Huerfano County, Colorado
Oral Interviews

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Contributed by: Taylor Hayes


DATE OF INTERVIEW: December 24, 1979
RELEASE: (Left Blank)
TRANSLATOR: Bennie Garcia

DATE OF BIRTH: 2.24.1907 Redwing, CO.
NAME OF PARENTS: Andrea Lucero (Mother)//Manuel Antonio Cisneros b. Espanola, NM
GRANDPARENTS: Pedro Cisneros' maternal great-grandfather also came from Spain Paternal: Pedro Cisneros/Albinita Rael//His father came from Madrid, Spain –Primitivo Cisneros, fought in Civil War for the South. Married an Indian Woman.
FAMILY ORIGIN: Father born in Espanola, NM, moved to Rio Colorado then to Huerfano
KINSHIP TIES: Left blank
PROFESSIONAL: Rancher, Vaquero, Miner, sheepshearer/Worked for Huerfano Co. for 22 yrs. Rancheros—Father Manuel Antonio Pony Express

Total pages in packet 29, condensed for space. Typed into computer directly from transcript, included are misspellings and typos.

G.C: What is your name?

P.C: Pedro Cisneros

G.C: Where were you born?

P.C: I was born on the Redwing Ranch which belonged to my Father and grandparents. I'm the third generation there.

G.C: The third generation? Yes? What was your Father's name?

P.C: My father's name was Manuel Antonio Cisneros.

G.C: And he was also born at Redwing?

P.C: He was born in New Mexico. In….what do they call it? For God's Sake! Espanola.

Mrs. C: Yes, wasn't it from Arroya Hondo?

P.C: And from there he came to Rio Colorado?

Mrs. C: Oh that's right. In New Mexico.

P.C: And then from Rio Colorado he came here to Huerfano.

G.C: This was your father?

P.C: This was my father and grandfather.

Mrs. C: Your grandfather must have come from there with the small one, isn't that so? Your father as a small boy?

P.C: Well, it was because father was already shearing. The reason was that he liked this country very much when he went to shear sheep, there to the north. There close to Denver, Deer Trail. He was all over that area. And then he convinced my grandfather to come here because this was a better place.

Mrs. C: Well, I understood that your grandpa had come here….your grandfather, Pedro, with your father.

P.C: Well, yes, he did come with my father. Yeah.

Mrs. C: Yes, still young. Isn't this so? He was young yet?

P.C: He wasn't a child. He was a grown boy.

Mrs. C: Well then I don't know.

G.C: Then your father was going to the shearing when he saw this place?

P.C: Yes, when he saw this place….they homesteaded with my grandfather.

G.C: About what year was this?

P.C: You've got me there, because I don't remember what year it was, but I believe it was in the 80's.

G.C: And your grandfather, he was also born in Espanola?

P.C: My grandfather was born in New Mexico.

G.C: And what was his name?

P.C: Pedro Cisneros. And my great-grandfather came from Spain. From Madrid. In those days they used the word Madril, but it was Madrid. And then he arrived here in this country, my great-grandfather, and he was in New Mexico. But only I haven't been able to remember that war that he fought in. Was it the Civil War? My father did know but I don't remember. But he said that when my grandfather talked about when they released my great-grandfather, there from the war, after everything was settled, they released him, that they didn't give them anything. Not even a meal, nothing. Each one, in his direction on foot, and my grandfather arrived with the soles of his shoes gone, when he reached home….it took him, who knows how long to get home.

G.C: Was it the war between the states?

P.C: Well yes it was the Civil War. It was when the South took control of….I mean to say the North took control of, you know. Well this was the dividing of Mexico, in Arkansas.

G.C: Well do you know what side he fought with?

P.C: Yes. Father fought for the South. I mean to say my Great-Grandfather.

G.C: And your great-grandfather, again, what was his name?

P.C: His name was Primitivo, understand, but they called him "Tivo" Cisneros, yeah.

G.C: Then Primitivo Cisneros was your great-grandfather, and Pedro Cisneros was your grandfather.

P.C: Yes, and then my father Antonio Cisneros.

Mrs. C: That's why they baptised by son Antonio, my mother-in-law….

P.C: And then my great-grandfather, after he established himself here, he married an Indian woman, pure blood indian.

G.C: Well, what tribe of indian? Do you know?

P.C: It seems to me she was Apache. I'm not certain. But I didn't get a chance to ask what kind of….what nationality of indian. And that's where I come from.

G.C: How come you say he was "stationed here"?

P.C: Yes.

G.C: Was he a soldier then, or what?

P.C: Yes he was a soldier.

G.C: Where was he? Here in Fort Garland or where?

P.D: No. He was a soldier in New Mexico, do you know? Only I can't remember where the last battle was. It was there in New Mexico. There near Espanola, a little South, the South East.

Mrs. C: I think it was the battle of the Alamo.

P.C: Maybe….or the war of Valverde that they talked about. Because the little old man Ramon Marquez also fought there.

Mrs. C: You know that your dad Brigedo should know more about it or less about it. The Colorado history will tell about this.

P.C: Well I believe my dad is in the Colorado history for the reason is that he ran the mail when there was a Mosco Pass, you know, when they could cross it, there was a toll road. He ran the mail from Malachite, they called it then….the station of the Post Office.

G.C: Are you talking now about your father?

P.C: Yes.

Mrs. C: Manuel Antonio.

P.C: Manuel Antonio. He took the mail for three years by horseback, pony express. One day he was going to Alamosa and the next day he would get some fresh horses and come back.

Mrs. C: From Malachite to Alamosa?

P.C: Alamosa, yes.

Mrs. C: In one day?

P.C: No, one day to get there and one day to get back.

Mrs. C: That's why I say. That's a short time to go on horseback in one day don't you think?

G.C: Why did they have the toll?

P.C: Well they put a toll road you know to charge a fee to go to the valley. You know, I think they charged us a quarter to pass. See it was at the foot of the mountain from there, the San Luis Valley to here.

G.C: Did they charge this toll just for repairs?

P.C: Yes just to keep it repaired.

Mrs. C: For fixing the road. Well in Colorado history they should talk about that war.

P.C: It has to….Leroy, my son found the history of that war and he told me what war it was but I don't remember.

Mrs. C: It should be in the Colorado history.

P.C: Yes it is there, believe me.

Mrs. C: Supposed to be.

G.C: And when is he going to finish this book?

P.C: Well I don't know if he has finished it. I think he needs some more time as he has so much to do. He is going slowly with it. He got information from us, from my side and my mother's side. And he got some from his cousins, the Gonzales's and Archuletas's.

Mrs. C: It's a big family you know.

P.C: Yes.

G.C: Good, well do you want to proceed with the history? I want to start here, about when your father arrived and your grandfather arrived here in Gardner.

P.C: Good, not when they arrived in Gardner….in Malachite, they called it then….! Crestone, he called it Crestones. Well they arrived there and they stopped here. Father came here when he came from….where did I tell you a while ago? Deer Trail, when he came back, then they said "deatril", but it wasn't "Deatril", it was Deer Trail. He went to the sheep shearing there. He ran around with Candido Castillo (since dead), sheep shearing there. Perhaps you….a bandit that was here a few years ago.

G.C: I've heard of him. Yes.

Mrs. C: Bernice's grandfather.

P.C: I've even seen the place where he was killed. Bernice asked me to show her where and I told her, let's go, I told her. Whenever you want, but she kept me waiting three summers and didn't go.

Mrs. C: And how were you going with that amputated foot?

P.C: Well, now that I am in this condition, I can't.

G.C: Oh and when you both talk, you can't be understood.

Mrs. C: I will not talk again.

G.C: No more. I want to tell you----.

Mrs. C: Yes I know.

P.C: Allow me to give my story.

Mrs. C: Yes, I will allow you, but I was telling you that your father and grandfather came here to Crestones. Yes, but you don't remember what year?

P.C: I don't remember, listen, in what year, but it was in the eighties.

Mrs. C: Your father was very young, very young.

P.C: Back then, you know at that time my grandfather was stationed here where I live. And he arrived in these times, they established themselves without necessity, of----you know, that this is mine and that was it. And my grandfather arrived, my father told him----"Father" he told him, "why don't we register this land" he told him, "so it will be ours". And he would say no. What, father, what? Well he lived there and it was his.

Mrs. C: Listen Pedro. I'm going to ask you one question. Wasn't that land of your grandfather, Pedro, didn't it belong to the Archuleta's before?

P.C: This did not belong to the Archuleta's before. Part of my grandfather's property became the Archuleta's property later.

Mrs. C: But before that, why did they say "my Onoito"?

P.C: Yes. That is what they called it.

Mrs. C: ----that these lands belonged to Malaquias and his father all over, isn't this so?

P.C: The part of the late Felipe, who gave my grandfather to his daughter, to the mother of cousin Felipe----this part had belonged to my grandfather, you know, through an inheritance. But as I see it now, the part that was his was 320 acres that he had registered.

G.C: He finally registered it?

P.C: Yes finally. My father convinced him to register it.

G.C: Real good no? And did he register the water rights at that time also?

P.C: They also registered the water rights at that time, because there were rumors about taking away the use of the water. And my father began and he told him, "Father" he told him, "if we don't register the water, then in years to follow they may not allow us to irrigate". And the man made him register it as he had the land in his name. So he registered the water rights. He registered on my land, where I live. He registered one foot and thirty thousand. That is what is registered of my water.

G.C: And is it straight?

P.C: Oh yes.

Mrs. C: The best.

P.C: I irrigate 3 days see; and others also irrigate 3 days and there are others----the late Lupe Archuleta had four days because he registered a larger portion of water.

G.C: And what is the name of this irrigation ditch?

P.C: Archuleta Ditch, because the father of cousin Lupe was there also when the water rights were registered and they named it Archuleta Ditch because it went throgh the first one's place.

Mrs. C: You have 2 days, Pete and the Archuleta's from below have 2 days.

P.C: Well yes, I know they have. That's why I'm telling you a lot of times you forget that….come back.

G.C: Good, then they registered the land and water.

P.C: No they registered the place first and later the water. A few years later.

G.C: What did they do?

P.C: They….acquired, you know, they ran cows, sheep.

G.C: And did they have many sheep?

P.C: My grandfather had, maybe had about 300 and then my father got away from sheep and bought cows and I kept on with cows after him.

G.C: Tell me about your mothers side.

P.C: Also on my mothers side, her grandfather on her side also came from Spain at the time that my great-grandfather came, and they also came to New Mexico, to Culebra as they called it. You know it sits towards San Luis on the line. That's where they were stationed and then my mother, one of her brothers and my aunt Beatriz, the mother of the Gonzales's….she was her younger sister. She encouraged her brother to come here also because he went out and looked and he came. And they stopped in Gardner, in the little town of Chavez as they called it. I imagine you've heard mention of it?

G.C: And these are from your mother's side?

P.C: Mother's, yes and they had no Indian blood. On both sides they were Spaniards. Father and Mother.

G.C: Didn't you mention that one of them had married an indian woman?

P.C: That was my great-grandfather.

G.C: Your great-grandfather? So you have a little indian blood.

P.C: Well I suppose I am about a quarter. That's the way I figure.

G.C: And they stayed at the Chavez Town?

P.C: They stayed there in the village of Chavez.

G.C: What did they do there?

P.C: Well, they ranched there. They had a ranch understand, how much land they had, I don't know. I was familiar with all the land, that my mother told me belonged to them. That is all.

G.C: And what was your mother's name?

P.C: Andrea Lucero. And my uncles name was Gregorio Lucero. And my mothers sister, Beatriz Lucero, was married to the late Pantaleon Gonzales.

G.C: Was she from here, Gardner?

P.C: They were from Malachite, you know there by the river, where this Junior Aguirres lives, that was their place.

G.C: Did any of your family have a business?

P.C: The ones that had the business were the ones that lived where my father came from. My grandfather had a business. It was an apple orchard, but I can't remember his first name, understand you know he must have had a small business.

G.C: Then your father and grandfather had this place in Redwing, a few cows and they lived together in the same place?

P.C: In the same place, yes.

Mrs. C: Excuse me Gloria, I'm going there.

G.C: Yes.

P.C: Hurry, they might close you in there.

Mrs. C: I'll see you. And have a nice Christmas.

G.C: Thank you.

Mrs. C: Hows your mom & dad and the rest of your family?

G.C: They're all fine. Well Merry Christmas to you and all your family.

P.C: In 1900 and 1901 my father, it was very dry here, left with his cows, I understand it was to Lamar, because he said that the New Mexico line….and he at that time, well there weren't any modes, you know only on horseback and horse and buggy to travel and he got very sick and then he sent word to….he wrote or how it was I don't know, or with someone else he sent word to the father of Sabino Archuleta the late….not his father, his grandfather whose name was Antonio Cleto Archuleta. He was there taking care of the animals in this place. And he sent word to ask him to sell his cows because he was very sick, rheumatism, and he could no longer go to attend to them. And that man sold them for, I think, 15 dollars a head, but then my father had left a few here, he could take.

G.C: And start over?

P.C: Yes and there he started again. He recovered from his illness and they returned. My father talked about the dampness he endured going there caused him to get sick. Yes he was sick when he returned and barely made it back, understand, and they kept him in bed for a month, you know, completely in bed. How he returned I don't know but here and there but anyway he returned and lasted many years.

G.C: He returned and stated ranching?

P.C: And he returned and started breeding cattle again.

G.C: Did they talk about how they got along there?

P.C: Yes hear me. Well in those times….I still remember when I was small, they harvested grain and all the harvest of the ranch, was done by help from the neighbors, one to another they did their harvest. When they thrashed the wheat, I remember that the rest of the neighbors came. They helped one another, do you know, thrashing grain.

G.C: Beautiful, no?

P.C: Yes no? Where do you see that now?

G.C: It isn't done. Do you remember who lived around you?

P.C: Well I remember, hear me, there lived, well after I was born I remember the late Lupe. He was one of our neighbors.

G.C: Lupe?

P. C: Archuleta, the father of Sabino. Because he was married to my half sister Elduina. And I remember the late Felipe Archuleta, of Gabriel and Ramon and the late….he was their brother, Benito.

G.C: And they also ranched there?

P.C: Yes they had a ranch, yes and I also remember of the late Ramon Martinez y Valdez that had ranches there in Chama. Reyes Casias, the father of these Casias. And various others hear me but they are not in my memory. Sometimes my dad would tell me who lived here and who lived there….and all that but now I am forgetful.

G.C: You said you came here to ranch because it was better?

P.C: Yes. Because it was better. This Huerfano river in those days had a lot of water, you know and where they were in New Mexico they also had water but they had trouble irrigating there. And then there at the Colorado River where they moved, well there they couldn't raise stock because the wolves wouldn't let them. They would kill their cows. So my father went there and brought them here.

G.C: What year did your grandfather die?

P.C: My grandfather died 1 year before I was born. I was born in 1907, February the 24th. And he died in February but I don't remember the date and the day. My grandmother died quite some time before him. Her name was Albinita Rael, she used the Rael name.

G.C: And your father, when your grandfather died, your father ran the ranch there?

P.C: Yes my father and also my grandfather. My grandfather was there many years.

G.C: But after he died?

P.C: Yes after he died my father had the land which I still have.

G.C: Tell me about your father. What did he do and what kind of a man was he?

P.C: Well he….I'll tell you, he was a ranch hand, raised animals and ran the mail. He tried a lot of ways to make a living you know. In those days it was very difficult to live.

G.C: When you get tired, you tell me.

P.C: No, no, I don't get tired. I even feel happiness, talking.

G.C: Very good! Your father. Was he interested in politics?

P.C: Listen, my father was a democrat all his life, the same as I. The first ballot I marked as a Democrat and I am today.

G.C: And he didn't run for any office?

P.C: No he never ran. Oh on the school board but never a public office.

G.C: What did your father or grandfather say about the indians?

P.C: Well he would say that in the days of indians, at first they were advised strongly to watch out for them. They would capture or kill. My father would say that if he saw shadows he didn't recognize he would take off running, but nothing ever happened to him.

G.C: He was talking about the local indians?

P.C: That these indians came from , you know, from what part of the western slope, I don't know. They came in this direction in the summer to hunt. Yes Ouray.

G.C: And they hunted here?

P.C: Yeah, they hunted and fixed their meat, you know they dried it and then in the winter they went back. In the fall. But by the time my father got to know them, they were at peace, oh and another thing!

G.C: Yes.

P.C: I also had an uncle. An uncle Jesus Cisneros. A younger brother of my father. And they were children, he and my father, uncle Jesus and he saw an indian in New Mexico, what tribe of indian he might have been, I don't know. Never my father would say, but my uncle Jesus took off running and broke his leg. He was a child and the same indian picked his up and carried him to the house.

G.C: And he let him go?

P.C: Yes, the indian took him to the house. But they were already at peace, but they were very scared.

G.C: Your father. Did he have indians around that helped?

P.C: Well from what I remember, listen, I guess not. By then they did everything for themselves because when my grandfather died my father bought my uncle Jesus's part, you know, the part that belonged to him, my father bought.

G.C: Well if your father had so many cows and sheep, who helped him?

P.C: Well, my father would say that his nephews helped him, you see. Felipe Archuleta, and the mother of the Vasques of the late Miguel Vasques and Cresencia Cordova. She was also my fathers sister. And Shonita who was a Deus, she was married to the late Antonio Dues, who had been an officer of the court, the first officer that they had here in Huerfano.

G.C: Where did this Deus come from?

P.C: Well, Captain Deus, he was the son of Captain Deus. They lived there in the house where one comes down. Captain Deus built this house. That is where my uncle Antonio Deus lived. And then my uncle Antonio went to arrest some (Reijos) that he had caught and he was taking them to arrest them and they arrived at a place, I don't know if it was Gardner or near there. There he got sick. I guess it was a heart attack because he died there and the Reijos left. They were by name a Tomas Espinoza who killed a….in Gardner….a, a my God. A man Pablo Archuleta. And it turns out that this Pablo Archuleta is my half brother's grandfather, of Moises and Ramon. And he caught up with and captured, they caught him and another. But I don't remember, hear, the name of the other. They caught them as they were going through Mosco Pass.

G.C: You were telling me about who helped your father.

P.C: Well, my father, any how in those days, I'll tell you that everyone help each other, neighbors, parents and everyone.

G.C: Did he work a lot of men?

P.C: Well only during the harvest, you know.

G.C: What can you tell me about the Penitentes?

P.C: I can tell you that I pulled a trick on them.

G.C: You?

P.C: A bad thing.

G.C: What happened?

P.C: You know children. I don't know if to tell you or not.

G.C: How old were you?

P.C: I was about twelve, around there….fifteen.

G.C: About like my boys. I know.

P.C: I'm, understand, going to tell you anyhow because it is the truth. Me and…., well they would gather is the Catholic Church of Chama. We would go at the time of Easter to see the ceremonies they went through because they made a racket you wouldn't believe, you know. And you didn't know him, the late Juan Gallegos, he was the son of the late Pablita, the mother of Esperanza and Fedelina. And the late Juan Gallegos and I were like….He was older than I and he got the idea, you know to place a wire across the alley, you know, when they came out. And there was one of my uncles, reading you know, see, and singing and with a lantern so placed and him with his book. Oh, it was how do they say? A put down, but any how we went a head and did it. There, where the late Genaro lived, just a short walk, we took a piece of wire from the fence that had belonged to the late Sergio Marquez and we tied it to the other side, you understand? But when they came out, they were already coming out, we hid, over there in the sagebrush and we laid on our stomachs. When we saw that they were out you know, and they were walking with the lantern, and singing you know. And Miguel Vasques was walking with the crucifix you know. He was walking backwards, see, when they reached the wire, here they were all facing upward. These are crazy things, understand, but we did it. The other one that was there was….Savala. Antonio Archuleta. You remember Antonio?

G.C: Yes. Who was the oldest brother there? Do you know?

P.C: Well, there were so many, you know. The oldest brother would have been the late Felipe Archuleta and Juan Cardenas was there as was the late Juan Santos Avila of the ones I can remember. There may have been more or not, I don't know.

G.C: Were you ever a penitente?

P.C: No, no, that was just for fun, man.

G.C: Fun? You say? Why do you say this?

P.C: Oh everyone had fun with what they did.

G.C: Did they laugh or what?

P.C: Not even my father was a penitente.

G.C: Not either, huh?

P.C: Not either. In our house not one was a penitente.

G.C: Were they Catholic?

P.C: Oh yes.

G.C: Were there any doctors or nurses in your family?

P.C: Well from what I remember a doctor came to see me about my throat. A doctor by the name of Clay that lived in Gardner came in a buggy. As I was very sick. No more, that I can remember, understand. Because they used their own remedies for the one's that got sick, understand. And they got well. Now its always hospitals.

G.C: Do you know anything about the remedies.

P.C: Well a lot of them worked, you know, but I don't remember which. With osha this was their favorite and Mariola. And that, what do they call it? Poleo, peppermint, they picked this in Las Vages. Like that.

G.C: Your mother made….?

P.C: Yeh, my mother saved all those remedies. I know that when someone got a fever all they did was make them a peppermint tea, they'd get well and the fever dropped.

G.C: Now its all doctors.

P.C: Yes sir all doctors and those doctors, you know, I'm convinced are all just money and they rob us. I'm not ashamed to say that here in Walsenburg I was bring robbed. If I didn't go to Denver and they wouldn't allow me to go….If it wasn't for my daughter and son-in-law who begged me to go and that doctor told me when he saw me, well you are too late. Why didn't you come 2 or 3 months prior to this? I told him, Sir I spent all that time in the hospital, I told him. All that time. He told me there was no sense in them cutting, you know, they cut my fingers here and then they cut a little higher. That it didn't make sense to keep cutting where the infection is. They were making it worse. Look, this doctor took, how do you say? This vein here and from there they scraped it with a needle, with a tube about this long. A very thin tube and that way they took each one and they marked it in case….about 4 inches until it got there where it hit the bone. And then he went from there to here. And then he cut about an inch and a half or two of bone. The infection and here they weren't in the same….scraping, you know in the same place. You know that doctor made me very nervous. It cost, for no reason. And then the pills they gave me….you know, the doctor from Denver came, Ryan and also Paul Boyd and they asked me to take the pills. I had them over at Linda's house so she could check them. Well I had 3 kinds of pills and they were killing me. I would awaken, you know, and I won't lie to you, you know. I would wake up in the hospital in the morning, understand, well they would dope me and I would sleep all night. When I woke up, I felt lost. I didn't know the directions, hear me, then I would say to myself, when I began to see the cars arriving….from the south, then I would begin to recognize, you know? And then the next day the same. Until I told my daughter, I told her, well I don't know what she said, well it's a pill they've been giving you, she said. And that's how it came out. Those pills had made me lose my mind. Paul Boyd told me, and he was picking them from the bottle with tweezers and checking them. He set them aside over there and then picked them up again and told me, don't you go and take none of these pills he told me. Well immediately it started going away.

G.C: A very lucky thing happened there!

P.C: Yes. Oh there in time I would have gotten well as that doctor had told me. Now this one is bugging me to have a check up. I'm not going, he can go to the devil. And I told my old lady she went there the other day to ask why I had to go there. Just what they want to just grab. I'm not going and I won't go.

G.C: You no longer go to the doctor?

P.C: No.

G.C: Do you remember the days of feast you had?

P.C: Yes. I remember….Christmas was one. Holy week was another, Good Friday, the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we celebrated on the 12th of December.

G.C: What did you do?

P.C: Well, they would go to church you know, and when we didn't have a priest, the people would get together and pray, you know, there. The day of Saint John.

G.C: What did you do on that day?

P.C: On Saint John's day, was the day that they said the water was blessed. That day they, how do you say? They kept and also other Saints days.

G.C: Do you remember Saint James or Saint Ann's day?

P.C: Yeh, real well. One time, I'm going to tell you a story of something that happened to me on Saint James day. My father had many hogs there. He had them on alfalfa and I watched them and that day, well that night was going to be Saint James day. I thought of going, you know, on horse back to Gardner. Well I decided to pull a cart, that cart is still there at my house, to haul the alfalfa to the hogs. I put enough in the trough so they would have enough for the 2 days. And then a swarm of bees came to the alfalfa and stopped close to where I was standing. I picked up a rock and threw it at them and they came after me. God! Oh-oh-oh did they sting me. Listen, if I hadn't gone into the alfalfa, you know by the 25th of July it is pretty high. I went in low and there I was able to get rid of them. But they left my face a mess. Well because of the pain, I couldn't you know, celebrate, and later my dad would say what a good thing happened, you are so quiet now. I couldn't go so I missed both Saint James and Saint Anne celebrations. Well my eyes were so swollen I couldn't open them. And if I hadn't bothered them I don't imagine anything would have happened to me. But what….and I was a good marksman with the rocks, you know. Right where the ball was, there went the rock.

G.C: What did they do there in Gardner?

P.C: Well they had diversions, horse races and horsemanship with the calves. One time my brother-in-law, Pedro Jose, and I had a rodeo.

G.C: You organized it?

P.C: Yeh. I enjoyed riding horses.

G.C: Did you do it often?

P.C: Yeh. I did it very often. I broke horses for many people too. For Mr. Quino Montez.

G.C: What kind of laws did they have?

P.C: Laws?

G.C: Law yes.

P.C: Well I believe that….you mean the law?

G.C: Yes. In the days when you were very young.

P.C: Well there were, you know, when I was small we had the sheriff.

G.C: In the days of the celebrations….?

P.C: Oh the days of celebration. Yeh, well….

G.C: Oh no. I asked you about the law.

P.C: About the law yeh. Well there were always deputies, you know that watched at the dances but the people always fought whether they were there or not.

G.C: Who did you say was the first court official?

P.C: The first court official in this county was in Badito. My father mentioned him, but, by God I can't remember his name. There was a jail there.

G.C: Do you remember or….?

P.C: Oh no. I don't remember. My father….it was their conversation.

G.C: What kind of meals did the people have?

P.C: Good, well I'll tell you in those days they ate more healthful than we have today. All the food was….They killed their own meat, made their own lard and that's how they reaped their food. They made their flour. I remember my father came to have his flour ground here in La Veta. He brought the wheat to have it ground and they had flour from one year to the next. Lard in the same manner. In those days there weren't any refrigerators, but they processed the meat you know, they dried it.

G.C: Did they grow a lot of grain?

P.C: Oh yeh they harvested a lot of grain.

G.C: And about the schools?

P.C: Well about the schools, we had to go very far, understand.

G.C: Where did you go?

P.C: Well first I went to school in Chama, on foot. It was a direct route you know. And then they changed the Chama district and divided it to Redwing. There in that old school that is still there, I also went to school there and also in Gardner. When I was younger my mother thought of taking me to one of her aunts, I mean to stay, not aunt but my mother's sister. The late Metra Harmes. Well no she isn't the late. She's still alive. And they took me there and I stayed the whole winter. Well from there it wasn't too far to school see.

G.C: Is that why they took you? Because it was closer? Do you remember who your teachers were?

P.C: Well I remember one they called Barker. That was one teacher that you know, he had to pay the late Pedro Garcia because he hit one of his daughters in the nose. He broke her nose and he hit her a round that sent her sprawling. That teacher didn't like the Spanish race or he would, how do you say, make fun of the hispanic boys, laughing at them.

G.C: Was there a lot of discrimination?

P.C: Yeh, much discrimination.

G.C: In the schools?

P.C: Oh yeh. I remember and they wouldn't place our own parents, that teacher pulled my arm joint out one time. He pulled me from my seat and I don't know what I did. I was very small and he got me and pulled me up like this. Well he displaced my arm joint here and I left crying. I was still a small boy you see. I went home. That's when it was, why they took me out of here and sent me to Gardner. And that same teacher blinded Roques Atencio in one eye. He whipped him, you know, with a switch from a willow and he hit him in his eye and they didn't prosecute him.

G.C: Why didn't the father do something about it?

P.C: Well, I don't know, hear me, what it was that….that teacher when he dislocated my arm, that they brought me to Gardner and this is the truth, the truth. I had a small 22 rifle.

G.C: Him?

P.C: Me. And then when they sent me back to school, understand, I thought of not going to school. I thought of removing him from the center. He would cross the stream there directly where Lupe Archuleta lives to Benson's house where he was living, at old man Benson's. Well I went there and hid, you know, and I was good at shooting rabbits. I said, there when he crossed the stream, when he's on the bridge, shoot and he'll fall in the water see. They would have caught me. That was a sure thing. Well then one of the workers of the Dietz found me there and they saw me in the Dietz pasture with the rifle, understand and he went and told my brother Moises, who was killed by lightning, that I was out there with a rifle. I had already told him I was going to take the teacher from the center for this. Well, he went on horseback and he found me there and he took me home hitting me with a rope.

G.C: About how old were you?

P.C: I think I was about 12 or 14 or I wouldn't have done it.

G.C: Were there many other Americans that went to school with you?

P.C: Well yes, there were many. A lot of the bigger boys came. There was Filberto Rodrigues, Juan Estevan Rodrigues, my brother Ramon, Celestino Archuleta and around there, well there were….

G.C: No. By Americans, I mean gringos.

P.C: There weren't too many gringos. There were the Martins, Alvin and his brothers and the Benson's, you know, that was all the gringos there.

G.C: And how did they get along with you?

G.C: Well sometimes, they called us, you know, a, when they were outside….Mexican! And we would slug them in the mouth.

G.C: You would defend yourselves, right?

P.C: No we wouldn't let them pick on us. That's why the teacher picked on us so much.

G.C: Why didn't they have teachers that….I guess they didn't speak in Spanish.

P.C: We never had a Spanish teacher. No there never was a Spanish teacher where I was, no. And then they placed Evita Springer and then a women from Kansas came but I don't remember what her name was. A big fat lady. And she stayed 2 years. She didn't discriminate like Barker and then there was James. Jesse James, you know, who lived….He was a good teacher.

G.C: Did he talk to you in Spanish?

P.C: James? No.

G.C: I imagine it was very difficult to learn, no?

P.C: Well one didn't know. I began to learn English when I worked in the mine.

G.C: You worked in the mine?

P.C: Yeh, in the coal mine?

G.C: Which mine did you work?

P.C: Well I worked in the shaft in the Barber until we reached the coal, you see. And then we had a hard winter and in those days they didn't clear the roads. Well we couldn't go in so we got our time. Then we got a job at the Sunnyside. You know where the Sunnyside is don't you? Well we stayed there about 2 years. And then when I got married I got a job at Big Four CF &I inside the mine and I ran a hoist.

G.C: Then you didn't work in times of the strike?

P.C: No I didn't work at the time of the strike.

G.C: How did the company treat you?

P.C: The company, well they treated us, you know, well they treated us like….one thought that they treated us well but in looking back, they always found a way to remove you.

G.C: How is it you came from the ranch to work in a mine?

P.C: Well I came here because my other brothers still see….with my brother-in-law Juan Andres. I came and he asked me, do you want to work. We're going to work there in the mine. He was already working.

G.C: Who stayed at the ranch?

P.C: My brothers Moises and Ramon.

G.C: They stayed and you….

P.C: All the time I was a youth, they ran it.

G.C: And when did you return to the ranch?

P.C: Well I returned about 2 years after I was married. I was married in the year 1929. I came back in about 1931.

G.C: During the depression?

P.C: Yeh, during the depression.

G.C: What effect did the depression have on the people?

P.C: Listen, the effects were that we couldn't find or earn money. But also that if one had a dollar, it was worth a lot more and then I would go to the sheep shearing after the mine, to Nevada. Because they worked the mines only in the winter and spring, you understand, when it was slack I went to the sheep shearing. I did shearing in the states of Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and I even got to see Billings, Montana.

G.C: Did a lot of the ones that went there from here go for the shearing?

P.C: Romulo Archuleta and I went together and Daniel Vasquez. I taught Daniel how to shear there.

G.C: Did you receive much more money there?

P.C: At that time they paid us, you see, twelve and a half cents a head and I sheared 125 to 130 sheep per day, see. I didn't get less than $12.

G.C: For how long a time were you gone?

P.C: I would leave the 23rd of March and returned in June. By then we were in Wyoming, you see, and that's where we would start back from, you see.

G.C: About three months?

P.C: Yeh, three months and we came back rich with….

G.C: With your pockets full, huh?

P.C: Yes, in those days a dollar was worth something, understand. There in Nevada I saw the 2 dollar bills which I haven't seen again, although they say that they are in circulation now. I haven't seen them. One time in Nevada, understand, in Reno. I was there along with the late Gregorio Cardenas, Daniel and Albert Vigil and Consolacion Castro, four of us, no, and Ramolo Archuleta. We weren't shearing because it was raining too much and we thought of going to visit it, Reno. We were living about 40 or 50 miles away. We couldn't shear because of the storm and so we started talking about going to Reno so we could get to see the place. So we left. And there was a young man, we entered a casino, and there was this young man, you know, pulling and pulling on a slot machine handle, well you know what, then he left and sat down. The thing had been paying off a little, understand, then he would put the money back in until finally his luck ran out, then he sat down. He was completely broke. Well then I got up and I got, you know, I pulled out a quarter, you see, it was a quarter machine, and I pulled it. Well right now I hit the jackpot.

G.C: How much did you get?

P.C: It was about 49 or 50 dollars. I went back to shearing, so happy you understand. There I won a day and a halfs wages and I got to see a lot of the state of Nevada. Many towns, Reno, Eureka, Ely, Wanamoka, Las Vegas and what's the name of the place with the big lake?

G.C: Lake Tahoe?

P.C: Lake Tahoe yeh, and I got to see Duckwater.

G.C: How did they do it? Did the sheep owners from over there let you know they needed you or how did they do it?

P.C: Yeh, they sent us notice. Romolo ran a company and he would let us know when they were leaving.

G.C: And the family stayed behind?

P.C: Yeh. I would tell my old lady that if I could drive we would go visit those places that I got to know. There in Ely and Eureka. There are many Blackfoot indian ranches.

G.C: And how did the people from Chama and Redwing get along with those from Rito and Yellowstone?

P.C: Well, I'll tell you, they were crazy, you know, the young men would fight with one another. You know that's one thing and I had friends all over, that I never got myself into any of those arguments. But as you know, the Archuletas, the ones that belonged to the late Felipe, if they were around, you could be sure there would be trouble to Garcia, whatever. The Padillas….

G.C: The Padillas, what?

P.C: Always looking for trouble.

G.C: Which Padillas?

P.C: Well, the brothers of Bene Padilla, the only one left here. There was one named Gabriel, he died but there was another named Abenino, one Nicke, and one Jose. They were always looking for trouble.

G.C: Whenever there was a dance?

P.C: Yes when there was a dance.

G.C: Where did they have the dances there in Redwing?

P.C: Well, there in the hall that belonged to Homer. You know that stone house that had been a store.

G.C: What store?

P.C: Yeh. That was a store that belonged to an Arab whose name was Julian and I don't know his last name. And then at the time the late Tobias Rivera ran it.

G.C: What kind of store was it?

P.C: Well, grocery store and they also sold clothes the same as the other store that burned down. That store belonged to the Addingtons. They built it. Bill Addington and Charlie. They had it for many years with the post office and later Homer took over. Oh no, there were others than Homer. There was James. There was one that came from Kansas. What was his name?

G.C: Nelson.

P.C: Nelson, yeh, then there was another one, from Arizona who was burned there.

G.C: When they had dances, who furnished the music?

P.C: Tomas Trujillo was one and this man was also a musician man Teclas's father. What is her name? Her last name? Right now she is married to Bobian, I believe.

G.C: Manzanares? No?

P.C: I don't remember, but her father was from El Rito and was a musician. Ah what a bad memory I have now.

G.C: Which were the most popular sports or games?

P.C: Well they had ball games, you know. And there was another game they called….when I was very young….that they called El Chueco (field hockey) which was, I believe, almost like the game they play today, you know, that, that….my son plays it in California. That they hit, you know, and it falls in a….

G.C: Golf?

P.C: Golf.

G.C: Like that?

P.C: But here they called it El Chueco.

G.C: Where they hit it with a stick?

P.C: Yeh and it was about the same shape made from Cedar. They played, you know, in our area. The ones from Redwing, that is to say, from Malaquite played against the ones from Gardner. They would start midway and the ones that took the ball, you know, well they were winning and they brought it all the way to Gardner and the others couldn't take it away. So if they brought it all the way to Gardner, the ones from Gardner won.

G.C: Where did they start?

P.C: Well they started midway as I have been told. They started about….the ones from above started about where my father-in-law lives, Teresina's father. I guess everything was open then.

G.C: A while ago you were telling me about a bandit.

P.C: Yeh, the late….Moises Castillo's father, the late….who is the grandfather of the girl, the one that works in the hospital, this….my father mentioned the name often.

G.C: Candito Castillo?

P.C: Candido Castillo.

G.C: Did you know him?

P.C: No I didn't know him. They had already killed him when I was born. But I know where he died and where they killed him because my father took us to show us, one time much later. Don Eliseo also went, the grandfather of Sinforosa and….what's the other ones name? Rosita.

G.C: Rosita, oh yes.

P.C: George's (Abila).

G.C: I talked with George the other day.

P.C: Yes. How is he?

G.C: He is well.

P.C: She had a stroke didn't she?

G.C: He didn't' say anything. She looked well. She was there.

P.C: Well, where did I hear this? Through Alfredo Archuleta.

G.C: I went to talk to Alfredo, but George was there so I talked to him. I believe this week I'll talk to Alfredo. Did you hear any talk about other bandits?

P.C: Well I heard talk of the Espinoza's but that was, by then, just history.

G.C: But from there, from that….?

P.C: No, well they came from New Mexico and they lived at Pass Creek.

G.C: The Espinoza's?

P.C: Yes, that's where they killed gringos.

G.C: Why did they kill gringos?

P.C: Well, it was when that war, the Civil War you know, they came for them, understand. They went….then….as soldiers. They didn't call them, you know, by law, as they were fixing some boots, some of them. And these soldiers came and mistreated them and they wouldn't take it from them and then they did horrible things to their families after they had run from the soldiers. And they made up their minds that whatever gringo they ran into they would kill. So they armed them selves and ran away to these parts. There at Pass Creek they stationed themselves and also here in Hardscrabble, they were there also. That was the pass they used to guard and they wouldn't allow gringos to pass that way. When gringos tried, they killed them.

G.C: They didn't like them?

P.C: They didn't like them. And they were ambitious about this. No. And this thing about the gringos still bothers us, listen, and it is not well with us. None of them had….oh on the surface you know, but they can still….One of them was named Fabian Espinoza and the other was named….gosh! Now I can't remember. Father used to talk about him about that, that other one killed him, Tom Tobin. He killed him, you know here at Pass Creek. I know just about where he killed him because the late Guillermo Velarde showed me that fort. That little grove of trees is still there and it's been years. He said "look down there, that is where they killed…." He mentioned his name, but I can't remember.

G.C: Espinoza?

P.C: Yeh. They killed his nephew, the Espinozas. They cut the head off and that's why they didn't give Tom Tobin a reward. You see because he cut the head off of the little boy, the boy he had killed.

G.C: You say here that this thing with the gringos is still not right today yet, it is not settled. Why?

P.C: Oh no. It isn't. Silvano Archuleta was here yesterday or day before to see me. He came from Montrose to see me here. He said the same thing. He said during the war there shouldn't be any discrimination but there was. Because when he was in the battle for Japan, the mexican was the first to go to the front he said. The poor man came back wounded. The poor man has to use a crutch.

G.C: How is it that hispanic people had the land first? And….

P.C: Well that's the crazy part, man! With how do you say? When they would get friendly, and because of this they believed them, then they would take the land away.

G.C: And that's what happened?

P.C: That's what they did. Oh they've tried it with me, you know. Right now, you know. Bill Thach comes over now and he's never been friendly until now. And Allen Griffith and another one from Pueblo. What's his name? They come here often to see if I want to put my land on the market. Now they are real gentlemen. I tell them no because I have a family. I told him I'm the third generation and it will stay for the fourth. I told him and they leave. I have no interest, I told him, in selling so that the government will take it. That's what happened with the cows, by golly. I worked, who knows how hard, so the government would take more. Well I had to pay income taxes like the devil. But this year they'll pay.

G.C: Why the people of….the hispanic people. How did they take their land so easily?

P.C: Well, they made them believe, and sometimes they took it by fraud. They came and made us believe we didn't have to pay taxes. We believed this and didn't pay them. Then they came along and bought the places for taxes. They did that with various people in Colonias.

G.C: And they believed this?

P.C: And they believed.

G.C: How was the family raised? Much different than today, or no?

P.C: Oh yeh the family today. I'm going to tell you that they respected their elders much better. The family, you know. If we had company, the family came in. Then they wouldn't come in like they do today. They would remove, they were taught to remove their hat and shake hands and such. Once in a while they did get out of hand, the kids you know, but they just gave them that look and they quieted down. Not like today when they're mixing with adults and they think they know more.

G.C: And what kind of small jobs were there?

P.C: For young kids?

G.C: Yes.

P.C: Well the young boys, once they could….as soon as they arrived from school, they were required to chop wood or feed the animals, understand. They each knew what their chores were. Today they don't. today if you ask some kid, why don't you do this for me, they cuss at you.

G.C: How did you meet your wife?

P.C: Who? Me?

G.C: Yes.

P.C: Well, we knew each other there, you know, because….I believe we met at the dances and I got a wife that I couldn't have found if I walked the 4 corners of the earth.

G.C: What luck that she was there!

P.C: I got a good wife, right? There are many poor guys out there that are with woman….No. This women has much respect for me and I for her, and we are very happy.

G.C: And she is of the Naranjo family.

P.C: Yes, Naranjo.

G.C: What year did you get married?

P.C: I was married on the 12th of September 1929. And we completed 50 years, that we celebrated in Denver.

G.C: How many children did you have?

P.C: Six, well seven. One died as a child.

G.C: Lets see what else. Were you a soldier?

P.C: No.

G.C: Tell me any more that you might know about your great grandparents.

P.C: Well, that's about all I can tell you, understand.

G.C: Only that they came from Spain. Do you know why they came?

P.C: Listen, no I don't know what their reason was.

G.C: You worked after the shearing and mining. What did you do?

P.C: I worked for the county for 22 years driving a grader. I started driving a caterpillar, then a grader and then the rest of the time I was an overseer.

G.C: 22 years. A good part of your life. What do you remember about the political times here?

P.C: Well I remember that the people even….fought, one pulling one way, the others pulling the other way. Then when they won they would laugh at the others that they were fighting. Not much different.

G.C: You say different?

P.C: Yes, you don't hear today that in past years when they had dances by politicians, they were sure to have fights. Some because they were Republicans others because they were Democrat.

G.C: Do you remember hearing about this Juan de Dios Montez?

P.C: Oh that one! That man was so…. My father talked about it, that man caused a lot of noise (talk) with the people, with our people. My father would say that he was one of those that, the race (Spanish) being so gullible, they would give him money and he paid nothing and then he would take away their lands. That is how he prospered. And as it turned out he did all this for nothing.

G.C: How did this happen?

P.C: Well, it turned out that he went broke. I remember when he was there and they had the contest (election). I was very young. My father, at that time, I remember that they came here to Walsenburg, him and the late Lupe Archuleta, Sabino's father. And this they fought over in Trinidad too. And the Democrats won. At that time, as it was, in these coal mines that the names of the mules that worked in the mine ended up on the ballots. Imagine that! If it would have happened to day, everyone would have been sent to spend time.

G.C: But the Democrats won?

P.C: But they won. They contested it, having seen what was being done. Listen, they had to produce all this about the election. They were all used to doing this.

G.C: Which one won?

P.C: The Democrats won. I remember that the late Lupe was the Secretary at the time and I don't remember about the others. My Uncle, Miguel Antonio Vigil, was the treasurer.

G.C: Well, wasn't Lupe Archuleta also a commissioner?

P.C: Yes he was also a commissioner.

G.C: After….

P.C: During the first world war, he was secretary. Then he was a commissioner and he was assesor. He just ran and he won. You know that the people liked him so much.

G.C: When did Sabino come in?

P.C: Oh, Sabino came in because of, because of….how do you say? Rules, when he (Lupe) died, Sabino he was in for a year, then in the election he won and stayed for 24 years.

G.C: A long time no?

P.C: Yeh, well I held it for 22 with him.

G.C: Of his 24 years, you worked for him 22?

P.C: Yeh, 22.

G.C: Until who came in, Conrado?

P.C: Yes, Conrado and you know I told him, let's contest the election I would tell him. I found many bad things there but he didn't want to. Later I found that some had come to vote from Pueblo. One of these was Librado and the one that died. Bravo, what was his name?

G.C: We're still at it.

Mrs. C: Do you use that tape recorder much? That's nice. Are you improving?

P.C: Edward Martinez..

G.C: Did the Archuletas have a lot of land in those days?

P.C: Yeh, they were pretty well off and he left them pretty well off.

G.C: Who? Don Lupe?

P.C: Yeh.

G.C: Which lands were theirs?

P.C: Well, there where Teodoro Gomez lives and in Chama where Abila, whats his name?

G.C: Sergio?

P.C: Sergio, and there where Lupe lives, you know, there at the turn and up in the mountains they had about ten or twelve thousand acres. I….when my Uncle Juan went to the mountain property that belonged to them. No more. Now it belongs to White. No not even White. He's dead. To Mrs. White.

G.C: If you could give advice to the young, what would you say?

P.C: Well I would give them the advice I've given them, to watch out.

G.C: Let me see what else….

P.C: That they pay attention to me. I don't know I've given much to the young. Advice that is.

G.C: Do you believe in witches?

P.C: I don't believe in all that?

G.C: You don't believe. You've never believed?

P.C: Never. My father was the same, he didn't believe in the witches. Do you believe?

G.C: I don't know.

P.C: No. I don't believe, those were just tales, listen. Well how can a person turn into an animal? As they used to say before that they turned into coyotes.

Mrs. C: Gloria, do you?

P.C: That they turned to coyotes, that they turned to owls. There is no such thing.

G.C: The reason I ask is….don't you believe that is part of the culture? Many people talk about that.

P.C: Before there was that kind of talk, when I was small, the old ones a long time ago talked about the witches and such.

G.C: And they were just stories?

P.C: They were just stories. They were no more than tales. The dead that would rise up. There is another thing that is out of line. When someone dies, everything is over for him. That they saw them, or heard sounds. There were probably mice or other things in the house that made sounds. Then they thought it was the dead doing this.

G.C: But doesn't our people like to talk about this?

P.C: In our people there is more of this. There is still a lot of this talk in New Mexico. But there is no proof.

G.C: I always ask people because some believe and some don't.

P.C: I don't believe, understand. I had a cousin by the name of Ricardo Archuleta that was said to be bewitched by some one that made him ill, you know. I didn't say anything but I didn't believe. Well everyone has his illness as it may happen, hear.

G.C: Do you remember any sayings or songs?

P.C: I don't remember I guess. One song I remember a little about, they said:
The little indian girls of San Juan
Would ask for bread, but they didn't
Give (to them)
The little indian girls of San Juan
They began to cry, on the banks of the canal
From there on I don't know any more. You're going on then?

G.C: Well thanks a lot. And I appreciate every thing you've told me.

P.C: Yeh.


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