The Placido Chaves mystery

The puzzle I’m currently trying to solve is who exactly were Placido’s parents, and why he was not living with them as a child.

In my previous post, I wrote that Placido’s parents were Antonio Jose Mexicano (aka Chaves) and Maria Jaramillo. On census records, however, Antonio and Maria, Placido’s parents appear as Chaves, and Maria is listed as Trinidad rather than just Maria or Maria Trinidad.

In the 1860 US Census, Placido’s parents, Antonio Chavez and (Maria) Trinidad are living in Sevoyeta (Cebolleta), Valencia, New Mexico. They are both 26. There are 5 children living with them: Serafina (10?), Juana (7), Felix (6), Cruz (4), Filemon (2). Placido was baptized in 1857, so was about 3 years old. Where was he?1860-sevoyeta-nm-terr-antonio-chavez

Well, he’s living with another Chaves couple in Cubero, Valencia, Juan Jose & Maria. 1860-cubero-nm-terr-juan-jose-chavez

In 1870 there is an Antonio Jose Chaves in Cubero living with a Manuela and a young male Trinidad. There is no Antonio Jose Chaves in Sevoyeta. Though there is no Maria here I’m tempted to think this is the right Antonio, Placido’s father. But again, where is Placido?1870-nm-terr-cubero-antonio-jose-chaves

Placido again is found in the household of Juan Jose and Maria Chaves. So it seems to me that in 1860 he didn’t happen just to be staying or visiting with them. Juan Jose is 30 and Maria is 34. Placido is 15. Because Juan Jose is so young, I feel that this rules out the idea some people suggested to me that perhaps Juan Jose was also known as Antonio. I’m still learning a lot about New Mexico cultural history but it seems that while the women frequently married very young in their teens, most men married in their 20’s and 30’s. It seems unlikely to me that Juan Jose could have been Juan Jose Antonio or some iteration of that. He’s too young to be Placido’s father. 1870-nm-terr-cubero-juan-jose-chaves

There must be an explanation as to why Placido is shown living in the household of Juan Jose Chaves and a Maria (who is also named Maria Jaramillo according to church records for their other children). On Ancestry, most trees show Juan Jose as being Placido’s father. But this clearly does not match with his baptism record. Pauline Chavez Bent’s family however thought Juan Jose was his stepfather. So my question is then, why is Placido living with Juan Jose and Maria when his parents are clearly still living? Both men are Chaves, and both women are Jaramillo. Are the Chaves men brothers or otherwise related? Are the Jaramillo women sisters or otherwise related? Or perhaps the Maria who Placido is living with is his mother, but then why is his father Antonio with another Jaramillo? Did they divorce? I thought the Catholic church did not allow divorce. So many questions!


Placido Chaves’ baptism and the Mexicano alias

My great great grandfather Placido Chaves’ baptism is as follows:

Cebolleta Baptisms*

Feb 11, 1857 – Jose Placido Mexicano the son of Antonio Jose Mexicano y Maria Jaramillo. A.P. Jose Antonio Mexicano y Maria de la Luz Salas. A.M. Marcos Jaramillo y Maria Teresa Jaramillo.

(A.P. is an abbreviation for abuelos paternos which means paternal grandparents. A.M. is abuelos maternos which means maternal grandparents).

Where did the “Mexicano” come from? Well, a genealogist who has been helping me knew Pauline Chavez Bent who was a granddaughter of Nicolas Chaves who was related to Placido. She knew about the Mexicano alias.

According to Fray Angelico Chavez, there was a branch of the Chaves family that began using the alias of Mexicano to differentiate themselves from the many Chaves’ in New Mexico. Below is an excerpt from his book Chavez: A Distinctive American Clan of New Mexico. 



*Cubero and Cebolleta were part of the Gallup diocese and the records are only available on microfilm in New Mexico. I am unable to order film to view at a local Family History Library. So for now I am relying on record transcriptions from publications from HGRC (Hispanic Genealogical Research Center) and NMGS (New Mexico Genealogical Society) that other genealogists have generously offered to look up for me.

Placido & Maria Chaves and their children

Placido and Maria Chaves my great great grandparents were from Cubero, New Mexico. They had at least 8 children, possibly 9. Their names were Maria Esfrada, Tomas, Toribio, Pedro, Paul, Pilar, Maria, and Justiano. There is also a Polo listed on a census, but it is likely the same person as Paul. These were my grandma’s aunts and uncles, so she knew them as a child. When I asked her about their names she thought there was both a Polo or Paolo and a Paul. I have not done further investigation about whether they were one in the same. Justiano, my great grandfather, also known as Justo, Justin, and to his grandchildren Joe, was the youngest of the children. Toribio and Esfrada were baptized in Cubero. I suspect Tomas was as well, but need to find his baptism record. The other children were most likely baptized at San Juan in Arizona, as was Justiano.

Maria Esfrada Chaves 1887-1925

Tomas 1887- ?

Toribio Chaves 1890- ?

Pedro Chaves 1893- 1981

Paul Chaves 1896- ?

Pilar Chaves 1898- 1979

Maria Chaves 1902- ?

Justiano Chaves 1907-1996