Pueblo County, Colorado
Contributed by Karen Mitchell
From Pinon Whispers, published by the South Eastern Colorado Genealogy Society:
Maria Teresa Sandoval
In the 1820's at the tender age of 12, Maria Teresa Sandoval, daughter of Gervasio and Ramona Barela Sandoval of Taos, married Manuel Suaso of Taos and bore him three, maybe four, children.
Suaso was one of 76 men who participated in the founding of Mora in 1835 on land granted by the Mexican government.
Accounts vary, but soon after Teresita and her husband settled in Mora, she fell in love with another grantee, Matthew Kinkead. According to R.L. Luna in his book, “Lady of Taos”, Teresita confided in her mother that she had fallen in love with the handsome white trader and her mother broke the news to Suaso. Crushed, the Mexican returned to Taos, leaving his wife and Kinkead at Mora.
A different version, George P. Hammond's book “Alexander Barclay, Mountain Man”, has Suaso following the couple to Pueblo (where he later moved) and reclaiming Teresita as his spouse.
Teresita and Kinkead had one or two children and he ventured north to trade with the Cheyenne near Bent's Fort. At the fort he met destiny in the person of Alexander Barclay, who eventually would become Teresita's third “husband”. Kinkead, Teresita, and her children left Mora for the Arkansas Valley in 1841-42 and may have settled in the vicinity of Pueblo at the junction of the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek, then a gathering place for trappers and mountain men.
Hammond speculates Kinkead may have gambled on the move to better his economic status but lost his “wife” in the process. He also speculates how Teresita and Barclay met. The latter may have visited Pueblo on a trading expedition, or Teresita and Kinkead may have gone to tradeat Bent's Fort where Barclay was employed.
“On such occasions Barclay might easily have been smitten by the handsome and strong-willed Teresita…And she may have been equally charmed by him, so different from her frontiersman husband, Matthew Kinkead. Though only 47, Kinkead was still 15 years older than his rival and was even then being referred to as an old man. Barclay, moreover, was already an experienced trader, a man of affairs”, notes Hammond.
Janet Lecompte, author of “Pueblo, Hardscrabble, Greenhorn” writes Barclay had settled in Pueblo before the spring of 1843 and soon fell under the charms of the beautiful Mexican woman. “She was stubborn and hot-tempered and as many men hated as loved her. But she was also intelligent and courageous and willing to share the drudgery and terrors of a frontier life with her man – until a man she liked better turned up…”.
By 1844 Teresita and Barclay had moved to the new settlement of Hardscrabble, 30 miles up the Arkansas River at Hardscrabble Creek. There they lived for several years with Teresita's daughters and their husbands, Juana and George S. Simpson and Cruz (Crusita) and Joseph B. Doyle.
Teresita accompanied Barclay in 1846 when he left Hardscrabble and moved back to the Arkansas near Pueblo and also when he and fellow traders moved from Pueblo to the junction of the Mora and Sapella Rivers in New Mexico in 1848. There they built Fort Barclay. The fort wasn't destined for success, and Barclay and Teresita's relationship fell apart.
When Doyle talked of returning to the Arkansas Valley in 1853, Barclay suggested the woman accompany her son-in-law. Angry that Barclay wanted to be rid of her after almost 10 years, Teresita did just that.
Barclay died the winter of 1855-56 at his Fort; Teresita outlived him by 38 years and spent her last years at Doyle's ranch, Casa Blanca, in the Huerfano Valley. Doyle died in 1864 of a heart attack at the age of 46. He was one of the richest men in the Colorado Territory, and quite a settlement had grown around his ranch. His wife, Cruz, died in 1865, but her mother continued to live at he ranch until her death, enjoying a position of some importance among the Mexicans.
There was a little village on the ranch with a church and cemetery. Teresita led the people in prayer on feast days. She was the leader of the Mexican colony.” Luna writes. She also is reputed to have cured farm workers with herbs of which she was knowledgeable.
Doyle's children sold the ranch in 1874 with the stipulation that the Mexican village be allowed to remain as long as Teresita lived there. She died in 1894 and was buried in the Doyle cemetery with her jewelry and money as she directed. Her last words were that anyone molesting her grave would be cursed, write Luna…However, her grave has been plundered.
** Interesting note-Frame 1375 (Oct 14,1844) is the marriage of George
Simpson de San Luis de Misuri, radicado en San Carlos de Napeste and
Ana Maria Suaso,daughter of Jose Manuel Suaso, Deceased and of Maria
to the Pueblo County Index Page.
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