Nombrando La Muerte

Nombrando La Muerte

(Dispatches from Taos County, 1918)

For manitas and manitos living in New Mexico and Colorado and in the far flung diasporas, death is personified as a female skeleton seated on a wooden cart grasping a bow and arrow. She is known as Doña Sebastiana, named for a third-century Christian saint and martyr, feared I think much more than she is revered. But her 3rd century tocayo (namesake) was actually widely recognized as a protector against pestilence and plague. Whether her name was invoked as a protector or feared for the shadow she cast, in 1918 she arrived in the villages of Taos country during the pandemic popularly known as the Spanish Flu.

This influenza infected 500 million people globally and killed an estimated 20-50 million people. While it lasted two years, the “second wave” that occurred during the fall and winter of 1918 accounted for the cruelest months of the virus.

The late Arsenio Córdova of El Prado used to say, “In our culture, we die three times. The first when we breathe our last breath, the second when we are buried and the third and most tragic, when we are forgotten.” I thought of Arcenio and of his wisdom recently when my friend, Professor David García shared his findings of the coverage of the global influenza pandemic of 1918 from the weekly newspaper from Taos, La Revista de Taos

Each week, through the months of November and December of 1918, the editor of La Revista de Taos recorded the names of those who had died in villages throughout Taos County. José Montaner, the editor of the paper, was active in helping inform the community about both the local and global situation, perhaps due in some part to the fact that his co-editor, 31-year old José Eulogio Valdez had in November also died of the the influenza.

“Higene Personal y Domestica,” in La Revista Popular de Nuevo Mexico, Taos, New Mexico, December 20, 1918, p. 3.

The lists of names appeared weekly alongside numerous articles about the impact of the virus upon health, education, and politics. Names were identified, often aligned to particular villages. So as not to forget those that passed, this blog features their names below, based on the date of the paper. Be sure to scroll all the way down to look for specific villages and individuals.

“Lista de Muertos/List of the Deceased” (November 13, 1918)

The following is a list of those who have died of influenza in the last two weeks. This is not an account of everyone, but these are the names taken of the persons who have died effective Saturday, November 2nd. Another list that contains the names of 64 deaths from Tapla and Ranchos we will publish on the next instalment. 

Rebeca V. Trujillo, Taos;

Liberato Mondragón, Ranchos

Carlota Mondragón, Ranchos

Bonifacia M. Martínez, Ranchito 

Rafaela Espinosa, Ranchito 

Higinio Martínez and Son, Placita 

Rosario García, Placita 

Maximiliano Rodríguez and son         

Nicomedes Trujillo, Ranchito 

Carmilo Morgas, Ranchito 

Son of Juan Vigil, Talpa 

Mrs. Virginia Quintanta, Ranchito 

Mrs. Hilario Martínez, Cañón 

Fedelina M. Trujillo, Ranchos 

Benita M. de Vigil, Cañón  

Marcelina Cisneros, Cañón 

Esmeralda Harmon, Taos 

Alfredo Mares, Ranchito 

Daughter of Rudolfo Anglada, Cañón 

Jacobo Trujillo, Ranchos 

Andrés Gonzales, Ranchos 

Francisco Valdez, Taos 

Eliza Quintana and son, Ranchito  

Agustina Vigil, Cañón 

Juanita Trujillo, Cañón 

Josefina T. Trujillo, Cordillera 

Celina Córdova, Córdovas 

Ramón Córdova, Córdovas 

Lugarda Sandoval, Ranchito 

Celina Salas, Ranchito 

Pablo Quintana, Taos 

Antonio Aban Trujillo, Ranchos 

Daughter of Gabriel Chávez, Ranchos 

Rhode Matthews, Taos 

Faustin Trujillo, Ranchito 

Bersabé Medina A., Hondo    

Mrs. Paul Wiese, Taos 

Ricardo Mondragón, Cañón 

Ezequiela Romo, Talpa 

José de la Cruz Vásquez, Taos 

Emilio Vásquez, Taos 

José Eulogio Valdez,Taos 

Juanita Tenorio, Taos 

Pablo Gallegos, Taos 

Cruz Hernández,Taos 

Rafael Romo, Talpa 

Juan Tranquilino Trujillo, Taos 

Carmel Martínez, Taos 

Andreita Luján, El Prado 

Concepción Martínez, Ranchito 

Alfonso Trujillo, Ranchos 

Candelaria López Le-Doux, Taos 

Juana Aragón, Cañón 

Corina Fresquez, Ranchos 

F.E. Quintero and 2 sons                   

Eugenio Rael, Arroyo Hondo 

Julian Rael, Arroyo                                                                                 

El “Flu” Mucho Mas Mala Que La Guerra

“Los Que Han Muerto De Influenza En Esta Mes/ Those Who have died of the Spanish Flu in this Month” (November 22, 1918)

The following is a list of persons who have passed away in Taos Valley, victims of the malignant Influenza during the last three weeks. This list is not complete, it lacks various names whom we have not been able to acquire, this list covers the town of Taos, Ranchitos, Cañon, Talpa, Ranchos Cordillera and one or another name of the deceased in Arroyo Hondo. It is also reported that this month in Questa, Cerro, Costilla and Peñasco, a great number of people have died, in particular in Cerro more than 40 have died. We will publish the names of the deceased as soon as the Justice of Peace of these precincts report the names to the quarantine officials.

The list published above, on November 13th is repeated, with the following additions

Rafael Cruz     

Teodorita Barela de Cruz                   

Mrs. Loreta M. Montaño 

Mrs. Rosarito Salazar,  Cañón 

Mrs. Rosario M. de Le-Doux 

Mrs. Trinidad Sandoval 

Mrs. Perfecta Moreno 

Rosenda Martínez                                                                                 

List of people who have died in Ranchos and Talpa 

Alvino Carabajal 

Jacobo Trujillo 

Francisco Trujillo 

Andres Gonzales 

Son of Carlos García 

Severiano Romero 

Liberio Mondragón 

Elidorio Valerio 

Agapito Valerio 

Enselmo Valerio 

Ecequias Herrera 

David Trujillo 

Bernardo Gutierrez 

Tomas Romero 

Timoteo Maestas 

Abran Tafoya 

Carlos Romo

Ramón Casías 

Onofres Maestas 

Filimón Trujillo 

José Tafoya 

Juan Valdez 

Rafael Romo 

Jacobo Vigil 

Alfonso Trujillo 

Bersabel Cortes 

Fidelina Trujillo 

Margarita Trujillo 

Josefina Trujillo and son 

Locarita Gonzales 

Elaisa Tafoya 

Agustina Jaramillo 

Ramonsita Apodaca 

Feliciana Espinosa 

Cicilia Vasquez 

Carlota Mondragón 

Mariana Sanchez 

Anita Martínez 

Julianita Vigil 

Eustaquia Mondragón

Eligia Archuleta 

Beatriz Archuleta 

Juanita Mondragón 

Emiliana Mondragón 

Epimenia Maestas 

Hipolita Griego 

Rita Tafoya 

Maria Marcia Tafoya 

Simodosea Tafoya 

Ezequiela Romo

Agustina Medina 

Nieves Trujillo 

Aurelia Maestas 

Presiliana Maestas and son 

Adelina Medina 

Elviria Vigil 

Manuelita A. Maestas 

Maria Luz Vigil 

Eleonor Romero 

Ernestina Tafoya  

“Lista De Muertos En Questa y Cerro/List of the Deceased in Questa and Cerro” (November 29, 1918)

During painful quarantine in Questa and Cerro the following people have died. This list was reported by Mr. M.S. Trujillo to the quarantine official of the county.  

A daughter of Fermin Martinez

Donaciano Martienz 

Sofia Vigil 

Sara De Segura and son

Gabriel Sierra 

3 sons of Basilio Flores

3 children of Antonio Segura

1 child of G. Garcia 

Cirila Montoya 

Luisita Kare 

2 children of Pablo Martinez 

Laisa Blella and male child

1  boy of Malaquias Gallegos 

2 children of Ricardo Archuleta 

1 child of Medard Laforet 

A daughter of Timoteo Atencio

1 child of Benito Segura 

1 child of J.D. Martinez 

Another child of C. Archuleta 

Another child of M. Vargas 

Gaspar Vigil 

A child of J. Segura 

Celina Jaramillo 

Felipe Silva 

Emeregilda Silva 

Gusmonita de Boyson 

Irene de Gonzales 

Filomena de Duran 

L. B. Ortiz 

Jesús Herrera 

2 children of Malaquias ROmero 

A child of J.E. Vigil 

A child of Juan Vigil 

A child of J.E. Martinez 

Another of Epifañio Garcia 

A daughter of F. Montoya 

Ricardo Gonzales 

A child of Samuel Young 

2 children of Celstino Montoya and wife 

3 children of Candido Martinez and wife and boy 

“Tomas Cisneros,  Died a Victim of the  Malignant Influenza, In Camp Kearney, California, La Revista Popular de Taos, Taos, New Mexico, December 6, 1918

“Lista De Muertos/List of Deaths” (December 13, 1918)

Those who have succumbed to the malignant Influenza in areas of Taos county. The following list was provided by Mr. Alfredo Trujillo, district teacher in Río Lucio. This list exceeds 120 deaths which have occurred recently during the month of November.

Llano de San Juan

Reginalda V. Benavides

Camila Tafoya 

Saturnino Tafoya 

Lucrecia Tafoya 

Tía Sara Muñiz 

Teresina G. Maestas 

Melisandro Tafoya 

Juanita Cruz 

Desiderio Sena 

Guadalupe C. Martinez 

Gumecinda C. Martinez 

Ruben Martinez  

Naborcita O. de Martinez 

Maximiano Vigil 

Benjamin Vigil 

Elvira V. Mondragón and daughter 

Pedro Mondragón 

Amelia Mondragón 

A daughter of Ramon Muñiz

A son of Antonia Romero 

Julianita G. Valencia 

A son of Ramon Trujillo 

Maria M. Gonzales 

Encarnación Medina 

Leopoldo Trujillo      

Rosabel G. Padia    

Manuel Griego 

Cirila M. Fresquez 

Abedenago Gonzales 

Carlota Lobato 

Antonia Sena 

Escolastica E. Benavides 

2 children of Gracia Lucero 

Benigna Abeyta 

Abigail R. Dominguez 

Juan Rafael Marrujo 

Cirila Martinez 

Daughter of Victor Esquivel 

Raquel S. Martinez 

Trampas

Eligio Leyba 

Pedro Romero

Simon Lopez 

Manuelita Pacheco 

Zenaida M. Leyba  

Antonia M. Vigil 

Julianita Pacheco

Valle

Juan Andres Cruz 

Victor Montoya 

Gabriel Lucero  

Son of Toribio Montoya 

Lucia Romero

Peñasco 

Rosendo Sanchez and son 

Rebeca S. de Sanchez 

Emiliano Sandoval 

Demetrio Ortega 

Emilia T. Gurule 

Lugarda P. Cordova 

Picuris

Juan Cimbolo 

José de la Cruz Lopez

Albina Vermejo 

Antonia Duran

Lupe Tafoya 

Chamisal

Cleotilde Argüello 

Carlota Lopez 

Aurora Casado 

Patrocinia Lopez 

Benerito Vasquez 

Porfiria Lopez 

Elfido Argüello 

Gumersinda Abeyta 

Emilia Pacheco 

Elvira Lopez 

Emiliana Martinez and daughter 

Dionicia Archuleta  and daughter 

Rosalia Mondragon 

Primogenita Lopez  

Oralia Abeyta 

Plasida Abeyta 

Rosana Lobato 

Trinidad Cordova 

Pablita Domingues 

Amada Lucero 

Praxedes Ortega

Agustin Lopez 

Rio Pueblo

Bonifacio Lujan 

David Vigil 

Filadelfo Borrego  

Maximiliano Fernandez 

Fidelina Vigil 

Nicolas Barela 

Juan Bisarraga 

Guadalupe Cisneros 

Malaquias Martinez 

A daughter of Desiderio Martinez

Lupita Lujan 

Llano Largo and Santa Barbara

José de Garcia de Lobato 

Eliseo Martinez 

Mrs. Matt Nord 

Son of David Martinez 

Son of Juan Nedina (sic)   

Luis Miera 

Manuelita Medina 

Daughter of Rosenda Rodarte 

Daughter of Bernabé Duran 

Daughter of Cristobal Espinosa 

Daughter of Aniseto Medina 

Two daughters of Magdalena Lopez 

Daughter of Victoriano Chacon 

Manuelita M. Sanches 

Candido Fresquez

Maximiliano Montoya 

Sinforosa V. Maestas 

Daughter of Victor Esquivel  

In the same edition, the deaths of eight other residents of the county are listed with fuller obituaries,

Antonio D. Pacheco, Arroyo Seco

Elaiza Gomez de Blea, Cerro    

Onesimo Herrera, Arroyo Hondo

Felix Santistevan, Arroyo Hondo


Research, Extraction and Translation: A special thank you to Dr. David Garcia, who located the newspapers and generously extracted each name and translated the article summaries.

Featured Image: Los Hermanos Penitentes Society. Death Cart, 1890-1910. Wood, hide, hair, pigment, 25 1/4 x 14 x 26 1/2 in. (64.1 x 35.6 x 67.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection, 1997.70. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1997.70_transp5516.jpg)

4 thoughts on “Nombrando La Muerte

  1. Thank you. We appreciate All that brings out history of our people and our communities. God bless U.

  2. This is an incredible piece of history, but having been born in the 50’s, I never thought I would find any connection to the victims of the Spanish Flu of 1918. I was wrong. I am very thankful to Estevan Rael-Galvez for this article, which provided some missing information of my family’s history. I knew that may great-grandfather was listed in the 1910 census, but not in 1920, so I knew that he must have passed within those ten years. In this article, my great-grandfather Ramon Cordova (1855-1918) is listed a victim of the Spanish Flu along with his second youngest daughter Celina Cordova who would have been about 14 years old, both from (Los) Cordovas.

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