Senon Reyes1

M, b. 23 February 1841, d. 13 April 1933
Senon Reyes|b. 23 Feb 1841\nd. 13 Apr 1933|p4.htm|Sebastian Reyes|b. c 1811|p65.htm|Abina Moreno||p66.htm|||||||||||||
FatherSebastian Reyes1 b. c 1811
MotherAbina Moreno1
ChartsDecendents of Sebastian Reyes
     Senon Reyes was born on 23 February 1841 at Sonora, Mexico; according to his death certificate. However, in the 1900 census, he claims to have been born in May 1850. He also listed different ages in the 1910, 1920, and 1930 censuses. While the year of his birth might never be conclusively determined, the date given on his death certificate is probably the most reliable, since his son, who spoke English, provided the information.1,2,3,4,5 He married Hilaria Samaniego between 1877 and 1880 at Mexico; In the 1900 census, Senon and Hilaria claim to have been married for 23 years; in the 1910 census, they claim to have been married for 30 years.2,3,4 Senon Reyes died on 13 April 1933 at Dona Ana, Dona Ana County, New Mexico, at age 92; The cause of death on Senon's death certificate is barely legible, but appears to be chronic rheumatoid arthritis.1

The story of Senon Reyes is a little mixed up. Originally, I was told (probably from my father, who heard it from one of his brothers) that Senon was part Yaqui Indian and part Spanish. I also heard second hand from Arnulfo, his eldest grandson, that Senon killed somebody in Mexico and changed his name when he came to the United States. I spoke directly to Arnulfo on 12 September, 2003, and this is what he related:

"Senon Reyes was originally from Spain, not Mexico. He may have been from Madrid before immigrating to Mexico, where he resided in Sonora for a short time and met his wife, a full-blooded (Yaqui?) Indian. When he met her, she could speak neither Spanish or English -- only her native Indian language.

He moved with her to Arizona, where their son Vicente, was born in Bisbee. They may have resided in Arizona for a short period of time, but they did not stay and travelled to New Mexico in search of a better life.

When they left Arizona, all their belongings were in a wagon -- they had only that wagon, the horse pulling the wagon, a riding horse that was tethered to the back, and each other. When they reached Dona Ana, a farmer approached them and admired Senon's riding horse. He asked if Senon would sell him the horse, to which Senon responded by asking the farmer what he would offer. The farmer pointed to the land and said, "you can have that piece of land, from there, to there, to there, to there." Senon accepted the trade, and the Reyes "homestead" -- about one and a half acres -- was born."

Senon's grandson and namesake related a similar tale to me in September 2009 . He said that his grandfather killed a "stagecoach driver," and that he came to the United States to evade authorities. His original surname was something like "Gonzales."

Arnulfo also related the following tale about Senon:

"Senon used to hunt regularly in the mountains to supplement their income. When Arnulfo was about six years old (about 1929), Senon, who must have been about 68 at the time, did not return from a hunting trip. It was really cold at that time, and a search party went into the hills to find him. By the time they found him, he was "frozen" in a kneeling position, as though he had been praying. He was still alive, though, and they brought him back to his house in Dona Ana.

The house in Dona Ana was heated with (wood-burning) stoves, and the family heated bricks on these stoves. Then they laid Senon out, and placed the bricks around him. The bricks radiated heat, and eventually resuscitated him. He recovered (probably fully, since Arnulfo did not indicate otherwise), and lived until 1937."

Official records:

Census records show that Senon, Elaria, and Vicente had arrived in Dona Ana, New Mexico, by 1900. He claims various dates for immigrating to the United States: 1895 (1900 census), 1887 (1910 census), 1890 (1920 census), and 1880 (1930 census).

Interestingly, in all four census records, he claims to have come from Mexico (not Spain), and also lists his parents as being from Mexico.

In the 1900 and 1920 census records, the Escalante and Reyes families are next door neighbors. Matilde Escalante is the daughter of Senon and Elaria.6,2,3,4,5,7

In the 1900 census, Senon lists his occupation as a mason; in 1910 he lists his occupation as laborer doing general farming work; in 1920 and 1930, he does not list an occupation and was probably too old to work. By 1930 he was also no longer listed as the head of household, and was residing with his son, Vicente.2,3,4,5


Hilaria Samaniego b. c Sep 1850, d. 16 Sep 1928


  1. [S139] Senon Reyes, Certificate of Death (Reyes, Senon).
  2. [S147] 1900 U.S. Census, Dona Ana, Dona Ana County, Territory of New Mexico; Enumeration District 41; Supervisor's District 170; Sheet 1A; Dwelling 9; Family 9.
  3. [S149] 1910 U.S. Census, Precinct 2 Dona Ana, Dona Ana County, New Mexico; Enumeration District 63; Supervisor's District 181; Sheet 6A; Dwelling 68; Family 74.
  4. [S150] 1920 U.S. Census, Precinct 2 Dona Ana, Dona Ana County, New Mexico; Enumeration District 25; Supervisor's District 211; Sheet 10B; Dwelling 202; Family 203.
  5. [S152] 1930 U.S. Census, Dona Ana, Dona Ana County, New Mexico; Enumeration District 2; Supervisor's District 4; Sheet 3A; Dwelling 34; Family 49.
  6. [S57] Interview, Arnulfo Reyes, 10 September 2003.
  7. [S203] Interview, Senon Reyes, September 2009.
  8. [S143] Matilde Reyes Escalante, Certificate of Death (Reyes Escalante, Matilde).