The Quintana Family...Abiquiu, New Mexico and San Luis Obispo County, California (1540-1950)

The saga of the Quintana family is a history lesson in itself. After the Cortez conquest of Mexico, expeditions to the north began in 1540 led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. In 1598 permission to establish a colony, in the area that is now New Mexico, was granted to Don Juan de Onate. The first colony was in San Gabriel (San Juan Pueblo). The Pueblo Indians revolted against the Spanish and they were expelled. It wasn’t until 1693 that Don Diego de Vargas retook Santa Fe. Among the earliest settlers were Miguel Quintana and his bride to be, Gertrudis Moreno de Trujillo. They settled in Santa Cruz (near Los Alamos). Their Grandson, Gregorio Anselmo Quintana, moved to Abiquiu.

Abiquiu in earlier times had been established as an outpost along with several other towns to protect the province. It was constantly under attack by warring nomadic tribes who apparently felt that the land should have been theirs. Gregorio had a son, Francisco Estevan Quintana, born 1801 in Abiquiu. Estevan married Maria Dolores de Luna of Abiquiu in 1823. They had a son Jose Maria in 1824. It is believed Maria Dolores died giving birth to Jose.

Estevan Quintana (1801-1880) In 1826 Estevan remarried to Maria de Guadalupe Lujan (1809—1884). They moved to Taos, New Mexico. They had five children while living there. They were Maria Prudencia, Pedro de Jesus, Maria Manuela, Manuel de Jesus and Gregorio Trinidad. In the 1840s nomadic Indians constantly raided the Albuquerque—Taos areas. These were Apaches and Comanches and probably had been displaced by the French in the Mississippi Valley.(1) Estevan removed his family to Abiquiu until he was granted a land patent in the San Bernardino area east of San Gabriel, California. They moved to San Luis Obispo probably about 1844 and purchased the Potrero de San Luis Obispo Rancho from Maria Concepcion "Chona" Boronda. This was a grant from Governor Alvarado to Chona Boronda in 1842. Although the Rancho was sold to the Quintanas, the patent wasn't cleared to Maria until 1870. This land totaled 3506 acres. See Maria "Chona" Boronda for a brief history of this woman.

Maria Prudencia (Estevan’s first daughter) who married Don Miguel Serrano in San Luis Obispo inherited half of the Potrero Ranch when Estevan died in 1880. Estevans other large purchase was from the Canet family in 1874. It was the San Bernardo ranch consisting of 4379 acres.

Pedro de Jesus Quintana (1833-1921) Luz Herrera (1843-1919) Pedro de Jesus (Estevan’s first son) married Luz Herrera of San Luis Obispo in 1856 and inherited the San Bernardo ranch in 1880. This is the ranch on the left side of the road as you head east out of Morro Bay. It included some acreage on the south side of the road as well as much of Little Morro Creek property.

Estevan and Maria (Lujan) a prolific duo had three more children in California. They were Maria Jesus, Jesus Maria and Maria de Guadalupe. Of interest to San Luis Obispo people is Maria Guadalupe’s marriage to Andrew Sauer in 1874. The Sauer family is prominent in early San Luis history.

This quote is from Don Rivara a descendant of Don Miguel Serrano and Maria Prudencia. “Quintana (Estevan) was very wealthy, owning two ranches and several brick buildings and lots in San Luis Obispo proper. As stated before he left the Rancho San Bernardo to his son Pedro. Pedro lived until 1921, living in opulence. He had several sons among whom he divided his wealth during his lifetime. None proved to be very prudent, and the properties and wealth quickly depleted.”
A reference to the early Spaniards "opulence" in another family is as follows-- "Maria Estrada, father of the Estrada brothers who settled in San Luis Obispo County, offers an example of the extravagance of these early Dons in adorning themselves and their families. It is recorded that Mariano paid the equivalent of $600 for a tortoise shell comb for his wife. It was purchased in the 1820's from an American sea captain by the name of Henry Fitch. Three other Dons also purchased similar combs at the time, and for the same price. Other forms of extravagance were shown in their clothes. It was the habit of most of the Dons to wear shoes of deer skin embroidered with gold and silver, and breeches of velvet or satin cloth reaching to the knees. These were bordered with gold braid and silver buttons....A vest of velvet of silk was worn....The women wore silk and satin dresses, gold necklaces, and earrings set with pearls...The same extravagance continued with the succeeding generation."(2) See The Dons Finery

The children of Pedro and Luz are important locally as they lived in the Morro area. A list of them and their descendants can be found elsewhere at this site. (see link below)(A personal note--I would like to say a word about Marie (Quintana) Diehl whom I knew in the early 1950’s. Like her Spanish ancestors, she had a natural beauty and a ready smile. Walter Schmid construction built her house near Little Morro Creek. I worked for a few summers for Walter. Harold Snowden and Bob Burrows also worked on the house. The Diehl’s had two or three Boxer dogs that could knock you over with their friendliness.)

Teresa and Angelo Domenghini--1923 The San Bernardo Ranch was known to us as the Domenghini Ranch when we were growing up in Morro. The business was purchased in 1927 by Angelo and Teresa Domenghini. They were born in Ratafia di Sant Antonio, Switzerland and came to San Luis Obispo in 1922. Teresa’s maiden name was Bognuda. Angelo didn’t know anything about dairying and didn’t speak English. They were a hard working industrious couple and learned the language and the business. They became US citizens in 1935. They were very successful with their dairy and in October of 1954, they bought the home ranch from the Quintanas. They had five children and four are still living. This information is from Roy Dominghini who is living in Morro Bay. (now deceased) The ranch sold again to various interests, but remains about the same as years ago. You can recognize it by the solitary palm tree part way up the hill as you leave town.

the family tree and much more

Quintana-page two

(1)Cordell and Schmader;Albuquerque’s Environmental Story; Heritage and Human Environment; Hispanic Influence.
(2)Geneva Hamilton, Where the Highway Ends,pp 120 and 121,Williams Printing Co., Cambria, California
New Mexico History Index; Spanish Settlements.
Martha Mason’s Resting in the River: Seed: About.
Other sources:
H.H. Bancroft. History of California.
Robert G. Cowan. Ranchos of California.
Marie E Northrup. Spanish-Mexican Families of Early California.
Burgess M. Shumwy. California Ranchos.
Personal communication: Don Rivara
Personal communication: Roy Domenghini