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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Could This Be a Marriage Record?

I wrote back in February about Lazarus and Molly Rowe, who hold the Guinness record for longest-married couple, having put off divorcing for 86 years. But newspapers in 1910 reported another couple even more interminably wed.

Florence, Colo.—Ninety years wedded is the unique record of Francisco Espor, aged one hundred and ten, and his wife, Rafael, aged one hundred and seven. The couple were found by the census enumerator at the home of the great-granddaughter, Mrs. Julia Montoya, who brought them here from a pueblo in New Mexico a few years ago, where Francisco Espor was born.

Although their mental faculties are somewhat dulled and they are physically very feeble, this remarkable couple converse in their native tongue, and the husband, who witnessed the rebellion of the inhabitants of Mexico against Spanish rule when Mexico gained freedom, recounts many thrilling incidents of the war.

The couple was married at Santa Fe, N. M., in 1820, and located in Pueblo, Colo., when it was a village of log huts and the Indian trading post. Of the ten children of the couple but one is living, a son, 85 years old. There are thirty grandchildren, sixty great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. The latter are the daughters of Mrs. Montoya. [Sheboygan (Wis.) Evening Press, June 13, 1910]
A few errors and inconsistencies are apparent. For one, it's unclear whether the couple lived in a pueblo in New Mexico or in Pueblo, Colorado, or both. The 1910 census shows them living in the second ward of Florence, Colo., but without a Mrs. Julia Montoya. The census also states that Mrs. Espor had only two children, neither of whom was then living. The wife's name was not "Rafael" but "Rafela." The "Espor" surname is also questionable, as only two or three other people seem ever to have borne it.

Until someone turns up some corroborating evidence, I think Lazarus and Molly can keep their trophy.

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