Life Story of
Jesus Cobos and Francisca Montes



Jesus Cobos (above) was born in Socorro, Texas in 1834. His father, Vicente was born in 1785 and his mother, Rosalia Cortes Pedrasa was born in 1811. Both of them were also born in Socorro, Texas. The parents of Vicente were Crisantos Cobos and Maria Del Rio. The parents of Rosalia were Antonio Pedrasa and Felipa Cortes.

Amelia Montes Skaggs and Dr. Samuel R. Skaggs wrote "The Bells of San Eli." Amelia Montes Skaggs is the granddaughter of Telesforo Montes and daughter of Telesforo Montes II. Her father Telesforo is the brother of my grandfather, Jose Jesus Montes. Telesforo Montes II is also the brother of Jose Benjamin Montes.

Note: The following excerpts are from Amelia's book, pages 67 and 68:

"A history of the Salt War of 1877 mentions that Jesus Cobos, who was then 43 years of age, along with a few of his neighbors, worked together to prevent the blood shed of the conflict. Later, he spoke to the Texas Legislature on behalf of San Elizario. He also helped establish the first public school at Fabens, which was named after him. The Fabens High School is built on the same site."

"Don Marciano Rey I with Don Jesus Cobos actually did acquire land in El Paso County and construct homes in Fabens for the refugees fleeing the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Don Marciano also donated the land for the Fabens, Texas cemetery. The first mission, Santa Rosalia, was in the home of Marciano Rey II. The writer (Amelia Montes Skaggs) remembers attending mass there, with San Elizario's pastor, Roberto Libertini, officiating. Don Jesus purchased land and helped establish the Santa Rosalia Mission Church across the street from the Marciano Rey II home. The bells for the church were donated by Jose N. Rey. When the railroad came, the name of the community was changed to Fabens and the mission renamed Our Lady of Guadalupe."

"The writer (Amelia Montes Skaggs) believes that Jesus Cobos wished to perpetuate the memory of his mother because he helped to name the Santa Rosalia Church at Santa Rosalia, Chihuahua, Mexico (known as Camarago), as well as the one at what is now Fabens. He named his older daughter Rosalia, who married Octaviano Larrazolo."

"As often happens in small towns, tales circulate, true or not. Jesus Cobos was a rich man and allegedly brought bars of gold from Mexico hidden in his wagon. He built 'jacales' or huts at Fabens, Texas, for Mexican Refugees from the Revolution, where he also sold them land for fifty cents an acre. The story goes that he secreted his gold bars somewhere in the walls of the mud 'jacales.' Later the land on which the huts were built was sold to the Postmaster, who demolished the huts and found the hidden gold. Don Jesus, listed in the El Paso County 1841 Directory (San Elizario) was an American citizen."

"Another tale of the times goes that Don Jesus objected to his daughter marrying Octaviano Larrazolo, a young suitor and refugee from Maximilian's intervention in Mexico. In order to keep his daughter away from Octaviano Larrazolo, he sent her away to school at the Loretto Academy in Las Cruces, New Mexico. At any rate, the sister-in-law of Don Jesus, Josefa Montes, joined the order of the Loretto Sisterhood and was known there as Sister Petra."

"Despite his efforts to separate them, Rosalia Cobos and Octaviano Larrazolo were married and were soon engaged in the political life of the village of San Elizario. When Rosalia died, her cousin Maria Montes Garcia married Octaviano."

This concludes the excerpts from Amelia's book.

Jesus Cobos married Francisca Montes, the daughter of Telesforo Montes and Quirina Alderete. Francisca Montes was born in San Elizario, Texas in 1845. Ramon Montes and Dolores Arroyo, Francisca's grandparents were also born in San Elizario, Texas in 1795.

Jesus Cobos and Francisca Montes had two daughters, Maria Francisca Rosalia, born in 1865 and Francisca II, born in 1869. They also had a son, Francisco, born in 1872. Telesforo Montes and Quirina Alderete, grandparents of Francisco, baptized him December 11, 1872. Jesus Cobos and Francisca Montes had other children for whom I have names but not birth years. They are the following: Jesus Cobos II, Nicasio and Agustina. Jesus Cobos II died at the age of 24. Nicasio had a daughter, Refugio Cobos, birth year unknown. Agustina married Cruz Rey and had a daughter, Concepcion Rey who married Antonio Zambrano.

Jesus and Francisca’s daughter, Maria Francisca Rosalia, at the age of 16, married Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo on April 25, 1881. Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo was 22 years old when he married Rosalia.

Francisco, the son of Jesus Cobos and Francisca Montes married Porfiria Garcia on February 8, 1897. Marriage Witness's were Agapito De Jesus Montes (Jesus Montes) and Josefa Montes. Jesus and Josefa were brother and sister of Francisca Montes. Porfiria Garcia was born in San Elizario, Texas in 1875. Porfiria was the daughter of Gregorio Nacianceno Garcia II and Romana Sanchez. The children of Francisco Cobos and Porfiria Garcia were Nicasio, Leonila, Carlos Cleto, Jose and Ignacio.

Jesus Cobos, like most of the prominent citizens of San Elizario, gave testimony as recorded in the Congressional Records. On February 4, 1878, Mr. Jesus Cobos stated the following regarding El Paso Troubles In Texas (Salt War Of Texas): "That he has been a resident of this town since 1861 and that the question of the salt lakes was the origin of the troubles in this place which begin in September, 1877." According to several sources, Jesus Cobos, Telesforo Montes and Gregorio Nacianceno Garcia I were determined to prevent the Salt War and avoid the needless bloodshed that ensued. There are several accounts that depict the Salt War and if the reader wishes to obtain more detail, please refer to the "House of Representatives, 45th Congress, 2nd Session, Ex. Doc. No. 93, El Paso Troubles In Texas, Letter From The Secretary Of War" which can be obtained at most city or university libraries.

Nancy Lee Hammons wrote in her book, “El Paso To 1900," that Jesus Cobos was elected as a County Commissioner of San Elizario on November 4, 1884 and served until November 1, 1886.

Like his father in law, Telesforo Montes, Jesus Cobos was addressed as “Don Jesus” which is a sign of respect in the Spanish community.

History has revealed that Jesus Cobos, Telesforo Montes, Gregorio Nacianceno Garcia I, Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo, Maximo Aranda, and Juan Mauro Lujan were just some of the famous men that emerged from San Elizario. These men were prominent and legendary leaders that gave of themselves altruistically to the thriving town that San Elizario was during the 1800's when the West was wild. All of us with roots in San Elizario, Texas are proud of these great pioneers and feel rewarded to be a part of San Elizario’s rich history.

Conrado Montes
January 10, 2004


Notes regarding data for this life story:

  1. The information regarding birth date and places for Jesus Cobos and his parents was obtained from the Census of 1841 for Ysleta, Socorro, and San Elizario. The census of 1841 was transcribed by the El Paso Historical Commission in 1988 and was edited by Dr. W. H. Timmons, Lucy F. West, and Mary A. Sarber. This document can be obtained from the Museum and Information Center operated by the San Elizario Genealogy And Historical Society located in San Elizario, Texas

  2. Additional information came from the book of Amelia Montes Skaggs and Dr. Samuel R. Skaggs, "The Bells of San Eli."

  3. The pictures of Jesus Cobos and Maria Montes Garcia were copied from the book, The Bells of San Eli.

  4. Irma Perez provided further information that she retrieved from birth certificates, baptism certificates and census records. Note: Irma Perez is a descendent of The Aranda Family.

  5. My brother, Richard Montes, did the final editing for this biography.