Doctor Mariano Samaniego y Delgado (1832-1905)

Mariano Samaniego was born to Florentino Samaniego and Josefa Delgado y Ortiz de Samaniego, the daughter of (Fernando Delgado y Gracia de Noriega and Ana Maria Ortiz y Miera of Santa Fe) in Janos (Sonora), Mexico on July 16, 1832 (the place and date given on his medical school records in Paris). There are many contradictions and inaccuracies in accounts of Mariano's origins and early life, but I shall do my best to give an accurate an account as I can from the various sources available to me.

Florentino's grandfather was Manuel de Samaniego del Castillo, a colonel in the Orden de Calatrava and the first Count of Samaniego (Counts of Sierra Gordo), who came to New Spain with his sister Doña Manuela and his brother Don Bartolomé. They were the children of Bartolomé Samaniego (son of Manuel de Samaniego Mazo and Maria de Tazon Cajiga) and Manuela del Castillo (daughter of Antonio del Castillo Sancibrian and Manuela de la Llata Pedraja). They went to live in Queretero, Mexico. Florentino's father Don Bartolomé founded the branch of the family in Durango.

Mariano Samaniego was the great-great grandfather of Dr Maria Teresa Brooks of Lakeland, Tennessee. His son, Leonardo, married her great-grandmother, Refugio Orozco Varela, and their daughter, Maria Concepcion Samaniego Orozco de Rico was her grandmother. Although she died in 1963 when Teresa was eight, she had the privilege of knowing her great-grandmother. Teresa says that one of her aunts told her that Florentino's father was Bartolomé Samaniego del Castillo who emigrated from Spain to Durango with his brother Manuel and his sister Manuela.

Little is known about Florentino but that he was the captain of the presidio Bavispe, Sonora, near the border of New Mexico. He is said to have been killed by Apaches in 1838 when Mariano was about eight or nine years old. Josefa was left with her children: Fernando, Mariano, Maria Refugio (de Daguerre). Her uncle, Father Ramon Ortiz took the family under his wing to live with him and his sister Ana Maria in the rectory in El Paso del Norte. In December 1846-January 1847, Father Ramon Ortiz was taken hostage. Father Ortiz saw to Mariano's education.

I have these 5 children for Florentino Samaniego and Maria Josefa de Jesus del Pilar Delgado y Ortiz:

Maria del Refugio, born about 1830, Bavispe, Sonora, Mexico, died November 21, 1900, married Alejandro Guillermo Daguerre.

The New Mexico Prenuptial Investigations from the Archivos Historicos del Arzobispado de Durango, 1800-1893 (p. 211) have an investigation for Alejandro Guillermo Daguerre, 35, a native of Bayonne, Department of the Lower Pyrenees in France and a resident in Chihuahua for nine years) and Maria del Refugio Samaniego, 19, a native of Bavispe, Sonora, resident of El Paso for seven years, the legitimate daughter of Florentino Samaniego and Josefa Delgado. In El Paso on October 18, 1849, Josefa Delgado de Samaniego gave her permission for her daughter, Refugio Samaniego, to marry Alejandro Daguerre.

Adelaida, married Rafael Velarde, and then Epitacio Corral on June 16, 1874 at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, now in Juarez.

Mariano, born July 16, 1831 in Janos, Sonora, Mexico (this is the date and place of birth given on his Doctoral Thesis and student file from the Faculté de Médecine de Paris). Dr. Mariano Samaniego became an important person in the history of El Paso and there is a fair amount to be known about him. He kept up ties with New Mexico Delgados. Married Maria del Carmen Siqueiros, b. 1840 Ocampo, Mexico, d. 13 Apr 1913 Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico

Concepción, born about 1833, d. Aug 1882, married Inocente Ochoa, b. 27 Dec 1832 Aldama, Chihuahua, Mexico, m. El Paso del Norte, d. 19 May 1909

Fernando, born about 1835, who married Guadalupe Siquieros in January 1862, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Ciudad Juárez.

The 1842 census lists the following males in the household: Ramon Ortiz, 29 years; José Antonio Ortiz, 20 years, Mariano Samaniego, 10 years, Anizeto Pino, 8 years, Vicente, 8 years.

In Down the Santa Fe Trail, Susan Shelby Magoffin provides an eye-witness account of Ana Maria Ortiz's household in El Paso. On Tuesday, February 16, 1847, she took up residence at el Señor Cura's house. She had been invited to live there and the house had been especially prepared. They stayed until March 14th. "El Señor Cura" was Ana Maria Ortiz de Delgado's brother Father Ramon Ortiz. During the Mexican War, Colonel Doniphan took him and other influential men as hostages.

On the 17th, she writes from the Casa del Señor Cura: "Agreeable to our arrangements we moved our boarding last evening to this the residence of the Priest, who is now a prisoner in the hards of Col. Doniphan, though I hope for no bad end. So far I find the family exceedingly kind and attentive. The affairs are in the hands of his two sisters Doña Anna Maria, a widow lady, and Doña Rosalita, Doña Anna's daughter, Doña Josafa, with her three children compose the family. Doña Anna Maria... is good & kind and seems to have rather the principal management, bears the name of a favorite in the village, she is a mui Senora in my estimation. How much I am struck with their manner of rearing children. The little daughter of Doña Josafita, only six years of age, carries with her the dignity of our girls of eighteen. It attracted my attention particularly the evening I came, with the same ease of a lady much accustomed to society, she entered the room, with a polite bow and "Bonus tardes", shook hands with me and seated herself. --The eldest daughter of 17 years is sick with sarampion." (This girl would seem to be Maria del Refugio and the other two girls Adelaida and Concepcion. The boys could have been away at school.)

On the 18th, she wrote: I am altogether pleased with our boarding house --the inmates are exceedingly kind and exert themselves so much to make me enjoy myself, 'twould be cruel if I did not attend to their solicitations. We have chocolate every morning on rising, breakfast about 10 o'k. dinner at two, chocolate again at dark, and supper at 9 o'oclock, all are attentive, indeed we are so free and easy, 'tis almost a hotel, means are served in our own room, one of the ladies always being in attendance to see and know if we are propperly attended to; the dishes are often changed, and well prepared. I shall have to make me a recipe book to take home, the cooking in every thing is entirely different from ours, and some, indeed all of their dishes are so fine 'twould be a shame not to let my friends have a taste of them too."

The 1852 census for El Paso names: Ramon Ortiz, head of the household, age 38, single born in Santa Fe, priest, literate; Ana Maria Ortiz, age 52, widow, born in Santa Fe; Maria del Rosario Ortiz,age 49, widow born in Santa Fe; Josefa Delgado 38, widow born in Santa Fe; Mariano Samaniego, 29, single, born in Babispe, student, literate; Fernando Samaniego, 17, single, born in Babispe, traveler, literate; Maria Concepcion Samaniego 11, single, Babispe....

About Mariano's youth, Ricardo León writes in "Mariano Samaniego, Medio Siglo de Vida Fronteriza" published on the internet: "Sobre la posición social de la familia Samaniego Delgado es fácil inferir que, a pesar de ser una época de penurias para la mayor parte de los habitantes del norte mexicano -resaltadas por el reinicio sangriento de las incursiones de apaches y comanches hacia las poblaciones mestizas a partir de la década de 1830-, se encontraba desahogada económicamente pues tuvo los recursos suficientes para enviar al joven Mariano a "[... terminar] sus estudios profesionales en la ciudad de París [... donde] se graduó [como...] doctor en Medicina y Cirugía el 30 de mayo de 1859". El que haya ido a terminar a Francia su carrera, según Almada, significa también que antes la hubiese iniciado; probablemente el joven Mariano haya pasado a la ciudad de Chihuahua, en la Casa de Estudios sostenida por el Gobierno del Estado, antecedente del Instituto Científico y Literario, donde se realizaban estudios equivalentes a lo que ahora es el bachillerato y sólo la carrera profesional de derecho o jurisprudencia, de la que salieron muchos de los abogados que actuaron en el estado durante la segunda mitad del siglo. Sólo podría haber validado sus antecedentes para poder entonces cursar la carrera de medicina la que quizá hizo completa en París".

Mariano's uncle Father Ramon Ortiz saw to his education. He was educated at the Jesuit Seminary in Durango, Mexico and then studied the University of Paris in France. His student records from the Faculté de Médecine de Paris show his exam scores for the years 1855-1859. I examined Dr. Samaniego's doctoral thesis at the School of Medicine of the University of Paris. It was defended on April 2, 1859 and was entitled "Studies on the Shrinkage of Mucous Canals and Orifices." On the title page it says that he was born in Janos (Sonora-Mexico). It is dedicated "a la memoria de mi padre, a mi amada madre, a mi amada abuela la Sra Doña Ana Maria Ortiz, y a mi tio El Sr Cura Don Ramon Ortiz, Gratitud eterna, a Fernando mi buen hermano amigo y a mis queridas hermanas, a mon beau-frère M. A. Daguerre." After that he thanks his fellow students and his professors, etc....

The thesis is also dedicated to Mariano Samaniego's teacher at the School of Medicine was the surgeon of Empereur Napoleon III, Antoine Joseph Jobert de Lamballe (1799-1867), with these words: A mon excellent maître, M. Jobert de Lamballe, Professeur de Clinique chirurgicale à la Faculté de Médicine de Paris, Chirurgien de S. M. l'Empereur, Chirurgien de l'Hôtel-Dieu, Membre de l'Institut de France et de l'Académie impériale de Médicine, Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur, etc. Hommage de gratitude pour la bienveillante amitié dont il m'a honoré.

I have read a biography of him by Marcel Guivarc'h. Despite this distinguished aristocratic name, Jobert de Lamballe was from a poor family and would not normally have been able to study medicine. The doctor and priest of his village saw that he was promising and helped him acquire an education and pay for his medical studies in Paris.

One reads that Mariano Samaniego studied under Pasteur at the Sorbonne. As a doctor of philosophy of the Sorbonne myself and a person who lives about fifteen minutes walk from the School of Medicine, I can say that there are a number of problems with that idea. The Sorbonne is not a medical school. Pasteur neither taught at the Sorbonne, nor at the School of Medicine. He taught at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. Pasteur was not much older than Mariano and I don't believe that he was in Paris at time Mariano was a student. I would say that it is quite likely that Mariano was influenced by Pasteur's ideas when practicing medicine later on.

In 1860, Mariano married Carmen Siquieros y Sarvide, daughter of don Leonardo Siqueiros and doña Ignacia Sarvide.

Leonardo Samaniego, chr. 13 Apr 1863 Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico rancher of Villa Ahumada, married Refugio Orozco, b. circa 1868 Chihuahua, Mexico, m. 29 Jun 1888 Chihuahua, Mexico, d. circa 1962.

Florentino Samaniego, resident of Chihuahua, married Dolores Muñoz (children, Susano, Mariano).

José Samaniego of Hermosillo, Sonora (San Francisco)

Carmen, who married J. Garcia Cuadra, editor of El Clarin del Norte

Refugio, married Benjamin Castillo

Dr. Gabriel, dentist of Juarez (El Paso), b. circa 1888 Mexico, Maria Stockmeyer, b. circa 1890

Dr. Manuel, dentist of Hermosillo (Los Angeles), b. 17 Mar 1879 Tucson, Arizona, d. 31 Jul 1932 Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

Dr. Mariano, dentist of Durango

It is said that when Dr. Mariano Samaniego returned, he was the only practicing doctor in El Paso and Juarez. He was one of many Mexican citizens who moved to El Paso del Norte as a result of the Mexican Revolution. He represented a very small group of Mexican professionals in El Paso during this time and held numerous political offices, for example the Mexican Vice-Consul to Franklin, Texas in 1872-73 and the Chihuahua State Governor in 1876.

In her unpublished notes at UNM Fabiola Cabeza de Baca de Gilbert writes that every year her grandmother, Estefana Delgado de Cabeza de Baca, used to obtain smallpox vaccine from her cousin Dr. Mariano Samaniego in El Paso, Texas. She used to keep the vaccine on hand to vaccinate her children, grandchildren and others. There were great outbreaks of smallpox that killed many people, even entire families. Estefana had a hard time convincing the families to be vaccinated and it was not until she had godchildren in the village that she was able to bring the epidemic under control. Every year, she received vaccine from her cousin Mariano Samaniego, a doctor in El Paso, and she used it to vaccinate children.

In Persistent Oligarchs, Elites and Politics in Chihuahua, Mexico, 1910-1940, Durham: Duke University Press, 1991, p. 138, author Mark Wasserman writes: "Of native juarenses, the Samaniegos were the most prominent. Of all the prerevolutionary elite families, they were perhaps the most successful at perpetuating themselves through intermarriage to the new elite. Dr. Mariano Samaniego was the political boss of the city frm the 1860s until his death in 1905, serving as jefe politico of Bravos district (of which Juarez was part), state legislator and acting governor. He was the chief ally of Luis Terrazs. The family owned a large hacienda, Samalayuca, on the outskirts of the city and had interests in banking and urban transit. Samaniego's brothers and sisters and his eight children married into several of the state's and city's most important families: Siquieros, Velarde, Daguerre, Ochoa, Castillo. Son-in-law Inocente Ocho, in his time, was reputed to be the richest man on the border. The Revolution battered the family's holdings: Samalayuca was lost. Nonetheless, the Samaniego's extensive family ties assured them a place in post-revoultionary Juarez. No fewer than six revolutionary municipal presidents after 1910 were related: Benjamin Castillo, José Velarde Romero, José J. Flores, Arturo N. Flores Daguerre, Gustavo Flores Daguerre, and Teofilo Borunda."

The Adventures of a Tenderfoot, History of 2nd Regt. Mounted Rifles and Co. G, 33 Regt. And Capt Coopwood's Spy Co. and 2nd Texas in Texas and New Mexico, by E. B. D'Hamel, published on the internet, recounts this about a person who must be our Dr. Mariano Samaniego:

"On the 1st of April, 1862, having served out our twelve months enlistment, we were paid off and told to rest for six months when we would be called on again to enlist for 3 years or during the war. I, with many others and a caravan of Mexican families were leaving, fearing the Federals, and Indian invasion. Our party consisted of Dr. Joaquim Acebedo, a rich Spanish freighter with several ambulances, extra animals and about thirty men in his employ, Dr. Samaniego and family with two or three ambulances, wagons, animals and with 1,000 more men, servants, herders, etc. Dr. Samaniego was one of the richest men of El Paso, owning rich silver mines, much land and cattle, horses, mules, etc. Abandoning all, he with several other families, made a strong force to travel from El Paso to San Antonio, Texas, via Chihuahua."

Doctor Samaniego was on the Union side during the American Civil War. was a sincere, loyal friend and dedicated supporter of Benito Juarez who made El Paso his headquarters while leading the fight agains the Archduke Maximiliano.

He served twice as temporary governor of Chihuahua, was head of the Juarez city government, and a Chihuahua representative in the Mexican National Congress andin the Chihuahua legislature.

He built he built the Juarez bullring inaugurated on September 5, 1903.

Dr. Mariano Samaniego died on October 2, 1905. He was one of the founding fathers of the city of El Paso. Materials about his life can be found in the Stephenson-Flores Family Papers (MS 341), University of Texas El Paso.

He died on October 7, 1905. A member of his family said that he died from a carbuncle, which my dictionary says is a painful, circumscribed inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue, resulting in suppuration and sloughing, somewhat like a boil, but more serious in its effects. He is buried in the Panteon San José in Juarez.

Homenaje de Condolencia
Que Rinden al Ilustre Finado
Dr. Don Mariano Samaniego
dos afligidas pobaciones que los reputaban como su
hijo querido, fiel amigo y leal ciudadano

En el progreso de la vida, en cada una de sus diversos ciclos, de tiempo en tiempo sucédense acontecimientos que fijan perennemente un recuerdo y vivida impresion en los corazones y de tal importancia que al ser una leccion para las almas pueden hasta cambiar el curso de la vida diaria, como suele acontecer en la separacion de la vida, de los grandes hombres que suelen ser el espiritu que las animaban.

Ahora nos ha tocado a nosotros, a nuestra estimable vecina Ciudad Juarez tanto como a El Paso y toda la parte fronteriza de México sufrir una grande é irreparable pérdida, con la desaparicion de la grande y amable figura y alma ilustrada que conocimos bajo el estimable nombre del Sr. Mariano Samaniego.

No entrara nuestra publicacion en detalles biograficos de esa gran personalidad, por ser todos muy bien conocidos y haber sido comentados y por muchos miembros de la prensa; nos limitamos por ahora en tener la intima satisfacion de contribuir con nuestro humilde obolo a su sonrosa memoria, expresando de una manera grafica con el grabado que encabeza estas lineas y de tal significado que no podra contenerse en muchos volumenes, a profunda estimacion y cariño que profesamos a nuestro buen amigo y util ciudadano. Faltanos palabras para expresar lo mucho que deploramos la pérdida de aquella figura familiar y amable a quien todo el mundo podia ver desde la salida a la puesta del sol, como industriosa abeja, haciendo uso de toda su actividad en un solo objeto, siendo éste la practica del bien; ya atendiendo al desvalido, ofreciéndole recursos materiales a la vez que palabras de consuelo, contribuyendo con sus conocimientos cientificos en los asuntos de su profesion; ya organizando con un valor que no tenia limites, instituciones cuyo principal fin era el adelanto y la dignificacion de la humanidad y el progreso de la comunidad de que formaba parte; despues atravezando la Republica de une a otro extremo, no obstante el peso de sus años, sin arredrarse por la dificultades, en su determinacion de honrar al con quien contribuyo a romper las cadeneas del despotismo en su patria, sabiendo bien que con estos ultimos trabajos iban a acostarse los dias de su existencia, pero enseñandonos este grande hombre hijo de Mexico, que el sentimiento del deber era en el tan poderoso que los preferia a sus comodidades, estimando en poco la misma vida cuando estaban de por medio el bienestar de su pais o el honor de sus amigos.

Ejemplares tan extraordinarios y magnificos como el que acabamos de presentar son los que tocan todas la conciencias, haciendolas admirar y sentir afecto por la verdadera virtud; de tal manera que cuando se verifica un acontecimiento como el que ahora consideramos, no hay corazon alguno que no palpite de emocion y rinda su tributo de cariño al hombre que mediante sus obras has probado el mundo que hacer el bien es la mayor riqueza y virtud de mayor vlaor entre mos mortales.

El Sr Dr. Mariano Samaniego fué un hombre que supo siempre calcular y apreciar el tiempo midiendo con escrupuloso cuidado todos los momentos de su vida. Y por que? Porque los minutos, horas, dias, meses y años que transcurrieron ultizo el con tanto provecho consagrandolos a la adquisicion y desarrollo de la ciencia y a la fructuosa educacion de sus hijos a quienes infundio el sentimiento del honor y del valor de caracter, para que siempre evitasen los ataques de las tentaciones destructoras de la la vida. El con su ejemplo, les educo practicamente y enseño a los demas, a correr a cualquiera hora en auxilio de sus semejantes cuando sabia que podia series util en sus necesidades fisicas o morales. Para el expresado Sr. Doctor era tarea diaria ayudar y dar valor al que impetraba de el tales cosas, siendo siempre un consumado filatropo.

Por esto las ciudades de El Paso y Juarez han perdido la primera un amigo y la segunda un vecino que poseia intimamente inscriptos en su ser todos los elementos que convierten a los hombrens en grandes, fuertes y poderosos; no por medio del avido deseo de acumular riquezas sino mediantes sus acciones impulsadas por una alma llena de virtudes.

Todos, por lo mismo, tenemos que sentir con el dolor mas profundo la perdida del leal y callaberoso amigo, cuya ausenica sera siempre sentida; sin embargo cabenos la satisfaccion de considerar que esta vida no es mas que un corto lapso de tiempo que todos tenemos que recorrer; y que los hombres que como el Sr. Dr. Samaniego han conquistado sus laureles a los ojos escrutadores de la justicia, tendran que ocupar en la siguiente esfera de la vida un lugar distinguido y elevado, y en el presente caso ese lugar ha side ocupado ya por quien lleva tras de si un sinnumero de bendiciones.

From a newspaper the day of his death. "Hoy la imperturbable parca acaba de romper esa vida llena de merecimientos y de entusiasmos patrioticos. Acaba de apagarse la luz en un cerebro gastado en bien de la patria. Se ha ido uno de esos "buenos", uno de esos pocos ciudadanos que se consagran enteros al bien de su Estado. Se ha perdido, y para siempre de nuestra vista, un apostol que el ocaso de su vida, peregrito de pueblo en pueblo recogiendo el obolo de la nacion para perpetuar en Paso del Norte la memoria del forjado de nuestras libertades; Juarez.... Han perdido a uno de sus mejores hijos, de sus esclarecidos patriotas. Ese hombre que ya pertenece a la Historia lo guardaran en el rico Estado de Chihuahua..."

Many members of his family, including Dr. Gabriel Samaniego moved to El Paso after the outbreak of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.

Ramon Novarro (1899-1968)

Probably the most famous descendent of New Mexico's Manuel Francisco Delgado is the famous silent screen star Ramon Novarro. He was born José Ramon Gil Samaniego and was Fernando Delgado's great-great grandson. Ramon Samaniego was born on February 6, 1899 in Durango, Mexico to Dr. Mariano N. Samaniego, the son of Dr. Mariano Samaniego above.

In his book Ramon Novarro, A Biography of the Silent Film Idol, 1899-1968 (Jefferson:McFarland & Co.), 1999, pp. 5-6, Allan Ellenberger writes: "...the Samaniegos were an influential and well-respected family in Mexico. Many Samaniegos had prominent positions the the affairs of state and were held in high esteem by the president. Ramon's grandfather, Mariano Samaniego, was a well-known physician in Juarez. Known as a charitable and outgoing man, he was once an interim governor for the state of Chihuahua and was the first city councilman of El Paso, Texas.... Ramon's father, Dr. Mariano N. Samaniego, was born in Juarez and attended high school in Las Cruces, New Mexico. After receiving his degree in dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, he moved to Durango, Mexico, and began a flourishing dental practice. In 1891 he married Leonor Gavilan, the beautiful daughter of a prosperous landowner. The Gavilans were a mixture of Spanish and Aztec blood, and according to local legend, they were descended from Guerrero, a prince of Montezuma."

The family estate was called the "Garden of Eden". Thirteen children were born there: Emilio; Guadalupe; Rosa; Ramon; Leonor; Mariano; Luz; Antonio; a stillborn child; Carmen; Angel and Eduardo.

At the time of the revolution in Mexico the family moved from Durango to Mexico City and then back to Durango. Ramon's three sisters, Guadalupe, Rosa, and Leonor became nuns. Ramon seriously considered becoming a priest, but decided to make music his life's work. He received his parents' blessing and he and his brother Mariano left for El Paso, and eventually Los Angeles, where they arrived in November 1915 (pp. 6-10). If you want to know the rest, you have to read the book.