Huerfano County, Colorado
Oral Interviews

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Maclovio and Elvira Pacheco Vigil

Scanned by Dick Chenault
Edited by Carol Lombard

Maclovio: I was born in North Veta. My parents, I think, I don't know, I think were born in San Luis. That is my father; my mother was born in LaVeta. My grandparents were from San Luis, from my Dad's side. My mother's parents, I don't know, I think they came from New Mexico, I don't know for sure.

Elvira: My Dad was born In North Veta, and my mother in Cucharas. My grandpa, I think he was born in North Veta too, I don't know about my grandpa. My grandpa's name is Francisco Pacheco, and then my grandma is Inacita Duran. Well, Pacheco for her husband. And on my mother's part, my mothers name was Nievecita Martinez, and later Pacheco. And my grandpa's name was Jose Encarnacion Martinez. But I don't know their grandma's, their mother's, I didn't know them. His grandpa's name was Pedro Gallegos on his mother's side. And his grandma's name was Bernadita Trujillo.

Maclovio: Bernadita

Elvira: Bernadita. I don't know her last name or what it was.

Maclovio: I think it was Trujillo.

Elvira: Trujillo?

Maclovio: It seems to me.

Elvira: We don't have a good memory. We forget and on his Dad's side, his name was Ramon Vigil. That's his grandpa on his Dad's side. And his mom's was…

Maclovio: Maria Eusebia

Elvira: Maria Eusebia, but I don't know her last name.

Maclovio: Martinez.

Elvira: Martinez? That I do remember, because I did know them. But of the grandmas, their mothers I didn't know. I didn't know those people. I'm the kind of woman that the ones that are the closest, those are my relatives, the ones that aren't; I don't count them as relatives. I believe that we should know, but that's the way I am.

Before they were so busy on the ranch working, working, working. They didn't have time to tell us this, that or anything. No, they were always too busy. I don't think we have much to tell you. I wish I knew. I would tell you everything. Because we don't know. You know, I have a daughter, Ersie Vigil, she'd like to know, she's always asking. I don't know what we could tell you. You could ask Frances Nelson. She knows, she's very good. I think it is nice to know.

Maclovio: I went to North Veta to school.

Elvira: To North Veta. He went to Albuquerque too. And me to North Veta, I went just three years. They say that's not good. My mother sent me all the time and I just couldn't go.

Maclovio: The schools, the eighth grade was equivalent to high school now. The teachers were pretty strict. I remember when I graduated from the eighth grade, there was Sara, Sara Martinez, I believe it was.

Q: Were there a lot of Spanish teachers?

Maclovio: No, not very many.

Elvira: The ones I had were Spanish.

Maclovio: There was Tina and Frances

Elvira: The teachers were Tina and Mazzone, Miss Mazzone.

Maclovio: Frances, and let's see, what's her name? Elena.

Elvira: Oh, Elena.

Maclovio: Elena

Elvira: Oh, there were many. They came from all over. From the other side of the mountains. San Luis and just all over. Mexicans came. I don't remember the name.

Q: Did you have to go far to school?

Elvira: Oh, I did. We had a horse and buggy.

Maclovio: About a mile, maybe a little more, walking.

Elvira: Not us, we went on a buggy. On our side we were a little more spoiled, because my Dad had the means to us to have. Not me. We went in buggies, on horses. Me and my two brothers. I was always more spoiled than anyone. My Dad bought everything in large amounts. Boxes and boxes of everything. It took us a long time to come to town. If they came, Mom and Dad would just come and take what we needed and that's it.

Maclovio: We didn't come to town very often. Maybe about once a month.

Elvira: Then, everything was planted, you know. We had in the house most everything. Meat, lard and all of that. They hardly came to town. Maybe for flour, sugar, salt, coffee, something like that. From there on you know, on the ranch they had everything. It was like now you know, beets, potatoes, and whoever wanted peas, lentils. Not every time. We always had meat, plenty of meat. You know, most like now. What we didn't use before was salads, hamburger sandwich, things like that, no. Before I don't remember ever seeing those things. Not now, now everything is different.

There were no refrigerators. That's right there were no refrigerators and my Mom and Dad had wells fixed up. They had boxes you know, and they would put meat in there and whatever they had so that they'd have some for the next dad. So that it would be fresh. They would put it in with ropes. If they wanted some the next day, they would take some out just like they took water out. They would get what they wanted and then put the rest back. That's the only thing that is really different from now. They'd hang the meat, cheese, things that they thought might get funny. And then Mom and Dad had a dark room. It was fresh and they had meat. Oh, all kinds: pork, beef, everything handing there, like bologna and all of that hanging. That's why I tell you I don't know what it was like to be poor or none of that. Dad had his means of having things. His people were on a ranch and they did have everything too, but they themselves had to plant and harvest it. They worked a lot.

Maclovio: We homesteaded and her folks, they homesteaded too, about 160 acres, I guess. But the rest of it he bought.

Elvira: My Dad had property, he had property all over. He had many sheep. He had thousands of sheep, cows, and pigs and everything. He had to have a lot of property in the mountains and everywhere, but how he got them I don't know. I guess he bought them, but from who, I don't know.

Maclovio: Well, some they had in sections. They owned that 160 acres and down here, well, they bought that.

Elvira: Where we used to live.

Maclovio: For 500 and some dollars.

Q: Water rights?

Maclovio: Well, there was quite a few. They had problems. Neighbors would fight over the water rights, but other than that there was a lot of water then.

Q: Clothes?

Maclovio: Dad would come to town and he would take clothes. He would buy it. A lot of difference the clothes from then and now, but most people would make their clothes. My Mom used to sew quite a bit too. She'd sew. Oh, they would buy a lot of material. A bundle, a big bundle, and they would make some for everybody, all of the family out of the same pattern of clothes. I mean to say the same material. Many people would sew. Before, many of the people were poor. They had to make so that they had enough for everyone. They had big families. Big families not like now. They have 2 or 3, a little bit you know, or 4, the most are 5, 6, that they have, and before no. My Mom had 13, you know. Lot of family they had. A lot were poor, but they had to have an income like that, to make it last.

Q: Tools?

Elvira: Plows and things like that I guess.

Maclovio: There was no tractors then.

Elvira: There were rakers, plows and things like that, but no tractors.

Maclovio: Everything was cheap. Of course, even the labor was cheap, too, but like I said a dollar was a dollar. It was full value then.

Elvira: You could go far with one dollar – not now. They frighten you.

Maclovio: You could buy enough food for ten dollars for a family of four for a whole month. After I got out of the farm, I start the coal mines. And I worked from 1938 to 1952. And then I started to work at the court house. I worked there till 1970, as an appraiser.

Well, when I first started working at the mines, like I say, there wasn't very many, there wasn't all this kind of machinery that they have now. At one time they had to haul the coal with mules. They had mules to haul the coal inside. They had ropes, hoists to gather the coal from the entrance. They had machines to cut the coal. I worked about 12 years running that machine. Up until 1952, when I quit the mine and I started to work at the court house. I was there till I retired.

The strike of 1914, I was just a kid then, but I remember when they had the battle on the hogback. There was a bunch of union men all along the hogback. Rifles shooting at that Walsen mine. They had a floodlight that had a search light on it and every time they'd come. And then there was a militia here. They tried to settle up the strike and they went on, I think it's a searching party. I don't know. They said, “I'm going to show you how to get those red-necks”, that what they used to call them. They were calling the miners. “I'm going to show you how to get those red-necks outs.” Well, he started to up the hogback there, and they just sat in place for him. They shot him down. So finally they had a, what do you call that? Where they had that massacre? Ludlow. They killed so many. I think there were 13 or 14 or something. People got killed there, I think they had tents.

I think it was the militia that done all the killing there and the guards, you know, the mine guards. And finally they settled. And since the, they kind of bettered the conditions for the miners. At least they have that eight-hour law. They didn't organize until 1932. They grew better. They gave everybody the right to join the union. And everything was organized. Since then we have better conditions for miners. Everything is very good for the miners now. The conditions are fair. The wages went a little higher, and work conditions are a lot better.

At that time they had that water train from LaVeta. They brought water from LaVeta to here. I don't know why. But anyhow they called it the Bandero. It had a coach that transported people back and forth from LaVeta that were helping. At the time we had the trouble up here, lot of people went up there, and that little town was full. During the strike they had, they gave them a little help. I don't know how much they gave. I know they gave in the 1914 strike. Maybe they gave about three dollars per person, or something like that. Anyhow the union was helping the miners with some kind of help. I think it was 12 or 24 dollars a month.

Q: Miners from other countries?

Maclovio: Oh, we got along all right, I guess. But they called them “lambios.” You know what “lambios” is? And they come to start to work. Well, they're with them bosses over there.

Q: Games?

Maclovio: Baseball and Chueco. Do you know Chueco? This is a little bit like baseball.

Elvira: What's the name of the game that Mark plays? That's what is Chueco.

Maclovio: What Mark?

Elvira: Mark, our grandson.

Maclovio: No, this game was started in Mexico. They hit the ball with head, face.

Elvira: They hit it with the foot because they laughed when we hit it and lost a shoe.

Maclovio: Yes, with the foot, but they can't use the hands.

Elvira: Oh, yea, that's right, they can't use the hands.

Maclovio: Either your head or your feet.

Elvira: He lived in California, and one time we went over there and they took us to see him, and they had bought him some shoes. He didn't buy the right size, but he liked those, so they bought them for him. He raised his foot and his shoe fell off. Do you remember? He lost his show there. I thought that was the game Chueco. I don't what you call Chueco. It's just like with some sticks, wasn't it? It's just like a cane. Oak.

Maclovio: Oak, they had a ball and they picked some sides. And say 4, 5 or 6 on each side. And then they put a ball on one side and a ball on the other side. They start in the center and then see who brings that ball first to his side.

Elvira: They probably still play, but we don't know

Maclovio: May in San Luis, they play that game yet. I don't know. I remember when I was a kid we used to make Chueco sticks. Out of oak, we'd make them. El “Puojo y LaLiendre, “El que se le cai se le prende” They would say. And they would put all the “Chuecos” like this. There would be 5 or 6 or whatever. Then they would put the ball, and then stand like this. And they would say, “El Puojo y la liendre, El que se le cai se le prende.” Then the one that got his with the ball got burned. Then someone would come with those boards and he'd give him a whack in the legs. That's the way they played it.

Elvira: I never seen them play that.

Maclovio: We used to play it. Another game we used to play was, it's name was caddy, you know caddy? A stick, they put a toothpick here and they hit it like that you see, on the end of the stick and it jumps, you hit it.

Elvira: Nobody gets hurt?

Maclovio: No, well, it was the wrong way. One goes one side, and the other the other way. There were dances. Yes, dances. We use to go walking to the dances, me and her.

Elvira: I did once in a while.

Maclovio: You did too.

Elvira: Not like you. He would go on Saturdays, not me. I could count the dances that I went to. My Dad didn't like it.

Maclovio: No, but I mean after we got married.

Elvira: Oh, yes, oh ya, that's a different story.

Maclovio: We used to walk up there to dance.

Elvira: Oh yes, we used to really have a nice time, but after we got married.

Maclovio: They had dirt floors. Start to dance and pretty soon the dust would be coming up.

Elvira: Ya, there was no floors, just dirt you know.

Maclovio: When you'd come out of there you had your lungs full of dust.

Elvira: Your ears and everything full of dust, but we had a nice time.

Q: Music?

Elvira: The violin and guitar. But when I was single, no, I never…My Dad don't believe in that. Oh, he don't like that. They'd do to the dances and they wouldn't let us go. I would cry because they wouldn't let me go to the dance and all that.

Oh, after I got married, he was willing; with him we would go all over. My wedding was a big wedding, old fashion, like the ones before. Two days, prendorios, you know what's prendorio, and the wedding, food for two days, and dance, and entrega, and oh, it's just like old fashion.

Q: What kind of foods?

Elvira: Oh, just like now, you know, beans, no, but mash potatoes, macaroni, and meat, different kinds that you eat then. I don't remember, oh, vegetables. Of sweets, they had pudding, pie, cakes, but they had another table where there was all kinds of candy, and cookies and oranges and applies, and you know fruit on another table. The ones that didn't want dessert could go to another table to get something else. Not everybody had a wedding like that, you know. Many people couldn't, you know.

Maclovio: Well, they had a guy over there they had this table. He'd call all of the kids to gather. They'd call them, not too very often. They'd call them in every now and them to get some candy and cookies or whatever they wanted.

Elvira: Because then, I guess, there wasn't any soda, you know pop. I remember there was beer, vine, whiskey, but I guess there was no pop. I don't remember.

Maclovio: Not when we got married.

Elvira: No.

Maclovio: There wasn't any whiskey or beer. The beer wasn't around till now in the thirties.

Elvira: Didn't they make some homemade, wasn't it?

Maclovio: Yes, they did make homemade, but there was moonshine, yes, there was whiskey, mula, white mule.

Elvira: But pop, I don't remember seeing it. Not even Kool-aids, or nothing like that, nor lemonade. I don't remember there being any. We didn't have any in our house, for sure of that. We didn't know if there was any, I don't believe there was any. I think, after, I don't know in what year.

Q: Depression?

Maclovio: It didn't affect us very much. I was working in the mine; of course, the mine didn't work at all. But then they started this W.P. A. project. And they gave you, I think, 13 or 14 days of work.

Elvira: With ten dollars that we took to the store we took enough of everything for the whole month, but then we didn't have too much family either.

Maclovio: But before then, before these projects were in, we'd have the relief and it was relief horse meat.

Elvira: They said it was horse meat, we didn't know. We heard people say it. We didn't know, but the meat was very funny and hard. They'd give oranges, butter and flour. They used to load a big truck up here are the coal camps. We used to take a long time to come to church, we live far.

Maclovio: The people that, we were, we believe more in church, we had more faith. We made more sacrifices, for not going to church.

Elvira: Now more of the family wants to

Maclovio: The fathers handled the family more.

Elvira: They had more restraint on the family before.

Maclovio: We couldn't tell them no because…

Q: Doctors?

Maclovio: Oh, ya, many doctors. But as those times they used to make house calls. Doctors used to watch the farms.

Q: Remedies?

Maclovio: They would use estafiate, osha, imortal.

Elvira: You know, these things they would use in the sierra, yerba buena, poleo, you know what is yerba buena, poleo and mansania, and all that you know they would plant it and they would have it, you see. They would harvest it. My Mother had plants of mansania, poleo, yerba buena. Only the osha she didn't. They would bring it from the sierra. And his Mom was the same. They had their remedies. They would plant them or they would transplant them. I don't know how. I never knew what it was to work on the ranch, not even inside. To tell you the truth, I was very spoiled. My Mother had a woman to help cook, then she had another woman to help her iron. Yes, to iron and wash. I never did anything, not any major thing. I start to do work, all burned. I burned my hands when I got married. Not like my sister. I have a sister; she really worked, and still is working. I worked a little helping her. I can tell you one thing. My family was raised different than from what my grandchildren are raised. I think so. They get mad. I don't know how they're different from others, but my family knows. Those that have all girls are different too.

Q: Strict?

Elvira: My Dad, oh, with us? Oh, yes, no, ya. With my brothers, not with me so much, but with my brothers. There were four boys. He had a lot of brothers and sisters.

Maclovio: There was a dozen.

Elvira: Twelve. But that family was respectful, really very nice, all of them. They were very quiet. It looked as if no one was around when they would gather at the table. They were all so quiet. Oh, his family was really different. Not mine, they were kind of devilish.

Maclovio: We would escadar. Just cut weeds, because there wasn't much work to do. Yes, we had animals. We had cows and chickens.

Q: Presidents?

Maclovio: I think Hoover, Hoover or Harding. He sit in about 1916, no it must be somebody else. Harding wasn't, Harding and Hoover were up in 1920. They set from 1916 to 17 or 18 or something like that. I don't know if it was Coolidge or who was the president then. I don't remember what happened to them, but I heard about them badidos. Well, at one time they had “el ley del monte.” Get the gun if you are faster than the other fellow. That's way back when I was a kid. Anybody wore a gun. There were no restrictions. You had to have a permit to use a gun. Anybody had a gun. They would fight fights. Some for being drunk.

Elvira: They would fight for dancing with someone else's woman. Pure dumb things.

Q: Neighbors?

Elvira: Before they were friendlier, it seems to me. They used to visit. Some with others.

Maclovio: The people were more resigned than now. If there was someone who was a bit behind in their work, they would come and help.

Elvira: Now, if they don't get paid, they won't help. It seems to me, it was a lot nicer before.

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