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Leonidas Nicolas Sanchez’s parents. Emiliano Sanchez, who was the son of Santiago Sanchez y Gurule and Maria Soledad Valdes, married María Dolores Sanchez y Lucero.

Leonidas Nicolas Sanchez’s parents. Emiliano Sanchez, who was the son of Santiago Sanchez y Gurule and Maria Soledad Valdes, married María Dolores Sanchez y Lucero. They were married August 19, 1895, in Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Bernalillo.


The Two Antonio Gurulés of the Sanchez y Valdez Family of Bernalillo

Rita Sanchez

Two different Antonio Gurulés can be found in one family, the Sanchez y Valdez family of Bernalillo. Each one comes from the paternal grandparents of Leonidas Nicolas Sanchez (born October 11, 1904), my father.

One Antonio, on his grandmother Soledad Valdez’s side, was born in 1703 in Bernalillo to Santiago Gurulé and Elena Gallegos. These names are well known in the history of New Mexico. What is perhaps less well known is the fact that the Gurulé family name is not Hispanic, but French. Santiago Gurulé was born Jacques Grolet in France in 1664. He was part of the ill-fated La Salle Expedition that began in 1684, intending to overturn Spanish power in New Mexico, and ending drastically in 1687 after a shipwreck and mutiny. He was one of three survivors, but was later captured by the Spanish. Jaques Grolet eventually took a New Mexican identity, joined the Spanish Reconquest in 1694, and was fully acculturated when he married Elena, a Spanish woman, in 1697.

Their son Antonio Gurulé of Bernalillo was the first of many more to be born of mixed French and Spanish blood. As an only child, he became heir to the Elena Gallegos Land Grant. He and his wife, Antonia Quintana, had nine children, who in turn gave birth to countless Gurulé descendants, including the Valdez family line.

Another Antonio Gurulé can be found on Leonidas’s grandfather’s side, the lineage of José de Jesus Santiago Sanchez. Researchers were surprised to find this Antonio Gurulé on a 1750 colonial census, one of five sons of a woman known only as Rosa. Rosa was an Indian servant in the Gurulé y Quintana household, and it appears that her children were baptized with the head of household name, as was the custom. So far, Antonio’s father is unknown.

Local culture may suggest that many a master in a household fathered a servant’s offspring, but in this case there is no such proof and it looks like only DNA evidence will ever solve that mystery. How ever the Gurulé name was acquired, the story of the two Antonios reveals the mixed Spanish-Indian ancestry of many New Mexicans. This Antonio is later described as being of mixed ancestry, or mestizo. However, it is not known whether his mother was a Pueblo Indian from one of the surrounding tribes or was captured elsewhere and traded as a servant.

At first, New Mexicans would have no part in slave trade of captured Indians, but they eventually participated by baptizing them with the family name. In 1764 Don Antonio’s last will and testament released Rosa from servitude and any obligations for future service and provided her with a tract of land and a house. A church document describes this second Antonio Gurulé of San José de Las Huertas, and that opens up his story.

San José was a village near present-day Placitas that predates the San Antonio de Las Huertas Grant Petition of 1765. Antonio Gurulé of Las Huertas was among the twenty-one petitioners to the land that was officially granted by the King of Spain in 1767.

Oral history says that the Las Huertas ancestors lived there long before the land was officially granted. San José and Tecolote existed in 1740, around the time when Antonio was born. The area may have been settled by Sandia Indians, as Sandia Pueblo was abandoned between 1680 and 1748. Antonio Gurulé’s ancestors may have been members of this tribe.

After Las Huertas was granted, the people created a fortified village and were given the task of fighting off raids from the Navajo, Apache, and Comanche, thereby acting as a protectorate for surrounding villages and as a buffer community for more-established places like Bernalillo and San Felipe. They settled the grant because of the plentiful water and abundant grass for sheep and goats. They dressed in deerskin clothing and moccasins, living with creativity, determination, and resourcefulness. Stories suggest that the villagers lived nearly on the same economic level as the Pueblos, surviving off herds and grains, while living in the sphere of the mission churches.

Major ceremonials at holidays, as well as births, deaths and weddings, were observed nine miles away at San Felipe Mission. Even after Las Huertas was assigned a priest in 1795, the people continued to go to San Felipe. As they were a tight-knit community, they found a way to live on the land, and surely there was some intermarriage.

Leonidas Nicolas Sanchez’s parents. Emiliano Sanchez, who was the son of Santiago Sanchez y Gurule and Maria Soledad Valdes, married María Dolores Sanchez y Lucero.

Antonio Gurulé and his wife, María Gurtrudis Lucero, an española, lived out their lives in Las Huertas. Their daughter María Manuela Gurulé married Santiago Sanchez in 1797, had three sons and continued their way of life there until 1823 when the people were ordered by the Mexican government in Santa Fe to abandon Las Huertas because of Indian raids. One son, Juan Pablo Sanchez, Antonio’s grandson, married Paula Lovato in Bernalillo in 1827.

In 1866, their son José de Jesus Santiago married Soledad Valdez, whose great-grandmother was Elena Gurulé, daughter of the other Antonio Gurulé and Antonia Quintana. And so Antonio Gurulé of San José de Las Huertas, who was the son of an Indian mother, Rosa, in the Sanchez family, has come to be a significant part of New Mexico’s written , as is Antonio Gurulé, son of Jacques Grolet and Elena Gallegos, of the Valdez family.

When Soledad Valdez married José de Jesus Santiago Sanchez, the great-grandson of Antonio Gurulé de Las Huertas, the two Antonios were united in one family. And now the Sanchez Valdez descendants have as their ancestors both the Spanish and Indian, the master and the servant from the same household, in the Sanchez family of Bernalillo.

While many of the Gurulé cousins returned to Las Huertas twenty years later, José de Jesus Santiago Sanchez and María Soledad Valdez lived in Bernalillo their whole lives and had several children. On August 19, 1895, one of their sons, Emiliano Sanchez, married María Dolores Sanchez y Lucero at Nuestra Senora de Dolores Church in Bernalillo. María Dolores gave birth to twelve children (including Leonidas Nicolas Sanchez, my father) strengthening the family tree with new life. And so the stories of the two Antonios will continue to be remembered by their grandchildren, of whom I am one of many. And this story will be passed down.

Looking at these two different families reveals much about New Mexico history. Today these histories have become one. They constitute the ancestry of two of the oldest families in Bernalillo: one going back to Jacques Grolet and Elena Gallegos, other revealing the founding of the Las Huertas Grant and something of Indian history. Each of these families can be proud to have an Antonio Gurulé. One thing is sure, Antonio Gurulé of Las Huertas and Antonio Gurulé of Bernalillo both made important contributions to the New Mexico people’s history.

Best of all, my search has allowed me to find my true ancestry and a wealth of Gurulé cousins I never knew I had, reminding us that we are all related.

Family lines for the two Antonios:

    Antonio Gurule, s/o Jacques Grolet & Elena Gallegos: dau. Elena Gurule m. Jose Duran y Chaves; dau. Maria Gertrudis Chaves m. Jose Valdez; Julian Valdez; dau. Soledad Valdez m. Jose de Jesus Santiago Sanchez; Emiliano Sanchez; Leonidas Sanchez; and Rita Sanchez.

    Antonio Gurule of Las Huertas m. Gertrudis Lucero; dau. Maria Manuela Gurule m. Santiago Sanchez; Juan Pablo Sanchez; Jose de Jesus Santiago Sanchez m. Soledad Valdez; Emiliano Sanchez; Leonidas Sanchez; and Rita Sanchez.


Rita Sanchez welcomes feedback from New Mexico residents who might recognize any of the family names at Rita is a native Californian residing in San Diego where she presently teaches English at Mesa College. Her parents, Leonidas Nicolas Sanchez and Macedonia Acuña, were native New Mexicans who shared their rich oral history with her ten brothers and sisters, Leo, Joséphine, Chris, Emiliano, Theresa, Mary, Joséph, Angelica, Severo, and Emily. Her paternal grandparents were both Sanchez: Sanchez de Las Huertas y Valdez on her grandfather Emiliano’s side and Sanchez de Inigo and Duran y Chaves on her grandmother Dolores’s side. Rita thanks to all those who have contributed to the search and documentation of Sanchez y Gurulé history, especially her cousin Dorothy Borrego, Martha Liebert, don Luis Gilberto Padilla y Baca, Angela Lewis , and






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