Trementina History

The early pioneers migrated from Los Valles de San Agustin, Los Fuertes, Chaperito and La Aguila.  They were already family groups within those other areas and moving to Trementina in yet larger family groups made it much safer.

Migration From La Aguila:  the Francis Ray Mission was opened in 1889.  This small town was situated on the Antonio Ortiz Grant. Due to the sale of land, La Aguila became deserted rather quickly after the turn of the century.  Miss Blake came to La Aguila in 1887, the school was closed in 1902.  She was asked to divide her time between here and Trementina; never returning to La Aguila.

Homes and buildings: Flagstone is so plentiful in Trementina that you are never without building material.  All the homes are flagstone with plastered mud inside and out. The corrals, outhouses, dispensas, churches, etc are all built the same. Wood is plentiful on the mesas and were used for vigas, latillas, and poles around corrals.  A bell for the church was a gift and from the crate they made a desk for Miss Blake.   The Jaramillos were excellent stonemasons and could put a home up in three days.

Church: The church was built by Reverend Jose Emiterio Cruz, he was a master carpenter and builder. He had previous dealing with Miss Blake in Buena Vista.  The church seated 150 and was started with $300.  The church was also the schoolhouse.  In 1916 the church/schoolhouse burned down. Because it was built from flagstone, large portions were reusable.   This second reconstruction was done and soon the church was dedicated to Santiago and Juana Blea.

Medical care: In those days, medical care most heavily relied on the mother or curandera of the day to remedy the ailments.  Miss Blake taught the Trementina folks about sanitation and hygiene, basic first aid and mid-wife duties.  Malaria and tuberculosis were constant scourges. In October 1905 the small town was hit by diphtheria.  A doctor was sent for in Las Vegas and he came and administered anti-toxin to 36 persons; Miss Blake would also catch this dreaded disease, but recovered.

In 1910 typhoid fever broke out, the folks began boiling their water.  Later a community well would be constructed with a windmill.  They understood why this was important and kept the well under good repair.

Infirmary: A two-bed hospital was erected across from the church.  Now folks were more readily treated and communicable diseases were isolated. Doctor’s traveled here to treat the seriously ill.

Mission house:  This is where Miss Blake eventually lived.  It consisted of a fellowship hall, audience or parlor room, 2 classrooms and a kitchen. Again Reverend Jose Emiterio Cruz was asked to return and help with the construction.

Laundry: Trementina can boast that at one time there was a community laundry.

Schooling:  Almost all the children of Trementina attended school at one time or another. The class room was one roomed and taught by Miss Blake.  By March 1902, 40 kids were enrolled. Very early in their childhoods, these kids learned English and maintained their native language of Spanish.  Around 1919, a community school had been built about 4 miles from town.  Here the upper classes were maintained to 8th grade.  The school children would graduate from here and then move on to high school in Albuquerque or Santa Fe, respectively, Menaul or Allison-James.

Gym and saloon:  Although some records mention a gym, it was never built.  As for the saloon, none was ever built in the town, but one old-timer mentions a man living on the mesa who sold moonshine.

Location:  Trementina is east of Las Vegas on NM 104/65, probably around 50 miles.  When one drives east from Las Vegas, you can see the mesas and the vast open land.  These landscapes were home to the buffalo, Comanche and Apaches.  The elevation drops about 1000 feet and you are now in a more dry desert part of New Mexico.

WWI and WWII:  Many of the Trementina boys enlisted and served their country well.  Some did not return but many did.  After WWII, the town became somewhat sparsely populated as these men who returned took their families to the cities to make a living.


First Settlers:  First Settled about 1870.  Sheep ranchers grazed in the area from other settlements near Los Valles de San Agustin, Chaperito and La Liendre.  The first settlers were Presbyterians running from religious persecution.  They had fled two other settlements, Los Valles de San Agustin and La Aguila.  They eventually built a prospering community, church and schools within Trementina.

Census:  Look in San Miguel County starting around 1880.  Trementina Precinct 48.

Ghost Town:  Trementina has been a ghost town since the Korean War.  After WWII, several families left to the city to make a living.  The ranchers and farmers that stayed behind left descendants that still live in outlying areas.

Ancestors:  If you have ancestors in Trementina, they probably came from Chaperito, Los Valles de San Agustin, Anton Chico, San Miguel del Bado or Las Vegas.  These are located within San Miguel County.

Church Records:  Visit the Catholic Church of Chaperito- San Isidro; Nuestra Dolores – Las Vegas, Anton Chico and San Miguel del Bado churches.  The Spanish Presbyterian Church located in Las Vegas also has records.

Cemeteries:  there are at least a few cemeteries within the area.  One is Presbyterian and located over the hill from Trementina, the other is in the opposite direction and is Catholic.  Other nearby cemeteries are at Arroyo de Las Conchas and Variadero.

Post Office:  In 1901 the post office was established, the first postmaster was Martin Gurule.

We are starting to gather death records and obituaries from prior Trementina Descendants.  They will be added to as we come upon them.