J. Paul Taylor, The Man from Mesilla

By Ana Pacheco

Based on extensive interviews with J. Paul Taylor (1920 –) and Mary Daniels Taylor 1922 – 2007) as well as extended family members, this biography traces the life of educator, legislator, community leader, and arts patron J. Paul Taylor and tells the storied history of one of New Mexico’s most celebrated families.

Pages: 114


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Paul Taylor’s mother, Margarita Romero y López, was born in 1881 in Romeroville, New Mexico, to one of the wealthiest families in the region. The Taylors’ oral history suggests that Margarita was descended from Juan de Cabeza de Vaca, a loyal soldier of the famed explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who led a 1540–1542 expedition in search of the mythical Seven Cities of Cibola, a land of riches. The expedition brought a Spanish military presence to New Mexico, the northern reaches of New Spain.

Margarita was also descended from Cristóbal Baca, who accompanied explorer Juan de Oñate on his second expedition to the American Southwest. Another familial link to the 1598 Oñate expedition was Margarita’s grandfather Francisco López, a direct descendant of Bartolomé Romero and Lucia Robledo. Lucia was the daughter of Pedro Robledo, who also journeyed with Oñate to New Mexico.

Margarita’s great-grandfather Manuel Francisco Delgado was second in command of the Santa Fe Presidio and had a home on the Santa Fe Plaza. Her grandfather Miguel Romero y Baca was married to Josefa Delgado de Romero, the daughter of Manuel Salustiano Delgado and María de la Luz Baca. Delgado was a Santa Fe Trail merchant whose family owned the Delgado Mines east of Golden. The Romero, Delgado, Baca, and Lopez families were all part of an elite military outpost of the Spanish Empire.