A while back I was
contacted by the current owners of Dionicio Ortega and Sarah Jane Taylor’s adobe Pueblo house. We had a Santa Fe trip planned months ago, so I asked them if we could stop by while we where visiting the city and they accepted.
The current owners have done extensive research on their property which revealed that the Ortegas owned much of the surrounding property and that it was later divided among Dionicio and Sarah Jane’s children.
Dionicio Ortega and Sarah Jane Taylor House, original (or near-original) floors and ceilings. Mr. Current Owner told me he did a little digging when they were fixing the place up and found “a lime-coated floor, and that was probably what was there when Sarah Jane and Dionicio moved in. They may have later put in the wood planks that are still there because they are very old. Two inches beneath the lime floor was another floor made of animal blood mixed with dirt, which makes for a linoleum-like surface.” (see linked post, “The House They Lived In”) Little Guy is clearly jazzed to stand on the floors where his ancestors once stood.
Mr. C.O. described how this, the original house consisting of a small living/dining area, had only one window. They hired people familiar with the old Pueblo homes to cut (saw, that’s the motion he’s making) new windows out of the thick adobe walls.
This room with the tiny door (they were all tiny doors!) was originally the stable. As we know, Dionicio was a muleteer and kept a few mules here. When the owners were doing renovations, they discovered a donkey jaw bone and various other small bones in the walls. The stepping stone outside the door (which was then an exterior door) was actually the overturned headstone of New Mexico’s first attorney general, Hugh N. Smith. Apparently when the old cemetery was demolished people salvaged the stones for use in their homes. My husband and Mr. C.O. pictured here.
Said headstone of New Mexico’s first attorney general Hugh N. Smith. At first I was embarrassed, but then again, the Ortegas wasted nothing. The C.O.s decided to keep it and turn it the correct side up. This wing of the house is a new addition by the C.O.s It is lovely.
My family and I in front of the original house. Dionicio and Sarah Jane’s children added on later, as did the current owners. The surrounding properties once belonged to this Ortega family but are now owned by other people. It was a large tract of land!
The current owners. They are very nice and have taken wonderful care of the house. I am so grateful they gave me the opportunity to show the house to my Little Guy! Thank you so much C.O.s!
We like to visit
Rosario Cemetery when we go.
Visiting Sarah Jane Taylor, my 3rd great grandmother, Little Guy’s 4th great grandmother. We confirmed with the office staff that Dionicio is buried in the same cemetery but even they don’t know where he is buried further than the “old cemetery”.
Little Guy found Beatrice Ortega Taylor’s grave 1896-1922. She married Alejandro Shoemaker, son of Sheriff Shoemaker, who was excited about a new gun he’d received and went home to show his young wife. According to the article in the local paper, the gun went off and hit her; she died a couple of days later. She was 26 years old.
We again didn’t make it to Santa Fe’s National Cemetery adjacent to Rosario Cemetery which is a shame, especially considering today is Memorial Day.
Next time we will visit my 4th great grandfather there, Ruperto Armijo, who was part of the 2nd New Mexico Regiment Infantry during the Civil War.
We also visited St. Francis of Assisi, Cross of the Martyrs, Fort Marcy Park, the public library, the Palace of the Governors Museum Shop to buy books, and Meow Wolf while we were there this time. I highly recommend Meow Wolf.
Musical Mammoth at Meow Wolf
Little Guy and I at St. Francis Cathedral. Off the top of my head my second great grandparents Luciano Romero and Salomé Montoya were married there 27 Nov 1886, and the ill-fated Beatrice Ortega Taylor de Shoemaker on April 28, 1916.
Reading Room at the Santa Fe Public Library near Governors’ Plaza.
Looking forward to our next visit!