Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

<<Back to Treasures Index
Dona Jesusita Aragon



Honored July, 1987

Dona Jesusita Aragon

Dona Jesusita, healer and midwife of northern New Mexico, in her seven decades of on the job delivered more than twelve thousand babies--the population of a good sized New Mexican town.

Born on a ranch in Sapello, known as El Rancho Trujillo in 1908, she delivered her first baby when she was only thirteen years old. "My grandmother, Dolores Gallegos, a midwife, taught me," Jesusita recalled. "She wasn't there that day because she went to deliver another baby. One of my aunts had a baby, so I had to help her. But I knew everything."

Her Tia Valentina, the curandera in the family, taught her the use of traditional healing herbs. Jesusita became interested in healing as well as delivering babies.

"I wanted to go to school to be a nurse," said Jesusita. "But years ago, they didn't believe in education. I only went to the eighth grade, and it was all in Spanish. It's a miracle that I can talk a little English. I learned reading the papers.
As a single mother with a son and daughter, she was sole provider for her family. She cut wood and carried it to build her own house as well as the furnishings. She cared for her family by gardening and raising animals. In 1942 she moved to Las Vegas, where she supported her children by washing clothes, cleaning houses, making tortillas, and delivering babies.

The birthing room she set up in the front of her house held ten beds. "I used to deliver nine or ten a night," she recalled charging $10 a birth. "I used to deliver 200 to 215 a year." Among her deliveries were twenty-seven sets of twins and two sets of triplets.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes