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One of the most conspicuous families in the aristocratic old Spanish regime in New Mexico, and one whose name is inseparably linked with the history of the Territory is that of which the honored subject of this review was a prominent member. His was a nobility of character and such were his accomplishments in forwarding the development of the Territory that there is most eminent consistency in according him relative distinction in this volume.
A native son of New Mexico, Nicolas T. Armijo was born in Los Gallegos, Bernalillo county, on the 6th of December, 1835, being, as before stated, a descendant from one of the oldest and most distinguished Spanish families in the Territory. His father, Juan Cristobal Armijo, was also a native of Bernalillo county, and was for many engaged in merchandising, being successful in his efforts and being known as a man of high honor, scrupulous integrity and marked intellectuality. He was a nephew of the celebrated General Armijo, was a leader in politics and ever took an active interest in all that pertained to the welfare of the Territory. He attained distinction as an Indian fighter, by reason of the fact that he was wont to assume the leadership of the expeditions organized by his countrymen to repel or subdue the red men who made frequent raids upon the ranches and villages and committed great depredations and ofttimes indiscriminate slaughter of the Spanish settlers. At the time of the late war of the Rebellion Juan C. Armijo rendered stanch and active allegiance to the Union, raising a company of militia and according valiant and effective service. He lived to attain the age of seventy-five years. His wife, nee Juana Maria Chavez, traced her lineage back to the nobility of Spain, representatives of the family having come to New Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest, and having been leaders in the expedition. Their descendants have ever been prominent in the history and affairs of the Territory.
Mr. Nicolas T. Armijo, the immediate subject of this review, was the third of the nine children born to Juan and Juana Armijo, the latter of whom died at the age of seventy-eight years. Our subject received his educational discipline in the best institutions of old Mexico, becoming an accomplished scholar, thoroughly conversant with the Spanish, English, French, German and Latin languages. He was a boy at school in the city of Chihuahua at the time the American army captured that stronghold in 1846. After he had attained to man's estate he engaged in mercantile pursuits at Chihuahua, Mexico, where he accumulated a large amount of money. He however secured and retained possession of a large amount of valuable real estate in that section. He spent three years in traveling in Europe, after which he returned home, and when the new town of Albuquerque was established he became interested in its development, operating in various lines of business enterprise and securing much valuable realty here. Among other enterprises in which he was concerned was the operating of the stage line between the new town and the old Spanish town whose name it bore. He platted two additions to the city, and as the place increased in population and incidental prosperity, he was enabled to profit largely from his real-estate holdings and business enterprises, accumulating a very considerable fortune and becoming one of the most substantial capitalists in the city. Finally, however, his health failed, and though every effort was made to bring about his restoration, naught could avail, and he passed into eternal life on the 20th of December, 1890. His loss was felt most deeply, not alone by the bereaved family, but by the people of the entire county, throughout which he was known and honored as a man of the highest refinement, delicate sympathies and unswerving integrity. He cared for his family with the deepest solicitude, was ever kind and indulgent, and was a man that in all the walks of life stood four square to every wind that blew. His large estate, whose estimated valuation was $500,000, was left to his widow and children, the former having been executor of the estate.
We now turn in more detail to the domestic history of our subject. On the 2d of November, 1862, he was united in marriage to Miss Barbara Chaves, who was born in Las Padillas, in 1845, being a member of the illustrious Chaves family heretofore referred to, and being, on the maternal side, a distant relative of her husband. She was the daughter of Jose Chaves. Mr. and Mrs. Armijo became the parents of twelve children, six of whom are living at the present time. We incorporate at this point a brief record concerning the children: Five died in childhood; Edward C. passed away at the age of seventeen years; and the survivors are Juan C., Aurelia, Eloisa, Manuela, Sophia and Nicolas T.
Prior to his death Mr. Armijo had become possessed of a valuable lot, on the corner of Railroad avenue and Second street, and after his demise his widow erected at this point a fine modern block, three stories in height and 100x142 feet in dimensions, the same being constructed of brown sand stone, and standing as the most imposing and costly business block in the city. To it Mrs. Armijo has most fittingly given title in honor of her lamented husband, the structure being known as the N. T. Armijo Building. No more consistent monument could have been erected to the memory of this able and honorable man, who had ever maintained so lively an interest in the advancement and upbuilding of the city of his home, and who had been recognized as one of her thoroughly representative business men.
The story of a good life is simply told, but the lesson and incentive are to be read "between the lines." True to every duty, indefatigable in his efforts, successful in his business affairs, and yet ever imbued with that broad spirit of humanity which has recognition of the rights of others and sympathy for their sorrows, it is but due that this slight memorial should here be granted to Nicolas T. Armijo.
Reference: An Illustrated History of New Mexico: Containing a History of this Important Section of the Great Southwest, from the Earliest Period of its Discovery to the Present Time, together with Glimpses of it Auspicious Future; Illustrations and Full-page Portraits of some of its Eminent Men, and Biographical Mention of Many of its Pioneers and Prominent Citizens of To-day. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1895.