn't they would punish you.
I remember of a first cousin of mine, his mother was a sister to my father. He killed a lady by a mine in Trinidad and this lady was going to have a baby. He shot from his house to hers and killed her. He stayed running and hiding for four years. One time he came out from working in a ranch and when he was eating, he always would sit by the door where his face could face the window. He saw three officers coming and he always had something to defend himself, pistol. He jumped over the table and took off running. One officer stayed outside by the door and the other two went around the house and he killed one of them but they got him anyway. They hung that man in Raton. My aunt was so strong to go through all that. She seen when they hung him. Her name was Ramonsita.
In those days when someone was going to get married the parents of the boy would go ask the parents of the girl for her. Then the parents of the girl would take a while or a few days before they would let them know. So they had time to discuss the girl and see if she was ready to get married or not.
We have a lot of Spanish blood in us. My parents were Spanish. My mother's sister didn't look Spanish; she had pinks eyes and blond hair. She lived in a beautiful home and was very well off.
DM: And would, my grandmother haul the water from the river?
MM: Yes, they would. I knew a lady that would put a bucket of water on her head and one on each side and they never fell but they say that she was a witch. They would call her “Mana Weda.” One day she went to the old man Miror's store in Costilla and bought 10 lbs. of lard and a sack of flour and a lot of other things. The man asked her how she was going to carry all that home and she told him she could. He didn't believe her so he told her if she would, she could come back for the same amount she had bought free. So she carried it all home into the hills and then came back for what he had promised her. She lived about eight miles from there. I really do believe she was a witch or she couldn't have carried all that.
DM: Would you hear a lot of stories about the witches before?
MM: Yes, there were a lot of witches before. There could be some around here now but you never know who they could be.
One friend was telling me that him and another man were looking for horses there in the four mile canyon one time and they met up with a dance of witches and begin to watch them. Two of them came out of the dance and came to tell them that if they ever said who they saw, something was going to happen to them. They warned them. They were so surprised to see so many people from their same town. Both men and ladies that were from the same town nearby that they could never imagine that they were witches. One of the men never told anyone but the other man did tell someone about someone he saw, because one day that he went for wood to the hill and they caught him and almost killed him. So the second time he didn't even say who it was or else. They couldn't believe that
the least one they thought were witches.
DM: Have you ever seen something like that yourself?
MM: One time my father and I and my brother Milio, Casio, the late Eusebio and a few more were going to help an Italian cut grain. On our way coming back, after he had given us supper and it was dark, and there was a little hill. Suddenly we seen the whole thing was on fire, the weeds and everything. When we came back next day there was no sign of anything burned. Everything was just as green as before. But we seen it all burning.
Another time my brother and I were coming from a dance walking. There was a river and then a bank or embankment by the river. My brother and I saw three candles that were lit on the bank and the flame of the candles would go up and then down, up and down. I really don't know what that was. We watched them for quite awhile and then we left and they still stayed there.
Another time we were going through the same way when we seen a ball of fire roll across the river and up the hill. There were other weeds that it could have started them on fire but it didn't even bother them, the ball of fire just rolled straight up the hill. The flame was not ordinary like this kind of fire, it was like pinks. I believe those are witches.
Right there, Ideal toward Aguilar, where there is like a hat of rock, there used to be a tavern by there and an Italian man lived there across from the tavern. When they took the tavern off, the Italian old man said he used to see a man come out from there without his head. God knows what it was, but the man said he used to see him all the time come out from there and walk up the hill without a head.
DM: How would they make the houses in those days?
MM: My father made a lot of house out of wood and they would pay him twenty dollars for each house he made. He would make one in a day. He wouldn't plaster them though. They had floor made out of dirt.
DM: Would the ladies wash by hand?
MM: Yes, I don't remember of them ever having machines to wash in.
DM: They would do most everything by hand?
MM: Yes. Today they don't even make tortillas. They go to the store and buy them. All they have to do is warm them.
DM: It seems like the days were longer back then?
MM: It was about the same. The only difference is that the people would get up a lot earlier. Now we get up too late and the days seem shorter.
Your grandmother would plant squash and a big garden? She would do of everything. She never worked a day for anyone, just in the house and watching the family. She enjoyed going to church; she never missed.
DM: Where did you meet or how?
MM: In Fort Garland. In a dance. I was going to leave from Fort Garland so I went to pick up my check but the secretary didn't have blank checks, so I had to stay overnight and wait till next day. I went to the dance that night and that is where I met her and I was supposed to come and get married to someone else, but instead I married Geneviea.
DM: How did my grandmother die?
MM: She was sick and going to have a child. That day was a Sunday and I didn't go to work in the mine and we slept in a little later then usual. She got up and went outside and she says she didn't lift up the tub, but I know she did and it was full of water. She came in and laid down again and we begin to talk and then she start getting pains until she had a flow of blood. I went to call the doctor, Chapman, but he was busy with another lady that was going to have a baby and the other doctor was in La Veta. Finally Doctor Chapman came and it was fifteen minutes that she had been dead already. The baby was named Nique (Nicky), but he was dead. She died also.
DM: How long did you stay to get married again?
MM: Eight years to Antonia Baca.
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