Mariano S. Otero Bernalillo County, New Mexico

The death of Mariano S. Otero, on February 1, 1904, removed from Albuquerque one of the strong characters in the life of that city. For many years he had been one of the most influential of the native-born citizens of New Mexico. He was born at Peralta, Valencia County, in August, 1844 and was a representative of one of the most prominent of the old Spanish families in the territory. He received a liberal English education in St. Louis University, after which he began freighting between Albuquerque and Missouri. While still a young man he engaged in the stock industry, making his home in Bernalillo until 1893, when he removed to Albuquerque. He was financially interested in many undertakings of importance. Soon after the discovery of the great coal fields at and near Gallup he became associated with a number of other men in the organization of the Caledonia Coal Company, which for several years was the most important developer of those interests in western New Mexico.

Reference to the history of banking in this territory will show that Mr. Otero had varied interests in this direction in Albuquerque and elsewhere, notably in the Central (now the First National) Bank of Albuquerque, which was succeeded by the Bank of Commerce, and the San Miguel National Bank of Las Vegas, in the organization of all of which he was a central figure. He was regarded as a man of unusual financial ability and of integrity of character. He had interests in a number of land grants, notably in the Baca grant, and in the Lagunitas grant, in Sandoval county, which he procured by purchase in the early '80s. He was also the owner of the famous Jemez Hot Springs and the Sulphur Spring in Sandoval County, in addition to which he possessed a large number of sheep ranches in various portions of the territory, and held other land interests.

Mr. Otero exhibited a deep interest in educational affairs and was made one of the original board of regents of the University of New Mexico. He was one of the recognized leaders of the Republican Party in this Territory, and was elected as delegate to the Forty-sixth congress, serving from 1879 until 1881. He occupied other public offices and positions of trust, including that of county commissioner of Bernalillo County, during which term of office he helped to build the present courthouse, and he also served as probate judge. During the later years of his life he took an active part in the development of Albuquerque and owned a three-eighths interest in the Perea addition to the city, which was laid out by the Albuquerque Townsite Company in 1889 and 1891. This property was purchased by the company from the heirs of Jose L. Perea, of Bernalillo, whose daughter. Filomena, became the wife of Mr. Otero. Their children are: Mrs. George W. Harrison, of Albuquerque; Fred J., of Albuquerque; Alfred J., of Jemez Hot Springs; Mrs. J. B. Burg, of Washington, D. C.; and Mariano S., Jr. of Albuquerque. All except Fred J. Otero were educated in Notre Dame College, at Notre Dame, Indiana.

Fred J. Otero was born at Bernalillo in 1869 and was educated in Santa Clara College, in California, and the Georgetown University, in the District of Columbia. After leaving college he became manager of his father's landed interests, and upon his father's death the estate was left in trust to his widow, since which time Fred J. Otero has administered it. In this task he has exhibited splendid executive ability, having kept the entire estate intact and increasing its value year by year. He was the first sheriff of Sandoval County, where, in Bernalillo, he still maintains a handsome residence, though making Albuquerque his home.

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

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