Maria Antonia Archuleta and Celestino Fidencio Jacques
To be fair, I have little memory of my grandparents. Celestino Fidencio Jacques was born on November 15, 1886 in Blanco Canyon, Largo, NM to Juan N. Jaquez and Anna Maria Lujan. Seeing as he was already 79 years old when I was born, I was the last grandchild (numbering approximately 33), and I wasn’t named after him (Jacqueline Celeste), I had little contact with him. I do remember him but not in any personal way. I actually remember his brothers better than I remember him, as they came to California for his funeral. But before I get to that, let’s start from the beginning.
He was born smack dab right in the middle of the pack. His older siblings were Sara, Filberto, and Josefina. Then Celestino and his younger siblings Alexandro, Onofre, Lucy, and Celia. As most of the US Census for the year 1890 was destroyed, we must jump ahead to 1900. We find him at the age of 13 living with his parents and siblings. It appears that perhaps his name was originally spelled Selestino. His father was listed as a farmer. Selestino was listed as being in school and that he can read, write, and speak English. I do love that. When you look at his handwriting, you can see how lovely it was. For being raised on a farm, school work was important to this family.
By the Thirteenth Census which was taken on 15th day of April in 1910, we find Selestino still living with his parents at the age of 23, and according to this Census, he was already married to Tonita, age 21. They were married on December 13, 1909. About this time is when he must have changed the spelling of his first name to Celestino, as that is what is listed on this marriage license.
I came across this document one day when I was visiting Aunt Della. I used to drive to Manteca to visit her and take her grocery shopping. She never learned to drive and lived by herself in the 1980’s, so I would drive down, take her to lunch, take her grocery shopping, and then just visit with her. One day we were looking at stuff in her bedroom and when she opened her drawer, I saw what looked like a very old certificate that had been rolled up and kept in her drawer. I asked her about it and she pulled it out to show me. On the back, Celestino had written his and Tonita’s birth dates, along with all of his children, the day they were born and his first three or four grandchildren (yes, at number 33 I didn’t make the list, hahaha). I thought it was extraordinary. I asked Aunt Della if I could borrow it for a bit. She said I could and I promptly took it to a framing shop and had it put in a special frame with glass on both sides so that we didn’t lose the information Celestino had written about his family. I returned it to Aunt Della and she was very pleased with how I had it framed. She decided that I should have it back after she passed away.
Tonita Archuleta was the second to the youngest of her family. If you need a refresher on her parents and heritage, look at my last post of Ricardo DeJesus Archuleta and Maria Adriana Valdez. She had four older brothers but her closest sibling in age was Simon. Her youngest sibling was Geronima.
Their first child was Epifano Nepomuceno Jaques, born April 7, 1911. These are the rest of their children:
Delavina Sinforosa Jaquez (Aunt Della) October 7, 1912
Eduardo Ernesto Jaquez (Uncle Ernest) October 13, 1913
Fidencio Amarante Jaquez (Uncle Fred) November 12, 1914
Francisco Audelio Jaquez (Uncle Frank) December 12, 1915
Juanita Sinforosa Jaquez (Aunt Jane) March 30, 1917
Rosa Dortella Jaquez (Aunt Dorothy) November 3, 1920
Timoteo Celestino Jaquez (Daddy) December 9, 1927
Angelina M Jaquez (Aunt Angie) November 20, 1929
When they lived on the ranch, Tonita was responsible for cooking for her entire family, along with all of the ranch hands too.
One of the joys of researching ancestry is when you come across documents that your ancestor has signed. Here is the draft card for Celestino from World War II.
Celestino was working on the farm and by 1935 they had moved to Montrose, Colorado, trying to earn a living.
This is the directory listing for 1938 when Celestino and Tonita were living at 612 E. Jackson Street in Stockton.
By May 9, 1940, Celestino and Tonita are living in Stockton, along with their children: Timothy, age 12, Angelina, age 10 and granddaughter Maryann Viola, age 5. Celestino had been unemployed for 78 weeks, after having been employed by Public Emergency Work as a laborer for Street Improvement.
About this time, Celestino left the home and Tonita was left to care for the remaining children at home. Timothy did his best to step in for his absent father, becoming the head of the home and helping with his younger sister and niece. Timothy signed up for World War II then sent his paycheck back to his mother and helped purchase her home.
In the end, they were not friends (in case you can’t tell, they are leaning away from each other here in approx. April of 1962)
I do have some memories of Tonita. I can remember sitting on the floor behind her rocker because Uncle Ernest had walked in (he liked to scare me). She had a little glass bird that would tip down (I liked to play with it), but her house was very scary.
After she was ill and in the rest home, my Aunt Angie took Jackie and I to visit Grandma. Each of her grandchildren received a rosary at her funeral.
Grandpa Jacques’ brothers, Uncle Alex and Uncle Onofre both came for his funeral. They were both very nice and I thought it was so exotic that they had come from New Mexico (I was eight).
I think if we examine their relationship and their lives (not too closely, please), the best conclusion we can make is that they made some really great parents. My father was a really great man, loving, responsible, and he thought he was very funny (yes, I know, I have the same “I’m funny” quality). He did the best that he could by his wife, his children, and anyone who knew him.
That is our takeaway. CF and Tonita must have done something right. That spark of specialness in them and in their relationship has been passed down into their children, our children, grandchildren, and those to come. So, our hats are off to you, CF and Tonita, for giving our family a good start.