Written by Esther DeAguero Welp. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
John B. Kimball (Juan B. Kimball) was born in 1868 to Henry Martin Kimball of Racine, Wisconsin and Maria Librada Romero of Manuelitas, Territory of New Mexico. From what I have been able to find out there were at least four children in the family. John my grandfather, Frank, Manuela and David. Only two survived a smallpox epidemic, my grandfather and Uncle Frank. My grandfather left home at the age of fourteen and made his way to Trinidad. Family oral tradition says that an Italian music teacher who became his mentor offered him room and board in exchange for cleaning his music studio. When my grandfather’s mentor retired he turned his students over to my grandfather.
Besides teaching music, and being music director at Holy Trinity Church, my grandfather also played the piano for the silent movies at the West Theater, and also at the Opera House and also for many dances around Trinidad.
My grandfather’s first wife was Juanita Leyba of Trinidad. They had three children, Anastacio (Ned), David, who died in infancy and Cruz Kimball, who died at birth.
John Kimball, married Esther Long, September 5, 1915 at Holy Trinity Church, padrinos were Willie Simpson and Veroniz Long Simpson. Esther brought two small children to the marriage, Crucita and Lawrence whose father had been killed in the Dawson mine explosion.
A newspaper article, which was recently given to me from the Chronicle News, dated May 21, 1908, describes the dedication of the new West Theater ballroom. Here are some of excerpts of the article:
“Brilliant to a degree was the opening of the new West Theater ball room last evening when Trinidad’s society mingled together in one of the jolliest dancing parties of the year. Kimball’s full orchestra was stationed in the novel little orchestra box in the center of the north part of the room and played for the dancers. The room is such a large one that the one hundred and fifty couples who danced were no more crowded than would be fifty on an ordinary ball room floor. The color scheme, dark green and white, of the ball room decorations, lent itself gracefully to the pretty dresses of the women, who will enjoy thoroughly this pretty ball room all year around.”
The 1933 obituary from the Chronicle News is as follows: “John B. Kimball, a resident of Trinidad for more than 40 years and one of the foremost music professors of this city, died at 3:10 a.m. today at his residence 1105 Garfield avenue, following a short illness. Mr. Kimball was 65 years of age.
Born in New Mexico, Mr. Kimball came to Trinidad more than 40 years ago and has since resided in this city. He began giving instructions in music when a boy 16 years of age and has continued in that profession over a long period time, and was one of the leading figures in the Trinidad music circles.
Mr. Kimball is survived by his wife, Esther Long Kimball, and by two sons and five daughters. Sons are John and Manuel, both of this city. Daughters are Mrs. J. F. Torres, Katherine, Carmen, Teresa and Charlotte Kimball, all of this city. Six grandchildren also survive.” This obituary should also mention Uncle Ned (Anastacio) Kimball.
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