Huerfano County, Colorado
Oral Interviews
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Barbara Santisevan Jacquez

Scanned by Dick Chenault
Edited by Zale Nagler

From your mamas side el dejunto Gapito was born in Tierra Amarillo. What you call it, I don't know what you call it in English. Tierra Amarillo, New Mexico, Tierra Amarillo. But I don't know his parents. The woman was called Agustinita, the great grandma of my comadre Mary. She was called Agustina, the mother of your grandpa Geronimo, and his dad was called Gapito. They were born in New Mexico. Nobody was born in Colorado of the old people. And then your grandpa, they were born here in Farisita, Geronimo and my godmother Getruditas were born here in Farisita. Then, yes my godmother and Geronimo were born here, and all of the family was born here in Farisita and around here. I was born here in Walsenburg. In Maitland. They used to call that mine, coal mine, Maitland, but my birth certificate it says here in Walsenburg, and my husband was born in Farisita, but it don't say Farisita it says Talpa. It was Talpa then. I forget alot of things. Like now that they were born, they were raised in the same place like Farisita. Like my great, my great grandma, it wasn't my great but daddy was raised with them, they're Trujillos, they were born there and then my grandpa, my mamas side was next to the Trujillos farm and so next my father—in—laws farm was next and then the Medinas, then the Agurries. But you know how they get along, I don't know.

I know my godfather Geronimo was born here, and all of them. Only the old ones were born in Tierra Amarilla. My mama wasn't born here. My mother was born in Conejos County. My mama Juanita and my uncle Candido, there by Conejos County, the other side of La Jara. You know Antonito, by there. My mom was born in that County. She was five years old when she came to Farisita. My uncle Candido was about two years old. Then all of her family was born and my grandmas family was born in Ferisita. They would fight I guess for the water rights. I don't know. I know my dad and his folks use to have a (missing word) at, Tierra Amarilla, that they called it too. All the Martinez. My dads folks, they use to fight for the water rights, and they still have all those records at the court house.

You know, Castillo he was killers and Espinosas, their gang; but I don't remember who they killed. I was to young. Well I wasn't to young, but I heard about them, maybe I wasn't born yet. Then they were having trouble, they were climbing, running away in the mountains there. Finally they caught them.

The Peraltas too. I have all the Peraltas too. I have all the Peraltas records. If you want it I'll send it to you. I was already going to throw them.

Then Garcia, grandpa of Amelia, Amelia Garbizo, Don Juan Pino killed him right here in Turner. The one who could tell you a lot of things is my uncle Salomon. Maybe he could tell you a lot the things because he knew a lot of things right. My uncle Salomon. He was telling Mike Rampa. But now, he could still tell you a lot of things. We could go over there. I use to go the school, like they do now. In Tierra Amarilla and in Skinner. It's an old mine where I use to go the school, Skinner. The teacher one of them was called Juan Valdez. The other, Abran Medina. They were Mexican teachers. Lot of teachers in the different places my daddy use to go the mines. He use to work in the mines. The English teachers were Tom Roy, Ruiz, Roy Ruiz, and I forgot the other names. I remember but...

Horse racing and foot racing, for the celebrations in Gardner. The things they did then are like now. There were dances, musicians, violin and guitar.

The Fourth of July and the day of Santiago, the day of Santa Anna, that they celebrated in Gardner. We belonged to Gardners church then. I got married with high shoes with shoe strings.

We had carts with horse teams, horses, buggies, and when I got married with my husband, we had a horse and buggy, with a cap on it. Whats it called? Horse and buggy with a cap on it.

He bought a model T in 19, in 1920, no 1918, my father bought his first car.

Their were medicas. There was smallpox, measels, fever just like there are today. There were doctors but we never used doctors hardly. I came to use a doctor after I was married. There was Mexican remedies. The vitamins were bean juice. Ha Ha Ha those were the vitamins that were given, they were so good refried.

The children would weed out the corn, weed out the beans, that's what we would do. We would watch the sheep. My dad had sheep. We'd watch sheep.

We were raised in Yellowstone, right across from Farisita. But my husband was raised in Farisita. My grandpa from my daddy side use to live in Farisita.

When the deppression in 1917 when the union was fighting then it was very hard during the deppression. They use to give you the flour, flour made of flour, and if they caught you making and eating bread of flour they would fine you. You had to mix if with wheat, in 1917, in 1913.

Until they straighten things where they were fighting. The war of one. There my second husband fought. There he got burned.

My father—in—law had a store in Farisita and he ran the postoffice. My father Jose Santisteven. My father—in-law he had the store but then Farisita was called Talpa, Colorado when he had the store. Then Milton Fans got it and they put it Farisita. When my mama was born, when my mom was raised, the postoffice ran thru the canyon.

It's not there anymore. You can't even see any signs. The store that's there thats old and falling, was the Faris's. My father—in-law had his store on this side of the river.

My comadre Porfiria was very small when my father—in—law had the store. She was a baby.

My dad had many ranches. In some he would plant corn, wheat, peas, sevada and what else? Pumpkins potatoes, up in sierra, in the ranch in the sierra. They had a big reservoir amoung all the Martinez's. There they would plant. It's still there but it doesn't have any water. They would plant many things. We would make our gardens and plant everything. My mother would even plant garbanza? Chick-pea. Then things didn't cost any thing. A sack of flour, a dollar and a half or two dollars a hundred pounds. My daddy would take wheat and exchange it for flour. We hardly didn't buy flour. When we were small we raised everything. Not like now we have to buy everything. We would just buy coffee and sugar and almost everything else we would raise. When my daddy use to work in the mine we would buy things. We made all of our own clothes. My mother made our own clothes.

My daddy's same people would fight for the water rights and they still have trouble with a piece of land that my mother sold to a niece of mine and Romolos. There isn't any more Alfalfa. Everything is dry. As if theres never-been anything.

The land they would get a homestead or with domicilio. I don't know what that means. My mom would say that we got the ranch from Domicilio.

My daddy use to have five ranches. When he died they morgaged and they took everything off of my mom. The kids didn't want to work. They were too small. My dad morgaged it. My mom turned it over to them. Thats all I know.

When my mom and dad and your grandma were little there were Indians. You know Apache City? It was full of Indians. My mother would say they had little houses. My mother said she used to make bullets for the Indians for their guns. We didn't live in Farisita then. We lived in Greenhorn. That ranch belonged to my father. He lost it playing cards. Or he won it playing cards. I don't know. Thats why I tell you that my uncle Solomon can tell you about long past. He remembers many things. You was about ten years old when they fought here. They fought over here for the union, when the union started. And all the people from the mines would run and hide on my dads ranch in the mountains. There were a lot of people. They were running away. They didn't fight there, but they were running away and fighting in Walsenburg. Here they fought in Toltec and Pictou. There were stores here. And the Union formed when they had the union of the miners. The Scabs and the miners. Thats all I can give you.

I believe they lived more comfortable. We were used to living in shacks and the food we made, that we used to make before it seems to me that it tastes much better than now.

Oh, won the Union? Oh ya, they won you see. When there wasn't unions there were just Scabs, they wouldn't pay enough, and when, thats why the union was fighting.

Thats what I remember about then. They were fighting here. I was very small. We use to stand with our feet, our heads down in the doorway. The kids have always been terrible. Like now having babies and everything. Before it was we were so dumb that no girl and baby were known. They would hide it. Not now. Anyway nobody is going to support it like they say.

There were no refrigerators before. We use to keep the beans in the well with a rope. In the well, they would hang the meat, they would hang all the food inside the well. At our house they would kill a sheep and they would have to dry the meat because there were no refrigerators. You know we would put it in flour sacks, and as the shade of the house moved we would turn the sacks of meat, and it wouldn't spoil. I remember they would kill the sheep at my moms and dads, and as the shade turned they would put the meat to that side. Then at night my mom would come when it got dark, and take the sack off so it could get air, and it never got spoiled. One time up in the mountains they killed a sheep, they were in the camp. My dads and moms house was close to the river and my mom said, “Leave the meat there because they had just killed it”.

There were a lot of houses because they were making that reservoir that I told you about. My daddy's people were making it then, when they heard, my mom heard a noise, she said, “Someone is stealing the meat.” My daddy was afraid, he got up and it was a bear. He got the meat, and he lowered it down. My mom would say “light a match”. “No, No my dad would say, it's a bear." My mom came and lit a rag on the stick of the broom, and that's the way she chased the bear, and my dad was afraid. It took off running. The bear didn't want any meat after all. I remember and I was very small. The bears are afraid of man. She lit the rag and scared away the bear. Everyone got up but they didn't get it. It went away. They say there are alot of bears at the ranch that belonged to my dad.

Praceres, you know Praceres Peralta, he went to the mine, the mine that my dad had, the mine that they had there for prospectors, and they were going down the path, a bear stood up, and then two more bears stood up, and they took off running.

There were miners from Kansas there in the mountains where my dad lived. Not on my dads ranch but in the mountains. Prospectors looking for gold. My dad had a mine there but I don't think they never found gold. They never took out any gold. The mines are still there. The mountain is up that way to my dads ranch, there's the mine thats called Santa Barbara. The mine of Santa Barbara.

No, this man was from New Mexico that was decieving him. You see he said that he was taking gold out, and the Padillas, with what to take thing out with. They called it metal. But it was metal not gold. Then he would go somewhere I don't know where and he would bring them gold. Certainly he was making them believe. He collected a lot of money from the people in the mines. Then until my uncle Luterio, my dads first cousin came, he said, “This devil give me one of those little balls,” and he took it and it was burned gold not gold. Well, it wasn't. One of my cousins caught him and beat him up. But he left with all of their money. He never returned again. There had been gold but the mine was full of water and they couldn't continue mining in it. It's still there.

That's where Praceres went to go work. They have a grimie machine. They say there is still gold in that mountain. Praceres wanted to look in that mine. He went and the bears came out.

There's no alfalfa, no apple trees.

There was a ditch, where we had the house, there was a ditch you know to water the place, what we planted, now its a big arroyo. It got wide. It looks like there wasn't a ditch like that, very narrow. Now it's an arroyo.

I don't like to go over there. Reuben wants to go over there now. Next Saturday. Mary, Mary Santistevan is married to an Andrietta. They have the ranches. Reuben likes to go over there, but I feel like crying as soon as I see the ranch. Our house isn't there anymore. There where Mary lives, in the house of my uncle Pablito, it's still there. The house that my brother Damacio was born in is still there. An Italian family has it.

As soon as I pass the Piedras Amarillas it looks like somebody is choking me like that. It looks so different, everything different.

The best friend that he had turned him in.

What was his name? His name was Candido Castillo. He killed a woman. Mom use to tell us that his best friend turned him in. Don Candido was turned in by a friend. They found him in a well.

Oh! You know what other bandits, that Abata, but Sotelo Pino knows that story. The one that killed, I forgot. Abata I think it was, they also had him hidden here in Gardner or Redwing. He stayed here about two years hidden.

The daughter of this Abata, Selestino was his name, got married with my cousin Sotelo Pino, la Lucia, and the mother's name was Eva. There they had him hidden, they had him by the stove. They had the boards cut like a cellar. He would go out during the day. It was for Holy Week and he went out and they were praying the Rosary. Who knows who went there and saw him there and turned him in. The next day they went and didn't found him there. I don't know how they knew that they had him there. That was his best friend who turned him in.

Don Candido they found in the well. He would go out during the day and then he would hide, I don't know how.

He was always with Sinario Espinosa. There on your grandma's mountain. There where grandma Gertrude lived, that's where he was hiding. But I don't know the story good or how it was. Just what they talked about. They use to talk about that Espinosa.

You had to make it with just what you were going to use. Then you had to mix a little bit of flour with the cornmeal. They wouldn't sell more than twenty five pounds of flour. We had some but my daddy had a cellar with his people in the mountain. He had the cellar and they had flour and a lot of things hidden. But we always had cornmeal to make bread. My daddy use to like that. We didn't like it. But the yellow flour we would mix it with flour or they wouldn't let us use flour.

They were saying it is hard now but it was worse in 1912, 1917. The coffee, we use to use and they would give you a little, about the size of the snuff. I believe thats what they use now. We had to put a little bit of this to the other coffee to make it strong, because we couldn't use a lot of coffee. I remember I wasn't so small then. I was about 11 years old or 12.

When they were fighting, well they weren't fighting, but they were going to fight over here. They killed a man not in my house, but I take it to my house, when they fought in Oakview here. You know Oakview in, it was Ojo, El Ojo, then it was called Stringer. So my brother was working there and I stayed with my brother over there. My mother had taken us some food and groceries and all of that. There was going to be a wedding there and there were guards. They were watching the mine, all the guards so that they wouldn't go in and do something bad in the mines. This man, there was a Scabi and a Union man. They fought between our house and another neighbors house, Pachecos. They killed each other. They survived awhile. But they both died. Then this man that survived got close to the porch and said, “Mathew,” who was my brother, “help me with your house.” He said to my brother. He was hanging on to the porch like that. I gave him my hands. I gave him my hands and pulled him on the porch because we had steps. He was coming with his hand here, (shoulder) and with the other hand I got him. As soon as he came in, he fell in front of the stove. He fell face down. My mother didn't let anyone move him. Mom got the gun and put it under a pan. She put the pan over it. We called the cops. When they picked him up from there he died. He died right away. He had the bullet right here. He had his hand over it. I had brought him in. I couldn't very well, I was very small. They investigated us. They stayed a week investigating us. Thats the way they killed each other. The guard and the Scavie.

I use to have the song of the Scavie and the Unionists. In Mexican. They would say:

I remember a lot, they would say, “Lolo, Colorado. Scavie muy hombrotes, Tirados por los llanos, El rio de los cayotes.”

Then there was a guard that they called Jose Aragon. They would say: “Jose Aragon esta tirado, por los cerros picado, de las saves. El Rio de los perros.”

The unionists and the Scavies would fix songs like that. Then it would come out in the Mexican paper. My daddy use to buy it. My brother-in-law took them. I use to have them all. We use to put them in a carboard box like that.

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