Razing Our Past

14 Jun

One of my greatest sorrows is witnessing how historically significant structures in Mexico are blatantly destroyed.  I long ago visited an old church, “Nuestro Padre Jesus”, in Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico.  Its entranced graced with charming original aged doors. Inside there were equally old worn benches.  Then, much to my sorrow, the next time I was there all of the old charm was gone!  In their place were insignificant new doors and trivial pine benches!  Gone is the history and charm of yesteryear.

An even greater destruction has taken place at the “Hacienda Tabalaopa”,  located further south.  That is where I found my earliest Lujan ancestor – circa 1759!  And, I discovered my La Junta pioneer, Great-Great-Great Grandfather had married in 1785!

When I first uncovered these documents I inquired as to where Tabalaopa was.  No one seemed to know.  Finally, I found a short reference in Peter Gebhart’s “La Nueva Vizcaya”.  The Hacienda Tabalaopa became a titled Hacienda at the end of the 1700s.  It was then occupied by Jesuit Priests.  In 1761 it was sold to Don Bernardo Revilla, in accordance with the nationalization of clerical properties.  I don’t know who occupies it today.

One of my greatest joys is having had the opportunity of seeing Tabalaopa, even if only from outside its locked gates.  However, I did get to wander among old adobes that once housed the Hacienda’s Labor force.  Ever the “incurable romantic”, I wandered about, trying to conjure pictures of what was going on there over three hundred years ago.  I heard the chatter of women, the laughter of children at play, and I could fairly smell smoke and the scent of tortillas cooking! Then, to my amusement,

I spotted evidence of modernity in an electricity Meter that had been installed onto an old adobe.

I learned from General Toribio Ortega’s son that the area had been inhabited as late as 1915.  He told of having stopped by there when his mother went to say goodbye to Pancho Villa and his wife before leaving for the United States. According to Don Galacion, his mother knew everyone at Tabalaopa.  Later, I discovered that this applied to my own grandparents as well

To my sorrow I have since received a phone call:  “The entire site has been razed in the interest of Progress!”

Prima Elisa


7 Responses to “Razing Our Past”

  1. Bert Lujan June 14, 2011 at 1:24 AM #

    Love this article. Keep it coming Prima.

    Bert Lujan

  2. Katy Ann Reyes June 15, 2011 at 6:57 AM #

    Wow, loving this history.

  3. oscar June 17, 2011 at 6:08 PM #

    It resembles the old ruins of the headquarters for the old Tapacolmes El Mulato Hacienda in Loma de Juarez. Some of the old structures are still standing. Are you familiar with this site? The King granted it to Luis Colomo in the early 1800’s and he sold it to Col. Jose Merino 1857.

  4. Marie May 28, 2012 at 3:02 AM #

    Dear Prima Elisa, I wanted to leave a comment here to encourage you to carry on this blog. As it happens, I came across it during a research on §Hacienda Tabaloapa and generally the Chihuahua trail on the Camino Real for a travelling TV programme called Globe Trekker (also known as Lonely Planet guides). We are thinking of doing a story at the Hacienda site and link it to the Spanish pioneers very soon. I would love to talk to you about it. You have my details, I look forward to hearing from you. Keep up the good work. Take care.

  5. Efrain E. Rodriguez December 23, 2013 at 8:04 PM #

    Dear Ms. Elisa:

    Thanks for this post and blog. I have been researching my family tree, and it has actually ended as of now with Hacienda Tabalaopa. My father’s side of the family has lived in Chihuahua and Texas for many generations and I’m still trying to get all the details. As for the Hacienda Tabalaopa, I have found a baptism record of my ancestor Juan Miguel Tarin who was born in 1792 to Juan Christoval Tarin and Maria Guadalupe Ornelas, residents of Hacienda Tabalaopa. If there was any way to find out information the residents of Tabalaopa at the time, I’d really appreciate it.

    Best wishes,


    P.S. I downloaded your pictures for my reference. Thanks for getting this before the ruins were razed to the ground.

    • oscar January 19, 2014 at 8:15 PM #

      my GGGgrandmother was Maria de Los Angeles Tarin. She married Juan Montoya and his my gggrandfather Matias Montoya in the 1850’s. Any relation to you?

  6. Consuelo Múller April 24, 2014 at 9:45 PM #

    The Hacienda de Tabalaopa NEVER has a Lujan owner…

    Fue precisamente de manos de don Bernardo Revilla de quien la familia Müller se hizo de la finca. Para ese tiempo la Hacienda de Tabalaopa tenía una extensión de 43 mil hectáreas.
    Heinrich Müller, de origen alemán, compró la propiedad en 1875 y mandó construir la casa principal, cuya obra la encargó a su hijo Enrique Müller Acosta. La casa quedó terminada en el año de 1881, seis años después a su planeación. Al morir don Heinrich, la Hacienda de Tabalaopa la heredó a su hija Emilia, quien se casó con el doctor Canuto Elías. La nueva pareja no vivió en la casa, sino en la ciudad de Chihuahua, pero doña Emilia recorría las tierras al menos una vez por semana, mientras que su marido, el doctor Elías, instaló ahí su consultorio por un tiempo Después de la Revolución Mexicana la hacienda continuó en manos de la familia Elías Müller, y rentaron el espacio de cultivo a un grupo de chinos, pero en la época del Cardenismo, con el reparto de tierras, los habitantes comenzaron a ser objeto de agresiones y la familia decidió abandonar la propiedad. La finca quedó cerrada hasta que uno de los nietos de doña Emilia, Enrique Elías, festejó ahí su matrimonio con Margarita Madero a finales de los años cuarenta y fue el nuevo matrimonio quien se encargó de su arreglo y cuidado.

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