Antonio Maria “Chonito” Atencio & Concepcion Martinez 1922 at La Placita. Courtesy of Leonard F. Trujillo

  Antonio Maria “Chonito” Atencio (1835-1923)

When and Where:  In 1845 or 1846, Antonio Maria traveled with his father, mother and sister plus other Atencio relatives from Abiquiu, New Mexico to San Bernardino Valley, Alta California

Submitted by:  Leonard F. Trujillo, Los Angeles, California

Relationship:  Second great grandfather


My second great grandfather, Antonio Maria Atencio, was born December 14, 1835 most likely in El Rito, the Rio Arriba area of Northern New Mexico. His baptism was recorded at the Santo Tomas de Abiquiu church on December 19, 1835.

Antonio was a boy of nine when he was recorded living with his family in the 1845 Mexican Census in El Rito, New Mexico. Around 1845 or 1846, Antonio Maria came over the Old Spanish Trail.  Starting from Abiquiu, New Mexico, he traveled the 1200 mile route with his family including his father, Gregorio de Jesus Atencio (1806-1848), mother Maria Guadalupe Lucero (1813-1900) and sister Ana Atencio (1832-?) They eventually settled in San Bernardino Valley, Alta California. Antonio’s father, Gregorio de Jesus, became involved in politics in Alta California during the Mexican American War and fought with the Californio rebels against the invading American forces. Gregorio de Jesus died by 1848 and his widow married Jose de Jesus Martinez on June 29, 1848, recorded at the Plaza Church in Los Angeles. 

Death certificate for Chonito, listing his parents who also came on the Old Spanish Trail. Courtesy of Leonard F. Trujillo

Antonio Maria Atencio was called by the name “Chonito.On October 10, 1861 at the San Salvador de Jurupa church, he married Maria Concepcion Martinez (1841-1929) who may have been from Sonora. Antonio and Concepcion may have experienced the 1857 Tejon Earthquake which registered 7.9 and the great flood that destroyed Agua Mansa in January 1862. Together they persisted and had 13 children, all born and raised in San Salvador —Agua Mansa and La Placita de Los Trujillos — in present-day Colton/ Riverside area. Chonito was a farmer and lived on North Orange Street, Riverside, California until his death on May 10, 1923. Chonito and his wife Concepcion are buried at the historic Agua Mansa Cemetery in Colton, California. Chonito’s first daughter, Maria de la Luz Atencio, (1862-1950) and Fernando Trujillo (1850-1908) are my great grandparents.

More information:

Your interest:  I wanted to learn more about the large Atencio family in New Mexico. The Trujillo and Atencio families have been intertwined for centuries. My 6th great grandfather Jose Atienza-Sevillano 1677-1730, married Estefania Moreno de Trujillo 1673-1730.  They married July 8, 1693 at Santa Catarina Martir, Ciudad de Mexico and established the extended Atencio family in New Mexico following the recolonization of New Mexico.

Note:  This is a different Trujillo line from the Lorenzo Trujillo Family (indigenous). My great grandfather, Fernando Trujillo 1850-1908 married Maria de La Luz Atencio 1862-1950.

Where did person settle:  Chonito lived the rest of his life in Agua Mansa and then La Placita, North Orange Street, Riverside, California.

Unique story or fact:  The Atencio family migrated to New Mexico in 1693 traveling from Mexico City and the Valley of Mexico.  The Atencio family can be traced to Brihuega, Toledo Castilla Spain to about the year 1585. They crossed the Atlantic Ocean by ship and settled in Puebla de Los Angeles, Mexico. The Atencios were recruited for the Spanish Recolonization of New Mexico in 1693, traveled the Camino Real beginning in Mexico City, continuing to Queretaro, Zacatecas, Parral, El Paso del Norte, and finally to Santa Fe where they established the new settlement at Santa Cruz de La Canada, New Mexico.


Marriage entry for Antonio Maria Atencio & Concepcion Martinez at San Salvador de Jurupa, 10 Oct 1861. Courtesy of Leonard F.  Trujillo



Chonito appears in New Mexico Santo Tomas de Abiquiu Baptism books, Mexican Census from El Rito, New Mexico 1845,
Marriage records from San Salvador de Jurupa Church 1861,U.S Census records in 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910 & 1920.  
The Spanish Recolonization  of New Mexico,  published by the Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico mentions the baptism of Antonio Maria Chonito Atencio, December 19, 1835. It also mentions the baptism of his Father, Gregorio de Jesus April 8, 1806 in Santa Cruz de La Canada, New Mexico as well as the marriage of Chonito’s grandparents Miguel Atencio & Maria Juana Manuela Martin on April 15, 1798, in Santa Cruz de La Canada, New Mexico