Santa Fe County, New Mexico
Genealogy and History
Genealogy Trails - Finding Ancestors wherever their trails led

Lucas Montano (abt. 1620 - abt. 1655)
Sebastiana Lopez de Garcia (abt. 1625 - abt. 1685)

Lucas Montano and Sebastiana López de Gracia were the parents of our ancestor, María Montano [abt.1643-1729], who married our blacksmith ancestor, Juan de Moraga [abt. 1638-after 1681] about 1659 in New Mexico.
Lucas was probably born in New Spain [Mexico].  He came to New Mexico in 1636 as part of a troop escort to a supply caravan. It is possible that he was related to a Pedro Suares Montaño, who had been a military escort in New Mexico earlier, but we don’t know.
Lucas married Sebastiana in New Mexico about 1641.  They had at least three daughters, Catalina Montaño, María Montaño, and Magdalena Montaño, and probably a son Sebastián Montaño.  The marriage endured only about fifteen years when Lucas died.  Sebastiana married Diego de Apodaca soon afterward.  They resided in the Salinas District, probably at Tajique.
Diego was a lecherous man who forced incestuous activities on his stepdaughters.  He was imprisoned in 1661 and was condemned to death, but he was not executed.  He was reported two years later as staying with his sister’s family on the Rio Grande River [then called the Río del Norte].  He is heard of no more in the annals of New Mexico.  He either died or left New Mexico before the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. [pp.5, Revised Edition, Origins of New Mexico Families, by Fray Angélico Chávez]
Sebastiana, separated from Apodaca after the molestation charges, owned an estancia located 2.6 miles [one league] from the mission of Quarac in the Salinas District.  Quarac no longer exists; it is just a mound of deteriorated adobe bricks. [New Mexico Roots, Ltd.; by Angélico Chávez; #1571 {DM 1729, August 5, Santa Fe}; Archivo General de la Nación, tomo 593, ff. 63, 80-82] Sebastiana survived the Pueblo Revolt as did her children from Montaño and Apodaca.  She died about 1685 in Guadalupe del Paso [El Paso] during the Spanish exile from New Mexico. Her children returned to New Mexico in 1693 and continued to be part of its history.


[1]        María Montaño, our ancestor, was born about 1643 in New Mexico.  She was probably a victim of the incest committed by her stepfather. She married Juan de Moraga, our ancestor, about 1659.  He died about 1680, and in 1685 she married our cousin, Hernando Martín Serrano III, in 1685 at Guadalupe del Paso [El Paso].  They returned to New Mexico in 1693.  She died about 1729, in her eighties.
[2]        Magdalena Montaño was born about 1645.  She, too, was likely a victim of her stepfather’s molestation conviction; no information about family.
[3]        Catalina Montaño was born 1650.  She, too, was likely a victim of molestation by her stepfather, Diego de Apodaca. Catalina married Domingo de Arzate about 1665.  She later married Juan Alonso Maese.  She died in May, 1711.  Her descendants settled in what became Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties.
[4]        Sebastián Montaño, born about 1648, was apparently the only son by Lucas Montaño. Sebastián had a child with an Indian woman named Juana. He died before 1690, probably at Gudalupe del Paso. Sebastían was on Governor Otermín’s Sept. 1681 muster list at Guadalupe del Paso [El Paso] to fight the Pueblos for re-entry to New Mexico.  Probably a son to Sebastián was José Montaño, who was living at Guadalupe del Paso in 1696 when he with his uncle, José Apodaca, served as witnesses at a marriage. José Montano, living in Santa Fe, was twenty years old in 1695. He married Maria de Cuellar and went to live in the Rio Abajo, where in 1715 he wounded a man, because of jealousy, at the home of his mother-in-law, who was then married to Tomás García. José Montaño was still living in 1734 when he and Maria were sponsors for a child of his sister Juana and Nicolas de Chavez. In 1750 he trespassed on Alameda Pueblo lands and got a fine imposed by Governor Gachupin. He is in all probability the Jose Montano who died a "muerte violenta" at Tomé, June 29, 1756. His widow was still much alive in 1772 as one of the first settlers of the Rio Puerco country in Río Arriba County with three of her sons. Their children were: Pedro, who married Paula Gallegos in 1748; Joaquin, who died at the age of eleven, April 28, 1742; Juan Bautista Montaño, husband of Rosalía Jaramillo; and Bernabé Manuel Montaño, who married Eduarda Yturrieta or Varela. The latter two sons were among the first Rio Puerco settlers with their mother.


[5]        José Gonzáles de Apodaca  was born in the middle 1650’s.  He had three wives: Antonia Martín Herrera; Isabel Gutiérrez, whom he married about 1686; and Francisca Durán, who he married 3 June 1693.  He was a 46-year-old soldier, when he was a witness at the marriage of José de Aragon and Juliana Gamboa at Gudalupe del Paso on 7 February 1696.  His brother José Montaño was also a witness.
[6]        Francisco de Apodaca married Juana María Martín Serrano before 1693.
[7]        Cristóbal de Apodaca, born about 1658, married Regina Peralta. On 13 March 1698, in Santa Fe, Cristóbal, age 40, was a witness at the marriage of Diego de Beyta.

Submitted by Donald Rivara, June 23, 2009.

Manuel Gutierrez (abt. 1600 - )
Ines de Cabrera (abt. 1610 - )

Manuel Gutiérrez and Inés de Cabrera were the parents of our ancestor, Tomás de Cabrera [1628-].  We know this from the well-documented website “Beyond Origins of New Mexico Families.” They never lived in New Mexico.  They probably died in Mexico [then New Spain]. Their son Tomás was born in Cuauhtemoc, which is now part of greater Mexico City.
We know nothing else of this couple.  Their ancestry probably goes back to the time of Cortéz in Mexico.   With Cortéz were three soldiers with the surname Cabrera: Gabriel de Cabrera; Hernando Cabrera, who was killed during the conquest; and Hernando’s brother, Juan de Cabrera.  There were several Gutiérrezes as well.

Submitted by Donald Rivara, June 23, 2009.

Miguel Cresencio Serrano (abt. 1816 - 1899)
Maria Prudencia Quintana (1827 - 1884)

     Miguel was almost certainly a son of Cayetano Hipolito Serrano and María Manuela Mestas de Serrano. He was born about 1816 in the Chama River Valley near the village of Abiquiu, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, when that area was still under Spanish rule. He was probably a member of the large family surnamed MARTÍN SERRANO, but had his surname shortened to “Serrano” by either his father or his grandfather. Miguel’s date of birth varies from record to record and his baptismal record has not been found.  There are baptismal records for other children of Cayetano Hipolito “Polito” and “Manuela,” but there is a gap for the years surrounding 1816.  It is possible that the family lived elsewhere briefly. Additional evidence that Miguel was the son of this couple is that their sons, Manuel Serrano, Guadalupe Serrano, and Valentín Serrano, lived in San Luis Obispo, California, with Miguel, and Miguel named his first son Manuel.  Also we have records showing Miguel, while still in New Mexico, to have been godfather of a child of which Maria Manuela was the godmother.  Also, Miguel named one of his sons Hipolito, an uncommon name.  Also, Miguel named his eldest daughter Cayetana, the female form of Cayetano.  This, too, was an uncommon name.
In 1821, New Mexico came under the rule of the new Republic of Mexico.  During his life, Miguel passed from being a citizen of Spain, to being a citizen of Mexico [1821], to being a citizen of the United States [1846].  His wife Prudencia was not born early enough to have lived under Spanish rule.
    The 1890 Great Register of Voters of San Luis Obispo, California, shows Miguel to have been seventy-two when he registered to vote on 7 September 1888.  That would have him born in 1816.  He was shown to have been born in New Mexico and living at “El Chorro.” [meaning the Chorro Valley.  The Rancho Potrero bordered Chorro Creek.] This information was probably given by Miguel himself, whereas women usually gave the information to census-takers. He was consistent with this age when he was listed in the 1871 Great Register of Voters; he had registered in 1866 and had given his age as fifty, which also would indicate a birth in 1816.  His county death record shows that he was eighty-six when he died on December 23, 1899, but that information was given by family members who probably weren’t sure how old Miguel had been.  That would have him born in 1813.  A book published in 1917 was based on information given by Miguel’s youngest son Carlos says Miguel was ninety-four at the time of his death and born in Tierra Amarilla.  Both the date and the place are clearly wrong—the Tierra Amarilla land grant wasn’t given until 1832, although there were some Serranos involved in the controversial lawsuit in the 1960’s.  The 1870 U.S. Census of San Luis Obispo County gives Miguel’s age as fifty and his wife’s as forty.  This would have him born in 1820.  The 1860 Census shows him as thirty-five; that would have him born in 1825.  The 1852 California State Census shows him to have been thirty years old; this would have him born in 1822.  Most census takers were ill-equipped to interview Hispanic citizens.
 In a questionable history of Miguel written in Calfornia and Californians in 1932, it is stated that at twelve years of age he left New Mexico in the company of  an American named Danas, and crossed the Old Spanish Trail to California.  Danas then became the first  merchant of Los Angeles.  Miguel is supposed to have parted company with Danas and  traveled alone up the El Camino Real to the site of San Francisco and then returned to Los Angeles and later to New Mexico.  There is probably some truth in the story, but it was probably misremembered by whoever gave the information about Miguel, probably his son Carlos, who was the only one of his children living in San Luis Obispo in the 1930’s.  What seems more likely is that Miguel accompanied the William Workman party in 1831, when he was fifteen, as an employee.
From Abiquiu Baptisms 1754-1870, we find records of Miguel as a godfather as early as 1838.  Some of the mothers of the babies being baptized were probably Indian servants.  On February 12, 1838, he was the padrino [godfather] at the baptism of María Josefa del Refugio Velásquez, daughter of unwed María Estéfana Velásquez of Barranca.  The godmother was Miguel’s mother María Manuela Mestas.
     On March 6, 1839, he was a godfather at the baptism of Maria Rosalia Trujillo, age 8 days, born to unwed Maria Guadalupe Trujillo.  The godmother was Maria Josefa Mestas, likely a relative of Miguel’s mother.  That same year on November 3, he and his sister Francisca Serrano were godparents at the baptism of María Manuela Serrano, a daughter of their brother Manuel Serrano.
 On January 1, 1842, Miguel was godfather at the baptism of Manuel de Jesus Abeyta, son of an unknown father and María Ramona Abeyta;  Miguel’s sister María Francisca was the madrina [godmother].  The Mexican government and the church closed one eye at the enslavement of Indians.  As “servants” they were expected to be Christianized by their “employers.”  The slaves were not called slaves; they were called servants, but in fact they were slaves until they attained adulthood.  Young women servants regularly had children from “unknown” fathers, and the babies were baptized as such.  No one pushed the issue by asking questions because the paternity would likely embarrass the family of the “servant.”  Money was paid to the person who had captured the Indian woman or child for the “employee.”  Southwestern Indians were involved in the same kind of slavery with their Hispanic and Indian captives, but there was no age limit for slavery in the Indian cultures.
     On May 4 of the same year, 1842, Miguel was godfather again to María Catarina Valdés, age 8 days, daughter of Pedro Ygnacio Valdés and Mariana Gonzales.  Godparents were Miguel Crescencio Serrano and Maria Francisca Serrano.  From this we learn that Miguel’s middle name was Crescencio.  The parents in this baptism were probably not Indian servants.
     On September 8, 1843, María Rosa Trujillo, age 9 days, daughter of Dorotea Trujillo and an unknown father, was baptized at Abiquiu with Miguel Serrano as godfather and María Dolores Abeyta as godmother.  Miguel’s presence in Abiquiu at this date shows that he did not accompany Francisco Esteban Quintana’s family to California because they were emigrating from New Mexico to California at that time.   This was the last entry for Miguel Serrano in the church records of Abiquiu.  In the 1845 Mexican Census of Abiquiú, New Mexico: Miguel’s parents were listed living with four unmarried males, no doubt sons, aged 28, 26, 19, and 14.  It is believed that Miguel was the unmarried son listed as twenty-eight years old.  That correlates closely with the 1816 birth year.  It was, then, 1846 that Miguel left for California.
While Miguel was on the trail with the 1846 trade caravan, on April 19, 1846, Miguel’s sister Francisca Serrano was a godmother to what appears to be an illegitimate child of her brother Miguel Crescencio Serrano and Maria Manuela Salazar.  Although the father’s name is not given, the child is named Miguel Crescencio Salazar.  Godfather was José Manuel Serrano, brother to Miguel and Francisca.  The mother of the baby was proabably a servant. 
It seems probable that Miguel stopped at Agua Mansa in the San Bernardino Valley when he arrived in California, but he seems to have left there for San Luis Obispo  County soon thereafter.  It was a momentous time to be arriving in California.  He would have arrived just as the American conquest of California was about to begin in July.  He would have been caught up in the confusion of what to do about the arrival of Fremont’s army in November of 1846.
Miguel probably went to work for Francisco Estevan Quintana, whom he had known in Abiquiú. Judging from his later photos, Miguel was probably a handsome thirty-year-old man.  He and Quintana’s nineteen-year-old daughter Prudencia were attracted to one another.
     On 8 January 1847, Miguel married Prudencia Quintana at the Mission San Miguel Church.  The couple were third cousins once removed whether they knew it or not.  Both were descended from Miguel de Quintana and his wife Gertrudis Moreno Trujillo:   [Miguel Quintana > María Josefa Quintana > Aparicio Mestas .María Manuela Mesta > Miguel Serrano] and  [Miguel de Quintana > Nicolás de Quintana > Gregorio Anselmo Quintana > Francisco Estevan Quintana > María Prudencia Quintana]
      Prudencia [María Prudencia] Quintana was the daughter of Don Francisco Estevan Quintana and Guadalupe Luján.  Don Estevan became the owner of various ranchos in the San Luis Obispo area.  Miguel became the ranch manager of the Rancho Potrero de San Luis Obispo for his father-in-law after its purchase in 1854.  It was understood that upon Don Estevan’s death a portion of the Rancho Potrero would become Prudencia’s.
     After Miguel’s marriage to Prudencia, his father-in-law’s prominence brought him also into prominence.  The records of the early transitional government of San Luis Obispo [1848-1850] show many entries for Miguel.  He seems to have boarded stray horses for the government and would be compensated for this upon the discovery of the owner of the horses.  But it was clear that Miguel was illiterate.  He could only sign his name with a mark, and the census records assert that both he and his wife could neither read nor write.  Estevan, on the other hand, wrote in a very learned manner.   The Serranos lived with the Quintanas at the time of the 1852 California State Census.  On page 9 of the San Luis Census, it showed the family as it consisted on September 29, 1852:

Miguel Serrano, 30 [sic], farmer, born Mexico [sic]
Prudencia Serrano, 25, born Mexico [sic]
Guadalupe Quintana, 40, born Mexico
Esteban Quintana, 57 [sic], born Mexico [sic], a farmer
Jose M. Quintana, 28, farmer, born Mexico [sic]
Pedro Quintana, 18, farmer, born Mexico [sic]
Maria Jesus Quintana, 5, female, born California
Jesus Maria Quintana, 7/12, male, born California

      The several errors were due to the language barrier between the family and the census taker.  By the time of the 1860 Census, the Serranos were living in a home of their own, but the language barrier was still there:
July 6, 1860, #252-235
Miguel Serrano, 35 [sic], farmer, personal property value $800, born Mexico, cannot read or write.
Prudencia Serrano, 25 [sic], housekeeper, born New Mexico, cannot read nor  write.
Refugio Serrano, 9, female, born CA
Andrea Serrano, 5, female, born CA
Manuel Serrano, 2, male, born CA

            At the time of the 1852 Census the Serranos and Quintanas were living in the home called “La Loma de la Nopalera” on the rancho called “La Vina” [The Vineyard] because it was the site of the vineyard of the Mission San Luis Obispo.  There was an orchard of nopales cacti to the east of the adobe home, which provided food for the family.  This home is still standing in 2005.  
Miguel’s brother Manuel Serrano [1809-after 1880] had also come to San Luis Obispo.  He can be seen in some of the early records.  Manuel’s name would be carried on to the next two generations.  There is a record of Manuel having been involved in searching for gold in the gold rush.  I have seen a thesis which shows Manuel to have been in Sonoma in 1849 after having spent time in the gold fields.  It is believed that Manuel eventually returned to New Mexico because a person by his name appears in later censuses in Rio Arriba County.  We know that he already had a family, shown in the 1845 New Mexico Census.  The last evidence of Manuel’s presence in San Luis Obispo is when he served on the Vigilance Committee in 1858 with Miguel and some of the Quintanas. A Manuel Serrano was listed in the 1860 U.S. Census of Rio Arriba County, NM, on p.27 in the 9th Precinct.  This probably indicates the Manuel, who had probably come to California during the gold rush, had returned to New Mexico.
     Another brother, Guadalupe, also apparently joined Miguel in San Luis Obispo, also probably during the gold rush.  There is a record in 1850 showing the baptism of an illegitimate son, Dolores Lino Serrano, who was baptized September 23, 1850.  The child’s mother was Dolores Garcia.  Miguel’s older brother Guadalupe was baptized in December of 1807 in Abiquiu.  1860 U.S. Census records show that a Guadalupe Serrano was living in San Ildefonso in Santa Fe County, New Mexico.  It appears that Guadalupe also returned to New Mexico in the 1850’s.  He appears in no other records in San Luis Obispo.
    Yet another brother, Valentin, probably went to San Luis Obispo as well.  He also shows up as the parent of an illegitimate child being baptized in 1850.  The child’s mother is named Estefana Serrano.  The priest didn’t record whether the child was legitimate or illegitimate, which they usually did.  The child, a girl named Lina, was baptized on September 23.  He was probably the fourteen year old shown on the 1845 Mexican Census of New Mexico in the family of Miguel’s parents.  He was probably the Valentín Serrano who later show up in censuses in the San Bernardino County, California, area.
     The Vigilance Committee came into existence as a result of the vigilance committee in San Francisco’s driving its hoodlums out of that city.  These unsavory characters moved their base of operation to the El Camino Real [the King’s Highway], the road that joined all of the towns and missions of California.  It was unsafe for travelers along this road.  To remedy this situation, the ranchers and other early settlers of San Luis Obispo formed the committee to combat the crimes that these bandits were committing in the area.  Several bandits met their ends at the hands of this committee.  Miguel and his brother Manuel were on the committee as were the Quintanas.
    Why Miguel did not apply for a Mexican land grant himself is probably because he arrived too late.  The Americans conquered California in July of 1846, so Miguel was out of luck if he hadn’t petitioned by then.  Also, neither Miguel nor Prudencia could read or write according to census records.   This had not been the case with Don Estevan.
     The Serranos had twelve known children.  None of the first four lived to adulthood, and even the fifth, Andrea [Maria Andrea Placida] Serrano, lived to marry, but she died in childbirth at age twenty-five.  The next seven children all lived to adulthood.  Here is a list of the children:
1.  José Manuel Serrano 1848-Before 1850
2.  María Ignacia Cayetana Serrano 1850-before 1860
3.  Refugio Serrano 1851-11 June 1870  [not married]
4.  Pedro de Jesús Serrano 1852-Before 1860
5.  María Andrea Plácida Serrano 13 April 1856-27 January 1882 [married Tomas Herrera, Jr. [1848-1885]
6.      José Manuel Serrano 25 February 1858-22 July 1916 [married Flumencia “Flora” Durazo ]                             
7.  Narciso Serrano 11 April 1860-after 1910 [married (1) Pilar Rodrigues [half sister of Dolores Mendez], and (2) Carolina Arballo [also a half sister of  Dolores Mendez]
8.  Antonia [“Tonia”] Serrano 13 June 1863- 20 December 1957  [married Benjamin Munoz 1852-1920’s, a policeman.  They lived in San Francisco and then Oakland, CA.
9.  Juana María [“Jenny”] Serrano 19 September 1865- [married Mr. Stanley]
10. Hipolito “Henry” Serrano  9 August 1867-August 17, 1922 [married Dolores Mendez, half sister of Pilar Rodrigues and Carolina Arballo]
11. José Carlos Serrano 1 April 1870 - 23 February 1946 [married Cleofas Quintana, widow of his cousin Juan Pedro Quintana]
12. Refugio Serrano 18 January 1874-21 June 1953 [married Mr. Williams]

     The great drought of 1862-1864 must have affected the cattle herds of the Rancho Potrero greatly.  All over California the dry earth cracked and became dusty.  Cattle died by the thousands, more than 95% of all livestock.  Ranchers salvaged the hides, but it took years to bring the herds back to their former sizes.
            On 2 April 1866, Francisco Bielmas stole two cords of firewood belonging to Miguel that were located on the rancho of Jose Antonio Avila.  Apparently Miguel had purchased the wood but had not yet taken it to the Rancho Potrero.  He pressed charges against Bielmas and there was a court hearing, the results of which we do not know. The court document is in the files of the SLO Historical Society Museum.
    We don’t know much about the events in Miguel’s life in the 1860’s and 1870’s except that he managed the Rancho Potrero affairs and fathered more children.  The 1870 Census gives us a window into the family:

August 1870, San Luis Obispo
Miguel Serrano, 50, male , white, teamster, born New Mexico
Prudencia Serrano, 40, female, white
Andrea Serrano, 15, female, white, at  home, born CA
Manuel Serrano, 11, male, white, at home, born CA
Narcissa Serrano, 9, female, white, at home, born CA [This was a male, Narciso]
Antonia Serrano, 7, female, white, at home, born CA
Raulito Serrano, 3, male, white, at home, born CA [This was Hipolito, not Raulito]
Carlos Serrano, 4/12, white, male, born CA

     The family was in mourning at the time of the census.  The Serranos had lost their oldest daughter, Refugio, 19, on June 11 of that summer.  She was the eldest daughter.
     In August of 1880 Don Estevan Quintana died, and his will went into probate.  Half of the Rancho Potrero’s 3,506.33 acres was bequeathed to Prudencia.  The other half of the ranch was left to the children of Estevan’s deceased daughter María Manuela Quintana de Herrera.    Before the probate of Don Estevan’s estate was complete, Miguel’s wife Prudencia, who was overweight, collapsed and died while cooking at the stove at the rancho on April 15, 1884.  She was fifty-six.  [Her tombstone erroneously says she was sixty.] Prudencia had no will, so her interest in her father’s estate was governed by California’s law of intestate inheritance.  Miguel would receive one third of Prudencia’s 1,753.165 acres [584.4 acres] and each of his children would receive one twelfth of Prudencia’s inheritance [146 acres].  As stock ranches go, these small portions were not large enough on which to make a living. Each child received $77.30 in cash, which, presumably, they kept.  There was an 1887 lawsuit which forced the partition of the rancho:  Hipolito Serrano et al vs. Manuel Serrano.
       Miguel’s sons Manuel and Carlos and daughter Refugio continued to live with him at the old ranch house.  Presumably Miguel’s sons Hipolito and Narciso moved to their portions of the ranch after the partition. Manuel was married, and his children began to fill Miguel’s house.  Old Miguel, feeling his age, moved into the small house next to the big ranch house.  There he did not have listen to babies cry nor endure the lively antics of small children.
In the early 1890’s the excitement of the coming of the Southern Pacific Railroad through San Luis Obispo was rampant.  The town’s isolated location, only partially alleviated by a treacherous stage road down the Cuesta Grade, would be a thing of the past.  When the railroad men chose their proposed route, it cut directly through the partitioned Rancho Potrero. A loading station was created on the property, which thereafter would be known as “Serrano Station.”  It is unknown how the hectic activity on the ranch affected the livestock operation.  Certainly the line would have caused some inconvenience.
        It was in his small cabin that they found Miguel dead in bed on the morning of December 23, 1899.  He had died in his sleep just a week before the turn of the new century.  The family gathered at the ranch house, which was elaborately decorated for Christmas according to Miguel’s granddaughter, Alice Serrano Stephens [1889-1985].  The funeral began at the home of Miguel’s daughter Antonia in the town of San Luis Obispo.  From there the body was taken to the Old Mission Church for a mass. From the church Miguel was taken to the San Luis Obispo Catholic Cemetery, where he was buried. A wooden marker was placed on the grave, but it long ago disappeared. 
From what Miguel’s granddaughter Alice Serrano Stephens said, Miguel’s son Manuel “cheated” his siblings in the estate settlement.  Only Carlos and Refugio were not cheated because they were not of age.  What seems to have happened is that Manuel partied a lot and kept getting his father to sign mortgage notes.  By the time Miguel died, there was nothing left to inherit when the ranch was sold.  Manuel was a pariah to his family thereafter.
Today the “Serrano Ranch,”  one of the partitioned segments of the Rancho Potrero, is the home of the livestock project of California State Polytechnic University.
María Prudencia Quintana de Serrano 1827-1884

     The area around Taos, New Mexico, had largely been left to the Indians by the Hispanic settlers who first came to New Mexico in 1598 with Onate, the conquistador, in 1598.  There had been Quintanas and Lujans among the first  settlers, but in 1680 the Indians of  New Mexico revolted and expelled their conquerors, all of them except for a few who remained at El Paso del Norte in what is now the western tip of Texas. 
     In 1693 the Indians permitted the Spanish to re-enter to help fend off the murderous Apaches and Comanches.   The family of Prudencia Quintana were among those who followed Vargas, the conquistador, in that first immigration.  By 1827 the isolated enclave of Spanish settlers had inbred to a great extent, preserving the Spanish language as spoken in the Seventeenth Century, while it evolved and changed in Mexico proper and elsewhere in Latin America.  The achievement of independence by Mexico had little effect in New Mexico.  The Mexican government was equally neglectful of its remote frontier province.  As always, the citizens of New Mexico had to depend on themselves for defense against the raids of the Navajos, Apaches and Comanches. 
   In the Taos Valley, the Hispanic settlers began to move in after 1800.  It was about 1826 that Francisco Estevan Quintana moved his family and his stock-raising operation from Abiquiu, in the Chama River Valley, to the Taos Valley.  It was there, nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, that María Prudencia Quintana was born 12 November 1827.  Like all Hispanic children, she was baptized using the name of one of the Holy Family. “Maria” was a part of almost every girl’s given name.  Boys had either Jesús or José affixed to their given names at baptism.
   Sometime after Prudencia’s birth the family moved to the area of San Ildefonso in Santa Fe County and lived near Prudencia’s mother’s family.  It was there that her brother Pedro was born in 1833.  By 1835 the family was back in the Taos Valley.  There were born Maria Manuela, 1835; Manuel de Jesus, 1837; and Gregorio Trinidad, 1840.  
    Prudencia’s father was a merchant, and he journeyed to California in 1839 to sell his wares.  It was probably at this time that he moved his family back to Abiquiu, but this was to be just a temporary move.  After having seen California, her father was determined to buy land there.  He left again for California with the trading caravan of 1841 over the Spanish Trail.  Returning in the spring of 1842, Estevan went about selling  his land in New Mexico and preparing to move his family to California in the spring of 1843.
                Her father’s arrival home with the trade caravan of 1842 was undoubtedly a happy time for the family.  Hearing his stories of California and the new land grant he had managed to obtain no doubt had his children entranced.  Throughout the winter of 1842-43 the family would have been preparing for their long months on the trail to California.  Paramount among the rules for the children had to have been not to wander any distance at all from the camp for fear of being kidnapped into slavery.  For these frontier children, this was a familiar message they would have heard constantly in New Mexico’s dangerous environment.  
     Prudencia’s eyes must have been on the snow in the distant mountains as the family awaited the thaw in the mountains to begin the trip west.  Finally it was time and the family joined the trade caravan of 1843 as it passed on its way west.  Fifteen years old, Prudencia and her brother José María were to help drive the stock.  The trip took them north into central Utah, Nevada, and into Southern Califonria.  Enroute, Prudencia’s brother Manuel, who would have turned six in September, was killed in a rock slide along the trail. 
    Finally, the family ended their trip in the San Bernardino Valley of California.  The family was not here long before the decision was made to move northward near the former mission of San Luis Obispo, where Prudencia’s father had bought land.
The family had settled in San Luis Obispo County only three years when the Mexican War broke out and Fremont’s army marched into San Luis Obispo County.  These were tense, dramatic times for the Hispanic residents of San Luis Obispo.  A small army of thirty Californios  assembled to surrender to Fremont and his army. The newly-arrived Miguel Serrano may have been among these. But the crisis passed and the Americans kept the Mexican system of government for the time being.
   In 1846, when Miguel Serrano arrived in San Luis Obispo County from New Mexico, Prudencia was nineteen.  That was old for a woman to be unmarried in their culture.  We have no photos of Prudencia, but we know she was short from the statement of her granddaughter Alice Serrano Stephens.  If Prudencia looked anything like her daughter Andrea, she was not a pretty woman.  She was probably attracted to Miguel due to his good looks.  His attraction to her may have been helped by the prosperity of her father.  The couple was married 8 January 1847, immediately after Fremont’s arrival.  Their marriage record is recorded in the records of Mission San Miguel.  The family probably lived at Paso Robles at the time because Estevan owned the Rancho de las Aguas Calientes [the ranch of the hot waters], which he had purchased from Petronilo Rios.
Miguel began a career working for his father-in-law managing Estevan’s ranches while Estevan expanded his land and stock holdings.  The Serranos also acquired stock and began their own herds.
 Prudencia’s father served as alcalde and held other posts during these transitional years.  Prudencia Quintana de Serrano homesteaded 160 acres after the Homestead Act was passed in 1862.  Why the homestead wasn’t taken out in her husband’s name is curious  Perhaps a bribe was necessary and he hadn’t the money for one in those first years.  And perhaps it was Estevan’s lawyers who filed the homestead papers for Prudencia.  Miguel does not come across as a timid person in all we know of him.  Language was probably a barrier in the new Gringo world for him.  Education was also a barrier.  Neither Miguel nor Prudencia could read or write.  We know that Estevan could both read and write, and he could afford to hire English-speaking attorneys to look after his interests.
     We know that Prudencia was short and that she became rather heavy in her later years.  One day, while cooking a meal at her home on the Rancho Potrero, she dropped dead, probably from a heart attack.  Her death occurred on April 15, 1884.  She was fifty-six years old.  Her tombstone at the Old Mission Cemetery in San Luis Obispo is a tall obelisk in the Quintana plot.  It incorrectly states that Prudencia was sixty years old at the time of her death. 
Prudencia’s mother Guadalupe, seventy-four, who had lived with her, was deeply grieved and died within two months.  


José Manuel Serrano 1848-before 1850
José Manuel’s baptismal record in 1848 is with the Mission Church of San Luis Obispo.  His godparents are listed as Encarnación Herrera and a Mr. Ortega.  He does not appear in the 1850 U.S. Census in the household of his parents.  He apparently died in infancy. Manuel was certainly buried in the San Luis Obispo Catholic Cemetery although no marker exists today
María Ygnacia Cayetana Serrano 1850-Before 1860
     Cayetana’s baptismal record shows in the records of the Mission Church of San Luis Obispo.  She is not listed with her family in the 1852 California Census, so presumably she died before that date.  She was named for her father’s grandmother, María Ygnacia Martín and for her paternal  grandfather, Cayetano Hipolito de Jesús Serrano.
María del Refugio Serrano 1851-1870
     Refugio was the oldest child of Miguel and Prudencia Serrano to survive infancy, yet, she, too, did not live to marry and have a family.  Death took her in the prime of young womanhood.  She died 11 June 1870 and was buried in the San Luis Obispo Catholic Cemetery.  Her death, no doubt, took place at the Rancho Potrero just northeast of the town of San Luis Obispo.  No marker survives for Refugio.  Presumably a wooden marker was all that originally marked her grave.
Pedro Serrano 1852-before 1860
     Pedro Serrano’s 1852 baptismal record shows him to have been the son of Miguel Serrano and Prudencia Serrano de Quintana.  He was likely named for Prudencia’s brother Pedro Quintana [1833-1921].  Pedro was not alive by the 1860 U.S. Census.

María Andrea Plácida Serrano 1856-1882
     Andrea Serrano was born 13 April 1856 at the Rancho Potrero in San Luis Obispo.  Her godmother was María Encarnación Herrera.  She married on August 8, 1874, to Tomas Herrera, Jr. [1848-1885], who was of a family with whom several marriages with the Serrano-Quintana family occurred.  Tomas’s brother Dolores was married to Andrea’s aunt, María Manuela Quintana.  His sister Luz was married to Andrea’s uncle Pedro Quintana.  Andrea gave birth to the following children:
Tomas Herrera III 22 May 1875-27 November 1881
María Eloisa 30 July 1876-After 1894
Carolina Herrera 6 December 1878-before 1887
Maria Rosalia Herrera January 1881-28 August 1881
A child that was stillborn or died soon after birth January 1882.
     Andrea died following childbirth on January 27 1882.  She was buried in the San Luis Obispo Catholic Cemetery, but no marker remains.  All of Andrea’s children except Eloisa and Carolina predeceased her, and Carolina died soon after her mother.  When Tomás Herrera, who had married Trinidad Villa [1865-] after Andrea’s death,  died in 1885, the orphaned Eloisa went to live with her Serrano grandfather with her uncle, Manuel Serrano as her guardian. Eloisa inherited all of her mother’s interest in the Rancho Potrero.  When the ranch was partitioned in 1887, Eloisa’s portion lay where the Southern Pacific Railroad would soon pass on its route to San Luis Obispo from the Cuesta summit. Manuel Serrano sold the railroad most of Eloisa’s land as her trustee.  Godmother of Eloisa was María Soledad Canet.  It is unknown what became of Eloisa.
Manuel Serrano 1858-1916
     Manuel Serrano was probably baptized with the name of a member of the Holy Family in his name, probably José Manuel Serrano.  He was very likely named for his uncle, Manuel Serrano, who lived in San Luis Obispo, and for his older sibling of the same name, who was deceased.  He was baptized 25 February 1858, at the Mission Church of San Luis Obispo.  His godfather was José María Quintana.  He was the oldest son of Miguel and Prudencia Serrano to survive to adulthood.
     Manuel grew up on the Rancho Potrero, probably doted upon as the oldest son.  From what his daughter Louise said, Manuel fancied himself a caballero and did not engage in any kind of labor.  As his father aged, Manuel took over the management of the portion of the Rancho Potrero that had been inherited by his father in the 1887 partition of the estate of Manuel’s grandfather, Francisco Estevan Quintana. 
     On 8 February 1886, Manuel married Flumencia “Flora” Durazo [1869- 11 Feb. 1951], a daughter of Ricardo and Refugio Coronado Durazo. Manuel was twenty-eight, Flora, sixteen.  They were to have the following children:
Felicidad “Fela” Serrano 24 November 1886- [married Mr. Brennan]
Manuelita “Lita” Serrano [1 April 1888-] [married Mr. Bowles]
Prudencia Ermina “Erma” Serrano [22 May 1889-] [married Mr. Drake]
Santiago “Jimmy” Serrano [20 April 1891-17 December 1981][married, but no
Flora Serrano [12 April 1893-9 August 1904]
Carlos “Charlie” Serrano [28 August 1896-November 22, 1960]
Eugenia Louisa “Louise” “Chattie” Serrano [20 September 1900-5 February 1984] [not married]
     Periodically Manuel’s name would appear in the San Luis Obispo newspaper.  In 1893 it was announced that on April 12, 1893 a daughter had been born to the wife of Manuel Serrano on Stenner Creek.  [This creek runs through the Rancho Potrero.] An article in the August 9, 1896 San Luis Obispo newspaper stated that a Mr. Buelna had been sent to San Quentin Prison for stealing a watch from Manuel’s room at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  Within a month another article announced Born.  At El Potrero near this city, 28 August 1896, to Manuel Serrano, a son. This would be the birth of Manuel’s youngest son José Carlos Serrano.
When old Miguel Serrano died on 23 December 1899, his remaining portion of the Rancho Potrero was sold.  Because Manuel had lived a lavish lifestyle with many fiestas and had his father unknowingly sign the mortgages, there was nothing left of Miguel’s estate.  His siblings and his wife were furious at Manuel.  A liaison between Flora and Manuel’s brother Carlos resulted in Flora’s pregnancy with a child.  The child, Eloisa Eugenia Serrano was born on September 20 of 1900, almost nine months exactly after Miguel’s death. Manuel and Flora separated and Manuel would eventually leave San Luis Obispo.  The 1910 US Census of San Luis Obispo shows them living apart.  Manuel is listed as   a 51 year old laborer, married 24 years, living at the county hospital.
      Louise said that her father enjoyed fiestas and spent the family inheritance unwisely, but she adored the memory of her Uncle Charlie [Jose Carlos Serrano 1870-1946], whom she said kept his inheritance, worked, and made something of himself.  A photo of him sat on a table in her living room.  Alice Serrano Stephens, Manuel’s niece, said it was well known in the family that Manuel’s wife Flora had a relationship with Manuel’s unmarried brother Charlie, who lived at the ranch with Manuel’s family.  Manuel’s youngest child, Louise, was the product of this relationship.  “Uncle Charlie” doted on Louise and left all of his estate to her in his will in 1946, excluding his daughter Frances Serrano Bressi from any of his estate.  Charlie’s wife Cleofas had money in her own right that she had inherited from Don Pedro Quintana, father of her first husband.  Charlie knew that Frances would inherit this money in making his decision to provide for Louise, who was nicknamed “Chattie.”  Frances and her mother tried to break Charlie’s will, but it was upheld as he wrote it.  Louise claimed that Frances and her mother had spread “lies” about her and her mother [stories of Charlie’s affair with Flora].  Clearly Flora had not confided to Louise that Uncle Charlie was her father.  As Roman Catholics, people didn’t divorce in those days.  Charlie married Cleofas Quintana in 1909, which may have ended the love affair between him and Flora.
     Manuel eventually left the San Luis Obispo area.  Death records show that he died in Los Angeles, California, on 22 July 1916, at the age of fifty-eight.  He died cuckolded, disgraced, and alienated from his wife, children, and siblings.
     Louise worked as a seamstress for Marion Davies, paramour of William Randolph Hearst, at Hearst’s castle at San Simeon.  Hearst wanted to send a plane to pick up Louise daily to bring her to San Simeon from her home in San Luis Obispo, but Louise was afraid to fly, so Hearst sent a limousine daily to pick her up and take her home.  Louise made some swimming trunks and a few other articles of clothing for Hearst himself, but her main job was to make clothes for Miss Davies.  Louise retired from this work after inheriting the money from Uncle Charlie.
    Jimmy Serrano moved to San Luis Obispo in his late eighties in 1979 to live with his spinster sister Louise.  Before long he was begging friends to “Get  me out of here!”  He could not  adjust to his sister’s meticulous ways.  He died in a San Luis Obispo rest home.  His wife and only daughter had died a few months apart shortly before his return to San Luis Obispo.  There are  no living descendants of Santiago “Jimmy” Serrano.
   Carlos “Charlie” Serrano was born in 1896, the son of Manuel and Flora.  Carlos went to prison in the middle 1960’s for murdering his wife.  She had left him and was living in a Sacramento hotel.  He went to her door at the hotel.  When she answered it, he shot her dead.  Family members say that she was a “loose” woman and that he was very jealous toward her.   He died of a heart attack a couple of years later at the California prison in Vacaville, CA.   It is unknown if he left any children.
   Flora, junior,  died at age eleven in 1904 in San Luis Obispo.
   It is believed that Fela, Lita, and Erma died rather young because Chattie never mentioned them as living when we met her in 1958, and they don’t show up in the Social Security Death Index nor the California Death Index from 1940 on.  Alice Serrano Stephens had said that her cousins Fela and Lita were born out of wedlock. This seems unlikely because they were born after Manuel’s 1886 marriage to Flora.  Felicidad Juanita Serrano [Fela] married Roy Olinger Wilcox in San Luis Obispo on 24 July 1911, at the age of twenty-four.
In 1914 Mrs. Flora Serrano was shown to be living at the southwest corner of Mill Street and Grand Avenue.  Her daughter Leta [Manuelita] lived with her and was a telephone operator.  Her daughter Erma P. Serrano was also listed as an operator and living with her.  Carlos Serrano, listed as a farmer, and  his wife Cleofas lived nearby at 1235 Mill Street.
    Chattie had her grandparents’ bed until her death.  She willed it to a non-family woman in San Luis Obispo.  Chattie also had an ancient trunk that had belonged to Miguel and Prudencia that had been shipped around Cape Horn to reach the West Coast in the early days.  This was willed to the San Luis Obispo County Historical Society Museum.
Narciso Serrano 1860-after 1910
     Narciso Serrano was baptized on 11 April 1860 in the Old Mission Church of San Luis Obispo, in San Luis Obispo, California.  His parents were Miguel Serrano and Prudencia Quintana de Serrano, and his godparents were Don Esquerjuela [sp.] Vaca and Maria A. Benavidez.  Narciso grew up on the Rancho Potrero.
    In the middle 1880’s, Narciso married Pilar Rodrigues [1867-1891], who was orphaned in 1885 when her mother died.  Pilar’s family was not wealthy like Narciso’s family.  In 1887 Narciso’s brother Hipolito married Pilar’s half-sister, Dolores Mendez.  Narciso and Pilar were the godparents that December at the baptism of Hipolito and Dolores’s firstborn, Manuel Daniel Serrano [1887-1924].
    On 21 March 1889, Pilar gave birth to Tomas Serrano.  She died 25 July 1891 when Tomas was two years old on the same day that her sister Dolores gave birth to a daughter Ana.
     The 1890 Great Register of Voters of San Luis Obispo County shows that Narciso had registered to vote 7 September 1888.  His residence was listed as “Chorro” and his age as twenty-seven.
     Immediately after Pilar’s death, Narciso began a common-law relationship with Carolina Arvallo, a half-sister to Dolores Mendez and to his first wife, Pilar Rodrigues. In June of 1892, Carolina gave birth to Ana Serrano.  Just before the birth of their second child, Jose Gabriel Serrano, on April 5, 1894, Narciso married Carolina.  She died giving birth to Jose. Her obituary appeared in the newspaper: 
Died In this city, April 3, 1894, Carolina, wife of Narciso Serrano; a native of San Luis Obispo, age 19 years.
     The following month this obituary appeared in the San Luis Obispo newspaper:
Died In this city May 2, 1894, Jose Gabriel, infant son of Narciso and the late Carolina Serrano, aged 2 months and 26 days.
Apparently Narciso put his children in an orphanage and then walked out of their lives.  In the 1900 U. S. Census, he was living in Lemoore, Kings County, California, married to a woman named Josie.  She was listed as age 45, born in California, father born in England, mother born in California.
In the 1910 Census, Narciso was living in the Paradise School District, Chouteau County, Montana.  He was listed in the household of Manuel Postida, 47, as the only other resident of the home.  His age was listed as 45, but he was actually fifty.  This is our last listing for Narciso.
Descendants of Narciso, looking for their roots, have twice contacted Don Rivara.           The first of these was Jack Serrano, who resided in San Luis Obispo County at Cambria until his death in 2003.  Jack’s father “John,” was clearly Tomas Serrano.  Jack said that his father had married his mother in Fresno, CA.  They then moved to Delano, and he later left her and Jack while they were living in Bakersfield.  Jack never saw his father after his parents divorced.  Jack knew that his father had been orphaned and had lived in San Luis Obispo in an orphanage.  His father had run away from the orphanage.  “John” had to be Narciso’s son.  There were no other unaccounted-for Serranos.  It was clear that John was Tomas.  The ages were the same. It was very common for children to be called something other than their baptismal names. After leaving Jack’s mother, John/Tomas may have remarried and had other children. Otherwise the descendants of Jack Serrano would be his only descendants.  In 1975 Jack contacted the historical society of San Luis Obispo, who put him in contact with Frances Serrano Bressi of San Luis Obispo.  Frances put Jack in contact with Don Rivara, who had researched the family history.  Don told Jack that he could only be the grandson of  Narciso Serrano and Pilar Rodrigues.
     Several years later [1983], Marianne Rudolph Speakman of Spokane, Washington, contacted Ernest Serrano, a son of Hipolito Serrano, who lived in San Luis Obispo. She was looking for her Serrano roots.  Her mother had been Narciso’s daughter Ana, but she hadn’t known the name of her mother’s parents.  Marianne told the story of Ana.
     Ana had been orphaned and was sent to live at various ranches in the San Luis Obispo area as a foster child.  At one ranch for wetting the bed she was taken to a rain barrel and dunked again and again.  From this she got pneumonia, which caused her to be taken from this home and placed with St. Vincent’s, a Catholic orphanage in Santa Barbara in 1903.  Ana eventually moved to Glendale, California, near Los Angeles.  There she married Frank Rudolph.  They had three daughters:  Marianne, Lorrine, and Diane.  Ana died in Glendale in 1982 at the age of ninety.
María Francisca Antonia Serrano Muñoz 1863-1957
     Antonia was born June 13, 1863, during the American Civil War.  She was the eighth child of Miguel Crescencio Serrano and his wife Maria Prudencia Quintana de Serrano.  She was born in San Luis Obispo on the Rancho Potrero and grew up there.  She was baptized June 29, 1863, at the Old Mission Church in San Luis Obispo, CA.  Her godparents were José María Duran and Teresa Gonzales.
      On September 30, 1883, Antonia married a San Luis Obispo policeman, José Benjamín Muñoz [1853-before 1933].  “Ben” was the son of José María Muñoz and María Concepción “Chona” Boronda, the woman who traded the Rancho Potrero to Francisco Estevan Quintana in 1854.  Ben had left his much-older wife when he became enamoured of Antonia and gone through a divorce to marry her.  Witnesses at the marriage were Antonia’s sister Juana Serrano and Benjamin’s brother Francisco Muñoz.
      It was at the home of Antonia and Benjamin in town on Palm Street between Osos and Santa Rosa streets that the funeral of her father, Miguel Serrano, began before the body was taken to the church for mass and then interment.
The 1900 U.S. Census shows the Muñoz family in San Luis Obispo:

Munoz, Benjamin J., born March 1853, married 19 years [It was 17 years]
Antonia, wife, age 35 [actually she was 37], having given birth to  5 children, 4 of whom were living,
Prudencia, daughter, age 14, born August 1886, CA
Amanda, daughter, age 11, born October 1888, CA
Reginaldo J., son, age 7, born January 1893, CA
Joseph, son, age 3, born February 1897, CA           

Between 1900 and 1910, the Munoz family moved to San Francisco, California, and later across the bay to Oakland. In the 1920 Census, the family was still  living in San Francisco:
Joseph Munoz, head, age 66, born CA, father born Mexico, mother born CA
Antonia , wife, age 54, born CA,  parents born New Mexico
Selia [Prudencia], daughter, age 34, single, born CA, parents born CA
Reginald, son, age 26, single, born CA, paraents born CA

 In the 1933 Oakland City Directory, Tonia’s address was given as 750 12th Street.  Apparently Benjamin had already died by that time.
    Known as “Tia Tonia” [Aunt Tonia] to the families of her siblings, Tonia, who was a dark-complexioned, short, stocky woman, lived to an advanced age, dying of a stroke at age ninety-four on December 20, 1957, in Oakland.  She was buried at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Oakland.  Antonia’s death certificate incorrectly gives 1864 as the year of her birth and her age as ninety-three.  That she was baptized in 1863 is documented by the records of the Catholic church.
            Tonia may have had more children after the 1900 Census.  Reginald J. Muñoz is shown in the Social Security Death Index and the IGS Family Search as living January 27, 1894 to June 27, 1974, dying in Oakland, CA.  In the 1933 Oakland City Directory, Reginald and his wife Iris were listed as living at 5468 Locksley Avenue.  His career was stated to be a meter tester. He married later to Myrtle Cecilia Johnson in Reno, Nevada, on August 20, 1941.
     Prudencia Muñoz, born in 1886, apparently did not marry. .  She lived with her mother at 750 12th Street according to the 1933 Oakland City Directory; she was listed as a clerk. In 1953 she was living at 1430 Filbert Street in Oakland.  On the death certificate of Prudencia’s aunt, Refugio Serrano Williams, at the Stockton State Hospital, a mental institution, Prudencia was listed as the person to notify.  It was from this document that we learn her address in 1953.  Frances Serrano Bressi said that Prudencia was a talented woman, though in what area I did not find out.
     One of Tonia’s sons was a honky tonk piano player.  Alice Serrano Stephens stated that she knew that her aunt had two sons and a daughter but perhaps had other children.
 Frances Serrano Bressi thought her aunt had two daughters, one being mentally ill.   Amanda Munoz was found in the Social Security Death Index as having been born 3 October 1887 and died in September of 1973 in Los Angeles.  This is probably Tonia’s daughter.  If she had been mentally ill, she likely would not have married and thus retained her maiden name.  There were three descendants of Estevan Quintana who became mentally ill, including Amanda’s aunt, Refugio, and her cousin Edward Quintana.

Juana María “Jennie” Serrano 1865-
     Juana María Serrano, known as Jennie to the family, was born  in September of 1865, the ninth child of Miguel Cresencio Serrano and María Prudencia Quintana.   She was baptized on September 19 with Sabino Garcia and Francisca Castro serving as her godparents.  [Francisca was the grandmother of Benjamin Muñoz, who married Jennie’s sister Antonia. ]   We know very little about Aunt Jennie, not even her married name nor if she had any children.  This probably indicates that she died young.  None of her nieces alive in the 1960’s knew anything about her.
     We know that Jennie was the witness at the marriage of her older sister Antonia to Benjamin Munoz in 1883.
Hipolito “Henry” Serrano 1867-1922
    Hipolito was the tenth child of Miguel Cresencio Serrano and María Prudencia Quintana de Serrano.  He was born August 9, 1867, in San Luis Obispo at the Rancho Potrero and died August 17, 1922, of tuberculosis in Stockton, California.  He was married March 27, 1887, to María de los Dolores Mendez [1871-1922]. Hipolito’s biography will be handled separately.

José Carlos “Charlie” Serrano 1870-1946
     Carlos Serrano was born April 1, 1870, at the Rancho Potrero northeast of San Luis Obispo, California.  He was the eleventh child of Miguel Cresencio Serrano and María Prudencia Quintana de Serrano.   In 1878 he received first communion at the Old Mission Church in San Luis Obispo.  His sponsor was Dionisio[] Tobias
             The month that Carlos turned fourteen, his mother dropped dead in the kitchen at the Rancho Potrero.  This left Carlos at the ranch living with his father and single brothers Hipolito, sixteen, and Manuel, twenty-six.  The lone females left at the ranch were Carlos’s sisters Juana, nineteen, and Refugio, eleven.  Probably soon after Carlos’s mother’s death, Jennie married and moved away, and in 1886 Manuel married Flumencia “Flora” Durazo and brought her to live at the ranch.  Hipolito married the following year and moved into town.  The children of Manuel and Flora began to fill the home.
             The 1890 Great Register of Voters of San Luis Obispo County shows that Carlos lied about his age and registered to vote on 30 August 1890 when he was only twenty years old.  His residence was shown to be “Chorro,” meaning the Chorro Valley.  His age was listed as twenty-one.
             In 1899 Carlos’s father died and the ranch had to be sold.  Although he received nothing at this time, he already had a piece of the Rancho Potrero from when it was partitioned to settle his mother’s estate.  He used his inheritance to build a comfortable estate, buying and improving livestock ranches and selling them. 
            About 1899 Carlos became involved with his sister-in-law, Flora Serrano, wife of his brother Manuel.  Flora gave birth to a child in 1900 named Louisa Eugenia, ostensibly Manuel’s, but everyone in the family knew what was happening.  Manuel became the family outcast when it became clear that he had frittered away the family wealth with a lavish lifestyle.  Louise never knew that “Uncle Charlie” was really her father.  She just thought him a wonderful, doting uncle.  Manuel eventually left San Luis Obispo a despised husband, sibling, and father. The 1900 U.S. Census shows that Carlos was living near Santa Margarita with a Mike Agula, aged twenty-two.  His brother Manuel was living on property belonging to their uncle, Don Pedro Quintana.
            On 6 May 1909, Carlos made a good marriage.  His uncle, Don Pedro [1833-1921], was a very wealthy man, having inherited most of the Rancho San Bernardo from his father, Don Francisco Estevan Quintana.  Pedro also owned business interests in San Luis Obispo.  Don Pedro’s son, Juan Pedro, had died at age thirty-four in 1905, leaving a widow, Cleofas, and a son, Pedro III.  Carlos paid court to his cousin’s widow, and they were married in 1909. Cleofas was not a beauty.  Perhaps this was the reason that, despite Carlos’s known lustful ways, only one child was born to the marriage.  Frances Serrano was born in 1912.  Perhaps this was because Carlos was known to be paying regular visits to look after the wife and children of his prodigal brother Manuel, who left San Luis Obispo about this time.  Frances Serrano grew up in the small town of San Luis Obispo never meeting her cousin Louise, although both attended the sole Catholic church in town.  Cleofas masked her bitterness over her husband’s relationship with his sister-in-law.  On person who knew them stated, “I don’t know why they ever married.  They were so different from one another.” In 1914, the City Directory shows that Carlos and  Cleofas were  living in town at 1235 Mill Street.  Nearby on the southwest corner of Mill Street and Grand Ave. lived Charlie’s sister-in-law, Flumencia “Flora” Serrano, and her children.
        About 1914 an event happened that was related many years later in a letter to the author by Stella Serrano Penrose [1901-1978].  Stella was the daughter of Carlos’s brother, Hipolito.

 I never met Frances, Uncle Charly’s daughter or her mother.  In fact I only saw her father one time when he was on his way to San Francisco.  I was just a little kid about thirteen or fourteen years old.  I don’t remember just how old I was, around then.  He took me to San Francisco with him.  He got two rooms and the old goat tried to rape me.  I never did tell Mama or Papa or anyone else...Dad would have killed him if I had told him.

          In January of 1919, Don Pedro Quintana celebrated his eighty-sixth birthday  with World War I raging in Europe.  Some of his grandsons were fighting in that war. But his fourteen year old grandson Peter III was too young to be risking his life, which must have comforted the old man.  The deadly influenza epidemic that was killling millions around the world was  visiting San Luis Obispo.  Young Peter came down with the illness and the San Luis Obispo newspaper  stated that Peter Quintana III was seriously ill.  And then it was over; the fourteen year old boy was dead, and old Don Pedro was heartbroken.  His affection for his former daughter-in-law had not waned, however, and when he went to his attorney to amend his will due to young Peter’s death, he wrote in Cleofas’s name to inherit that portion of his estate that had been destined for young Peter.
             It was April 21, 1921, when the old man died at eighty-eight.  The reading of the will no doubt warmed the hearts of Carlos and Cleofas, for she had been left considerable property.   Already prosperous due to Carlos’s stock-raising and purchase of a portion of the Rancho El Chorro, the couple were now among the wealthiest residents of San Luis Obispo.  Carlos’s sister-in-law Flora was now established in a home at 1220 Marsh Street, where she and her unmarried daughter Chattie [Louise] worked as seamstresses.  “Uncle Charlie” continued to pay visits to his sister-in-law and his beloved “niece” Louise.
            In August of 1922 Carlos’s brother, Hipolito, died in Stockton, California, leaving his younger children as orphans.  Although Hipolito’s oldest daughter Alice Serrano Stephens tried to take in her youngest siblings, there was not enough money in her family to do so.  She appealed to her wealthy uncle Carlos to help out.  Carlos agreed to take in the two older boys, Alfred, fifteen,  and Ernest, twelve.  After the boys arrived, however, Carlos found that he could not tolerate the effeminate ways of Alfred, and the boy found work on a ranch north of San Luis Obispo.  Ernest, however, became like a son to Carlos, and he grew to manhood at the Serrano home. By 1933 Carlos and Cleofas owned five ranches totaling 2,000 acres, which were leased to dairy farmers.  Besides this they owned various rental properties.  The new family home at 131 North Broad Street had a view over the town of San Luis Obispo.
            The town of San Luis Obispo was becoming increasingly Anglo-Saxon, but it still prided itself on its Hispanic past.  Carlos Serrano represented a passing era to the townspeople.  He would don his Spanish clothing and ride his palominos, graced with tooled, silver-clad saddles, in every parade.  His daughter Frances would be by his side, likewise dressed in Hispanic attire, riding her palomino.  Carlos, Cleofas, and Frances were all avid riders.  They would take extended rides in the hills surrounding San Luis Obispo.
 On 7 October 1939, Frances married a road construction superintendent, Domenic Bressi [1903-1977].  Domenic had been married previously but divorced.  It took some expensive work for him to obtain an annulment from the church.  He apparently was alienated from a child from his earlier marriage.  There were no children with Frances.  Theirs was a loveless marriage.  Frances would never have married if her mother and her priest allies hadn’t pushed this union.
            On February 23, 1946, the seventy-five year old Carlos suffered a heart attack while outside his home with his nephew, Ernest Serrano.  He died in Ernest’s arms.  Carlos was buried in an above-ground vault at the San Luis Obispo Catholic Cemetery.  The reading of his will created a bombshell:  all of his property was left to Louise Serrano.  [Carlos had known that Cleofas would leave all of her considerable estate to their daughter Frances.] Cleofas and Frances attempted to break the will, but the will stood.
             Flora was still alive and living with Louise in their Marsh Street home.  Louise was the personal seamstress for Marion Davies at Hearst’s Castle at San Simeon.    Louise’s inheritance allowed her and her mother to retire to a life of ease. 
            Carlos was a warm and hospitable man with a business savvy.  He was lean and carried himself ramrod straight.  He was proud of his Hispanic ancestors and was a pillar of the community.  His lechery was, for the most part, a well-kept secret.
            After her father’s death, Frances expanded her involvement in parade attendance, attending many California parades decked out in her Hispanic attire and riding her palaminos.  She participated in the Tournament of Roses parade a number of years.  She was  living in the home she and Dominic built in the 1950’s at 161 North Broad Street in San Luis Obispo when she died in 2003.  She was self-centered, arrogant, and avaricious.  A devout Catholic but not much of a Christian, Frances and her husband Domenic benevolently agreed to house the Christmas food drive canned goods in their barn.    They supervised the distribution of the food, but distributed little and kept the vast majority of the food as their private pantry for the year.  Her cousin/foster-brother Ernest Serrano was appalled at the greed of Frances and Domenic.
María del Refugio Serrano 1874-1953
     Refugio was the twelfth and youngest child of Miguel and María Prudencia Quintana Serrano.  She was named for her older sister of the same name who had died at age nineteen in 1871.  She was born on January 18, 1874, and was reared at the Rancho Potrero northeast of San Luis Obispo.
     When Refugio was ten in 1884, both her mother and her Quintana grandmother died, leaving her alone in a household of males.  Her sister Jennie would have married about the same time and left the ranch.  Living in the home were Refugio, her father, and her brothers Manuel, 26; Hipolito, 17; and Carlos, 14.
     In 1886 Manuel married Flora Durazo and brought her to live at the rancho.  Soon their children also filled the home.  Hipolito moved away in 1887.  Carlos remained at the ranch.
    It was probably in the middle 1890’s that Refugio met and married Edward Williams.  They had a daughter Gertrude.
    In 1905 Refugio became insane and was sent to the Stockton State Insane Asylum [later Stockton State Hospital].  She was to live there the rest of her long life.  About 1910 Refugio’s brother Hipolito moved his family to Stockton.  Until his death in 1922, Hipolito visited his sister regularly as did his daughter Alice Serrano Stephens. Louise Serrano said that her uncle, Carlos Serrano, sent money monthly for his sister’s comfort.
     Refugio died at the hospital on June 21, 1953, age seventy-nine. Her death certificate states that she was born in 1873, but church records show that she was baptized in 1874, indicating that that was the year of her birth.  Her remains were cremated and placed in a vault with other patients of the hospital at Park View Cemetery in Stockton.  Her listed next of kin was her niece Prudencia Munoz of Oakland.
   Refugio’s daughter Gertrude grew up in an age when it was hidden if one had a member of the family who was insane.  Gertrude learned to tell everyone that her mother was dead after she and her father moved away from San Luis Obispo.  Eventually she married John N. Tandy and told the same story.  She was always very fearful that her husband would find out the truth, even as late as the 1960’s when the author corresponded with her.  The Tandys lived at 260 McAllister Street, Apartment 10 at that time.  City directories show that they still lived there in 1971, but they were gone by the time the 1980 city directory came out. There were no children.

Addendum:  A Dangerous Journey, by J. Ross Browne

     In 1849 J. Ross Browne was passing through San Luis Obispo, California.  Eleven years later he wrote about his experiences.  We reproduce here pages 81-93 because members of our Serrano and Quintana families were certainly among those described by Browne, since there were few prominent rancheros in the area at that time and everyone from the area was present. 
     A few days after my arrival in San Luis I went, in company with a young American by the name of Jackson, to a fandago given by the native Californians.  The invitation, as usual in such cases was general, and the company not very select.  Every person within a circle of twenty miles, and with money enough in his pockets to pay for the refreshments, was expected to be present.  The entertainment was held in a large adobe building, formerly used for missionary purposes, the lower part of which was occupied as a store-house.  A large loft overhead, with a step-ladder reaching to it from the outside formed what the proprietor was pleased to call the dancing-saloon.  In the yard, which was encircled by a mud wall, were several chapadens, or brush tents, in which whisky, gin, aguardiente, and other refreshments of a like nature for “ladies and gentlemen,” were for sale at “two bits a drink.”  A low rabble of Mexican greasers, chiefly Sonoranians, hung around the premises in every direction, among whom I recognized several belonging to the gang into whose encampment I had fallen on my way down from Santa Marguerita.  Their dirty sarapes, mantillas, and spurs lay scattered about, just as they had dismounted from their mustangs.  The animals were picketed around in the open spaces, and kept up a continual confusion by bucking and kicking at every straggler who came within their reach.  Such of the rabble as were able to pay the entrance-fee of  “dos realles” were sitting in groups in the yard, smoking cigarritos and playing at monte.  A few of the better class of rancheros had brought senoritas with them, mounted in front on their saddles, and were wending their way up the step-ladder as we entered the premises.
     I followed the crowd, in company with my friend Jackson, and was admitted into the saloon upon the payment of half a dollar.  This fund was to defray the expense of light and music.
     On passing through the doorway I was forcibly impressed with the scene.  Some fifty or sixty couples were dancing to the most horrible scraping of fiddles I had ever heard, marking the time by snapping their fingers, whistling, and clapping their hands.  The fiddles were accompanied by a dreadful twanging of guitars; and an Indian in one corner of the saloon added to the din by beating with all his might on a rude drum.  There was an odor of steaming flesh, cigarritos, garlic, and Cologne in the hot, reeking atmosphere that was almost suffocating; and the floor swayed under the heavy tramp of the dancers, as if every turn of the waltz might be the last.  The assemblage was of a very mixed character, as may well be supposed, consisting of native Californians, Sonoranians, Americans, Frenchmen, Germans, and half-breed Indians.
     Most of the Mexicans were rancheros and vaqueros from the neighboring ranches, dressed in the genuine style of the Caballeros del Campana, with black or green velvet jackets, richly embroidered; wide pantaloons, open at the sides, ornamented with rows of silver buttons; a red sash around the waist; and a great profusion of gold filigree on their vests.  These were the fast young fellows who had been successful in jockeying away their horses, or gambling at monte.  Others of a darker and lower grade, such as the Sonoranians, wore their hats and machillas just as they had come in from the camp; for it was one of the privileges of the fandango that every man could dress or undress as he pleased.  A very desperate and ill-favored set these were—perfect specimens of Mexican outlaws.
     The Americans were chiefly a party of Texans, who had recently crossed over through Chihuahua, and compared not unfavorably with the Sonoranians in point of savage costume and appearance.  Some wore broadcloth frock-coats, ragged and defaced from the wear and tear of travel; some red flannel shirts, without any coats—their pantaloons thrust in their boots in a loose, swaggering style; and all with revolvers and bowie-knives swinging from their belts.  A more reckless, devil-may-care looking set it would be impossible to find in a year’s journey.  Take them altogether—with their uncouth costumes, bearded faces, lean and brawny forms, fierce, savage eyes, and swaggering manners—they were a fit assemblage for a frolic or a fight.  Every word they spoke was accompanied by an oath.  The presence of the females imposed no restraint upon the subject or style of the conversation, which was disgusting to the last degree.  I felt ashamed to think that habit should so brutalize a people of my own race and blood. 
     Many of the senoritas were pretty, and those who had no great pretensions to beauty in other respects were at least gifted with fine eyes and teeth, rich brunette complexions, and forms of wonderful pliancy and grace.  All, or nearly all, were luminous with jewelry, and wore dresses of the most flashy colors, in which flower, lace, and glittering tinsel combined to set off their dusky charms.  I saw some among them who would not have compared unfavorably with the ladies of Cadiz, perhaps in more respects than one.  They danced easily and naturally; and, considering the limited opportunity of culture they had enjoyed in this remote region, it was wonderful how free, simple, and graceful they were in their manners.
     The belle of the occasion was a dark-eyed, fierce-looking woman of about six-and-twenty from Santa Barbara.  Her features were far from comely, being sharp and uneven; her skin was scarred with fire or small-pox; and her form, though not destitute of a certain grace of style, was too lithe, wiry, and acrobatic to convey any idea of voluptuous attraction.  Every motion, every nerve seemed the incarnation of a suppressed vigor; every glance of her fierce, flashing eyes was instinct with untamable passion.  She was a mustang in human shape—one that I thought would kick or bite upon very little provocation.  In the matter of dress she was almost Oriental.  The richest and most striking colors decorated her, and made a rare accord with her wild and singular physique; a gorgeous silk dress of bright orange, flounced up to the waist; a white bodice, with blood-red ribbons upon each shoulder; a green sash around the waist; an immense gold-cased breast-pin, with diamonds glittering in the centre, the greatest profusion of rings on her fingers, and her ears loaded down with sparkling ear-rings; while her heavy black hair was gathered up in a knot behind, and pinned with a gold dagger—all being in strict keeping with her wild, dashing character, and bearing some remote affinity to a dangerous but royal game-bird.  I thought of the Mexican chichilaca as I gazed at her.  There was an intensity in the quick flash of her eye which produced a burning sensation wherever it fell.  She cast a spell around her not unlike the fascination of a snake.  The women shunned and feared her; the men absolutely worshiped at her shrine.  Their infatuation was almost incredible.  She seemed to have some supernatural capacity for arousing the fiercest passions of love, jealousy, and hatred.  Of course there was great rivalry to engage the hand of such a belle for the dance.  Crowds of admirers were constantly urging their claims.  It was impossible to look upon their excited faces and savage rivalry, knowing the desperate character of the men, without a foreboding of evil.
     “Perhaps you will not be surprised,” said Jackson, “to hear something strange and startling about that women.  She is a murderess!  Not long since she stabbed to death a rival of hers, another half-breed, who had attempted to win the affections of her paramour.  But, worse than that—she is strongly suspected of having killed her own child a few months ago, in a fit of jealousy cause by the supposed infidelity of its father—whose identity, however, cannot be fixed with any certainty.  She is a strange, bad woman—a devil incarnate; yet you see what a spell she casts around her!  Some of these men are mad in love with her!   They will fight before the evening is over.  Yet she is neither pretty nor amiable.  I can not account for it.  Let me introduce you.”
      As soon as a pause in the dance occurred, I was introduced.  The revolting history I had heard of this woman inspired me with a curiosity to know how such a fiend in human shape could exercise such a powerful sway over every man in the room.
     Although she spoke but little English, there was a peculiar sweetness in every word she uttered.  I thought I could detect something of the secret of her magical powers in her voice, which was the softest and most musical I had ever heard.  There was a wild, sweet, almost un-earthly cadence in it that vibrated upon the ear like the strains of an Aeolian.  Added to this, there was a power of alternate ferocity and tenderness in her deep, passionate eyes that struck to the inner core wherever she fixed her gaze.  I could not determine for my life which she resembled most—the untamed mustang, the royal gamebird, or the rattlesnake.  There were flitting hints of each in her, and yet the comparison is feeble and inadequate.  Sometimes she reminded me of Rachel—then the living now the dead, Queen of Tragedy.  Had it not been for a horror of her repulsive crimes, it is hard to say how far her fascinating powers might have affected me.  As it was, I could only wonder whether she was most genius or devil.  Not knowing how to dance, I could not offer my services in that way, and, after a few commonplace remarks, withdrew to a seat near the wall.  The dance went on with great spirit.  Absurd as it may seem, I could not keep my eyes off this woman.  Whichever way she looked there was a commotion—a shrinking back among the women, or the symptoms of a jealous rage among the men.  For her own sex she manifested an absolute scorn; for the other she had an inexhaustible fund of sweet glances, which each admirer might take to himself. 
    At a subsequent period of the evening I observed, for the first time, among the company a man of very conspicuous appearance, dressed in the very picturesque style of a Texas Ranger.  His face was turned from me when I first saw him, but there was something manly and imposing about his figure and address that attracted my attention.  While I was looking toward him he turned to speak to some person near him.  My astonishment may well be conceived when I recognized his strongly-marked features and dejected expression the face of the man “Griff,” to whom I was indebted for my escape from the assassins near Soledad!  There could be no doubt that this was the outlaw who had rendered me such an inestimable service, differently dressed, indeed, and somewhat disfigured by a ghastly wound across the temple, but still the same; still bearing himself with an air of determination mingled with profound sadness.  It was evident the Colonel had misinformed me as to his death.  Perhaps, judging from the wound on his temple, which was still unhealed, he might have been left for dead, and subsequently have effected his escape.  At all events there was no doubt that he now stood before me. 
     I was about to spring forward and grasp him by the hand, when the dreadful scene I had witnessed in the little adobe hut near San Miguel flashed vividly upon my mind, and, for the moment, I felt like one who was paralyzed.  That hand might be stained with the blood of the unfortunate immigrants!  Who could tell  He had disavowed any participation in the act, but his complicity, either remote or direct, could scarcely be doubted from his own confession.  How far his guilt might render him amenable to the laws I could not of course conjecture.  It was enough for me, however, that he had saved my life; but I could not take his hand.
     While reflecting upon the course that it might become my duty to pursue under the circumstances, I observed that he was not exempt from the fascinating sway of the dark senorita, whose face he regarded with an interest even more intense that that manifested by her other admirers.  He was certainly a person calculated to make an impression upon such a woman; yet, strange to say, he was the only man in the crowd toward whom she evinced a spirit of hostility.  Several times he went up to her and asked her to dance.  Whether from caprice or some more potent cause I could not conjecture, but she invariably repulsed him—once with a degree of asperity that indicated something more than a casual acquaintance.  It was in vain that he attempted to cajole her.  She was evidently bitter and unrelenting in her animosity.  At length, incensed at his pertinacity, she turned sharply upon him, and leaning her head close to his ear, whispered something, the effect of which was magical.  He staggered back as if stunned, and, gazing a moment at her with an expression of horror, turned away and walked out of the room.  The woman’s face was a shade paler, but she resumed her usual smile, and otherwise manifested no emotion.
     This little incident was probably unnoticed by any except myself.  I sat in a recess near the window, and could see all that was going on without attracting attention.  I had resolved, after overcoming my first friendly impulses, not to discover myself to the outlaw until the fandango was over, and then determine upon my future course regarding him by the result of a confidential interview.  I fully believed that he would tell me the truth, and nothing but the truth, in reference to the murder of the emigrants.
     The dance went on.  It was a Spanish waltz; the click-clack of the feet, in slow-measured time, was very monotonous, producing a peculiarly dreamy effect.  I sometimes closed my eyes and fancied it was all a wild and strange dream.  Visions of the beautiful country through which I had passed flitted before me—a country desecrated by the worst passions of human nature.  Amid the rarest charms of scenery and climate, what a combination of dark and deadly sins oppressed the mind!  What a cesspool of wickedness was here within these very walls!
     Half an hour may have elapsed in this sort of dreaming, when Griff, who had been so strangely repulsed by the dark senorita, came back and pushed his way through the crowd.  This time I noticed that his face was flushed, and a gleam of desperation was in his eye.  The wound in his temple had a purple hue, and looked as if it might burst out bleeding afresh.  His motions were unsteady—he had evidently been drinking.  Edging over toward the woman, he stood watching her till there was a pause in the dance.  Her partner was a handsome young Mexican, very gaily dressed, whom I had before noticed and to whom she now made herself peculiarly fascinating.  She smiled when he spoke; laughed very musically at everything he said; leaned up toward him, and assumed a wonderfully sweet and confidential manner.  The Mexican was perfectly infatuated.  He made the most passionate avowals, scarcely conscious what he was saying.  I watched the tall Texan.  The veins in his forehead were swollen; he strode to and fro restlessly, fixing fierce and deadly glances upon the loving couple.  A terrible exchange had taken place in the expression of his features, which ordinarily had something sweet and sad in it.  It was now dark, brutish, and malignant.  Suddenly, as if by an ungovernable impulse, he rushed up close to where they stood, and, drawing a large bowie-knife, said to the woman, in a quick, savage tone,
“Dance with me now, or, damn you, I’ll cut your heart out!”
   She turned toward him haughtily—“Senor!”
   “Dance with me or die!”
   “Senor, said the woman, quietly, and with an unflinching eye, “you are drunk!  Don’t come so near to me!”
     The infuriated man made a motion as if to strike at her with his knife; but, quick as lightning, the young Mexican grasped his uprisen arm and the two clenched.  I could not see what was done in the struggle.  Those of the crowd who were nearest rushed in, and the affray soon became general.  Pistols and knives were drawn in every direction; but so sudden was the fight that nobody seemed to know where to aim or strike.  In the midst of the confusion, a man jumped up on one of the benches and shouted,
     “Back! Back with you!  The man’s stabbed!  Let him out!”
     The swaying mass parted, and the tall Texan staggered through, then fell upon the floor.  His shirt was covered with blood, and he breathed heavily.  A moment after, the woman uttered a low, wild cry, and dashing through the crowd—her long black hair streaming behind her—she cast herself down by the prostrate man and sobbed,
     “O cara mio!  O Dios! Is  he dead  Is he dead”
     “Who did this  Who stabbed this man” demanded several voices fiercely.
     “No matter,” answered the wounded man, faintly.  “It was my own fault;  I deserved it;” and turning his face toward the weeping woman, he said smiling, “Don’t cry; don’t go on so.”
     There was an ineffable tenderness in his voice, and something indescribably sweet in the expression of his face.
    “O Dios!” cried the woman, kissing him passionately.  “O cara mio! Say you will not die!  Tell me you will not die!”  And, tearing her dress with frantic strength, she tried to staunch the blood, which was rapidly forming a crimson pool around him. 
     The crowd meantime pressed so close that the man suffered for want of air, and begged to be removed.  Several persons seized hold of him, and, lifting him from the floor, carried him out.  The dark senorita followed close up, still pressing the fragments of her blood-stained dress to his wound.
    Order was restored and the music and dancing went on as if nothing had happened. 
    I had no desire to see any more of the evening amusements.
    Next day I learned that the unfortunate man was dead.  He was a stranger at San Luis, and refused to reveal his name, or make any disclosures concerning the affray.  His last words were addressed to the woman, who clung to him with a devotion bordering on insanity.  When she saw that he was doomed to die, the tears ceased to flow from her eyes, and she sat by his bedside with a wild, affrighted look, clutching his hands in hers, and ever and anon bathing her lips in the life-blood that oozed from his mouth.
   “I loved you—still love you better than my life!”  These were his last words.  A gurgle, a quivering motion of the stalwart frame, and he was dead!
     At an examination before the alcalde [The alcalde during this period was Don Francisco Estevan Quintana], it was proved that the stabbing must have occurred before the affray became general.  It was also shown that the young Mexican was unarmed, and had no acquaintance with the murdered man.
    Was it the devil-woman  Was this a case of jealousy, and was the tall Texan the father of the murdered child
     Upon these points I could get no information.  The whole affair, with all its antecedent circumstances, was wrapped in an impenetrable mystery.  When the body was carried to the grave by a few strangers, including myself, the chief mourner was the half-breed woman—now a ghastly wreck.  The last I saw of her, as we turned sadly away, she was sitting upon the sod at the head of the grave, motionless as a statue.
     Next morning a vaquero, passing in that direction, noticed a shapeless mass lying upon the newly-spaded earth.  It proved to be the body of the unfortunate woman, horribly mutilated by the wolves.  The clothes were torn from it, and the limbs presented a ghastly spectacle of fleshless bones.  Whether she died by her own hand, or was killed by the wolves during the night, no one could tell.  She was buried by the side of her lover.
     Soon after these events, having completed my business in San Luis, I took passage in a small schooner for San Francisco, where I had the satisfaction in a few days of turning over ten thousand dollars to the Collector of Customs....
      Eleven years have passed since these events took place.  Many changes have occurred in California.  The gangs of desperadoes that infested the state have been broken up; some of the members have met their fate at the hands of justice—more have fallen victims to their own excesses....
     Our family members were no doubt in attendance at this event.  Questions come to mind.  Was the young Mexican dancing with the half-breed woman one of our family  Was our family involved in staging the fandango  Were they involved in the sale of the liquor  We know that Francisco Estevan was the alcalde at the time of this event.  If the young Mexican was a family member, or even a friend of the family, would Estevan have protected him from punishment  Were any of the babies born in 1850 illegitimately to the Serrano brothers conceived on this liquor-soaked night
     These were the family members in San Luis Obispo in 1849 who were probably present that night:
Manuel Serrano, 40
Guadalupe Serrano, 42
Valentin Serrano, [18]
Miguel Serrano, 33, and his wife, Prudencia Quintana de Serrano, 22
Don Francisco Estevan Quintana, 48, and his wife Guadalupe, 39
Jose Maria Quintana, 25
Pedro Quintana, 16
Maria Manuela Quintana, 14 [not yet married]
Dolores Herrera, 18
The children would have remained at home with servants. 
Submitted by Donald Rivara, June 23, 2009.

Nicolas de Quintana (1712 - after 1790)
Maria Antonia de Herrera (abt. 1724 - after 1790)

Nicolás de Quintana and María Antonia de Herrera were the parents of Gregorio Anselmo Quintana [1748-after 1822].  We know this from Gregorio’s baptismal record at Santa Cruz de la Cañada, Santa Fe County, New Mexico.
Nicolás lived his entire life in the Santa Cruz area.  He was one of the youngest children of Miguel de Quintana [1677-1748] and Gertrudis Moreno Trujillo [1675-after 1757], who had been among the Vargas colonists from Mexico City who arrived in New Mexico in 1694.  Because his father was a literate man in a time when that was a rarity, the family prospered more than their neighbors, although New Mexico was a very poor province.  The family, like other Northern New Mexicans of the “Río Arriba” [Upper Rio Grande Valley], probably traded with the Utes and fended off Apaches, Comanches, and Navajos. Until the governorship of Juan Bautista de Anza, the Comanches were perhaps the most feared enemies of the New Mexicans.  After de Anza subdued them, the Comanches and New Mexico maintained a peaceful relationship during the latter years of Nicolas and Antonia and for the rest of the time our family was in New Mexico. [The Comanches continued to raid the other northern provinces of Mexico, however]  The Apaches and Navajos were still bitter enemies of the New Mexicans.  The Utes and the Comanches were bitter enemies of each other and would sell captured children of their enemy to the New Mexicans and other Indian tribes as slaves. Some of these children ended up as servants in homes of our Quintana ancestors.
Our Quintanas appear to have maintained upper-class status in New Mexico during the five generations that they lived there, although Nicolás’ father was examined by the Inquisition in Mexico City on a charge of heresy during his old age.
Antonia was the daughter of Francisco Xavier de Herrera [abt.1684-abt.1716] and Francisca de Mestas [abt.1700-abt.1760].  Francisco had been born in the El Paso area during the Spanish exile from New Mexico [1680-1693].  He came to New Mexico with his parents in 1693 during the Reconquista. Francisca was born in New Mexico after the Reconquest.  The families of both had lived in New Mexico before the 1680 Pueblo Revolt.  Antonia probably grew up in Santa Cruz, where her husband lived.

The couple married about 1740 and appear to have lived quiet lives.  They do not show up in the Spanish Archives of New Mexico.  Our last record of them at Santa Cruz was in the 1790 Spanish Census.  Nicolas was listed as age 70 and as a farmer. He was actually seventy-eight, but people didn’t often know their exact age in those times.  Antonia was listed as “Maria,” age 66.  A 36-year-old unnamed nephew lived with them. Presumably the couple died and was buried in Santa Cruz. It is interesting that the first four generations of Quintanas in New Mexico and their spouses lived to old age, remarkable during those times.


[1]   Hilario Quintana was baptized 10 January 1743 in Santa Cruz.  He later lived in Chama, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico.  While serving there as “comisario,” he was suspended from his job for running afoul of the government [along with others]. [Archive #1462, Vol. II, p.399, Spanish Archives of New Mexico].
[2]   Simón Tadeo Quintana was baptized at Santa Cruz on 7 November 1745.  He was married to María Concepción Torres. Among his children was a Gregorio Quintana, named for his brother Gregorio Anselmo Quintana.
[3]    Gregorio Anselmo Quintana, our ancestor, was baptized at Santa Cruz on 14 May 1748.  He married María Concepción Valdéz and lived near Abiquiú, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico thereafter.
[4]    María Carmen Quintana  was baptized at Santa Cruz on 2 February 1750.
[5]    Santiago Quintana, born about 1751, was listed on an Internet file as being a child of Nicolás and Antonia.  More documentation is need to include him in certainty.
[6]    Maria Juana Juliana Quintana was baptized at Santa Cruz 21 February 1753.
[7]    María Antonia Quintana was baptized 31 July 1756  in Santa Cruz.
[8]    Juan de la Cruz Quintana was baptized 4 May 1760 in Santa Cruz.
[9]    María Nicolasa Quintana was probably a child of Nicolas and Antonia, but more documentation is needed.
Submitted by Donald Rivara, June 23, 2009.

Sabastian Gonzales (abt. 1592 - after 1642)
Isabel Bernal (1603 - abt. 1648)

Sebastián Gonzáles and Isabel Bernal were the parents of our ancestor, Juan Gonzáles Bernal [1627-].  We know this from page 42 of Origins of New Mexico Families, Revised Edition by Fray Angélico Chávez:
 SEBASTIÁN GONZÁLEZ is first mentioned in 1626 as an Alférez of Portugese birth.  He said he was forty years old in 1632, a resident of Santa Fe, and father-in-law of Diego García, brother of Juan García [Holgado] [both our blood uncles].  He was one of the four Regents of New Mexico in 1642, when he gave his age as forty-five.  His wife was Isabel Bernal, daughter of Juan Griego and Pascuala Bernal [an Indian].  She and her family did not get along very well with her brother-in-law, Domingo González [Sebastián’s brother]...

Sebastián Gonzáles and his brother, Domingo Gonzáles, were awarded a coat of arms for their military feats.  A tile bearing the coat of arms hangs in the Angélico Chávez History Museum in the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Sebastián was born in Coimbra, Portugal. He came to New Mexico about 1620, probably after a stay in New Spain [Mexico].  His father may have been Diego Blandín, one of Oñate’s soldiers. Blandín, forty in 1598, was a native of Coimbra, Portugal and the son of Diego González. Although Sebastián was considered a “Peninsulare,” the highest social class, due to his Iberian Peninsula birth, his children, would have been of a slightly lower status due to their ¼ Indian blood and their New World birth.
In the Salinas District of New Mexico, Hernando and Miguel de Hinojos, father and son, both our ancestors, owned the Las Humanas Pueblo as encomenderos.  This meant that they received an annual tax from the Pueblo Indians living there. After them, the encomienda of Las Humanas was divided among Alonso Rodriguez Cisneros, Sebastian Gonzales Bernal and his son Juan Gonzales Bernal, both our ancestors, as well.  [In the Midst of a Loneliness: The Architectural History of the Salinas Missions, Chapter 2]  The encomienda system was a major cause of the Pueblo Revolt in 1680.
Bernalillo County, New Mexico, is named for the Gonzáles Bernal family. “-illo”  in Spanish denotes a diminutive form of a word [i.e. “Little Bernal”].  Source: The American Counties, by Joseph Nathan Kane.  The Gonzales Bernal family lived inside a walled-in, isolated estancia, which was called Bernalillo.  The  city of Albuquerque lies in Bernalillo County, as does the town of Bernalillo.
DNA studies have shown two distinct New Mexico Bernal family origins:
Bernal - R1b1: Western European origin. This lineage is also the haplogroup containing the Atlantic modal haplotype. Basque and Celtic people belong to this Haplogroup and they were among the earliest settlers of Spain. 68% of modern day Spaniards share this origin. The following markers are common to the people bordering Europe's Atlantic within a couple of steps; DYS19 (DYS394)=14, DYS388=12, DYS390=24, DYS391=11, DYS392=13 and DYS393=13.
Bernal - G2: Caucasus of Europe. This is a fairly rare haplogroup found mostly in men from the Mediterranean, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. The highest concentration of Haplogroup G men is found today in the Caucasus Mountains, in several small states to the south of Russia, and in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The G2 branch of this lineage (containing the P15 mutation) is found most often in Europe and the Middle East. The Alan Sarmatians were military allies of the Vandals and the Suebi during the conquest of Iberia, it is likely this is the origin of haplogroup G2 in Spain. The Alan Sarmatians' ancient homeland was the Caucasus Mountains. About 8% of northern Spaniards share this origin.

[1]    Diego Gonzáles Bernal was born about 1623 in Santa Fe.  He was married to Felipa Jiménez de García. He was the Alcalde Mayor of the San Marcos Pueblo in 1661.  He was also “Provinciál de la Humanidad,” as well as Procurator General of the Kingdom of New Mexico. In 1663 as Alcalde Mayor of the large Pueblo of Galisteo, he wrote to New Mexican Governor Mendizábal against the Franciscan friars [part of the on-going strife between the civil and spiritual leaders of New Mexico]. He apparently had to leave New Mexico at this time due to his transgressions against the friars.
[2]     Juan Gonzáles Bernal, our ancestor, was born about 1627 in Santa Fe. He was married to our ancestor, Apolonia Varela, who was born about 1628.  See their biographies elsewhere in this work.
[3]     Antonio Gonzáles Bernal was born about 1631 in Santa Fe. He was secretary of the Santa Fe Cabildo [City Council] in 1661.
[4]     Sebastián Gonzalés was born about 1638 in Santa Fe.  He was married to Josefa Cedillo Rico de Rojas. Sebastián survived the Pueblo Revolt in 1680 and passed muster in Guadalupe del Paso [El Paso].  Unlike another man of the same name, he returned to New Mexico in 1693.  The other remained in El Paso. Sebastián later was called González Bas as his surname.
[5]     Juanita Gonzáles. She was married to Diego García Holgado, our uncle.
Submitted by Donald Rivara, June 23, 2009.

Simon de Abendano [Avendano] (abt. 1580 - before 1622)
Maria Ortiz (abt. 1590 - before 1622)

Simón de Abendaño and María Ortiz were the parents of our ancestor, María de Abendaño.  We know this from the well-documented work, Origins of New Mexico Families,Revised Edition, by Angélico Chávez, page 1.
Simón was born in Ciudad Rodrigo in present-day Castile-Leon, Spain.  We do not know the name of his parents, so this is as far as we go in this line. He came to New Mexico in the early 1600’s, probably after a time in Mexico City.  He married María Ortiz in Santa Fe.  They seem to have had only one child together, our ancestor María de Abendaño.  Both parents were dead by 1622 when their daughter married Diego de Vera.  The Abendaño surname was not continued in New Mexico.
María Ortiz was the daughter of Cristóbal Baca and Ana Ortiz.  She came with her parents to New Mexico in the reinforcement troops immigration that arrived in Santa Fe on December 24, 1600.  Children were not always given the surnames of their fathers in Spanish culture at that time.  The Bacas chose to give María her mother’s surname.  María was mentioned as a sister-in-law of María de Albizu [Alviso].
Submitted by Donald Rivara, June 23, 2009.

Tomas de Cabrera (abt. 1628 - )
Maria Gertrudis Sanchez (abt. 1632 - )

Tomás de Cabrera and his wife, María Gertrudis Sánchez, were the parents of our ancestor, Josefa de Cabrera [abt. 1652-], who married Alonso Hernández de Medina [abt.1628-].  We know this from the well-documented source, Origins of New Mexico Families, by Fray Angélico Chávez.
Tomás was the son of  Manuel Gutiérrez and Inés de Cabrera.  He was born in Mexico City, Mexico. He was born about 1628 in Mexico City.
María Gertrudis was the daughter of Francisco Lucas and Mareta Sánchez. She was born in the city of Santiago de Querétaro [today simply “Querétaro], state of Querétaro, Mexico. [about 2 ½ hours north of Mexico City]  The family later moved to Mexico City, where she married Tomás de Cabrera.   Tomas and Gertrudis were married 20 September 1646 in the Santa Vera Cruz Church in Mexico City.
We have no evidence that Tomás and Gertrudis ever came to New Mexico.  They probably lived out their lives in Mexico City.  Nothing is known about other children of this couple.


The progenitors of the Valdés family of New Mexico were Jose Ruiz de Valdés, native of Oviedo, Spain, and María Hernández de Medina, a native of Mexico City (ONMF: ). Research conducted for the book, The Spanish Recolonization of New Mexico, co-authored by José Antonio Esquibel and John B. Colligan, uncovered the names of María’s parents— Alonso Hernández and Josefa de Cabrera.
Alonso Hernández and Josefa de Cabrera married on November 6, 1667, as recorded in the book of marriages of Santa Catalina Martir church, Mexico City. Alonso was identified as a son of Lucas Hernández and Francisca de Medina, thus the use of the extended surname of Hernández de Medina by their granddaughter María. Josefa de Cabrera was identified as a daughter of Tomás de Cabrera and Gertrudis Sánchez.
Tomás de Cabrera and Gertrudis Sánchez were married and veiled on September 20, 1646, Santa Vera Cruz Church, Mexico City. Curiously, the Juez Provisor Vicario of the Archdiocese of Mexico, don Pedro de Barr. (abbreviation illegible) granted license to the priests of the parish of Santa Vera Cruz to post the banns of matrimony as required by the Council of Trent and this license was approved by the Archbishop of Mexico, don Juan de Mendoza. The circumstances for the need of such a license are not stated in the record of the marriage.
In the marriage record Tomás de Cabrera was identified as a vecino (taxpaying citizen) of Mexico City and a son of Manuel Gutiérrez and Inés de Cabrera. Gertrudis Sánchez was identified as a vecina of Mexico City, a native of the “Pueblo de Querétaro,” and a daughter of Francisco Lucas and Mareta Sánchez. No witnesses or sponsor are recorded and the record is signed by the Juez Provisor.
Researcher: Moonyean Hill
Source: Matrimonios, Iglesia de Santa Vera Cruz, Mexico City 1568-1666, LDS microfilm #0035848.

Submitted by Donald Rivara, June 23, 2009.


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