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Abeyta family gathers from across nation for huge reunion
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.
Outgoing 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
By DEBRA HUGHES
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
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
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.
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
Veguita, 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.
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.