Written by E. L. Torres. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
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. They were descendants of the conquistadors and re-conquistadors of New Mexico from Spain. Beginning about 1640 we can trace Benigno’s ancestry beginning with Xptobol de Torres, (b.ca. 1668) who married Angela Leyba.
They had an only son, Captain Diego de Torres (b. about 1692) whose first wife was Ma. Rosa Varela Jaramillo and their second son was Marcial de Torres, (b.ca. 1712) Marcial was married twice. His first wife Ma. Luxan and most of his seven children were massacred by Apache about 1748 and as luck would have it his second wife, Ma. de la Luz Martin and most of his second family of seven were killed by another raid about 1760, this time Marcial lost his life.
One son that survived was Antonio Jose’ Torres who married Ma. Nicolasa Zandobal in 1782, they had a boy that they named after the father, Jose Antonio Torres b.ca. 1793. Jose Antonio Torres married Ma. Yssabel Fernadez in 1812 and they became the parents of three boys who grew up to marry three Cordova sisters. Pedro Antonio Torres married Ma. Josefa Cordoba, Jose tomas Torres married Ma. Carmen Cordoba and Jose Francisco Torres married Ma. de Jesus cordoba, all daughters of Jose Rafael Cordoba et Ma. Guadalupe Trujillo.
Benigno grew up in and around the small valley of Tio Chiquito near Ranchos de Toas, New Mexico. The house that he was born in, on “La ceja de la Loma” (The crest of the hill) on the south side od this pristine valley, still stands and is still occupied. On the north side of this beautiful valley stands La Yglesia San Francisco de Asisis, where Benigno was baptized and where his father and mother are buried. Benigno’s ancestors were “Solider-Ranchers” ny necessity, they had to raise their animals and plant their crops to survive the harsh winters but they also were always prepared to defend their properties from the ever present dangers of marauding Indians who were trying to reclaim their lands.
Benogno’s school room was the out of doors, his teachers were his father, mother, brothers and experience. Formal education in those times and places were rare, but the children of Don Tomas knew how to rad and write Spanish and some English. They were taught enough mathematics to conduct whatever transactions that were necessary.
When Benigno became marriageable age he went with his father to a small village, called La Jolla (today is called Verde, New Mexico) and there he noticed a young girl washing her long black hair, she was the oldest daughter of Luis Ma. Garcia and ma. Rafaela Valdez. She had a beautiful name, Marina and she was born in La Jolla in 1862. Benigno told his father that he was going to marry this girl with the long black tresses. And so it was arranged, that the Garcia family would travel towards Ranchos de Toas and meet the Tomas Torrres family somewhere between La Joya and Ranchos de Toas, there Marina and Benigno would be married and a two to three day wedding fiesta was held. With Tomas supplying the beef from his Rancho. The wedding took place and the newly-weds moved into the house of Tomad in Ranchos de Toas.
It wasn’t long after that, that they moved to El VaLLe de San Francisco, which is in Colorado now, on the border of New Mexico just forty five miles west of Trinidad. It was here that their eldest child was born, in 1884, named Juan Delfino Torres. Tio Delfino grew up in El Valle and married first Francisquita Vallejos, with whom he had no offspring. His second marriage to Manuelita Joaques proved more fruitful as he fathers twelve children and built up a cattle ranch in the area of Kim, Colorado, east of Trinidad.
Jose Luis Torees, the older brother of Benino was the first of the Torres family to settle in El Valle, which when a U.S. Post Office was formed and Luis was the Postmaster, the named changed from El Valle de San Francisco to Torres Valley. Sometimes this area was known as El Valle de Los Rancheros because of the small ranches in the area.
Jose Emilio Torres, b. 1883 in Ranchos de Toas, New Mexico was the next born. He grew up and married a daughter of the prestigious Vallejos family, the beautiful Eufemia Vallejos from El Valle, together they raised six children all of whom became teachers in Colorado.
Caterina Torres b., 1892 in Torres and m. Emilio Vigil, but tragically died after having only one girl, she died in Dawson New Mexico in 1920.
Salome Torres, b. 1898 in Torres grew up and married the enterprising Tobias Aragon, decedent of other pioneer settlers of El Valle. Their children numbered two with one other being adopted. They still are all successful in teaching and business.
Jose Eugenio Torres. b. 1901 in Torres, Colorado. Gene was raised in El Valle but as soon as he could, at the age of seventeen he joined the Navy, but was mustered out before he had a chance to go to World War I. He made his profession a baker, and later married the beautiful irish girl Addie Rachel Minniss, daughter of Jaduthan Fuller Minniss and Mary Etta Markham, pioneer farmers in the area of Sugar City, Colorado. Gene and Addie had three boys, a Veterinarian, a Teacher and a Minister. Gene later returned to the occupation of his ancestors ranching in Colorado, east of Trinidad, where his widow still lives in 1990.
The youngest child of Benino and Marina was Ma. Rafaela Torres, b. 1904 in Torres, Colorado. After going to teacher college in Greeley, Colorado she married Ricardo Enrique Casados. They had two loving daughter who became successful in the teaching field and business.
Beningo lived for a while in Torres, Colorado until lands were taken over mostly by big business concerns, at which time he decided to move on. The Homestead act was in effect at that time and Benino proved up some land in Northern New Mexico around Capulin, which he played into more land in southern Colorado near Villagreen. This is the ranch where Benino lived out his last days, raising cattle, just as his Spanish conquisador, rancher-farmer-solider ancestors did more than three hundred years ago in that far away land of the Spanish province of New Mexico. Jose Benigno Torres died February 1, 1941 in Trinidad, CO.
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