Fabiola Cabeza de Baca y Delgado y Delgado de Gilbert (1898-1991)

Photos courtesy of Elba Cabeza de Baca, Fabiola's niece

 

Fabiola's father was Graciano Cabeza de Baca, who born on December 18, 1867 to Tomas Dolores Cabeza de Baca (1830-1903) and Estefana Delgado (1833-1912) the daughter of Manuel Salustiano Delgado and Maria de la Luz Baca y Ortiz.

Graciano Cabeza de Baca y Delgado married Indalecia Delgado (1874-1898), daughter of Cyrillo Delgado and Cassiana Anaya on January 28, 1892 at San Ysidro Labrador de Chaperito (LDS 190437) and so a descendent of Manuel Salustiano's brother Marcos Delgado. This makes Fabiola a Delgado two times over. Indalecia's name is written twice on the marriage record as "Endereta", "Endrenida". I have also found her name spelled Eindalecia, Endereta, Endrenida. I think that she could very well be the Maria Andalina that familysearch.org has baptized in 1873.

It is to be noted that Saint Indalecio is the patron saint of Almeria, Spain which, according to my grandmother, Margaret Delgado de Ortiz, was the birthplace of Antonio Delgado (d. 1766), the father of Manuel Francisco Delgado, founder of the family in New Mexico. My grandmother always told that Antonio left Almeria in 1714 and my research into the Delgado family in Almeria at the time indicate that my grandmother is right. My mother, Adelina Ortiz de Hill, suspects that her mother learned this from Fabiola, who was a good friend and neighbor of my grandmother.

Born in 1874, Indalecia married Graciano Cabeza de Baca on January 28, 1892 at San Ysidro Labrador de Chaperito (LDS 190437). She died in December 1898, at the age of 24, leaving four small children: Luis Maria (b. May 26, 1893 in Las Vegas, NM); Guadalupe; Fabiola (1894-1991);Virginia (July 11, 1897- February 9, 1987).

I have a death certificate for Graciano C. de Baca, who died at 501 San Antonio St. in Santa Fe. He resided in Newkirk, NM. He was male, white and widowed. He had been born on December 18, 1867 and died at the age of 68 years, 2 months and 3 days. He worked as a cattleman on his own ranch. He had done so for 50 years and last did this on November 15, 1934. He was born in Las Vegas. His father was Tomas C. de Baca born in Peña Blanca and his mother Estefana Delgado born in Santa Fe. The informant was Mrs Carlos Gilbert (i.e. Fabiola) of Santa Fe. He died on February 21, 1936 and had been attended by a physician since December 3, 1935. The cause of death was carcinoma of prostate which had begun in April 1935 and had been first diagnosed in El Paso, Texas. He had had an operation in July 1935. He was buried in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Estefana and her Tomas raised Fabiola, Virginia and Luis. Fabiola was educated at Loretto Academy in Las Vegas. After attending Normal School, she taught for the local school district and earned a BA from Highlands. She also studied in Madrid. She earned a BS in Home Economics from NMSU and then worked for 30 years a Home Extension Agent in northern rural areas of New Mexico. She taught food preparation, nutrition, sewing. In addition to Spanish she spoke Tiwa and Tewa. So she extended her work to the Indian pueblos. She married Carlos Gilbert (after whom Carlos Gilbert Elementary School was named). They did not have any children. Fabiola figures prominently on the page for Estefana Delgado de Cabeza de Baca, her grandmother.

Adelina Ortiz de Hill has written her memories of Fabiola for "Rancho Pancho".

"My Memories of Fabiola C de Baca Gilbert"

Both she and my mother were charter members of La Sociedad Folklorica. Often they sponsored several events and both my mother and Fabiola were involved. Every fiesta they had a merienda (a tea and fashion show). Family heirlooms would be modeled by members of the family, and often it was one of the highlights of the fiesta. Another popular event was the Baile de las cascarones, a dance held after Good Friday, since the diet during Lent meant that a lot of eggs were consumed. The hollowed out egg shells were decorated and filled with confetti. These were occasions when I would see Fabiola, and I noted even then that many deferred to her as an expert. This was in the late 30s and 40s. Once she and my mother co-hosted a meeting of the society and she provided a great treat. It was a cookie from an old recipe that required time and expertise. The flavor was a cross between a yema and suspiros. It required dozens of whipped egg yolks, a scant amount of flour, brandy, brown sugar and anise. The cookies were baked overnight in a warm oven. They were very light and crisp.

When we moved to San Pasqual St., Fabiola was our neighbor. I remember her as a very busy person, who enjoyed being home on weekends, because she was constantly traveling. Often she would call my mother and ask her to send me over to her house to pick up some delicious gift from her kitchen. She loved to cook. She had been injured and barely survived an automobile accident. She had a disfiguring facial scar that despite a pleasant face made her look stern. She also had a leg amputated* and wore an old-fashioned wooden leg. She rarely wore it on weekends and used crutches. A married couple lived in a guest house on her property and did housekeeping and drove her around. The last time I saw her was in the 80s, when she had an apartment in the Presbyterian retirement home on Peralta. I took my mother over for a pleasant visit. She was still walking and though more frail and elderly she was alert and cordial. She remains a legendary person in the Española Valley where she worked in the rural communities an an extension agent. (*Elba C' de Baca and her sister Carmen tell us that Fabiola lost her leg when her car was hit by a train in Las Vegas).

Fabiola is the author of We Fed Them Cactus, The Good Life, and Historic Cookery. Her unpublished notes can be consulted at the Center for Southwest Research at the University of New Mexico, Mss 603 BL Box 1.