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Early (pre-1900) NM Spanish Protestants (Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist)

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Early (pre-1900) NM Spanish Protestants (Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist)

Posted: 1050285376000
Classification: Query

Per "History of New Baptists"; Lewis A. Myers (1965; Baptist Convention of New Mexico; Libr. Congr. CCN 65-28361):
(Vol. 1, p. 46; re Methodists in NM): "...E.G. Nicholson arrived in 1850. Their first church was formed at Socorro, 1855...Their first Spanish covert, 1853, Ambrosio GONZALEZ of Peralta, was later baptised into the fellowship of the Albuquerque Baptist Church. He could have been the first convert before the Spanish man, Blas CHAVEZ, or the first Red man, Joe SENON." Lewis goes on to cover Blas CHAVEZ extensive career as BAPTIST minister and missionary; there is no mention of Blas CHAVEZ as a Methodist (nor did I find any mention of Blas being Methodist by Harwood, below).
Myers also lists a Renoldo CHAVEZ (I believe this could be Rumaldo CHAVEZ (b.approx. 1806) of San Antonio, Socorro County NM, who also has ties to my family - Myers, like many non-Hispanics, makes many minor errors with Spanish names and surnames) and Jose Maria CHAVEZ (b. 1810, Tome NM area), who is the son of Juan CHAVEZ (b. approx. 1807-1815, some ambiguity on this) and Maria Gertrudis CHAVEZ de CHAVEZ (b.8/31/1813, Tome NM; married Juan CHAVEZ 6/25/1831 in Valencia NM; ) my great-great grandparents. Jose Maria is the brother of Maria Viviana CHAVEZ de GONZALES (b.12/2/1807, Tome NM; first married Ramon MONTOYA in 1826 - Ramon was "killed by Indians"; d. 2/7/1888, Peralta NM) the wife of Ambrosio GONZALES (her second husband) below.
Maria Gertrudis CHAVEZ de CHAVEZ , above, is descended from Nicolas DURAN y CHAVEZ, son of Fernando (II) DURAN y CHAVEZ. Her husband Juan CHAVEZ is the son of a Jose CHAVEZ and Maria Catalina MALDONADO, both of whom I have yet to trace back further - I'D WELCOME ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THESE TWO .

Per "History of New Mexico Spanish and English Missions"; Rev. Thomas Harwood (1908; El Abogodo Press, Albuquerque NM; reprinted and re-edited 1983):
(Vol. 1, p.46) "...Brother Ambrosio (GONZALES, of Peralta NM) always said he was the first Protestant Mexican in New Mexico. I believe that he was. He was not certain about the year, but thought it was 1853. I am inclined to think it was earlier than that, probably some time in 1852.....Bro. Ambrosio was appointed leader of the (Bible) class at Peralta, and kept it up so that when I came down in 1871...I found Bro. Ambrosio faithful to his trust." (Harwood makes no mention of Ambrosio becoming a member of the Baptist Church; and, Ambrosio apparently kept a close relationship with Harwood until Ambrosio's death in 1884; see below).
There was initially a Methodist Bible study group in Peralta NM established by E. G. Nicholson some time between 1850-1853 - and later led by Ambrosio GONZALES (from around 1853-1873?). There was also an early Methodists Church (building) in Peralta NM, apparently established under the auspices of Harwood - not sure when that happened, probably some time between 1873-1880.
(Harwood's books are from his personal diaries, not indexed, and tend to jump back and forth in time, thus making it difficult to extract information. Myers book on Baptists is well indexed and more orderly).

Thus, we have two independent sources recognizing Ambrosio GONZALES of Peralta NM as being the first Spanish/Mexican covert to any Protestant religion in NM - he became a Methodist in 1852 or 1853.

My great-great-grandfather, Juan CHAVEZ (who married Maria Gertrudis CHAVEZ in 1831), is also mentioned by Harwood (op. cit.) as dying in 1874 after having converted to Methodist; thus Juan CHAVEZ also was one of the very early Methodist converts. Juan CHAVEZ' son, Teodosio, was an early Methodist minister in NM (Anton Chico and Chilili), as was Teodosio's son, Juan C. CHAVEZ (my grandfather) who was a Methodist pastor in Socorro NM, Hillsboro NM and Las Cruces NM (among other places). Both Teodosio and Juan C. were early "circuit riders" on horseback to outlying Methodist groups in NM.
The sister of Juan CHAVEZ (d.1874, the first one mentioned in the above paragraph), Maria Viviana CHAVEZ (b.12/2/1807), married Ambrosio GONZALEZ (d.Oct. 7,1884), the first Protestant convert. Both Ambrosio and Maria Viviana were listed as being Methodist at one time after they were married. They apparently had at least three children: Rosalia, Salvador (who had son, Ambrocio C., who graduated from Harwood boys school/seminary in Albuq. in 1898 - along with my grand-father Juan C. CHAVEZ) and Irene (who apparently married a CHAVEZ) - there was possibly a fourth child, Ramon (who may have been Maria Viviana's son by her first husband Ramon MONTOYA. There are will and probate records in Valencia County pertaining to Ambrosio GONZALEZ. Rev. Thomas Harwood (Methodist), then of Taos NM, was one of the witnesses (along with Higimio CHAVEZ and Policarpo SANCHEZ; J. Francisco CHAVEZ was an executor of the estate) for Ambrosio's will and codicil filed in 1884.

I have another CHAVEZ relative, "prima" Rebeca CHAVEZ, who married Samuel VAN WAGNER, an early Presbyterian minister in NM (Socorro and later, around 1914, in Albuquerque). I have a CHAVEZ aunt and also a CHAVEZ uncle who each married one of Samuel & Rebeca's children. Another child of Samuel and Rebeca VAN WAGNER, Priscilla, married Joe RODRIGUEZ who's father was also an early Presbyterian minister in NM. Our CHAVEZ family remains very close to the VAN WAGER - CHAVEZ and RODRIGUEZ families to this day. I was actually baptized by both a NM Presbyterian Rev. ACOSTA MESA, and my grand-father Methodist Rev. Juan C. CHAVEZ.

Anyone having or desiring more info may contact me. I do NOT have any indexes, lists or membersip rolls - so if you need any info you'll have to supply specific names, dates and locations.
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
JohnEChavez 1050285376000 
rajsidhu15 1303248036000 
azoreanharpis... 1311616019000 
azoreanharpis... 1311625403000 
cbs55 1397053428000 
cbs55 1398964833000 
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