The Cobos and Their Descendants – From Nueva Viscaya to New Mexico

After the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the violence in the ‘northern frontier’ of Nueva España did not end.  It escalated.  To defend themselves and protect their interests, the Spanish established a line of military Presidios from Nueva Viscaya to New Mexico.

Many people who now live in the American West and Southwest are descended from persons who lived and/or worked in and around these Presidios.  These people’s ancestors bore the surnames Cobos (Covos), De La O, Cordero, Ronquillo, Aranda, Navarrette, Monzon, Olguin, Rivera, Bustillos, Duran, Del Rio, Acosta, Ponze (de Leon), Rivas, Muela, Sotelo, and many others.  It should be mentioned that persons from all backgrounds lived and worked at these Presidios – Español, Indio, Mulato and Mestizo. 

For the most part, the soldiers of the Presidio system had it rough.  They spent much of their time away from home and on horseback searching for and fighting their enemies or providing military escort.  This is particularly true for the soldiers of the Compañia Volante (“Flying Company.”)  They had to buy their own gear (e.g., horses, guns, ammunition, swords, lances, leathers) and most went into significant debt to do so.  Then, they had to wait a very long time to be paid, and most did not get paid very much, which created problems for those who were in debt and had children.  The top military positions and the top salaries were usually reserved for men who were born in Spain.  Soldiers born in Nueva España were paid significantly less than those born in Spain. See generally, Max L. Moorhead, The Presidio: Bastion of the Spanish Borderlands (University of Oklahoma Press, 1991).

Based on research, the Linealist believes that Gertrudis Cobos (Covos), who married Cristobal De La O in 1791, was related to the Cobos family of the Presidio communities of Nueva Viscaya.  In this article, to distinguish her from other persons named Gertrudis Cobos, the Gertrudis Cobos who married Cristobal De La O will be referred to as “our Gertrudis Cobos” or “our Gertrudis.” Her descendants later settled in what is now known as Doña Ana County, New Mexico in the late 1840s, as will be discussed in the forthcoming article De La O, Part III.

The Cobos of Presidio de Valle de San Bartolome

Before Guajoquilla, the Cobos family lived in the Valle de San Bartolome, now known as Valle de Allende, which is located in present day south-central Chihuahua. The Spanish operated a presidio in San Bartolome from 1712 to 1751.  Miguel de Cobos and his wife Maria Nuñes lived in San Bartolome.  Their children included: Ygnacio (b. 1677, FHL 162634, p. 78) and Bernardo (FHL 162651, pp. 38-39).  San Bartolome church records describe Miguel de Cobos as an Alferez, a lower ranking military officer.  (Please note that the FHL page numbers referenced here are the microfilm image page numbers, not original source document numbers.)

In 1700, Bernardo de Cobos, a “soldado de compaña” (son of Miguel de Cobos and Maria Nuñes) married Maria Gutierres Caburrado (b. 1676) of San Bartolome.  (FHL 162651, pp. 38-39.)  Maria Gutierres, who had several siblings, was the daughter of Miguel Gutierres Caburrado and Maria Amparan of San Bartolome.  (FHL 162634, p. 75; FHL 162651, pp. 38-39).  In attendance at the wedding of Bernardo de Cobos and Maria Gutierres were other soldiers who served as witnesses and a solider who served as the padrino.  Five years earlier, in 1695, Bernardo passed muster with all required arms in a violent campaign against the indigenous “Pimas.”  Taylor Naylor, ed., The Presidio and Militia on the Northern Frontier of New Spain: A Documentary History, pp. 665-666 (University of Arizona Press, 1986.)

Bernardo de Cobos and Maria Gutierres’ had at least 9 children in San Bartolome, including Joseph Domingo (b. 1701), Bernardo (b. 1702), Ygnacia (b. 1704), Manuel (b. 1706) Gertrudis (b. 1707), Pantaleon Antonio (b. 1709), Cayetano (b. 1712), Manuel Raymundo (b. 1715); Sebastian Cristostomo (b. 1719) and Miguel.  (FHL 162634; FHL 162651, p. 209-210).  Bernardo’s brother, Ygnacio, served as his daughter Ygnacia’s padrino.  (FHL 162634, p. 306.)

 In 1706, Ygnacio de Cobos (the son of Miguel de Cobos and Maria Nuñez) married Catalina Olguin.  (FHL 162651, pp. 64-65.)  Ygnacio and Catalina’s children included: Juana Josepha (b. 1706), Eugenio (b. 1707), Maria (b. 1710), Juan De Dios (b. 1712), Juan Francisco (b. 1712), Antonio (b. 1714), Mariano Antonio (b.  1716), Maria Nicolasa (b. 1718), Pheippe (b. 1721) and Vicente (b. 1727)  (FHL 162634.)  It should be mentioned that for certain persons baptismal records cannot be located or never existed, including for members of the Cobos and De La O families.  We know that these persons existed, however, based on other records. 

Based on their lives, it can be assumed that Cobos family members were independent types.  Juana de Cobos, the daughter of Ygnacio Cobos and Catalina Olguin, for example, moved to San Felipe del Real (later known as the town of Chihuahua) and operated her own bakery and had a very competitive personality.  Juana is now legend.  See Cheryl English Martin, Governance and Society in Colonial Mexico: Chihuahua in the Eighteenth Century, pp. 40-41, 166-72, 181, 195, 243.  As explained by Professor Martin:

The remarkable biography of Juana de Cobos provides telling insights on the status of female heads of households in colonial Chihuahua.  She belonged to a family of relatively poor españoles…. By the early 1740s Cobos had established a bakery, using the proceeds to support six children and a number of grandchildren for several decades to come….Competing with male bakers probably posed the greatest challenge for Cobos other other women [bakers]…. These men enjoyed substantial economic advantages because they could afford to buy supplies in bulk and benefit from other economies of scale.  The most successful of them participated in merchants’ juntas… Over the years Juana de Cobos earned a reputation among the town’s prosperous male bakers for being outspoken and often uncooperative.  In 1748 she resisted paying her assessment to help underwrite the comedy planned by the bakers to commemorate the coronation of King Fernando VI. … Cobos also evidently led the way in breaking bread prices in 1760, underselling her competitors and eventually forcing them to lower their prices….

(Id., at pp. 166-167.) 

In 1727 in San Bartolome, Bernardo de Cobos’ son Bernardo Cobos (described as español) married Angela, a woman described as a mulata slave. (FHL 162651, p. 200).  The same year, Bernardo’s son Miguel married Josepha Ponze de Leon, daughter of Pedro Ponze and Catalina Sotelo.  (FHL 162651, p. 209.)  Miguel and Josepha had at least one child, Diego Ygnacio Gregorio (FHL 162634.)

In 1735, Bernardo de Cobos’ son Joseph de Cobos married Josefa Gandara in Parral.  (FHL 162555.)  Joseph de Cobos was described in a marriage record as being a vecino of San Bartolome.  Josefa was the daughter of Nicolas De La Gandara and Maria Rosa Aguirre.  Joseph de Covos and Josefa Gandara had at least 11 children in San Bartolome, including Thomas Antonio (b. 1732), Yldephonso Antonio (1734), Ygnacia Castora (b. 1735), Santiago Antonio (b. 1740), Juana Joseph (1743), Apolonio Irineo (b. 1746), Manuel Mariano (b. 1748), Joseph Antonio (b. 1750), Miguel (b. 1750), and Facundo.  (FHL 162634.)  Facundo is discussed below.

First Generation of the Cobos in Guajoquilla: Juan Francisco Cobos + Ygnacio Cobos

 Many of the early settlers of Guajoquilla, now known as Jimenez, were from San Bartolome.  In January of 1753, a man by the name of Juan Francisco Cobos was recorded as living in a house near where the Presidio de Guajoquilla would be built. He was one of the “original” vecinos of Guajoquilla.  (Francisco R. Almada, Resumen Geografico Del Municipio De Jimenez, p. 13).  He was likely a descendant of Miguel de Cobos, and possibly one of the sons of Ygnacio Cobos and Catarina Olguin.  In 1762, the Juan Francisco Cobos who settled in Guajoquilla was described as having guns, other weapons, ammunition, fifteen horses, three mares, sixty cattle and a family of eight people.  (Almada, p. 20.)  He was married to Maria Francisca Sotelo. Their children included Maria de Guadalupe, who died at the age of twenty (FHL 162514, p. 41); Maria del Carmen, who married Joseph Victoriano Albines of Chihuahua (FHL 162511, p. 45); Maria Francisca, who married the soldier Antonio Paulin de la Riva (ibid.); Maria Dolores, who married Juan Antonio Mendes of the Pueblo of Hochistlan (FHL 162511, p. 52); Josefa, who married Cristobal Rios (FHL 162511, p. 71); Joseph/Jose, who married Juana Rubia, the daughter of Jose Rubio and Juliana Contreras (FHL 162511, p. 108); Francisco, a soldier of the Compañia Volante, who married Carmen Alvarez (FHL 162513, p. 103). 

In the many years that he lived in Guajoquilla, Juan Francisco Cobos had a well-earned reputation as the “cabiloso” and was known to be an individual of strong character, who had very little conflicts with others.  (Almada, p. 25).   After the main Guajoquilla presidio troops were transferred to the north, in about 1779, the management of the edifice of the Presidio of Guajoquilla was left to him.  But Father Bergara challenged his jurisdiction to the Guajoquilla chapel, and a heated conflict ensued.  Juan Francisco Cobos was excommunicated, which reportedly created a sensation in the region as this was the first time such an excommunication had occurred in the area.  (Id. at p. 26.) The penalty of excommunication was reversed, however, after Cobos traveled to Durango and presented a complaint with Diocese authorities.  (Id., p. 26.)  Juan Francisco Cobos served as a witness at several marriages from 1764 to 1774.  He was dead by the time his son Joseph got married in 1787.  Due to Juan Francisco’s conflict with the church and subsequent temporary excommunication, some of the Cobos family infants of Guajoquilla may not have been baptized.  It is possible that Jose Francisco Cobos is the father of our Gertrudis, if his wife Francisca had her relatively late.  (Other possible parents of our Gertrudis are mentioned below.)   

 Ygnacio Cobos was also mentioned as being present in January of 1753, as one of the original settlers of Guajoquilla.  (Almada, p. 15)  This particular Ygnacio is believed to be Ygnacio Francisco Cobos, one of the sons of Ygnacio Cobos and Catalina Olguin and brother of Juan Francisco Cobos.  Ygnacio married Maria Antonia Acosta.  Ygnacio’s and Antonia’s children included: Rufino (b. 1746), Nicolas (b. 1753), Ygnacio (b. 1759), and Ygnacio Casimiro Luciano (b. 1761), Tomas Ygnacio Manuel Cobos (b. 1765), Quiterio (b. ca. 1761), Ygnacio Manuel Mariano (b. 1765), Rosalia, and Francisco Ygnacio Cobos.  (FHL 162499.)  By now, you must have noticed that the name Ygnacio (Ygnacia) was very popular in the Cobos family.  It is possible that Ygnacio Cobos is the father of our Getrudis, if his wife Antonia had her relatively late. 

In the local census of 1779, Ygnacio Cobos was described as being the head of household, with land and water, a small house, two riding horses, four mares, three colts, a muzzle-loading musket, a shotgun, a pistol, a sword, two spears, a shield and a bag of bullets.  (Almada, p. 27.)

Second and Third Generations of the Cobos in Guajoquilla

Many other Cobos’ were born and/or were married in Guajoquilla in addition to those mentioned above.  In 1768, Rosalia Cobos or Rosa (Ignacia Rosalia), the daughter of Ygnacio Cobos and Antonia Acosta’s married Juan Antonio Del Rio.  (FHL 162511, p. 43).  Juan Antonio Del Rio was the son of Juan Bernabe del Rio and Ygnacia Ortega, who were originally from Conchos, but had been vecinos of Guajoquilla for about twelve years before their son’s marriage.  In the 1762 accounting of persons in Guajoquilla, Bernabe Del Rio was described as having no cuera (no leather armor jacket), weapons and ammunition, six horses, a mare, a yoke of oxen, no cows, and a family consisting of seven people.  (Almada, p. 22.)  Bernabe Del Rio died in 1771. (FHL 162514, p. 55.)  Rosalia Cobos’ and Juan Antonio’s children included Ygnacia Albina  (b. 1769) and Jose Ygnacio Gregorio (b. 1781).  (FHL 162499.)  In 1774, their daughter Ygnacia died in Guajoquilla.  (FHL 162514, p. 60.) 

In 1769, Maria Francisca Cobos (daughter of Juan Francisco Cobos and Francisca Sotelo) and her husband Antonio Riva (Rivas) had a son named Joseph Francisco Theodoro Ribas Cobos.  (FHL 162699 at p. 112.).

In 1772, Francisco Ygnacio Cobos (“espanol natural” and “vecino”), the son of Ygnacio Cobos and Antonia Acosta, married Paula Monzon, the adopted daughter of Don Manuel Joseph Monzon.  Don Manual Joseph Monzon, who had died a year earlier, was one of the original vecinos of Guajoquilla, and was described in 1753 as being a 56-year-old gunsmith from Mexico City.  (FHL 162514, p. 149; Almada at p. 15.)  Francisco Ygnacio and Paula Monzon had at least one child, Joseph Ygnacio (FHL 162499).  It is possible that Francisco and Paula were our Gertrudis Cobos’ parents. 

From time to time, indigenous persons attacked residents in Guajoquilla.  In 1772, a woman by the name of Carmen Cobos and 29 others were killed by persons described as “Horogachi” (Tamahara) and “heathen Indians”.   (FHL 162514, p. 52-53.)

In 1773, Facundo Cobos, the son of Joseph Cobos and Josefa Gandara and the grandson of Bernardo Cobos married Maria Gertrudis Cordero in Guajoquilla.  (FHL 162511, p. 65.)  Maria Gertrudis Cordero was the daughter of Don Francisco Cordero and Doña (Francisca) Ydefonia Duran.  (FHL 162499, p. 24Don Francisco Cordero was from San Bartolome and Ydefonia Duran was from Conchos, but at some point moved to Guajoquilla.  Facundo and Gertrudis Cordero had at least 7 children, including Joseph Maria (b. 1774); Maria Josepha (b. 1776); Mariana Josepha (b. 1779), who died in 1779; Juan Jose (b. 1788); Maria Lubobina (b. 1794); Luiz Gonzaga (b. 1797); Jose Maria Olayo (b. 1801); Alexo, who married Agustina Duran, and; Mariana, who died in 1779. (FHL 162499; FHL 162514, p. 96; FHL 162511, p. 244).  It is possible that Facundo and Gertrudis were our Gertrudis Cobos’ parents. 

Serving as padrinos at the marriage of Facundo Cobos and Gertrudis Cordero were Gertrudis Cordero’s siblings, Don Joseph Francisco Cordero (b. 1755) and Doña Juliana Cordero (b. 1753).  As noted before, Guajoquilla was a relatively small town.  Juan Francisco Cobos most definitely knew Facundo Cobos; they were likely uncle and nephew.  In October of 1774, at the marriage of Juan Felipe Zereseda and Maria Andrea Ochoa, Facundo served as padrino while the older Juan Francisco Cobos served as witness.  (FHL 162511, at p. 67.)

According to a 1779 census, Facundo Cobos lived on the outskirts of the pueblo, and was a man of very modest means.  He was described as the head of family with an abobe house and a piece of land to garden.  The fact that Facundo had no weapons indicates that he was not a soldier, at least, at the time.  (Almada, p. 29.)

Also living at the outskirts of Guajoquilla was a man by the name of Manuel Cobos.  This Manuel Cobos in 1779 had an adobe house, was the head of a family, had a horse and saddle, a lance and a shield. (Almada at 29.)  This may be the Manuel Cobos from San Bartolome who married Maria Albina Mendoza from Conchos; they had a “mulata” infant  named Maria Albina, whose padrino was Quiterio Cobos.  (FHL 162499, p. 190.)  This Manuel could have been Quiterio’s brother “Ygnacio Manuel.”  Alternatively, this Manuel Cobos may have been “Joseph Manuel,” the son of Raimundo Cobos and Manuela Talabera of San Bartolome, and the grandson of Bernardo Cobos and great-grandson of Miguel Cobos (FHL 162635), who married Maria Josefa Gertrudis Fuentes in Parral in 1776.  (FHL 162556.)

In July of 1775, in Guajoquilla, Juan Francisca Cobos y Arellanos, the son of Juan Francisco Arellano and Maria Gertrudis Cobos and the grandson of Bernardo Cobos and great-grandson of Miguel Cobos) married Maria Andrea Rosalia Garcia.  (FHL 162635; FHL 162511, p. 69.)

On October 20, 1775, in Guajoquilla, Maria Gertrudis Nicolasa, an infant described as “española” with “padres no conocidos” (parents unknown) was baptized in Guajoquilla.  Her padrinos were Maria Josefa Cobos and Joseph Phelipe de Vera y Valdez.  Most likely, this infant was born out-of-wedlock and persons actually knew the identity of her mother.  It is possible that based on her Cobos madrina that this infant is related to the Cobos family, and it is slightly possible that this infant was our Gertrudis Cobos.  (FHL 162499, p. 176.)

In 1778 in Guajoquilla, Gregorio Cobos, español, originally from Valle de San Bartolome, the son of Raimundo Cobos and Manuela Talabera, married Doña Maria Anna Aranda, the daughter of Don Mariano Aranda and Doña Maria de Ayala.  (FHL 162511, p. 76)  Gregorio was the grandson of Bernardo de Cobos and great-grandson of Miguel de Cobos.  In 1781, at the age of twenty-two, Gregorio enlisted in the 7th Reserve Compaña Dragones Provinciales San Carlos.  (AZU Film 318, Parral 1790 B, FR. 1166.)   In 1786, Gregorio Cobos and his wife Maria Aranda experienced the death of two of their little girls.  (FHL 162514, p. 135).  As military records show in 1789, they still had one son and two daughters.  (AHP Parral 1787B FR.1373-1374.)  One of their surviving children, Blasa, married Jose Bustillos.  (FHL 162511, p. 180)  In 1802, Gregorio’s wife died.  (FHL 162514 at 221). 

In 1779 in Guajoquilla, Antonio Esmeregildo (Hesmergildo) Cobos, the son of Joseph Cobos and Josefa Gandara, married Maria Ramona Acosta, the daughter of Joachin Acosta and Manuela Polanco.  (FHL 162511, p. 86.)  (Antonio Esmeregildo was known as Esmergildo.)  Esmeregildo was the grandson of Bernardo de Cobos and great-grandson of Miguel de Cobos.  He was the cousin of Gregorio Cobos.  Esmeregildo and Ramona Acosta had at least two children, including Antonia, who married Rito Gomez  (FHL 162511, p. 197), and Clara, who married Rafael Jordan.  (FHL 162511, p. 208). 

In 1781, at the age of twenty, Quiterio Cobos, the son of Ygnacio Cobos and Antonio Acosta, enlisted in the 7th Reserve Compaña Dragones Provinciales San Carlos.  A few years later he was discharged for illness.  (AZU Film 318, Parral 1779 B, FR. 693.)  He married Antonia Covos in 1797.  (FHL 162511, p. 158.)  Their children included Maria Michaela, who married Juan Jose Zosa.  Quiterio died in 1806.  (FHL 162514, p. 263.)

In 1786, Luciano Cobos, the son of Ygnacio Covos and Antonia Acosta, married Paula Loya, the daughter of Jose Ignacio Loya and Rosalia de Fierro, of Conchos. (FHL 162511, p. 102.)  This “Loya” family may have actually been “De La Os.”  In  the Guajoquilla death record, a Luciano Covos is listed as being married to “Paula De La O.”  (FHL 162514, p. 157.)  Luciano Cobos died in 1787.  Josefa, their daughter, married a man named Francisco, a solider of the Compañia Volante.  (FHL 162513, p. 107.)

 In 1791, our Gertrudis Cobos married Cristobal De La O.   Soledad Cobos served as the madrina at their wedding.  Soledad Cobos may be the sister or cousin of our Gertrudis Cobos.  Soledad Cobos also served as the madrina at the wedding of Quiterio Cobos’s daughter, Michaela, a fact that indicates that Soledad Cobos (and our Gertrudis) were both related to Quiterio.  (FHL 162511, p. 206.)  Francisco Cobos, who was a soldier, may be the brother or cousin of Gertrudis.  Francisco served as the padrino at the baptism of Nasario (Nasiforo), the son of Gertrudis and Cristobal.  A man named Francisco Cobos also served as a padrino for one of Soledad Covos’ children. 

In 1795, Josefa (Maria Guadalupe) Cobos, daughter of Gregorio Cobos and Maria Aranda, married Ramon Ponze.  Josefa (Maria Guadalupe) died in 1814. (FHL 162514, p. 309)

In 1798, Mariano Cobos, the son of Ygnacio Covos and Antonio Acosta married Rosa Luna.  (FHL 162511, p. 165.)  Less than five years later, Mariano died.  (FHL 162514, p. 221)

Soledad Cobos married Manuel Maria Cordero.  They had at least four children: Maria Petra Rafaela Cordero (b. 1800); Jose Rafael Ygnacio (b. 1802); Maria Del Carmen; Maria de Jesus (b. 1810).  (FHL 162499; FHL 162513.) 

In 1801, one of the sons of Facundo Cobos and Gertrudis Cordero’s died.  (FHL 162514, p. 213.)  In 1802, Facundo Cobos’ brother in law, Don Jose Francisco Cordero, the “Mayor Domo,” died.  (Id., p. 225.)  In 1803, Facundo himself died.  (Id., p. 232.)

In 1803, Josepha, the daughter of the soldier Francisco Cobos, died.  (FHL 162513 p. 140).

In 1807, a man by the name of Francisco Cobos married Paula Ugarte.  Their children included Maria de la Luz Cobos, who married Ypolito (FHL 162511, p. 248).  Paula died in 1813.  (FHL 162514, p. 297.)

In 1809, a young son of Blasa Cobos and Jose Maria Bustillos died.  The boy was the grandson of Gregorio Cobos. 

Take note that there is a Cobos-Cordero familial connection in Guajoquilla.  Facundo Cobos married Gertrudis Cordero, the daughter of Francisco Cordero and Ydefonia Duran.  Soledad Cobos married Manuel Maria Cordero.  In 1801, Carlos Cordero and Dolores Cordero served as the padrinos at the wedding of Luciano Cobos’s daughter Josefa.  (FHL 162511.)  And, in 1810, Cristobal De La O, the husband of our Gertrudis Cobos, served as the padrino at the marriage of Rafael Mendoza and Doña Regina Rodallegas.  Rafael was the son of Juliana Cordero, the daughter of Francisco Cordero and Ydefonsia Duran. 

Based on research, our Gertrudis’ husband Cristobal De La O was likely a congenial person.  See the forthcoming De La O, Part II to be posted in late summer or early fall 2013.    

Please note that this article may be updated or revised in the event more information becomes available.


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