Written by Josie Vera-Garcia. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
Della was born on May 17, 1900 to Antonio Wilson and Lucas Dominguez. Her mother was born in Taos, New Mexico on January 21, 1858 and died July 14, 1945. She came from Irish (Julian Donahue), French (Turcet), Spanish and Indian stock. Little is known of the ancestry of Lucas Dominguez who was born on May 11, 1828 and died May 11, 1923.
In Taos, about 1887, Lucas’ life was threatened. In the dead of night he gathered his wife and two small children, Frances and Ruben, hitched a horse to a wagon and took what belongings they could pack in to the wagon and made their way to Engleville, Colorado. Here they made their home opening a small store, dance hall, and pool room.
Five more children were born to them. Arthur (Arsenio) married Isabel Dominguez, Joe (Aurelio) married Celia, Sam (Salomon) married Viola Vallejos, Ermenio married Lucy Vigil and Della married Apolinar Vera a Spaniard Frances had also married a Spaniard, Cayetano Garcia, and lived at the bottom of Frijole Hill on a sheep ranch. Their first home was a two room log cabin with dirt floors. They later build a new home near by which was considered quite modern for a ranch. Instead of kerosene lamps, carbide lights were installed on the walls. These consisted of small pebbles or coals when activated with water. This produced a gas which created the light. Their children were Toby, Willie, Alex, Eddie, Wilfred, Lily, Sammie and Frankie.
On March 27, 1927 tragedy struck the family. Ruben, the unmarried brother, who lived on a ranch in the vicinity was shot. It seems there was bad blood between him and a wealthy ranch owner, Carlos Sandoval. There was a long standing dispute over water rights, which culminated with the shooting. After being shot, Ruben attempted to crawl to the road for help, but got caught by the barbed wire fence. Here he died and was found by a passer-by. This accident in San Miguel, devastated the family, especially since Sandoval never went to prison. Frances’ anger would surface each time she would see him, and would call him killer.
Arthur and Isabel had three children late in life, Ruben, Aurelio and Josie. Aurelio had one child, Eliosa. Della and Aplinar’s married on June 17, 1918 and produced seven children: Benito (Ben), Theodora (Josie), Antonia (Antoinette), Ermenia (Minnie), Frances who died at birth, Rufina (Ruby) and Vincent. They made their home in Morley, later moving to Trinidad, in 1935. Ben married Cleo Putaturo and worked in the coal mine at Valdez. They had two children: Ben and Cleo Adele. He entered the Marine Corp during World War 2 and was stationed in Japan for Shore Patrol. Upon his return home he became a state patrolman near Alamosa. He married Evelyn Ashton and had another daughter, Verna Lynn. On September 12, 1967 he died of a massive coronary while driving his car. He and his family had made their home in Saguache, Colorado. Josie attended Trinidad State Junior College. Antoninette married Joe P. Montoya from Sarcillo. They moved to California where they had five children: Jim, John, Joe, Julie and Jerry. Della’s three youngest children found their spouses in California. Otis Bay became Minnie’s husband and had three children: Patricia, Deborah and Steven. Ruby and Don Breistig also had three children: Lorna, Susan and Gary. Ruby later married Don Skiles. Wedding bells also rang for Vincent and Joyce Allen, producing five children: Paula, Pamela, David, D’Ann and Russell. After Joyce’s death, Vincent married Jackie Nunnelee and had one more son, Matthew.
Della returned to Trinidad where she died at the San Raphael Hospital after a bout with cancer and heart problems on September 14, 1972. She is buried at the Trinidad Catholic Cemetery with her brothers and sister. Her children live in California, while Josie and Antoinette have second homes in Carcillo and Valdez, Colorado. Minnies’s home is in Lake Havasu, Arizona, Ruby’s home is in Garden Grove and Vincent is in Lakewood, California.
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