Home News Vision Historically Speaking: The story of Refugia Ortiz Leal-Baca-Uderos

Historically Speaking: The story of Refugia Ortiz Leal-Baca-Uderos

Photo Courtesy of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives and Richard Eastwood Addie Lalonde and her father Louie Lalonde, her mom Elvira Udreos Lalonde with Juanita Uderos Vega and her husband Florencio Vega — date unknown.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Janice Dunnahoo

Special to the Daily


This week I would like to share a story which includes family history and genealogy, but is rich in local history. This is from my good friend Richard Eastwood who has researched, mapped and shared his excellent works.

The family were witness to the early days of Lincoln County, whose lives are interwoven in the wonderful history of that area. I would like to share this, not only for the history, but for any families who may have connections here. Richard has graciously given me carte blanche to share his works and information. Following is just one of the stories of the early Lincoln County residents that he has researched.

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“Refugia Ortiz is another woman that had a hard life in Lincoln County. Born in 1859 in Mexico, the daughter of Encarnación Ortiz and Eracensia Gregoyon ¿Crecencia Irigoyen? She came to La Luz with her husband Manuel Leal, born in Mexico (about 1836); shortly after it was founded. They built a ranch up in La Luz Canyon, here she raised her first six children. José de la Luz Leal, who, as a newly married (woman) was killed in a bar fight in White Oaks in 1900; Julian Leal, married Carrie Lalone/Lalonde (my Grandmother’s sister); Jesusita Leal who married Frank Salazar then Francisco Guevara; Dolores Leal; Lonjino Leal; Candelaria Leal.

“In 1880 or so, Victorio the famous Apache Chief broke out of the Reservation on his final escapade, started his trail of butchery in La Luz Canyon. He and his men killed Manuel on his ranch and the wife of neighbor, Francisco Baca, her name was Perfecta Garcia.

“Baca family lore and a newspaper article of the day, says that Francisco was killed but we shall see it was most certainly Perfecta.

“From the 1880 Census, Dona Ana Co. La Luz, pg 16, Family 169; Manuel Leal, 44, Mexico; Refugio Ortiz, 28, Mexico; Jose la Luz, 9, TX, Julian, 7, TX; Jesus, 6, TX; Dolores, 4, TX; Lonjino, 2, TX; Calanderio, 4mo, NM.

“On 23 Sep. 1882 Refugia married Francisco Baca; the Priest really messed up the record but it is never the less them as the 1885 Territorial Census shows.

“Francisco and Perfecta were from Punta de Agua (Manzano area) but they came to La Luz early on.

“From the 1860 Census, Valencia Co. NM, Punta de Agua (Manzano area), Family #684; Francisco Baca, 33,NM; Perfecta, 26, NM; Seferino, 6, NM; Sabino, 2, NM.

“From the 1870 Census, Lincoln Co. Precinct 4, Family #98; Francisco Baca, 45,NM; Perefcta, 32, NM; Seferino, 11, NM.

“From the 1880 Census, Dona Ana Co., La Luz, Family #178; Francisco Baca, 53, NM; Perfecta Garcia, 41, NM; Jose, 18, NM; Damacia, 14, NM; Estevana, 10, NM; Antonio Baca (brother) 55 and next door, Seferino Baca, 25 and his wife Rosaria, 14.

“Doña Ana County, 1885 Tularosa Census, Household #78: Baca, Fco, 40 /Refugia, 38 / Jesus (Estefana), 15 dau (Perfecta’s daughter)/ Jose, 17 / Julian, 13 / Alogino, 4 (Refugia’s kids)/ Frederica (Prudencia) Baca, l.

“Perfecta’s children: Seferino Baca married Isadora Diaz; Damasia Baca married Jesús Borunda; Estefana Baca married Francisco Borunda.

Refugia’s children: Prudencia Baca married Jesús María Gutierrez and her younger sister, Eufemia Baca married Alejandro de Aguayo in White Oaks.

Francisco must have died somewhere around the late 1880s and Refugia carried on raising her children, where it’s not certain, but she met Guillermo Uderos from Tularosa Canyon. They were married 6 Mar 1897, they lived in the White Oaks area, they previously had two daughters. Juanita Udreos married Florencio Vega and Elvira Uderos married Louie Lalonde (my Grandmother’s brother).

“From the 1900 Census LC Pct.1 pg 9B, Lincoln, Family 195; Guillermo Uderos, 39, NM; Refugia Uderos, 40, TX; Eugenia Leal(Eufemia Baca), 11, Juana Uderos, 10; Elvira Uderos, 8.

“After 1900 Refugia, Guillermo and kids lived in White Oaks.

“Refugia spent her life on the frontier, she survived an Indian attack, two husbands and had 10 children; an eventful life. Refugia died in 1917, she is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Carrizozo, New Mexico.”


Janice Dunnahoo is chief archivist at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives. She can be reached at 575-622-1176 or at jdunna@hotmail.com.


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