Written by Louis N. Ortega. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
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. In 1710, he received a grant of land at Alameda, but sold it two years later.
Their children were: Maria, wife of Martin Romero, and mother of Antonio Romero, Gertrude, Elena, Domingo, who married Maria Estela Marquez, Francisco, husband of Lorenza Medina, Manuel,who married Manuela Sanchez, Juan, husband of Ynez Lopez and then of Nicolasa Lujan and presumably, Pedro who married Juana Trujillo.
Francisco Montez Vigil II and his wife, Antonia Jiron, were living in Santa Cruz, New Mexico when she accused a man of entering her home at midnight when her husband was away. On June 28, 1744, widowed of Antonia Jiron De Castillo, he married Lorenza Medina.
His son Francisco, when marrying Maria De Jesus Mestas, May 12, 1748 gave his name as Francisco Vigil De Santillana and Antonia Jiron De Castillo, a daughter of Francisco III, married Inocentrio Martin at Chama in 1776.
Manuel Gregorio Montez Vigil, who married Lorenza Fernadez Valerio, April 8, 1742, in Santa Cruz was perhaps a son of Francisco II and brother of Francisco III. A Fernadez Valerio was the padrino for the wedding of Francisco Montez III and Maria Mestas in 1748.
Our great, great grandfather, Don Ramon Vigil was living in Santa Cruz in the early 1800’s. Our great grandfather, Juan Vigil, was born at Santa Cruz in 1844.
He was in the freighting business between Santa Fe and Independence, Missouri. The trail was known as the Santa Fe Trail and passed through what is now Trinidad, Colorado. Because he saw possibilities for the land in Colorado, he decided to homestead there in 1862 before Colorado became a state. Our grandfather, Nicholas Vigil, was born in Trinidad, Colorado in 1869.
Juan Vigil served as sheriff 1879, county commissioner, director of schools and county assessor in Las Animas County, Colorado. He returned to New Mexico in 1894 and was a resident when New Mexico became a state in 1912. Juan Vigil was affectionately known as “Juan Colorau” [John the Red], because of his fire red hair.
In 1891, in Trinidad, Colorado, our grandfather married Asencion Santistevan, the daughter of Pedro and Concepcion Santistevan, a rancher residing in Stonewall Valley, west of Trinidad. From that matrimony seven children were born, four of whom lived to adulthood: Domicinda, Monica, Juan Leo, Elenor. Juan Leo his only son, had one son, Leo Vigil, Jr.
In 1892, Nicholas Vigil went to New Mexico to live and engaged in the sheep business near Ute Creek country. He spent forty two years in that place. While living in New Mexico, Mr. Vigil had several appointive positions, once as a Sheep Ranger, Dipping Inspector for cattle and sheep, and was at one time on the mounted police force in that state.
Asencion Vigil died August, 1932, in Roy, New Mexico. She was buried in the family lot in Bueyeros, New Mexico. Nicholas Vigil moved back to Trinidad in November 1934 and resided with the Ortega family until his death. Story continues with Louis Ortega.
Donaciano Vigil, a descendant of the Vigil family, was appointed Governor of the territory of New Mexico by Brig. Gan. Price on December 17, 1847, after the death of Governor Carlos Bent. He was either the brother to Ramon Vigil or a brother to Ramon’s father.
Note: Share your Family Photos. If you have Photos of this family or know of anyone that does, please have them get in touch with us so that we might share some photos of the family here.