Local Families Share Their Stories
Trinidad Colorado has a rich history and it is reflected in the family histories of many of founding familes. Maybe your family has ties to this wonderful and colorful history in the Southern Colorado area near Trinidad and maybe you just like Colorado history. Either way we hope you enjoy these articles and history of these families.
Find out more a out the local families that are recognized as local Century Families
101 Family Stories
Find out about Trinidad’s Families who have lived here for 100 years or more.
Mary was the first daughter born to George and Minnie Genis. She and her brothers, Bobby and John were born in Vancouver, Canada.
Genevieve Penno Arzich was a native “Trinidadian,” born in 1911 on Alta Street of English Canadian parents.
Discover the family history of the author of this series.
The search for a better life led Charles John Barrack from Zahle, Lebanon to the United States in the year 1885.
Louise Benavidez Sanchez describes family life growing up in Alfalfa, Colorado — 18 miles east of Trinidad.
Louise Benavidez Sanchez recounts an incident with a cake and other stories about family life in Trinidad.
Louise Benavidez Sanchez describes more about her life growing up in the Trinidad region.
John Boggio immigrated from his native Italy in 1880 to the state of Illinois to work in the coal mines. A year later John traveled to Trinidad, CO to find work at a coal mine.
Loretta Bonino Rawlings and Veronica Marta Goodrich relate how news of ample employment in the Colorado coal mines drew the Bonino family to Colorado.
Laurine Mercier traces the Bowles family from their move to Trinidad in June of 1930.
Rae Bulson describes Bulson beginnings in the region as the family made its way to Las Animas County via Aguilar.
In the late 1890’s Guiseppi Burrescia and his oldest son, Nicholas, age nine, left Palazzo Adriano, Sicily for Naples to board a ship leaving for America.
Nicholas Burrescia was born in Palazzo, Adrano Sicily on December 13, 1891.
Angelo and Mary Caporale (Born in Naples, Italy in 1869 and 1868) and their six year old son, Joseph’s, dream of coming to America became a reality in late 1895.
After trying his hand at being a butcher for his brother-in-law, Charlie Gagliardi (Jenny), proprietor of the G and D Grocery in Trinidad, and as a Jewel Tea salesman in La Junta, Al entered the baking trade with his brother, Bill and his brother-in-law, Joe Vallone.
In 1937 he opened the Jolly Boy Bakery in Walsenburg, which he operated until 1939. That same year, Bill opened a bakery in Colorado Springs which he operated for a very short time before returning to Trinidad where he opened Cesario’s Bakery at 122 East Main Street.
Domenico and Carolina Cesario (Carolina’s maiden name was also Cesario) immigrated to the United States in approximately 1886 from San Fili, Provincia de Cosenza, Calabria, Italy.
Domenico Cimino was born in the city of Cefalu, Province of Palermo Sicily, Italy on December 24, 1874. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 15 and arrived at Ellis Island in 1889. Mary Carpita Cimino was from in New Orleans on November 7, 1886.
John Dale was born November 19, 1880 at Seoham Colliery, County Durham, England. He came to Las Animas County, Colorado as a young child with his parents, George and Susan Johnson Dale.
John and Jennie Dale had eight children.
The dream of America as the land of opportunity led Antonio DiPaola and Rosina Dolce to leave the island garden of Sicily and emigrate to the coal fields of Las Animas County.
Della Maria Delfina Dominquez was born on May 17, 1900 to Antonio Wilson and Lucas Dominquez. Several years before her birth, her father’s life was threatened. As a result, he gathered his family and left Taos in the dead of night and made his way to Colorado.
Homer was born in Oklahoma City, the eldest of twins. He lived in Hoehne, Colorado most of his life until he joined the Air Force in 1949 and lived in many different places for the following 21 years.
Anderson obtained the ranch from a pioneer from Illinois named Baxley. He had homesteaded the land, which was a part of the Maxwell Land Grant covering a portion of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. According to legend, the Maxwell land grant markers were deliberately moved by a trader named “Uncle Dick” Wooten in return for a sack of flour.
Just about the time that Colorado became a state in 1876, Albert J. Fouret and his wife, Louise left their native country of Belgium and journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean to the wonderful new country of America.
After high school in Trinidad, I went to San Diego to look for work. I lived there during World War II and returned home to Trinidad after the war was over. I had come to San Diego with my mom only since my dad had passed away as well as one sister and two brothers.
Josie was born in Engleville, CO on Dec. 20, 1920, to Apolinar Vera and (Della) Maria Delfina Dominguez, and was christened Theodora Aurelia.
Apolinar a basque was born on July 23, 1890—Ulibarri, Spain in the province of Navarra, to Vicente Vera and Escolastica Gil. He was one of six children. Apolinar studied for the priesthood, attending the Jesuit seminary in Spain.
‘Tis a long way from Londonderry in Ireland to Trinidad, and a lengthy time span, too. From 1725 to 1939, 213 years, in fact. This is the tale of an English soldier who left the Redcoats in Ireland when assigned to aid in the execution of a fellow soldier, listened intently to his conscience and made the decision to leave Europe.
Grandmother Lenora Myers Hanson, a native of Newport, Indiana and later “the first white woman living on the North Fork of the Solomon river in Kansas” had early ties to the Trinidad community.
Albert Harbridge was born in 1876 at Birmingham, England and came to the United States when he was seven years old. As a youth he joined the military band during the Spanish-American War.
Charlie Hartman met Annie (Perkins) in Southern Texas, where he was playing baseball, and she worked in a restaurant. Upon seeing him for the first time, she said, “that is the Man I’m going to marry.”
William W. Jones was born in Wales in 1842 and came to the Trinidad area in 1883 from Ebensburg, Pennsylvania. He was brought here to be Superintendent of the coke ovens throughout Las Animas County.
Gunther Kerger was a prisoner who spent time at the Prisoner of War Camp near Trinidad. Kerger was the last person to leave the camp when it closed in February, 1946.
Daughter of John B. Kimball and Ester Long
Granddaughter of Horace Long
John B. Kimball, a resident of Trinidad for more than 40 years and one of the foremost music professors of this city.
The sheriff of Trinidad in 1890 was Louis Kreeger. He took over as sheriff after Bat Masterson quit.
Lee’s Bar-B-Q began in May 1938. Read how the family owned business began and continues to provide good food and service to its customers.
About the first of April of 1861, George Horace Long and his wife, Juana Maria deHerrera and their children along with an entourage of several families from Taos came to the Valley of the Purgatorie and settled six miles above Trinidad at the mouth of what became known as Longs Canyon at Longsdale.
It is not known why the Lynchs came to Trinidad, Colorado. The saga of the plight of the Irish was a very tragic one in human history. Those who survived gathered up what little they had and sent a least one family member to America to work and send funds home for the rest of the family to come. This was the case of the Lynch family.
The small town of Grimaldi, Italy, is a cluster of weather-aged stone buildings that nestles in the rolling hills in the southern Italian region of Calabria. In this idyllic but secluded hillside town Giuseppe Garibaldi Maio was born in 1866.
Fred J. Marriott, Sr. was considered the leading piano tuner in Boulder, Colorado. He began taking the train to Trinidad to tune pianos for the Wooten Ranch. Soon business began to open up in Trinidad as well.
Often one hears a Trinidad native ask for “Marta bread” instead of Italian or French Bread. The name dates to 1926 when Martin and Prospero Marta opened Marta Bakery on Country Club Drive.
Abraham Mason the first son of George Mason was born in Walsenburg, Co. March 1,1897. Most of his schooling was in the Trinidad public schools, although he left school after his sophomore year and went to work in the Commercial Savings Bank.
Frank E. Mason born in Trinidad May 2, 1925 was the third son of Abe and Ethel. He went to school up to his junior year of high school, then went to Albuquerque High his senior year. In April 1943 he joined the Navy and was sent to San Diego, CA, for boot training.
George Mason was born in Paris, MO Aug. 5, 1867 one of eleven children born to Abraham Gartin and Ann E. Sinclair Mason. His father ran the Paris Mercury news paper, where George worked at the printing trade when he was young.
F.H. McElfresh, former manager of the Colorado Supply Store in Starkville, Colorado, was born in Paris, Illinois on December 21, 1873.
Ida Merrill’s father, was an English nobleman, a Baron, born in London England. On arrival in North Carolina, in Albermarle Sound area, he started a ship building business and was a slave holder; later he set his slaves free.
Virgil Micek came from Etwood, Kansas, where the family farmed. He met his wife in Trinidad, Colorado. Together they bought Gordon’s Music.
Learn the historical account of great artist Arthur Roy Mitchell and how the A.R. Mitchell Museum came to be. You’ll love learning more about Trinidad’s history through this amazingly talented man.
David met Clara Mae McInturff at a high school dance in Branson while she was living in town and attending school. She and her parents, J.L. and May McIntruff had come to the area about 40 miles north of Branson from Oklahoma with hope of homesteading a farm on the rim of the Chaquaqua Canyon.
The trails and tribulations of a young Ohio bride living in the Indian country of Texas were terrifying at times. One especially interesting story told by David’s father, Clarence, was about when he was a tiny little boy in Texas. The Indians came and took him from his yard, leaving a calf in his place.
David P. Newcomb moved his family from the mountains after the dust bowl to Trinidad and rented a four-room house from his mother. He paid a small amount each month which went towards payments on purchasing the house. It was a hard struggle trying to make ends meet, but everyone was struggling at that time which was near the end of the depression.
Ortega: The name Ortega has its roots in Spain. It means dweller at the sign of the grouse; one with the characteristics of a grouse. Learn the history of the Ortega family in this historical account.
Thomas and Margaret (Mahoney) O’Mara lived in Trinidad, Colorado from the late1870s to About 1890. The O’Mara Family Bible states that Thomas O’Mara was from Kings County (Offaly), Margaret Mahoney from Cork County, Ireland.
Daniel J. Penno was one of the early newspaper men of Trinidad, CO. Daniel J. Penno was born in 1876 which was the year the United States celebrated its Centennial.
This is a short synopsis of a very fine, and loving father, friendly to everyone, and beloved by many. My dad “Pete” Peterson.
The Plested Family has been active in the business, cultural, and civic life in Trinidad since Rev. William Plested of New York City brought his family to Trinidad in 1882.
Jonathan was baptized into Christ Lutheran Church at Stouchsburg, PA. November 8, 1842. He started to work in the mines in Schuylkill County PA. when he was only eight years of age at $1.25 per week. He attended school sporadically. At the age of seventeen he attended a few miles outside of Naperville, IL. where Jack Gross, a german schoolmaster taught. One day he licked the schoolmaster which ended his schooling. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, blue eyes, dark hair and light complexion.
I have deep roots in Trinidad. Many of my ancestors lived, worked, died and are buried in the area.
Gaspare Rino was born on March 10, 1891 in Aiello Calabria, Italy to Carmine and Rosina Grandinette Rino. He came to the United States at an early age to join his brother Louis
Maria Graciana Ritz was born in Trinchera, Colorado on March 6, 1911. Her mother was Inez Medina who was the daughter of Juan Medina and Lorencita Maestas who were married in 1905. This puts this side of the family as being in Las Animas County for over 100 years and thus receiving the Centennial Family Recognition
He held the love of all his family. He was a generous, helping, and caring man. His life touched andenhanced all those who knew him.
My family and I spent many a holiday down at the farm. It seems like just about every Easter and Christmas the entire Salerno clan would gather for a lot of eating, talking, and laughing. And no Easter celebration was complete without an Easter egg hunt for the kids.
Emily is the daughter of Frank and Teresa Salerno. Emily graduated from Hoehne High School, attended Trinidad Junior College, and Western State.
One of my earliest memories as a small child was being tucked into bed down on the farm. I remember well the hand-stitched wool comforter, heavy and warm. The farm of which I speak belonged to my Grandfather and Grandmother, Frank and Teresa Salerno.
In 1943, Frank Jr. and Pauline were married in Los Angeles. After spending a year overseas as a communications’ officer for the Army Air Force in China, Burma and India, Frank spent the next 33 years in public education.
When I think of my grandparents and their farm, warm memories follow me. The time spent there with them and with my uncles, aunts, and cousins will be among the best of my childhood.
Helen Salerno was the fourth child of Frank and Teresa Salerno. Helen attended Seton School of Nursing, Colorado Springs.
Josephine was the oldest child of Frank and Teresa Salerno. She married George Gerome in 1925. They had three children. Teresa their first child, married Clay Rager. Teresa lives in Santa Ana, California, and has been employed with The Bank of America for many years.
Frank and Teresa’s ninth child was known as “Chickie” to the family.
Rose Caporale was twenty one years old when she married Efisio (Tony) on July 21, 1917. Tony, 33, had traveled and worked in gold and silver mines in California before settling in the Berwind-Tobasco area to work in the coal mines. Rose constantly worried that he would be injured in the mine and by 1922 had talked him into moving to El Moro.
When I was young it wasn’t like it is today. When we got old enough we was turned loose and we had to learn everything the hard way. I had to do everything myself. But it was a good experience. I really made use of the sayin’, “live and learn”.
The saddest part of our lives was when Albert passed away on December 7, 1979. I’ll never forget the morning that he had a heart attack.
In 1930 I met my husband, Albert Sanchez. I was going to school in Hoehne and that is were he lived. His dad, Macedonio Sanchez, was a barber. He had his own shop and he also had a pool hall in the same building.
Betty Sanchez was born to Albert and Louise Sanchez on November 26, 1932. After graduation she went to Denver and got a job. She met her husband, Richard Dalton, who was stationed at Lowery Air Force Base.
I remember when Florence was young and in the evenings we would play cards, mostly Canasta of Trumps. We laugh every time we think of the night we were playing Trumps and Albert bid real high.
The one incident I remember involving Jo Ella happened on our trip to Massachusetts. Albert finally got his wish to travel East in June 1962. We went on a three week vacation to Massachusetts to visit our daughter, Betty.
We didn’t have a radio or anything, but we had a phonograph. My brother Steve would play the guitar, my dad or my uncle Moya would play the violin. We used to play spin the bottle and tell silly made up stories and if anyone laughed they would be out of the game.
I remember Vernon on our trip to Massachusetts. Vernon was only eight years old. It rained all the way from Kim, Colorado to New York. It was so beautiful all the way because everything was green and clean looking.
My father was the greatest, his didn’t let his handicap interferer with life. He loved playing poker at the Volunteer Inn, he worked, cooked, cleaned house, raised two children.
Andre Susan, born July 18, 1888 in Mihelice, Istria-Austria, came to the United States in 1905 at age sixteen and a half. While in Starkville, Colorado he met his wife-to-be, Frances Pauletich. She was born in Rocko Polje, Istria, Yugoslavia on January 5, 1893, and came to the United States in 1921.
Dr. Bud Tatum and Harriet Gordon Tatum were lucky to be born in Colorful Colorado—Bud in Starkville, a mining camp, and Harriet in La Junta.
Born April 15, 1887 in Percy, Illinois, J.P. Tatum was of English, German, and Scottish decent. His father was Rev. J.L. Tatum, a baptist minister, and his mother was Susan Emma Stephens, a devout ministers wife and President of her Baptist Missionary Society.
Julian P. Tatum, Jr. (Bud) was born in a roaring mining camp in Starkville, Colorado on April 3, 1914. He went to school in Berwind and graduated from Trinidad High School in 1931. Bud was an honor graduate of Trinidad State Junior College and graduated at the top of his class at Colorado State College, majoring in History and Political Science.
Born on October 1, 1885 in Palace Hotel in Osage City, Kansas, Myrtle Tatum was the youngest daughter of O.E. McElfresh and Elizabeth Baggerley McElfresh. Her father owned a hotel and mortuary and served as Postmaster of Osage City and as Postal Inspector in Western Missouri.
Bob Tatum, tall, lean, you named it. He has packed his bag of bones from one side of the U.S. to the other either in the Army or looking for Indian writings and picture carvings. He is one of the best known archaeologist in the country.
Clarence became a watchmaker and engraver, working several years at the Baur Jewelry Co. in Trinidad.
Claude was member of Company B, Signal Troop, Colorado National Guard, which was from Trinidad. They went down to El Paso, Texas during the Mexican Border crisis in 1916.
George was one of the Board of Directors that incorporated ‘Aguilar Coal and Mining Company’. During this period George was also proprietor of the Commercial and Central Hotels. He also had dealings with the Jewell Coal Mine and the Rival Coal Mine.
Hazel Irene Tombling, the daughter of George and Lillian Tombling was born on October 9, 1890, Rouse, Colorado.
Irma Tombling was born October 18, 1896, Rockville, Colorado. She married Francis DeJong on September 27, 1915 in Trinidad.
Leonard was born to George and Lillian Tombling on May 20, 1901 in Pictou, Colorado.
Jose’ Benigno Torres was born on February 8, 1859 in Ranchos De Toas, county of Toas Territory of New Mexico. He was the son of Jose’ Tomas Torres and Ma. Del Carmel Cordova, both parents born in northern province of New Mexico belonging to the Republic of Mexico.
Francesco and Angela Marretta Vallone immigrated from Prizzi, Sicily, Italy in 1914. Angela was 39 and Francesco was 53, elderly people for that era. Their immigration is documented by records on the Ellis Island website.
The name Vigil first appears in the New Mexico history in the late 1600’s. Francisco Montes Vigil and Maria Jimenez De Ancizo were colonists from Zacatecas. In Santa Fe in 1695, he said he was a native of El Real De Zacatecas and thirty years old.
Clarence Richard Williams was born January 20, 1900 in Trinidad, Colorado. He and his siblings grew to adult life on “Their Ranch” near El Moro. A voracious reader, he read every book in the library, in Trinidad, by the time he was sixteen.
Family tradition says Ida Drake was a relative of Queen Victoria of England, probably a niece. Family research has traced one branch of the family ancestry bark to 1630 to the Puritans at Salem, Massachusetts.
In May, 1918, Frank and Mildred Williams completed “proving up” their homestead claim; later they received the patent issued on February 25, 1919 signed by President Woodrow Wilson. The 320 acres of homestead land now was theirs.
On March 27, 1912 Frank Williams and Mildred were married in Denver by Reverend Hiram Brooks after a long courtship. They were a very handsome, capable couple. Then in August, 1913 their first baby girl arrived, Ida Wilma.
Marion Daniel Williams was born on September 6, 1865, near Lowry City, Missouri (St. Clair Co.) to Daniel & Mary Elizabeth (Snowder) Williams. Little is known of his father’s family background, except they supposedly had plantations in Virginia.
Merrill, the first boy in the family, was called Buddy, a pet name given by the family, until birth of a second boy four years later. At age of 7, he acquired his first carpenter tools and began learning how to use them. He soon developed a considerable talent in their use. Later as a teenager he was able to help the family by making a number of improvements on their home.
The story begins with Wilma as the oldest child. She soon acquired her mother’s loving ways and greatly assisted her parents in attending to her younger sisters and brothers.
Alice authored Family Care and Post-Discharge Community Adjustment, based on a group research project by the University of Denver School of Social Work. She was also technical editor of the final report on a prisoner work release study project for the U.S. Department of Labor and Manpower Division.
Alice (Ruth’s sister) first recollection is of standing on a small makeshift stage bowing after putting on a little play. Ruth was surprised that Alice remembered because she was only two years old, even Ruth, four at the time, doesn’t remember what the play was or what it was for.