Santa Fe County, New Mexico
Genealogy and History
Obituaries and Death Notices
Preston Beck, Jr.
Santa Fe, N.M., April 8, ae. ___, senior partner of the firm of Beck & Johnston, Santa Fe. The intelligence of his death occasioned profound sorrow in Philadelphia, and especially in the commercial community, by whom he was held in the highest estimation, as a gentleman and a merchant. At a meeting at the court house in Santa Fe, the citizens gave expression to their sorrow as follows, John B. Grayson presiding. “Although a native of Ind., he had resided in Mo. for many years, and from thence he removed to New Mexico in 1845, where he has spent most of the days of his manhood. We have not met here to eulogize the dead, but to manifest in this public manner the position occupied by the deceased here, where he was best known. He came here one of the early pioneers of the west, to seek his fortune in a then foreign land. By his enterprise, industry, and liberal, enlightened views, he had acquired a fortune; by his virtues, his social qualities, his public spirit, and high-toned sentiments, he had endeared himself to all who knew him; by his upright, manly course, he has left an impress upon this community that he died as he had lived – an honest man, the noblest work of God. In every patriotic, public-spirited work, Preston Beck, Jr., was always foremost; his hand was never shut to the needy and meritorious; and the young and enterprising always found in him a fast friend. He has left a blight upon New Mexico that will be felt throughout its entire extent. Finally, we feel that his place here can never be filled; for he occupied, as a merchant, as a man, and as a friend, all that any man can occupy in any community. He merited and had acquired the confidence, esteem and friendship of all. Be it therefore
“Resolved, that in the death of Preston Beck, Jr., this community has lost one of its most useful, worthy, and highly esteemed citizens, which has left a void in our midst which can never be filled.
“Resolved further, that by his death at this time, in the prime and vigor of manhood and usefulness, a blight has been cast over this community from which it will not soon recover.” [Source: "Annual OBITUARY NOTICES OF EMINENT PERSONS who have died in the United States FOR 1858"; BY HON. NATHAN CROSBY; BOSTON: JOHN P. JEWETT AND COMPANY. 1859. Transcribed by Kim Mohler.]
Mrs. J. B. Beeres
Mrs. J. B. Beeres, who died on Thursday night, was burried yesterday at Fairview. The family were in destitute circumstances and several small children are motherless. The youngest, a babe of 10 months, will be taken care of by Mrs. B. B. Borden. [12/28/1893, The Santa Fe New Mexican]
Edward Donahue, aged 20, son of John Donahue, died yesterday morning at 3 o'clock and will be burried Friday at 10. Funeral takes place from Catholic Church. [12/28/1893, The Santa Fe New Mexican]
Juanita, the 8 months old daughter of Evaresto Duram, died yesterday afternoon. The family have much sympathy in their loss. [5/13/1893, The Santa Fe New Mexican]
Edith Lynn Flansburgh
Death of Mrs. Flansburgh -- Word has been received by friends here of the death of Mrs. Edith Lynn Flansburgh at Santa Fe, New Mexico, on December 7, 1949 and burial in the Fairview Cemetery at Santa Fe. Mrs. Flansburgh will be remembered here as the wife of J. D. Lynn; the family made their home here for several years until Mr. Lynn passed away. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Courtney. (Western Kansas World, January 5, 1950, page 1, Submitted by Peggy Thompson)
Mrs. Refugio J. Gonzales
Mrs. Refugio J. Gonzales died last night at her residence on the south side, after a long illness, aged 64 years. Deceased was a good woman in all the sense of the word, and the community extends its heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family. She leaves a husband, a daughter, three grandchildren and a large number of friends and relatives to mourn her demise. The funeral will take place from the Cathedral tomorrow morning. [1/5/1899, The Santa Fe New Mexican]
Olive Ennis Hite
This distinguished writer, who was the first regularly assigned woman reporter in the United States, and for many years past, dean of the newspaper women of the Southwest, passed away in Los Angeles, California, on Thursday, November 4, 1915. For nearly a decade Mrs. Hite had been living a retired life in the City of the Angeles. A complication of diseases and the death of her only son made her almost a recluse, although she still wrote occasionally for eastern publications. As the young bride of Lieutenant Ennis, of the Third Cavalry, she came across the plains to New Mexico in 1866, with General Greer's command and took garrison in Santa Fe under General Carleton, an officer held in grateful remembrance by old-time New Mexicans. An index of her courage even then is that she made that long, hard, perilous journey "in expectancy." Only a few weeks after the arrival in Santa Fe her boy Carleton was born. She became, and for years remained, a notable factor in the social and intellectual life of the "ancient capital."
After Lieutenant Ennis was killed in an "Indian trouble," she went east and secured a billet as reporter on the Cincinnati Enquirer, being the first American woman to come thus into the actual grind of daily newspapering. For twelve years she held this pioneer position with credit. Then the call of the West came strong again. She worked awhile in St. Louis, on the way---on a newspaper---and then came home to the New Mexico she loved. For many years she was probably the best known woman in the (then) Territory; and no other writer, editorial or contributory, had more respect. Here she married Wallace Worth Hite, a genuine and sympathetic partnership dissolved only by her death. They took up a "dry ranch" among the pines on the east flank of the Manzanos; and from there, amid their arduous labors against the wilderness, she did some of her best writing, under the pen name of "Hawthorne." About 1891 they started in Alburquerque one of the brightest, bravest, and most likable weeklies ever issued in the Southwest - the Albuquerque Times. It had a literary flavor, then uncommon in New Mexico---and conscience and courage as rare. Into the very thick of the corrupt and dangerous politics of the day this new knight errant rode dauntless and indomitable. It chronicled a dozen political murders in its few years of life and was itself the mark of many threats which were not hollow. But the valiant little Times was ahead of its time, and it was starved out by those large interests which could not scare it. Thousands of old-timers of the Southwest remember and will mourn this notable little woman. To her fearlessness she added poise. Her mind was unusually alert, clear, and just, and her sympathies broad, her loyalty invincible. [Source: Old Santa Fe, April 1916, Vol. III No. 10, pages 97-98; transcribed by Richard Ramos]
Harry L. Hopper
Harry L. Hopper died at the residence of Mrs. G. A. Smith yesterday morning at 8 O'clock. Mr Hopper was a young man who had not yet attained his majority. He graduated with distinquished honors in Richmond Ind. last summer, and had entered upon the study of law when the dread disease, consumption, displayed itself and accompnied by his mother he sought relief in the climate of Santa Fe last November. There was at no time any hope of his ultimate recovery entertained, and he gradually grew worse until he passed away yesterday morning. The remains were temporarily intered in the Fairview cemetery this afternoon at 3 o'clock. [1/3/1893, The Santa Fe New Mexican]
Mrs. Catharina Mecke, mother-in-law of Chas. Probst; mother of Ernest Mecke and sister of august Kirchner, departed this life at 5:30 O'clock last evening, aged 68 years. The funeral will take place from the Probst residence tomorrow afternoon. [1/3/1893, The Santa Fe New Mexican]
Gerald B. Nelson
SANTA FE, N.M. -- Hancock County native Gerald B. Nelson, 76, of 1713 Santa Fe River Road, Santa Fe, N.M., died Thursday night at St. Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe, N.M.
There will be no funeral. The body will be cremated.
Mr. Wilson was born Jan. 10, 1912 in Hancock County to Howard and Opal (Shafer) Nelson. He married Margaret (Harmes) on June 12, 1938 and she survives. Also surviving are a daughter, Jean Nelson Barger, Silver City, N.M., and two grandchildren.
Mr. Nelson was chief pharmacist for the Santa Fe Drug Co., Santa Fe, N.M. He was previously a pharmacist for the former S&S Drug Store and managed Brookside Pharmacy, both in Findlay (Ohio). He moved to New Mexico about three years ago. [THE COURIER, Findlay, Oh., Sat. 3 Sep. 1988 - Sub. by William Ream]
Margaret Harmes Nelson
MARGARET (HARMES) NELSON, formerly of Findlay, (Ohio) died Wednesday, April 21, 1999, in Silver City, N.M. She and her late husband Gerald managed Brookside pharmacy while they resided in Findlay. Local survivors include one sister, Mrs. James E. (Norma) Dipert. [THE COURIER, Findlay, Oh., Mon., 26 Apr. 1999 - Sub. by William Ream]
Rufus James Palen
How much of its financial stability New Mexico, during the past quarter of a century, owed to Major Rufus James Palen, the late president of the First National Bank of Santa Fe, it would be difficult to estimate, but it is certain that the group of financiers of whom Major Palen was one and that by no means the least, exerted a tremendous influence in restoring the credit of the commonwealth, in supporting new enterprises, and in making available the latent resources of the State. His death, therefore, early on the morning of March 15, 1916, at the age of seventy-three years, elicited many expressions of regret and at the same time appreciation of his sterling qualities in every part of the Southwest.
Major Palen came from a family distinguished in the annals of New York and in whose honor Palenville, near Hudson, in that State, was named. It was at Hudson that he was born on January 13, 1843, the son of Joseph Gilbert Palen and Ann Little Palen. He attended the public schools and later the Hudson Academy. From Hudson he went to Romeo, Michigan, there entering Dickinson Academy and in 1861 matriculating in the college of law of the University of Michigan. But in 1862, like so many of his classmates, he volunteered to serve in the Union army. He went to the front as second lieutenant in Company G, One Hundred and Twenty-eighth New York Volunteers, and was promoted for gallantry. When he left the army, although only twenty-two years of age, he held the rank of major in the Seventy-eighth New York Infantry. Even after the war, he was for a time an officer in the New York National Guard and always took a keen interest in military affairs.
In 1869, President Grant appointed the father of Major Palen chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court. Judge Palen served as such until his death, December 21, 1875. He appointed his son clerk of the court for the First Judicial District with headquarters in Santa Fe, in 1872. Major Palen also became clerk of the Supreme Court and served in both capacities until 1877. In 1878, Major Palen went east to bring with him to Santa Fe, a bride. He married Ellen Seeger Webbe, daughter of Bishop Webbe. It was in that year too, that young Palen entered upon his banking career, in the humble position of assistant cashier, but associated with such men as Stephen B. Elkins and W. W. Griffin. Five years later, on June 11, 1883, he was promoted to the cashiership, and in 1894 became president, succeeding the late delegate to Congress, Pedro Perea. Of the forty-four years he lived in Santa Fe, Major Palen gave thirty-eight to service in the bank, which for many years stood at the head of financial institutions of the Southwest in the amount of business it transacted, and to this day is emblematic of financial strength and soundness. He took great pride in the new building just erected on the east side of the Plaza, architecturally and in interior fittings the most beautiful banking structure in New Mexico. As a banker, Major Palen earned the reputation of being conservative, and yet scores of business men can testify that he went the limit to tide them over periods of stress. During the recent panic, when practically every bank suspended specie payment, he continued to meet obligations with cash, and his attitude carried Santa Fe through the period of stringency unscathed. Very often, when Major Palen thought that the banking laws and rules would not permit him to make a loan on the slender security offered, he came to the rescue with his personal funds. Many a poor farmer or stockman, or even politician, when at the end of his resources, would make his way to Major Palen's home and there lay his case before the financier. Seldom, if ever, was he refused financial help if the plea was sincere, and the record clear. The faith in Major Palen's integrity, manifested by the Spanish-American people, was remarkable. In the early days it would happen that some rich sheepman or landowner would bring to Santa Fe large sums in gold, and arriving after banking hours would take the money to the Palen residence, there to keep it over night. Major Palen knew how to take risks and how to bear losses, but he was also uniformly successful, and under his careful management the bank accumulated a big surplus in addition to paying handsome dividends regularly to the stockholders. Major Palen was a staunch Republican. He was actively interested in political movements and represented his party in various conventions and on different boards. From 1891 to 1895 he was Territorial treasurer and again in 1911. He was a member of the Capitol Rebuilding and Extension Board which built the present State capitol. This was done for a comparatively small sum and it is a matter of pride to the commonwealth that at no time during the building or after, was there the least intimation of favoritism in awarding contracts or of the payment of excessive prices. The building was completed and the board found itself with a surplus on hand from the meager appropriation. Similarly, Major Palen was a trustee of the State School for the Deaf and Dumb at Santa Fe, when it built its fine administration building. He held other positions in town and State. With him, public office was not a mere perfunctory honor but involved duties to which he generously gave thought and time. Major Palen was scholarly in his ideals. He was an omnivorous reader of scientific literature. He made a study not only of finance but also of social science. He was a member for many years of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and of the American Economic Association. He was a charter member and treasurer of the Santa Fe Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, a life member of the State Museum and a member of the Archaeological Society of Mexico. He had been president of the New Mexico Bankers' Association and belonged to the Sigma Phi Greek letter fraternity. For many years, he annually presented to the Women's Board of Trade library books and magazines worth while and in large quantity. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and for years was an officer of the Santa Fe Board of Trade. He contributed regularly and frequently to every worthy civic cause. Major Palen delighted in the company of a circle of close friends. It was a circle which death has decimated in late years, for in it were included men like the late Edward L. Bartlett, Judge H. L. Waldo, and the late Abraham Staab. His home was a most hospitable one, and he was often seen at public entertainments and was a beloved guest at social functions. The subject of this sketch was a charter member, president and later treasurer of the Santa Fe Club. Steadfast as a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, he took an active interest in diocesan as well as parish affairs, serving as vestryman and treasurer for many years. Sunday forenoon found him quite regularly in his pew and he seldom was absent from church gatherings at other times.
The great sorrow came to Major Palen, only a few years ago, when death called hence the only daughter, Mrs. Caryl Palen Moulton. Since then there were signs of failing strength and evidence of advancing years. Still he followed his exacting round of duties until a week before his death. A severe cold developed into pneumonia and while the latter yielded to medical treatment, the heart could not stand the strain, and shortly after midnight on the morning of March 15th, with the sorrowing wife at the bedside, he was gathered to his fathers.
Not since the funeral of the late Archbishop J. B. Lamy, has Santa Fe witnessed so general and heartfelt a demonstration of sorrow as on the sunny, balmy March afternoon when the mortal remains of Major Palen were borne to their last resting place. The Episcopal ritual for the dead was read by Rev. Leonidas Smith in the Church of the Holy Faith which was too small to hold all those who had come to pay their tribute of respect. The altar recess was carpeted with blossoms and the casket was buried beneath white lilies and other flowers. The vested choir sang "In the Hour of Trial," "Lord Let Me Know My End," "Abide with Me," and "When the Weary Seeking Rest." Interment was in Fairview Cemetery, in the plot where Major Palen's daughter had been laid to rest. The active pall-bearers were employees of the First National Bank: James B. Read, Stuart C. McCrimmon, Juan Shoemaker, F. L. Wardlaw, C. J. Eckert, G. E. Moore, V. S. Odebraski, and Leonard Murphy. Directors of the bank, vestrymen of the Church of the Holy Faith, and old friends were the honorary pall-bearers: Dr. W. S. Harroun, Bronson M. Cutting, Julius H. Gerdes, H. H. Dorman, Arthur Seligman, James L. Seligman, Frank W. Clancy, Aloys B. Renchan, Dr. James A. Massie, L. Bradford Prince, Miguel A. Otero, Solomon Spitz, Austin C. Brady, and J. G. Schumann. [Source: Old Santa Fe, April 1916, Vol. III No. 10, pages 173-177; transcribed by Richard Ramos]
Ernest Reiste, son of Charles Reiste, 11 months old, died at the parents house, 1008 South Broadway, yesterday morning. Funeral services this morning at 9 O'clock. Burial at Santa Barbara Cemetery. Undertaker Montfort in charge of ceremonies. [4/15/1899, The Santa Fe New Mexican]
John Rhem, aged 52 years, died yesterday afternoon at 3o'clock at St. Vincent's Hospital. He had come from Albuqurque a few weeks ago, suffering from Heart disease and dropsey. He went to Albuqurque last fall from Logansport Ind. where he has a son and a daughter living. The funeral took place this morning at 8 o'clock. Interment was made in Cedar Hill Cemetery. [4/15/1899, The Santa Fe New Mexican]
Carlos Rivera died at his home on the south side yesterday, aged 40 years. His wife died just 15 days ago. Both had been long in ill health. Mr. Rivera was a clever man, a good citizen and neighbor and the community regret his taking off. [5/13/1893, The Santa Fe New Mexican]
A telegram from Catskill was received at 10 o'clock this morning announcing the sudden death there last night of Nestor Robial, a former well known citizen of Santa Fe, and cousin to Cleto Robial, whose death occured there on Friday. Both were engaged at Catskill in filling a tie contract for the Union Pacific road, and both died of pneunomia. Nestor Robial was 27 years of age. He was a son-in-law of Benito Borrego, of Santa Fe and leaves a wife and one child. The body will probably be brought here for burial. [1/3/1893, The Santa Fe New Mexican]
Bob N. Sullivan
Bob N. Sullivan, 70, a resident of Santa Fe, passed away on Thursday, February 6, 1997. Mr. Sullivan was born in Hillsboro, New Mexico on January 2, 1927, to James and Lucy Bourguet Sullivan who have preceded him in death. Also preceding Mr. Sullivan in death was a brother, Andy Sullivan and a sister, Susie Garrison. Mr. Sullivan married Dolores Rodriguez in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on August 7, 1950. He was a graduate of Santa Fe High School. Mr. Sullivan retired after 33 years of service with the New Mexico Highway Department. He was recently employed with Rodeo Plaza Liquor. Mr. Sullivan was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Fraternal Order of Eagles. He is survived by his loving wife, Dolores Sullivan of Santa Fe; daughters: Kathleen Ortiz and husband Ray of Santa Fe, Teresa Anaya and husband Chris of Tesuque, NM; son, Jim Sullivan and wife Jaymie of Santa Fe; grand daughters: Andrea Sandoval, Hillary Ortiz, Rachel Sullivan, Kathleen Roybal; grandsons: Derrick Roybal, Robert Sullivan, Raymond Ortiz, Jr.; sisters: Gwen Pitt, Mamie Sullivan, Eva Mead, Ethel Romero, Mable Gallegos, Mary Stone, Frances Quintana and husband Benny; sisters-in-law: Carlota Medina and husband Edward, Margaret Trull; numerous nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. Visitation will begin at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church where a rosary will be prayed at 7:00 p.m. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Monday at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. Interment will follow at Santa Fe National Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Berardinelli Family Funeral Service. [Santa Fe New Mexican - February 8, 1997]
William T. Thornton
The funeral of this former Territorial executive occurred March 17, 1916. He died the preceding day. At one time he was very prominent in the Southwest. He was born in Calhoun, Henry County, Missouri, February 9, 1843. His ancestors came from England to Virginia among the very early settlers of the Virginia colony and settled upon large tracts of land granted to them by the crown. They became prominent in the early history of the Dominion, many of them occupying important official positions prior to and during the War of the Revolution. One of them was an aide-de-camp upon the staff of General Washington. Another Thornton, of Fredericksburg, held a commission as colonel in the Continental army, commanding the celebrated White Horse Cavalry of Virginia. After the close of the Revolution, many of its members moved west and south, settling in North Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri, where they have filled many places of trust throughout the history of the country, and have been prominent in the professions, both of law and medicine. Among the most prominent members of the family may be mentioned Hon. William F. Thornton, last of Shelbyville, Illinois, Judge Anthony Thornton, judge of the Illinois Supreme Court, Judge Harry Ennis Thornton, commissioned to settle the Spanish land grants in California, and Harry Ennis Thornton, Jr., late of San Francisco.
The father of Governor Thornton, Dr. W. T. Thornton, was born near Chancellorsville, Virginia, in 1805, and with his parents moved to Kentucky in 1811, settling in Oldham County, where he was reared into manhood. He was graduated at the medical college in Cincinnati and opened an office in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1835. Late he returned to Kentucky, where he married Miss Caroline V. Taylor, a daughter of Major William Taylor, who won his title as a soldier in the War of the Revolution. Dr. Thornton returned to Shelbyville, but in 1840 removed to Missouri settling at Thornton's Ferry on the Grand River, from which place he moved to Calhoun, Henry County, where he died in 1875. In politics he was a Whig and a close friend of Henry Clay. Dr. Thornton was the youngest of thirteen children, having had six brothers and six sisters whose descendants are scattered from Virginia to California. One brother, D. M. C. Thornton, was purser in the United States navy; another, Dr. John Thornton, married a daughter of President William Henry Harrison. Major William Taylor, Governor Thornton's maternal grandfather, was also one of seven brothers, all of whom were officers in the Continental army, two being killed in battle and a third dying on board a prison ship in Boston harbor.
Governor Thornton was one of seven children. He was educated in a private school near Sedalia, Missouri, and graduated from the law department of the University of Kentucky at Louisville, in 1868. In the spring of 1861, he left school to enter the war, but enlisted as a private in the Confederate army. For two years he was body guard of General Sterling Price, but later served in Company C of Wood's battalion, commanded by his brother Captain Paul F. Thornton. During the retreat from Springfield, Missouri, he was captured and taken to Alton, where he was confined in prison until October. For making an attempt to escape, he was placed in close confinement for twenty-eight days. Later he assisted Colonel Magoffin and fifty-six Confederates to escape, but remained and was soon exchanged and rejoined his company, serving to the end of the war.
He began the practice of law at Clinton, Missouri. After serving two terms in the town council, he was sent to the Missouri legislature in 1876. In 1877, for health reasons, he came to Santa Fe and associated himself for a time with United States Senator Thomas B. Catron. In 1880 he was elected a member of the Territorial Council and in 1891 was chosen the first mayor of Santa Fe, being nominated by both parties, and receiving every vote cast but one.
In 1885, Governor Thornton closed his law business and devoted himself to extensive cattle ranch interests in Lincoln county and also to mining. In April, 1893, Governor Thornton was appointed the chief executive of New Mexico by President Grover Cleveland. He also acquired control of the Santa Fe Daily New Mexican and edited it. He had been interested in newspaper ventures prior to this time with his brother-in-law, General P. Victory. The administration was a turbulent one. One historian says: "There had been a very considerable increase of crime, especially high crime, during the few years just preceding Governor Thornton's administration. There had also been a notable delinquency among tax collectors and others having the receipt, care and custody of public funds. The result of the crusade against crime and financial delinquency which he inaugurated and carried on with much vigor of purpose and action, has done more to establish the supremacy of law, to secure peace and good order, and to assure the security of life and property, than the work of any of his predecessors in his high office. High crime, including political assassinations, involving both republicans and democrats, committed prior to his inauguration, but still undiscovered, were speedily detected and prosecuted to conviction by the peace and prosecuting officers under his forceful inspiration. Official carelessness and default in handling and accounting for public moneys had become sufficiently common to be scandalous and Governor Thornton at once set himself to the correction of this evil and to the application of an effectual remedy."
Another historian wrote: "From the earliest days of his tempestuous administration he found himself confronted with every conceivable obstacle. The result of his crusade against crime and against financial delinquency which he inaugurated and carried on with much vigor of purpose and action, signalized his administration and gave him a distinguished place in the history of this territory as the most executive and useful governor New Mexico has ever had."
Shortly after the appointment of Governor Miguel A. Otero by President McKinley, Governor Thornton left for Guadalajara, Mexico, and engaged in extensive mining operations. At the outbreak of the Mexican trouble, he returned to Santa Fe, but spent his winters at Redlands and other points in southern California. Governor McDonald appointed him State librarian but the State Senate failed to confirm him. The matter went into the courts but decision was adverse.
In 1868 Governor Thornton married Miss Helen Maltby, of New York, who survives him. She was a daughter of Norman Maltby, later mayor of Sedalia, Missouri. [Source: Old Santa Fe (July 1916) Vol. 3; No. 11; transcribed by Richard Ramos]