Abeyta Family Reunion in Albuquerque Labor Day Weekend 2007 History, Stories and Newspaper Articles

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Abeyta family gathers from across nation for huge reunion             

by charles griego
Member of the Abeytas family
From the first reunion, held on July 4, 1980, at La Joya with about 200 attending, to the next one held in Barstow, Calif., on Nov. 28, 1998, when nearly 500 attended, to the latest on Aug. 30 and 31 at Abeytas and Belen, more than 400 and maybe even 500 relatives came together from the Abeyta family.
  From the east to the west —
New Jersey, Wisconsin, Idaho, Missouri, Washington, Arizona, Nevada and California — there has never really been a break in the closeness of the Norberto Abeyta family. Actually, the family goes even further back, from Miguel Abeita, born in 1788, and Rafela Garcia, who married Maria Salas, born in 1807, daughter of Lorenzo Salas and Antonia Carrillo. Their son, Norberto, born June 6, 1835, died 1915, and wife, Josepha de los Dolores Ruibalid, born Feb. 21, 1844, daughter of Juaquin Rubali and Merced Pacheco, bore six children: Gregorio, Santos, Wenceslao, Secundino, Felicita and Amador.
Beginning this year's celebra­tion on Saturday, individual family lineages gathered at homes or parks or a restaurant for storytelling from noon to late in the evening. On Sunday morning, an overflowing crowd attended the Fiesta de San Antonio Mass in the Mission Church in Abeytas. The Rev. Father Dennis Dolter, pastor, was the celebrant, assisted by Deacons Santos Abeyta and Ken Hill (family members), together with Deacons Edwin Esquivel and Richard Gray. Ken Armijo led the choir as director.
Mayordomos Dulcinea and Ernest Chavez were honored, and introduced were incoming mayordomos Carl and Inez Martinez. Lectors were Quintin Pacheco and Charles Griego. The entire litur­gy and homily fit the celebra­tion.
  The reunion brochure made it
easy to follow, thanks to RoseMary Burroughs. A note­worthy church history was pre­sented by Abelicio Barela. Two special hymns, "Que Bonita La Iglesa" for the entrance of Mass and "Los Milagros de San Antonio de Padua" were sung for the procession, which began inside the church and continued outside with several banners of the church and mission church es. Everyone returned for the final blessing and recessional "Alabare."
  Following the Mass, everyone
enjoyed a delicious potluck at the fire station hall with music by Los Primos Band: Emmer Barela, Jake Montano and Pressie Garcia — all have lived in or have close ties to family in Abeytas. Emmer is the son of Abelicio Barela and belongs to the Gregorio family. This was topped with plenty of food and fellowship. But it does not end there.
  Even before the 3 p.m. recep­tion, family members were prepar­ing to set up displays for each lin­eage. The dinner was scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express in Belen. They may have had a large crowd before, but this crowd was between 400 and 500!
Each linage had a special display along the walls with pictures and memorabilia to show off their family. The tables set up to distribute name tags and dinner tickets resem­bled those of a national conven­tion. Latecomers had to wait to be seated as more tables were assembled for them. 'Again, what lineage do you belong to?" The actual dinner was delayed while everybody mingled, hugged and cried. There was plenty to eat from the 12-by-12-by-6-foot cheese and snacks at the reception, provided by RoseMary Burroughs to the din­ner of roast beef and gravy with all the trimmings and, of course, the enchiladas, all served by Rutilio's Restaurant — another family member.
  The two long serving lines
were well managed. The laugh­ter and goodwill covered any dismay! And the disco music was by Martin and Barbara Gallegos of the Wenceslao family.  The grand family procession was led by the oldest of each family member, who held up a large poster with the name of their lineage. That, too, resem­bled a national political conven­tion. From large to small groups, each paraded around the hall and corridors. This was followed by group picture-taking at different posts as individual cameras flashed. The entire evening was controlled by the master of ceremonies, RoseMary Burroughs. The orga­nizational committee was Katie Bailey for the Gregorio lineage; Edwina Pavelko for Santas lin­eage; Ray Abeyta for Wenceslao lineage; RoseMary Burroughs for Secundino lineage; Quintin Pacheco for Felicita lineage; and Charles Griego for Amador lineage. As part of the Abeyta Family Reunion celebration, Julian Leyba and Rose Rita Griego de Lopez, the first cousins, both of the Amador lineage, donated some handmade items for a free drawing held during the dinner. Julian, son of Ralph Leyba and Eusebia Abeyta de Leyba, donated two paintings — one of San Antonio Church in Sabinal and another of the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. Rose Rita de Lopez donated the following items: two hand-quilted pillows with roosters on them, a small handmade button, a spool doll, a tin can with homemade biscochitos inside (a recipe from her mother, Petrita Abeyta de Griego, received when Rose was only 8 years old), two cal­endars with the Psalms, one in Spanish and one in English, and a blank journal (as an incentive to enter writing material because her grandfather, Amador Abeyta, was a teacher, poet, musician and writer). Rose Rita Griego de Lopez is the daughter of Max Domitilillo Griego and Petrita Abeyta de Griego. Eusebia Abeyta de Leyba and Petrita Abeyta de Griego were both daughters of Amador Abeyta and Juanita Torres de Abeyta. The free drawing highlighted a well-received activity at the Abeyta Family Reunion. Everyone surely enjoyed them­selves. It is to be understood that all of this was a continuation of a long family history, only to be continued by renewed friendships and prepa­rations for the next reunion.

  4 generations of 3 families reunite July 4th
Tribune Staff Writer

LA JOYA — The old gymnasium buzzed with rancher-as music and 200 conversations in Spanish and English. It was the first reunion of four generations of three family lines.
The Abeytas, Barelas, and Jaramillos gathered Friday over paper plates full of pinto beans and meat.
SOME TOASTED with beer the miles they had traveled. They came from Arizona, California, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.! "Most of these people or their grandfathers
at one time lived at Abeytas," said Esmerlindo J. Barela. The town was named after his great-greatgrandfather.  "WE HAVEN'T FOUND where we originally came from, but we guess from a lot of records, the three family leaders came from Spain," said Joe G. Abeyta, 73, the eldest in the Abeyta family.  The Abeytas, Barelas and Jaramillos assume their families made their way from Spain, traveled through Mexico and planted themselves along the valley south of Belen in the late 1800s.  "The cousins married and they just spread," said Esmerlindo Barela.            THE FAMILIES have become so big that everyone was wearing name tags telling which family they belonged to. "We haven't been able to identify everybody here," said Edwin Abeyta, 22. "There's still a lot of people I don't even know."
He said being in the gymnasium with all his relatives "makes me feel good.”  BUT EUFEMIA Abeyta, 68 and the oldest Jaramillo member, said she knew everyone in her family.
"I know almost all of them and keep track of them," she said.  She lives in Barstow, Calif., and visits Abeytas twice a year.  IT TOOK ALMOST a year to plan the "big party,"
said the master of ceremonies, A.B. Barela.  "It has more or less a religious connotation. In Catholic circles this is the year of the family," he said.
Barela said the 200 people crowded into the Abeytas church for mass in the morning and moved to the gym for eating and dancing.  THEY DANCED into the early evening,
he said, and then everyone went back to their homes.
Jose M. Barela, 84, said, "I'm the oldest member of the Barela family and it makes me very happy to see all of my descendants together at the same time."
Florindo Abeyta, 71, sat at a long table covered with paper and watched the activities. He lived in Abeytas 25 years ago and now lives in Albuquerque.
A TEAR DROPPED from his eye. "No, I never thought this was going to happen. I'm really surprised."
Doreen Hill, 12, of the Abeyta family said she didn't know too many people there.
know you've got such a big family," she said.
A.B. BARELA said most of the Abeyta and Barela family members still live in the Belen area." Most are farmers or have jobs in Albuquerque," he said.
"But almost all of the Jaramillos have moved away," he said.

 'I never thought it would happen'
Older members of the three families gathered for a reunion in La Joya recalled
their childhood memories New Mexico, but could hardly believe the reunion,
was taking place. "I'm[really surprised," Florindo Abeyta (right)
told Jose M. BareJa, theoldest member of the Barela family.
Basket bailers get together
Al Pacheco (standing) talks over memories with his former coach, Manuel Sanchez. Sanchez coached the Las Nutrias School basketball team from 1928 to 1973 and saw the development of many members of the three families who gathered for a reunion Friday.


Tracing her ancestors
Mrs. Ingrid Abeyta of Dassett, Calif., shows her daughter, Debbie, the Abeyta family line from which she comes. The genealogy of the three families
at the reunion in La Joya

BORN: APRIL 13, 1883


APRIL 17, 1949,


It will always be a note of guilt that I did not take the time before this to put down on paper the important facts surrounding the life of my Grandfather, Amador Abeyta.  For all the respect and knowledge that he was extraordinary even when I was growing up, I can tell now how much I failed to mark down except in my own memory. I now make a feeble effort to recall and to ask for help from other members of my family as well as historians.
Amador Abeyta lived and worked in New Mexico, He may have traveled to other states. I recall stories told by my mother, Petrita,. At one time, the family worked the beet harvest in Colorado. It must have been a difficult time of their lives, from the description she gave. Of my grandmother, Juanita, I only remember as a soft spoken, tall Lady dressed in a white gown and who (as I was told) had high expectations for me.   She also died when I was very young.     Several of my uncles and aunts   lived a short life as well due to the hardships and illnesses of the times. Besides my mother,Petnta, the others in the family included Norberto (Beto), Felicita, Juan, Crucita and Eusebia. Later on, I need to recall the happy moments of those   who made my young life so memorable. Amador continued to make the most of life by learning enough to become a Teacher, a writer, a song master and even a healer to many.   High respect   became a "known” when anyone referred to him from areas like Sabinal to Abeytas, Aragon, Las Nutiras, Socorro, Quemado ,Belen and Albuquerque. Pictures show him with students at a one- room school where even my mother, Petrita and uncle Beto were part of the class. . He attended State School Board meetings or may even have been a member although it is difficult to confirm it, except that he was active rather than just "passive. One relative mentioned " that is where your granpa lived and owned and sold land." I do know that several parcels of land were divided up, some were sold to supplement the family income and to be given to my two aunts, Eusebia and Crucita, when they married. When he became ill and unable to work, he did not falter in his endeavor to lead by even directing   a well known play: " Los Pastores" or as it is also referred : " La Pastorela ," at a hall that served as a theatre with stage and all. I remember attending the play with my parents (sometime in the early ‘40s). Tata Amador, could be seen going back and forth, feverishly making sure that the actors and props were where they should be. The Theatre was full of people. Who would not have wanted to miss such a fantastic production!   Although the other players must have been properly dressed, the one that stands out in my mind was the Devil in bright red with the horns and long tail!
Other times, he would write poems and other gems of literature that would only be captured by others. One such person was
Ruben Cobos. I will always remember the day (around 1946); he appeared at my granpa Amador's doorstep, with note pads and a strange box which turned out to be a wire-recorder. He came several other times to listen, to write down, to record and to collect folk songs “which cannot be traced to Spain and are local in origin.”   One such collection can be found in the publication known as "Hispanic Folk Music of New Mexico and the Southwest."    In that book alone are six references for Amador Abeyta.   He is included in the list of  " Trovadores " and properly   " as having the silhouette of the old copleros of Andalucia or Castile."   And as one who “gave rebirth to the ancient lyric heritage of the copla (a stanza of four eight-syllable lines)." Samples of   Spanish Folk Poetry in New Mexico such as Relacion (Romance), Indita, Occupations, Courtship and Marriage, clearly demonstrate his talent at various forms of   music and poetry. And humorous... you have to read it!
There was a time when he decided to have a small room built for himself in order to have some privacy
and space to write and think. Granpa Amador would often be asked to write a poem - “componer versos," o ' “hechar un verso," for various celebrations, baptisms, weddings. He would sing: "La Entriega de Novias," ( a common custom at weddings). He even knew how to play the violin. At my aunts' wedding, he played all afternoon. I remember that so well...sitting close to a corner of the front room. The reception was held at a home rather than a fancy hall!
And who could forget his love for cacahuates (those peanuts with the soft shell). And all of us noted his concern at dinner (for we often shared meals as an extended family); that everyone had their share of food before he would consider taking the last serving . He would pass the extra plate around and ask everyone if they wanted more food. If he was lucky, there might be a piece left!  Then he would take it! During the school year, my brother,
Ray, and I would go to his small room (built behind my aunt, Eusebia and Uncle Ralph's house which was just across the street from our home).   We were there to get help with our homework and to share the many stories and advice he so freely gave. Ray would often tag along to the nearby stores and so he learned, I am sure, how to be independent and recourceful. Maurice would often go with granpa Amador to visit his friends, eating cacahuates along the way. Maurice remembered:   “I would also help make adobes and help plant his garden. I would wait for him to go out into the garden and pick peas,beans, cacahuates.   Sometimes, in the late fall we would roast pinon,together." And Rose Rita, who came along later, learned all about Tata Amador, more from my mother and from Professor, Mr. Ruben Cobos, who became her instructor at the University of New Mexico. Rose has a degree in Spanish and is also a teacher within the Albuquerque Public Schools.
Aside from the educational aspect of his life, my granpa, Amador was as religious as he was holy.
How many times did he lead others to God by his example, by his ability to pray and   by his attentiveness to others in time of distress, may never be truly counted. Even Rev. Fr. Robert Atkinson at St. Anne's Church was apt to declare that when Amador decided to sing out during weekday Mass, he demonstrated " Un ataque de Religion!" Many other times he would gather others to pray at Velorios (wakes), family gatherings and Fiestas.   Everyone in our immediate family and many of our relatives have gained a love for Our God, Our Blessed Mother, Mary, the Saints and our Catholic faith because of the religious traditions given us by our beloved Amador Abeyta.   Amen.

CHARLES    GRIEGO November 17, 1998

Matilde Chavez Memoir
February 7, 1964
Written at the request of Elena Chavez-Mueller

I was born at Pueblitos del Sabinal, March 14, 1898.  I was 7 years old when my mother died. So my Father sent me and my 2 sisters to the
Orfanato de San Vicente in Sante Fe
. (This is location of the convent of the Sisters of Loretto and the place where the famous circular staircase,
rumored to be the work of St. Joseph, is located.)
We were there 4 years. Then my father brought us back again to Pueblitos.  It was a small village. 
This village belonged to the Parish of Our Lady of Sorrow of La Joya.
Then while I was still young my dad moved us to
Albuquerque…lived there 3 years.  Then he decided to do some farming, so he moved to San Juan. 
This is the real name of the town, but the post office name has been changed several times, Romiach, N.M.,
Moorad, N.M., and now at present is
, N.M. How strange, verdad?
Your dad went to school only to the third grade.  Why? I don’t know.  He enlisted in the army of World War I,
the 5th of June, 1918, but peace came
and didn’t take actual part in the war.
We got married the 24th of June, 1919, lived 2 years in San Juan.  We moved to Albuquerque and lived there 9 years, then came back to San Juan
to try a little farming and raise Cows, Chickens, sheep and hogs to see if we could help the salary more as jobs were scarce.  My family was growing pronto. 
In 1933 your dad’s luck came.  I mean a steady job.  But still his wage was only $50.00 a month.  But the wages began to rise up and up.  We moved to Belen

in 1944.  His wage was $1.80 an hour.  Yes, your dad did work hard, no matter if there was sleet or snow, or the hot summer days.

My mother was Felicita Abeyta. I don’t remember her much.  I was 7 years old when she died.  She too was born at Pueblitos.  My godmother,
who is still living, is 93 years old. And she told me once that my mother was a good practical catholic, a good daughter, good wife and a good mother,
and a very kind-hearted person.
About our ancestors, I know that my grandfather was Spanish. He came from Spain. His name was Norberto Abeyta.  He was an orphan and was reared
by Father Martin, a French priest.  So from him he got his education.   He was a very good catholic as I remember him. 
He knew latin y era sacristan y era
cantor de la iglesia, era maestro de escuela en espanol en las escuelas privadas era poeta y compositor de corridos del tiempo. 
Fue soldado mexican war.
(He knew Latin and was a sacristan and was a cantor in the church, and was a teacher of Spanish in the private schools. He was a poet and writer of
corridos of the time.  He was a soldier in the Mexican war.)
El abuelo de tu papa
(the grandfather of your father) Geronimo Chavez fue Capitan in the Civil War. All my mother’s brothers were school teachers. 
Some taught in Spanish that was in 1901.  Some learned English as it is taught now.
I am not a good story writer. You can pick from here what you need to know.   

Your Mom, with all my love, Matilde 

This was written at the request of Elena Chavez-Mueller to assist her with a college English assignment.


Santos Group By Bryan Abeyta Jr

Bryan Abeyta Jr. was here on August 31, 2003 for the Abeyta's family Belen.
Recorded for special reasons! HeHe

The Abeyta Family dates back to 1788. The first family reunion was in 1980 in the community of Abeytas. Then once in Barstow, California in 1988. Now once again in 2003 in the community of Belen. The reunions were all about getting together and enjoying one another's company. The dance was the funniest part says everyone, you put the music on and everyone will dance.

Once everyone was dancing it began, the talking about past times and dancing the night away. The common outlook for the night was the good times! Sharing stories, great dancing, and catching up with everyone. Families came from all over New Mexico and out of state to enjoy this night. The most action out of this family was the dancing which was an all night affair. The old, the young will remember this night till years ahead.

Story written by: Bryan Fidel Abeyta Jr.

Santos and Viola Abeyta Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Santos and Viola Abeyta Celebrate 50th Anniversary