Photo of Abiquiu Church. Courtesy of Cecelia Peña


Traveler: Maria Ygnacia de Jesus Atencio

Trail: Maria Ygnacia traveled from El Rito, New Mexico, to San Salvador de Jurupa (Agua Mansa, California).

Submitted by: Mary Anne Pentis, Ramona, California

Relationship: I am a direct descendant as Ygnacia is my great-grandmother

Maria Ygnacia de Jesus Atencio was born in April 1842 in El Rito near Abiquiu, New Mexico. She most likely made the journey over the Old Spanish Trail with her family in 1843. She married Jose Manuel Antonio Espinosa in 1854 in San Salvador de Jurupa (Agua Mansa, California). Ygnacia, was 12 years old when she married Manuel Espinosa who was in his early 30s by then. During that time, it was not an uncommon practice for girls to marry at a young age.

Maria Ygnacia de Jesus Atencio. Courtesy of Mary Anne Pentis

Ygnacia married Manuel Espinosa and they had eleven children who we know lived. Manuel died in 1884 when Ygnacia was 42, so she went on to marry Francisco Velarde, son of one of the first settlers. Some years later, Velarde died and Ygnacia married a third time to Perfecto Ogas, a much younger man. Ygnacia eventually moved away to Ventura, California, where she died March 12, 1916.

According to family lore, my grandfather did not like his last stepfather, Ogas, due, in part because my grandfather believed he was cheated out of his mother’s land. Ygnacia must have joined her Espinosa holdings with that of Velarde before she later married Ogas. 

Ygnacia had amazing strength, both physically and mentally. She became a widow with small children to raise at the age of 42. 

Where did she settle: 
Ygnacia lived with her parents who had settled in San Salvador de Jurupa (Agua Mansa, California) apparently until she married at age 12, in 1854.


Baptismal church records of Santo Tomas de Abiquiu, April 1842; Los Angeles Census of 1844; Census of the City and County of Los Angeles for the year 1850; Parish Sacramental Records for San Salvador Church (partially), 1852-1893, typescript, in Special Collections, Tomas Rivera Library, UC Riverside; Parish Sacramental Records for San Salvador original books in St. Bernadine’s Parish Archives and also on microfilm reel #75 in San Bernardino diocesan archives; various writings by R. Bruce Harley Ph.D., Archivist (deceased) for Diocese of San Bernardino CA, including

By the Gentle Waters, Agua Mansa and San Salvador Parish 1842-1893″; “Women in Agua Mansa History 1838-1997”. Books:  Caballeria, Rev. Juan, History of the San Bernardino Valley, Times-index Co.,San Bernardino, ca, 1992;  Hafen, Leroy R. & Ann W.,Old Spanish Trail: Santa Fe to Los Angeles; Quintana, Frances Leon, Pobladores: Hispanic Americans of the Ute Frontier, 1991, Aztec, New Mexico 87410; Vickery, Joyce Carter, Defending Eden; and many more. Personal communications with Leonard Trujillo; and many other descendants of original colonist/settlers of Agua Mansa, San Salvador, Placitas de los Trujillos.