A Taos Family History: Manby, Martini, and Minnow

By: Chaucer Henderson
17 November, 2017

Are you a Martini or a Minnow?

Part I

The exact origin of Minnow Martini Martinez is unclear. Some descendants claim Minnow-Martini is a descendant of mixed Spanish-Italian parentage, a progeny of an Italian mercenary, who deserted the Onate conquest and settled in the Arroyo Seco-Salto area of Taos. One branch of the “Martini-Martinez” clan claims a primo traveled with John C. Fremont to California.

Frémont, a major in the U.S. Army, took control of California from the California Republic in 1846. The major was convicted in court martial for mutiny and insubordination over a conflict of who was the military Governor of California. The primo, now a “Martinez” deserted the army when Fremont was charged and built a Cantina-Post Office in what is now his namesake, Martinez, California.

Descendants say Kit Carson introduced Martini-Martinez to Fremont, who helped the “Fixer” escape Taos after accusations of participating in the Bent Massacre surfaced back in January of 1847. Apparently, Martini-Martinez warned Kit Carson’s Josepha Jaramillo to stay away from a family dinner on the fateful night when her sister and Gov. Bent met their demise. Martini himself served as a “fixer” for Simeon Turley, the bootlegger who manufactured “White Lightning” in Taos. On Turley’s behalf, Martini is accused of organizing the death of Gov. Bent but escaped direct culpability by employing Native American cut-outs (proxies) from Taos Pueblo, who worked at the distillery.

Turley made huge profits on White Lightning due to the unregulated nature of Indian Country and because Mexico’s distant capital ignored El Norte. The bootlegger resented the invasion of Kearney’s Army of the West, which promised an end to lawlessness and bootlegging in the new American territory. After the massacre at Taos Pueblo by the American army as punishment for the Gov. Bent slaughter, some of Martini-Martinez’s Native American vecinos fingered the “fixer,” who fled.

At the time Martini Martinez founded “Martinez” California, a distant cousin and Italian vintner started marketing a Vermouth product under the brand name of Martini, named after its director Alessandro Martini, a distant relative. The cocktail, according to a contemporary bar guide, claimed the drink was served in the early 1860s at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, where commuters waited before taking an evening ferry to the nearby town of Martinez.

A local historian, however, devoted to the “Legends of Taos,” discovered records in the Padre Martinez Hacienda, which alludes to Taos’s, own “Holy Water.” Apparently Martini Martinez provided the Outlaw Priest with oblations for celebratory toasts. The records also include a recipe for “White Lightning, flavored by a dash of Chokecherry and leaf of Sage.” While sipping during ritual prayers, the parishioners frequently called out: “Salud: El Martini.”

Martini Martinez’s distant primo Alessandro Martini had a common ancestor with Riino “Toto” Salvatore from Corelone, Sicily. Riino, the son of a poor farmer, was born on 16 November 1930 in Corleone, which would become synonymous with the mafia thanks to Francis Ford Coppola’s popular Godfather film trilogy. Nicknamed “The Beast” because of his cruelty, Salvatore “Toto” Riino led a reign of terror for decades after taking control of Cosa Nostra, the island’s powerful organized crime group, in the 1970s. He died recently at age 87 in Italy. Savagery frequently surfaces in a local Martinez, locals say.

Back in Taos: Part II

Today in Taos, descendants of the Martini and Minnow Martinez clan have done DNA searches to determine the identity of ancestors. According to the “Legend,” the serial killer, and swindler Manby, in his briefly successful attempt to “acquire” the “Martinez De Godoi” land grant, successfully cohabited with a local woman, who bore a son. Manby assumed no financial responsibility but frequently visited the boy’s mother while showering his “hito” with gifts. The Martini Martinez cum Manby descendants survive as a subset of the major Martinez families and relatives centered in the Arroyo Seco-El Salto area but spread today throughout Taos County, Colorado, California and the greater U.S. of A.

After Manby died, the impecunious mother and victim of Manby’s lust, had little other than a letter expressing a desire to leave his son a “share” in what author Frank Waters, a denizen of El Salto, describes in To Possess the Land as the “U.S. Secret and Civil Service Society Self-Supporting Branch” (USSCSSSSB). The “Branch,” organized by Manby and his alleged lover, Teracita Ferguson, existed as a crime corporation aimed at control of El Norte’s land and water. Descendants of ill-gotten “Branch” proceeds occupy positions of authority in the Abeyta Settlement and Kit Carson Electric Coop while playing prominent roles in “economic development.”

The local historian claims the Manby-Martinez residual land grant survives as a private organization aka El Salto de Agua, a 2000-acre corporation that includes the famed waterfall, forest, Christmas Trees, Elk and Deer (or what’s left). The group formally organized as a joint-stock company in the late 40s, and which belongs exclusively to the indigenous heirs of the El Salto-Arroyo Seco neighborhood.

Ironically, the Manby genes live on in some swindlers marked by a peculiar physical trait in some of the alleged heirs. These post Manby Martini-Martinez heirs inherit a deformity first remarked on by Manby’s lover, Terecita who referred to Manby as the “Minnow.” Apparently Manby’s tiny male member resurfaces in some Martini-Minnow-Martinez descendants.

Hence, the smaller the “member,” the greater the “machismo,” according to local dichos.

The name “Minnow” is never spoken in public unless its “bearer” is absent, not unlike Canon’s Vato Loco, whose nickname “Chumerez” (Panties) was never uttered in his presence, lest a sudden glare turn into a stiletto. Relatives say someone like “El Minnow” purchases vast quantities of “Viagra” to attract “Las hueras” to his lair.

Preview: Part III

According to “insiders,” la buena gente and los vendidos, genuine and ersatz heirs will be participating in hearings to determine whether the 1949 by-laws, and competing lists of heirs are authentic or anachronistic, and whether this “Board of Directors” or that “Board of Directors” is legitimate. Charges of chicanery, fraud, and double-dealing float above the waterfall while members worry that the “Salto-Sicilian gang” aims at “eliminating” heirs by any means necessary.

Of the current attorneys purportedly involved, two of the most prominent are the Honorable Joseph Caldwell, a retired district court judge, on the one side and on the other side, the shark-like criminal defense attorney, Alan Maestas. The records for El Salto de Agua also refer to the legendary defender of social malefactors, one Jack McCarthy, who has kept the KCEC Trustees and Management out of “harm’s way” (legally speaking).

Some heirs of de Agua are calling for claimants to disrobe and reveal whether the subject is a “Minnow” or a “Martini.” Shares received via the ill-gotten gains of the Manby-Minnow (USCSSSSB) connection are considered illegal, according to Frank Waters’s chronicle of the swindler in To Possess the Land.

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