Today it is the go-to place for whitewater rafting and kayakers who raft and camp along the banks of the river. Pilar was originally named "Cieneguilla," for the swampy ground in a bend of the Rio Grande.
For history buffs, the area is famously known as the location of the Battle of Cieneguilla, which occurred in 1854 between the Jicarilla Apache fighters and the U.S. Cavalry. By most accounts, the Jicarilla Apache were a peaceful people being squeezed out of their territory. The legendary Christopher “Kit” Carson headed there to get help for this small band of Apache.
In 1918 the State of New Mexico gave the area a U.S. Post office and needed an official name for the village. They came to my great-great-great-grandfather who lived there and asked him if he had any suggestions on what to name the town.
He said, “the most beautiful name I know is the name of my wife and her name is Pilar.”
When I decided to create this candle I called my Tia Marie and asked her what the fragrance should be. When I was young we spent so many summers at my Tia Reggie’s, who lived near the river in Pilar. She said, “make it smell like the river.”
Traditions and history in NM are important, and our oral histories are a huge part of the fabric of New Mexican families who have been here for hundreds of years. This candle was created to honor my great-great-great-grandmother, the original Pilar, and in remembrance of my beloved Tia Miquelita who was born in Pilar.