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Friday, July 27, 2012

Guadalupita/Coyote Historic District: Montoya Cemetery

Fall 2011 photo
 Almost a year ago the area where we live was approved as a State Historic District because of its historic, cultural and environmental significance. Here's what the application said:

"The Guadalupita/Coyote Historic District in Mora County is 8,140 acres of mountains and valleys dotted with small ranches, homes, mines and religious sites dating back to 1851. It was one of the last land grants in New Mexico. To this day, descendants of families that first settled there continue to use nearby natural resources and acequias that divert water from Rio Coyote to irrigate crops for their sustenance."

One site included in the district is the Montoya Cemetery, just a short walk across the pastures from our place. The newest grave that I can discern is from the early 1950's, a baby that died the year I was born. Others date back to the 1800's, people from a family who braved high altitudes, poor roads and frigid winters to make a life for themselves in a remote place often cut off from the rest of the state for months on end. The Montoya family is still around, some scattered to other parts of the state and country, but most still here living on ranches in the area on land kept in the family for generation after generation.

Family members take turns keeping the weeds at bay, straightening the markers that can be straightened and ensuring the fence around the site is in good repair since beef cattle live nearby.

The graves are marked with a variety of materials:  weather worn wooden and rusty iron crosses, flat stones, hand chiseled markers and one professionally done granite marker for the baby's resting place.

Fred Montoya

Dennis Montoya
When someone asks where where we live and I tell them, the most common response is, "Oh, that's God's Country!"

Summer 2012 photo

Yes, it is.

1 comment:

  1. I really wish I could be around when you go on these "walks"....Jeanie


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