Demetrio Chavez Doña Ana County, New Mexico

Demetrio Chavez, who was a pioneer merchant at Mesilla and is now deceased, was for a long period a representative business man of the Territory, whose labors proved an effective force in promoting general progress and upbuilding. He was born in Valencia County, New Mexico, in 1853, and was educated in St. Michael's College at Santa Fe. His education completed, he entered business life, and for a time was employed by the firm of Reynolds & Griggs. Later he established a mercantile business at Mesilla. This was about 1872 or 1873, and he continued in the conduct of the store until his death, which occurred on the 22d of March, 1905. He was also interested in the cattle industry, and operated quite extensively in real estate in Mesilla. He was a business man of marked enterprise and broad outlook. He quickly recognized and improved opportunities and utilized his force and advantages to the best ability, producing excellent results.

Mr. Chavez not only prospered in his business undertakings, but was also an active and influential factor in affairs relating to the welfare of the Territory. He served as probate judge of Dona Ana County, was also treasurer and collector of the county, and was regent and treasurer of the Agricultural College. His political support was given to the Democracy. Mr. Chavez was married in Mesilla to Miss Louisa Gonzales. Eight children were born: Manuel R., Maria A., Candelaria N., Louisa R., Josefa E., Adelina F., Pomposa N. and Demetrio J. Having spent his entire life in the Territory, Mr. Chavez was widely known, and his recognized ability and many excellent traits of character won him business success, political prominence and the warm regard of many friends.

Manuel R. Chavez, the eldest son, now owns and manages the mercantile business established by his father. He was born May 22, 1882, and supplemented his early education by study in St. Michael's College at Santa Fe and by three years' study in the Agricultural College at Las Cruces. His education completed, he became associated with his father in business, and they continued together until the father's death, since which time Manuel R. Chavez has been proprietor of the store, which is a well conducted general mercantile establishment. He has by close and earnest attention to business enlarged the trade and become a recognized factor in commercial circles in Mesilla.


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Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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