James Buchanan was the fifteenth president of the United States.
Without a baptism, or similar documents,
the degree of accuracy when a person was
born one hundred and fifty years ago can be
somewhat vague. One means to judge a
person’s age fairly close is with the use of
censuses when a person was a child. Using
censuses and other evidence it appears that
Felis Guebara was born in late 1859, and
evidence strongly supports that he was born
in Manzano, New Mexico. And using other
evidence, mainly his marriage document, his
parents were Placido Guevara and Tecla
The year that Felis was beginning his life
another infant(1) 2000 miles away was
beginning his, and their paths no doubt
crossed about 20 years later. The child from
New York City had quite a distance to
travel for the rendezvous. Felis had about
150 miles to travel on his journey. Felis
married, had a family, took care of his
mother for many years, lived a long life of
71 years and no doubt was a respected
member of the community. The fellow from
New York pursued a different path and
lived 50 years less than Felis.
(1)---The infant born in New York City was Henry McCarty and in his later life
used other names such as Henry Antrim, using the surname of his step-father, and
William H. Bonney. The name that is widely known and gave him immortality is
Billy the Kid. Lacking irrefutable evidence, there is some skepticism if the child
born in New York City was indeed the same person, but most scholars are in
agreement that the association is correct.
Billy the Kid
|The year that Felis and Henry were beginning
their lives the life of John Brown was taken
away from him. He was a radical abolitionist
who advocated and practiced armed
insurrection as a means to abolish slavery. A
raid on a federal armory in Virginia, with loss
of lives, was the crime for which he was tried
and executed by hanging. Was he a
“misguided fanatic” as President Lincoln said
or was he a martyr. Historians are still debating
the issue and agree that his raid at Harpers
Ferry escalated tensions that, a year later, led
to secession and played a major role in starting
the Civil War, and in which Felis’ father,
Placido, and grandfather, Ygnacio,
participated. And while marching at times they
must have marched to the song “Battle Hymn
of the Republic,” which was the Union
marching song during the war. The original title
was “John Brown’s Body.”
Felis and his mother probably arrived in Lincoln County in the late 1860s along with other members of the Guebara family.
They were in the 1870 U.S. census living in the town of Lincoln. They also were living in Lincoln at the time of the 1880 census,
which indicates that they must have resided in the area when the Lincoln County War was in progress and the county was in
Sometime, in the early 1880s members of the Guebara family moved to White Oaks. When Felis married Carmelita Torres on
Dec. 17, 1883, he was a resident of White Oaks and she was a resident of Lincoln and the daughter of Cresencio Torres and
Miguela Miranda. The witnesses were Felis’ older brother Maximiano and his wife Felicita. Their marriage was recorded in
Santa Rita Church’s book of marriages.
So far, Carmelita’s baptism hasn’t surfaced and the year of her birth can’t be accurately determined. The Cresencio Torres
family resided in Lincoln in the 1870 census and it was stated that Carmelita was three years old meaning that she was born in
1867. In the 1880 census she was twelve years old meaning that she was born in 1868. Her death certificate said that she was
born in 1869. It showed her month of birth in March. It seems that when information about a person’s birth was stated the
month would usually be quite accurate but the year could become questionable, especially as the person aged. The Santa Rita
Church’s baptism records didn’t begin until May 1869.
In January 1884 Felis and Carmelita were godparents to Manuel Garcia. It's one of the first baptisms performed in White Oaks
by Santa Rata Church.
Felis and Carmelita appeared in the 1885 New Mexico state census living in White Oaks, which was Precinct 8. His mother,
Tecla, also lived in White Oaks as did father, Placido, with sons Manuel, Lorenzo and Francisco. Felis was classified as a
laborer, his dad, Placido, was a miner.
In August 1892 Felis and Carmelita were witnesses when his father, Placido, married Librada Barela.
In March 1894 Felis filed a property return claiming real estate and improvements on two lots with a value of $200. He also
claimed that his personal property was worth $106. Most of the value was for ten cattle worth $7 per head. Carmelita had a
sewing machine worth $10. The $200 exemption limit was exceeded and the Guebaras had to pay tax to the tune of $1.28.
Felis and Carmelita were witnesses at the marriage of Julian Leal and Caroline Lalone in March 1897. Julian was the brother of
Jesusita Leal who would marry Felis’ younger brother, Francisco, and Caroline was the daughter of Theophilus and Estanislada
In the 1900 U.S. census, the couple resided in White Oaks and their dwelling was next to Manuel Guebara and family, who
was Felis’ younger brother. Also living in White Oaks at that time was Placido and brothers Maximiano and Lorenzo and their
families. Mother Tecla lived nearby. Also living in White Oaks was Susan McSween-Barber of the Lincoln County War fame.
The population of White Oaks was 804 residents.
In November 1903 Felis and Carmelita were witnesses at the marriage of Frederico Lalone and Margarita Vega. Fred was the
son of Theophilus and Estanislada. The document doesn’t state where the marriage location was, but it must have been at
White Oaks and was performed by Reverend Joseph Girand.
In late 1904, J.P.C. Langston, who was road supervisor in the White Oaks area, gave the Lincoln County Board of
Commissioners a list with 42 names of persons who had performed 3 days labor on improving roads. The list included Felis
and brothers Manuel and Lorenzo. The work exempted the men from paying a tax. 30 citizens elected to pay the $3 tax.
There was a census taken in 1907 for Precinct 8, which was White Oaks. It included Felis, Carmelita, sons Amado, Samuel
and Salamon and mother Tecla. Daughter, Beatrice, wouldn’t be born until the following year. Also in the census was the
Lorenzo Guebara family with wife, Maximiliana, and six children. Niece, Sarah, was with the family. She was the daughter of
Manuel Guebara and wife Conception. The population of the town was 288 residents.
Felis’ mother Tecla Sisneros, passed away January 2, 1908. She was about 68 years old and she was buried in the Guebara
section at Cedarvale Cemetery. She and her son had obviously been very close all of her life.
In the 1910 census Felis and Carmelita were living in White Oaks and had four children. Amado was born in 1902; Samuel,
born in 1904; Salomon, born in 1906 and Beatrice, born in 1908. Felis was employed as foreman at a livery stable owned by
Paul Mayer. He owned a home, which is probably the same place that partially remains after 100 years. Only brother Lorenzo
and family remained in White Oaks besides the Felis Guebara family.
An article in a White Oaks paper on April 2, 1915 said that Felis had sold his cattle to John Townsend.
In the 1920 census the Felis Guebara family was living in White Oaks. Felis said that he had no occupation, and at age 60
perhaps he had retired. Brother Manual and his family had relocated to White Oaks and lived nearby as did Felis’ sister-in-law,
Felicita, widow of Maximiano, Felis’ older brother. Brother Lorenzo and family had moved to Carrizozo. Sue McSween-
Barber lived nearby. The 1920 population of White Oaks was 357 residents.
Sometime after the 1920 census, Felis and family moved to the Patos Mountain area, about 8 miles from White Oaks. The
1930 census says that the family was residents of Reventon, which was in the vicinity of the Patos Mountain. Felis stated that he
was a farmer involved in general farming. Besides wife, Carmelita, their four children were still at home ranging in ages from 27
to 22. Felis and family were the only members of the Guebaras remaining in the general area. The 1930 population of White
Oaks was 109 residents.
Felis passed away December 30, 1930 at age 71. His death certificate said that he had been a live stockman for 48 years. His
wife, Carmelita, and children Amado, Samuel, Salomon and Beatris survived him. He was buried in the family plot at Cedarvale
Cemetery in White Oaks.
Carmelita passed away August 7, 1934 at Carrizozo and her age was given as 65. Her four children survived her. She was
buried at White Oaks next to her husband, Felis.
Salomon Guebara, the third child of Felis and Carmelita died June 13, 1944 at age 37. He was injured in a farming accident in
Carrizozo and passed away a week later in Roswell. His wife and three children survived him. He was buried at White Oaks in
the family plot next to his mother.
Samuel, the second child of Felis and Carmelita died May 10, 1947 at age 43 in Carrizozo. His wife and a brother and a sister,
Mrs. Tom Current, survived him. He was buried at White Oaks next to his brother, Salomon.
Amado, the eldest child of the Guebaras, died Nov. 26, 1958 in Roswell at age 56. Wife, Rafaela, adopted son, Alex Flores
and sister Beatris Current survived him. He was buried at South Park Cemetery in Roswell.
The last child of Felix and Carmelita, Beatrice, married Tom Current May 27, 1934. She passed away in December 1985 at
age 77 and is buried in the Catholic cemetery at Socorro, N.M. Her adopted daughter, Carmen Guebara, survived her
Felis and Carmelita were prominent citizens, and their names appear in the Santa Rita Church records as godparents, sponsors
and witnesses. Robert Leslie (1912-2003) who was born in White Oaks and lived in Lincoln County a good part of his life
remembered the family well. He talked about the family. Felis was an accomplished fiddle player, taught his sons the same, and
they played at dances. They were frugal, prospered and did very well. The family moved from White Oaks and bought some
property at Patos Mountain—about eight miles away. They raised stock and vegetables and no doubt had a fine life. Mr. Leslie
had some stories about the family, and he smiled and laughed as he told them. One story that he told was the time that Felis
worked for Paul Mayer. Mayer had a freighting a livery business and Felis drove for him. One time Felis was to deliver some
gold bullion but as the story went, Felis had other business and parked the wagon for the day and disappeared. He had hidden
the bullion. Mayer, no doubt, was very concerned and searched for the bullion. The next day he was chastising Felis, and Felis
told Mayer: “Well, you couldn’t find the gold.” Leslie also mentioned that he helped dig the grave for Susan McSween-Barber
in the White Oaks Cemetery.
Photo of White Oaks in the 1880s appears to have been taken from the base of Baxter Mountain looking
eastward. Photo Archives, Santa Fe, N.M.
A photo taken in 1915-16 identifies the Guebara children: Fourth row, far
left is Samuel and on his left is Salomon. On the last row, far left with cap
is Amado and on his left is sister Beatrice. White Oaks, N.M. Museum Photo
After crossing the bridge, before entering White Oaks, on the left, are the adobe remnants of a house
belonging to the Felis Guebara family, according to White Oaks historian Robert Leslie. He said that Felis
would have two houses with a well between the two structures.