Historical Notes - James Lawrence Hubbell
The marriage of James Lawrence (Santiago) Hubbell and Julianita Gutierrez on March 31 1849 was more than just the joining of two people. It was a marriage of cultures and generations, as well as a marriage of two very important trading families. The Hubbell–Gutierrez House was built for the newlyweds around 1850. The exact date is unknown. The Hubbell family had been residents of Connecticut since the mid 1600’s and James was a man of his times. Julianita was only 16 when she married. Her family was integral to the history of New Mexico. The couple had 12 children while living in the house; four of them died in infancy.
In 1868 the Santa Fe New Mexican wrote, “Captain Santiago Hubbell has finished there one of the largest most convenient and comfortable homes for a residence that we know of in New Mexico.” The Gutierrez family had another larger home south of the current one but it was reported washed away by a flood in 1842. The house in its heyday had 18 rooms, a corral, a store housing a post office and a storeroom for the store's goods.
The Yankee side of the family came to New Mexico in 1846. James Lawrence Hubbell, born in Salisbury Connecticut, came to reinforce Kearny’s forces that had just defeated the Mexican government of Manuel Armijo (Mexican governor of New Mexico 1837-1846). James had joined the Second Regiment of the Missouri Volunteers in 1846 and traveled the Santa Fe Trail only to arrive after the Americans had already captured Santa Fe. He mustered out of the army in 1847. There is some indication that James had been in New Mexico prior to this but further research is needed to verify the truth. His brothers, John, Sydney and Charles also came to New Mexico Territory. John drowned in 1865 while fording a river. Sydney was appointed by President Lincoln to be an Associate Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court. He caused some controversy because of his southern sympathies during the Civil War. Sydney was also the owner of the “Old Hutch” mine in the Magdelena District with Col. J. Francisco Chaves with ore smelting at 60% silver. The strike and original claim were made by J.S. Hutchason in 1866. The mine became a supply center for Gross Blackwell and Company. Charles was to participate in the campaign to move the Navajo from their traditional land to Bosque Redondo that was to become known as the “Long Walk”. By 1880 their parents, John Lawrence Hubbell and Sophia Morris, were living with James at Pajarito.
James was appointed the first sheriff of Valencia County in 1847. Valencia at this time was much larger than now and stretched into Arizona which was part of the Territory of New Mexico. By 1851 he had become a U.S Marshall. In 1858 the Hubbell sheep herd was recorded as being more than 103,000 head.
James played a significant part in the New Mexico volunteer force during the Civil War.
James joined the first of the New Mexico Volunteers as a Captain at the outbreak of the war. He served under two distinguished New Mexicans, Colonel Ceran Saint Vrain and Lt. Colonel Christopher (Kit) Carson. In August of 1861 James was captured at Ft. Craig by the confederate troops advancing from Texas. Captain Hubbell commanded Company B of the 5th NM Infantry Volunteers at the battle of Valverde near Socorro, New Mexico. The company consisted of 74 men at the battle of which 39 were killed, wounded or missing. At 53% this was the second highest mortality rate among all companies fighting there. James was in command of the company of New Mexico volunteers who were charged with protecting Captain Alexander McRae’s artillery battery. When the batteries were captured the confederates were able to withdraw from the field victoriously. Army reports put much of the blame on the local volunteer forces. James was a vociferous advocate of the volunteers made up of Mexican locals and American settlers. He wrote several letters to headquarters defending the honor of the irregular troops.
After the civil war Santiago became a War Claims Agent for the government in 1863. After the war James was to use his army contacts to gain profitable contracts supplying U.S. troops in New Mexico. At one point he was running 40 wagons pulled by ox between Santa Fe and Independence, Missouri.
Julianita could trace her family back to the original settlement of New Mexico under Don Juan de Onate. The first generation to arrive in the New World was Luis Baca and he settled in Mexico City from Toledo, Spain. In 1600 his grandson, Captain Cristobal Baca (Vaca), traveled north to present day New Mexico with reinforcements for Onate. Born in Mexico City, Cristobal made his home in San Gabriel de los Caballeros, now the San Juan Pueblo area. He stayed in the original Spanish colonial capital when others moved to colonize Santa Fe in 1610. He had three daughters and two sons, Alonso and Antonio.
Alonso was the first Baca male born in New Mexico. He led expeditions into Indian Territory as an Army Captain. Antonio Baca was elected Alcalde of Santa Fe in 1641. The two brothers became involved in one of the early conflicts between the residents of New Mexico and the Spanish governors.
Both Alonso and Antonio Baca were accused in the murder of Governor Luis de Rosas in 1641, Antonio, along with 7 others, was executed in Santa Fe July 21, 1643 on the order of Governor Pacheco (1642-1644). Alonso was not executed and was reported living in the Rio Abajo district of New Mexico in 1662. The conflict involved the Franciscan brothers representing the church, Governor Luis de Rosas representing the crown and his own greed, and families like the Bacas who had settled the area and had long-term interests. While the murder was said to be the result of defending the honor of a Baca cousin, Nicolas Ortiz, whose wife had been seduced by the governor, the real reasons are much more complicated. Nothing is ever simple in New Mexico history. The Baca family left New Mexico when the Pueblo Indians rose up and drove the Spanish settlers from New Mexico.
Sometime after 1692 the family returned to New Mexico and the 1750 census of San Ysidro de Paxarito listed Antonio Baca, his wife Monica Chabes, 6 children and 10 servants as residents. The first record to establish the ownership of the Pajarito Grant was Josepha Baca’s 1746 will. The will set the boundaries as the Atrisco Grant on the north, the Los Padillas on the south, and stretching between the Rio Grande and the Rio Puerco.
Josepha Apolonia Baca was the daughter of Captain Antonio Baca and Monica Duran y Chavez. She purchased 40,000 acres in Pajarito from her father on March 10, 1785. Official measurement and division of Sitio de Pajarito took place on May 1789 for inheritance purposes. Josepha petitioned Gov. Juan Bautista de Anzo to secure the property and he recognized claims to the Sitio de Pajarito by the family. She died on Jan. 14, 1817.
Josepha Apolonia Baca married Clemente Gutierrez on Oct. 13, 1755 at Isleta, NM. Clemente was born in Aragon, Spain to Pedro Gutierrez and Maria Garcia. In addition to being a successful farmer, trader, and merchant Don Clemente dominated the sheep industry on the Chihuahua Trail. With sheep flocks in excess of 25,000 head, John O. Baxter in Las Carneradas describes Don Clemente as “King of the Chihuahua Traders”. He was also the Business Agent for the Franciscan order in New Mexico, and as such, managed the church’s land and livestock and acted as the official collector of church tithes. The acequia madre that feed much of the present south valley was built by Don Clemente. He died April 20, 1785.
Josepha Apolonia purchased 40,000 acres from her father on March 10, 1785. Official measurement and division took place in May of 1789 for inheritance purposes. Josepha petitioned Gov. Juan Bautista de Anzo to secure the property and he recognized her claims to the Sitio de Pajarito. She died on January 14, 1817.
Josepha Apolonia and Don Clemente’s son Lorenzo inherited the property. He served in the Spanish army as Captain of the Pajarito military post. Lorenzo also served as the Alcalde (Mayor) of Albuquerque. He was a delegate to the Mexican Cortez. Donb Lorenzo was involved in the infamous Massacre Cave incident at Canyon de Chelly. The conflict started in mid-January during what the Navajo call the “time of crusted snow.” Lt. Colonel Antonio Narbona from Sonora, Mexico with Capitan Lorenzo Gutierrez and other provincial leaders led 300 troops 200 mile west of Albuquerque to the Navajo stronghold of Canyon de Chelly. The Navajo had been raiding the settlements of the Rio Grande Valley. According to Navajo oral tradition the Spanish found the Navajo hold up in a cave while most of the men were away hunting. Narbona reports killing 115. 11 children and the wounded prisoners were given to the Sonorans and the their horses were given to the auxiliary. Narbona claimed 24 captives for himself. Spanish Baptismal records in the Isleta Pueblo parish records indicate that some of the captured were household members at Pajarito.
Lorenzo’s son, Juan Jose (Nepomuceno) Gutierrez purchased the Pajarito property from his father. He married Barbara Chavez from another prominent New Mexico family. Her father, Don Francisco Xavier Chavez, was the first governor of New Mexico under the Republic of Mexico. On January 29, 1822, in Santa Fe, Don Francisco Javier Chavez was elected to the first provincial assembly for New Mexico under the recently independent Mexican Government. Peréz Serrano was chosen as the New Mexico representative to the first Mexican constitutional congress. The serving governor Facundo Melgares was a hold over from the pre-revolution government and was removed and Don Francisco Xavier Chavez became the first gobernador (governor) of New Mexico under Mexican rule by July of 1822. The Chavez branch of the family can trace its New Mexican history back to Pedro Gomez Duran y Chavez who was one of the first settlers of the area. When the Spanish returned to New Mexico after the Pueblo revolt the King of Spain gave Don Fernando Duran y Chavez the Atrisco land grant. This grant became the Northern border of the Pajarito grant. According to Marc Simmons book Coronado’s Land the Chavez family was part of “the upper crust of the Rio Abajo (that) formed a powerful clique that easily dominated political, economic and social life between Bernalillo and Belen.”
Two of her brothers Juan and Jose were also Governors of New Mexico. A third brother Mariano Chavez with Manuel Armijo raised a force to put down insurrectionists who objected to the new government. . The Rio Abajo (Lower River) forces were commanded by Manuel Armijo who was the governor at the time of the American invasion of New Mexico.
Juan Nepomuceno and Barbara Chavez’s daughter was Julianita. Together with James she had twelve children. Santiago Francisco (1850), Marina (1852, who died at two years of age), Juan Lorenzo (1853), Marina Louise (1855), Carlos (1856, also known as Cahrles), Barbara (1858,who died in her first year), Jose Felipe (1861), Francisco Alarico (1863), Tomas (1864, who died in his first month), Roman (1865, who lived to only be three), Thomas Strachan (1866) and Barbara (1868). James was to practice law in New Mexico after attending West Point and Georgetown University. Marin Louise Married Dr. John Thomas in 1878. Juan Lorenzo was to be perhaps the best known of the children. He went on to become a famous trader on the Navajo reservation at Genado Arizona. The site of his Hubbell Trading Post is now a National Historic Site. In 1876 he married Lina Rubi whose father had served with James in the New Mexico volunteers. Carlos also went to Arizona as a trader but was killed by two Navajo in 1919.
Julianita lived until 1899 and bequeathed the Pajarito home to Jose Felipe who had married May Helen Kelly from Pennsylvania in 1892. A 1927 appraisal recorded more that 130 acres of land with a 16-room adobe house with a store and garage, a smaller three-room house,(built by James M. Hubbell) 20 acres of orchard, 59 acres of alfalfa and 42 acres of pasture. J. Felipe was did not become a trader or rancher as most of his ancestors. Instead he was more of a farmer and merchant. He managed the store and the post office at the house. They had seven children, James M., Philip, Harold Louise, Julie, May, and Walter. On October 18, 1910 at 49 J. Felipe died of Cancer.
Philip Hubbell cut short his studies at St. Michael’s in Santa Fe to help his mother run the family business. Philip was a Special Agent of the Interior Department from 1912 to 1917. In April of 1917 he organized Company L. of the 1st New Mexico Infantry National Guard. He was transferred to the &&th; Division from New York City and was sent to Liverpool, England where he trained troops for the Normandy Invasion. He fought in both the Battles of St. Michael and the Argonne Forest. He spent a month in the hospital after being injured in a Chlorine gas attack. In 1925 the family holdings included a vineyard and orchard of 40 acres, 165 acres of alfalfa and hay, and 70 acres of pasture land. May Kelly Hubbell died in 1929 and left her estate to Philip, May, Louise, and Harold. The Majority of the Land was sold off over the years after being subdivided with the creation of the Hubbell Tracts in 1934. The family retained 10 acres near the house which is the property today. May lived in the house until 1974. Louise lived with her Husband Clifford Erdal until her deathin1996. The house was sold to Ruben Rodriguez who wanted to develop it. In November 2000 Bernalillo County used open space funds money to purchase the property thanks to the efforts on the Committee to Preserve the Hubbell Property.
The Hubbell House Alliance entered into a partnership agreement with Bernalillo County to organize volunteers, to assist with community outreach, and solicit grant money. The house was recognized by “Restore America: A Salute to Preservation”, a partnership of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the History Channel’s Save America’s Treasures, and Home and Garden Television. A special documentary was filmed and aired on HGTV.
Indian Trader: The Life and Times of J.L. Hubbell
By Martha Blue
Published by Kiva, 2000
ISBN 1885772211, 9781885772213,
6029 Isleta Blvd.
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87105