While Cuentos / Tales are often unsourced and unverified, they are an important part of a rich tradition of storytelling. Some are tales passed down from generation to generation, originating in a small factual incident that often grow to epic proportions. Some are even included in newspaper and other written stories, where the objectivity of the writer can often be called into question.
But they are an important part of a family’s history so it is fitting that we find a place for them somewhere on this website.
So please enjoy some of these cuentos, often many times told, that grow more valuable as the years go by.
Did you ever hear about? …
— 1703 — Love is blind, or so goes the saying. But for Felipe and Antonia Moraga of Chimayo, dabbling in witchcraft landed them before inquisitors in New Mexico during the 1700s: “Enchanted Legends and Lore of New Mexico“. And there is more to this tale of a Felipe Moraga and witches, this time with wife Catarina Valeria in Santa Cruz.
— 2 Nov. 1785 — One Moraga family member, an unsolved murder in St. Augustine, Florida and all for the love of a woman?: “Murder on Charlotte St.” — www.Augustine.com
— 1840s-50s — The Mexican bandit / or freedom fighter and Señorita Moraga. Once read a story online about Joaquin Murrieta, who has been called the Mexico Robin Hood. The story goes that Murrieta was on the run from authorities and entered the home of a Señorita Moraga who lived in the Central Valley of California. Taken by the young lady, Murrieta is said to have tossed some stolen jewelry on her lap before beating a hasty retreat. Certainly some circumstantial evidence. Some members of the Moraga family did live at the time in the Los Banos / Firebaugh region just northwest of Fresno and Murrieta is said to have made his way from the gold fields in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California down to Coalinga, southwest of Fresno, where he was reportedly killed on 25 July 1853. So if anyone happens to come across that story, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org And who ended up with the family jewels?
— 1863 to 1866 — Another Moraga was a Yankee? What? Yes, Private Augustin Moraga served in the Union Army as part of the 1st Battalion — California Native Cavalry, during American Civil War. Battalion headquartered at Drum Barracks in Wilmington, Los Angeles, before heading out to battle Indians from Fort Mason, located south of Tucson/Tubac/Tumacacori, Arizona. His unit appeared to have arrived in Arizona about one year too late to take part in the westernmost battle of the American Civil War between Union and Confederate troops — The Battle of Picacho Peak near Tucson.
— 3 March 1891 — America’s pastime almost takes out a Moraga. Young Joe Pablo Moraga got whacked in baseball mishap in New Jerusalem / El Rio in Southern California. — Ventura Daily Free Press
— 6 March 1891 — They hang horse thieves don’t they? Octaviano Moraga of El Rio and Harvey Walbridge were hot on the trail of a stolen horse that ended up about 60 miles away in Los Angeles — Ventura Daily Free Press
— 21 Sept. 1906 — The danger of keeping the home fires burning hit Octaviano Moraga of El Rio: “Fire at El Rio” — Oxnard Courier
— 30 April 1909 — And the bad luck kept coming for Octaviano Moraga: “Senior Moraga nearly recovered from his injuries” — Oxnard Courier
— 8 June 1912 — The perfect marriage, a Moraga and Ortega Chili in Ventura. On this date Refugia Moraga de Garcia, widow of Miguel Antonio Moraga, baptized Sept. 1843, d. 1911, Ventura; son of Benjamin Moraga, married Teodore Ortega, brother of eventual Ortega Chili Company founder Emilo C. Ortega.
— 10 July 1912 — Twisted tale of acquisition of Moraga Ranch in Northern California includes squatters, numerous gunfights, assaults, murders and worst yet, court cases: “Moraga Ranch is Famous” — Oakland Tribune
— 10 July 1912 — The tale of the sale of the Moraga Ranch in Northern California appears to be coming to a close: “Moraga Ranch Reported Sold” — Oakland Tribune
— 2 May 1918 — So how often do you get to chat with Gen. John C. Fremont? Well, Isabel Grajeda de Ayala did just that many a times, recounted in the story “El Rio pioneer knew Gen. Fremont.” Isabel, who was born on 19 Nov. 1836 in Santa Barbara to Juan Ayala and Rafaela Arellanez, was the mother of Rafaela Grajeda, b. Aug. 1872 and married on 1 Oct. 1894 to Jesus Jose Moraga, son of Octaviano Moraga. — Oxnard Courier
— 2 July 1918 — Never let it be said that the Moraga family were “Slackers” during World War I. Several Moraga family members purchased War Savings Stamps in El Rio, Southern California, including Tony Moraga Sr.; son Bernie Moraga and daughters Freda, Emma and Eva Moraga: “W.S.S pledges in El Rio put all slackers to shame” — Oxnard Courier
— 13 June 1919 — United quickly in death, Albert Morales and his wife, a daughter of Octaviano Moraga: “Dual funeral for husband and wife” — Oxnard Courier
— 9 Aug. 1920 — Road rage is thought to be a new phenomenon given our busy lifestyle and high speed highways. But being hauled around by a four-legged critter also had its hazards for one member of the Moraga family: “Burro driver is under arrest” — Oxnard Daily Courier.
— 1920s — Toney Frank Moraga loved to tell tales of growing up on the outskirts of Oxnard in the barrio of New Jerusalem, which eventually became known as El Rio in Southern California. One tale involved young Toney hating to take the cow out to the Santa Clara river bottom in the early morning to find pasture land before he went to school. One day he tied the cow a little to close to the Southern Pacific Railroad track. When he found the deceased cow after school, Toney and his brother then hastily dug a hole and rolled the bovine into it. However, measurements weren’t their strong suit. With four feet sticking up above ground level, they ended up covering them with some brush and beat a hasty retreat home. After a day or so Tony Moraga Sr. went searching for the cow on horseback, found the the poor creature partly above ground, returned with a saw to finish the proper burial and then retrieved his big belt to take care of a couple of cow killers. — Recounted by Frank X. Moraga.
— 1930s — Watch out for those drunk chickens. Toney Frank Moraga recalled that his father was fond of making bathtub gin during Prohibition. In order to hid the booze from the authorities he would conceal the bottles in the chicken coop on his small farm in El Rio. Well, a hot summer’s day and bottles of booze don’t mix too well. Soon the bottles were popping, a mini gin river was flowing in El Rio and the chickens were wobbling after having a taste. Neighbors called in the police who followed the drunk chickens back to the Moraga farm. Talk about something bad coming home to roost. But we’re sure the marinated chickens were certainly tasty. — Recounted by Frank X. Moraga.
— 30 April 1965 — So how many great-grandchildren do you have? 95!!! El Rio resident “Mrs. Bertha Moraga honored by family on 79th birthday” — Oxnard Press-Courier
— 30 April 1966 — Chickens, canaries and a pekingese — oh my! Bertha Moraga talks about her “Reflections of a long, useful life” — Oxnard Press-Courier
— 22 March 1970 — Now up to 140 great-grandkids and counting. Bertha Moraga recalls growing up in Rancho Camulos near Piru, working in a Santa Paula packing house and meeting her husband Tony Moraga in 1900 in Oxnard in a newspaper profile: “People you should know — Bertha Moraga. She lives on the Sunny Side” — Oxnard Press-Courier
— 30 April 1972 — He said she was 86 years old, not eighty-sixed. … Columnist John McCormick wishes Bertha Moraga a happy 86th birthday in ‘My Fav’rite Grandma‘. Also see “Bertha Moraga celebrates 86th birthday” and Bertha Moraga celebrates life at 50 Plus Club — Oxnard Press-Courier
— 15 Sept. 1975 — A time to remember of pricey history of the Moraga Ranch in Northern California: “History of Moraga is traced from rancho” — Oakland Tribune