Feb. 13, 1898 Potrero Santa Fe County New Mexico, USA
Jun. 17, 2001 New Mexico, USA
Benigna, born in the Plaza del Cerro (informally: Chimayo Plaza), was the daughter of Reyes Ortega and Genoveva Archuleta. She was survived by sister Melita Ortega of Chimayo; 12 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren (one born on her 99th birthday).
Benigna was born just outside of the Plaza de Cerro in Chimayo. She attended John Hyson Elemetary and was the first girl to graduate 8th grade from there. She went on to attend the Loretto Academy in Santa Fe and a summer institute for teachers in Santa Fe and Espaņola. She taught elemetary school in La Cuchilla until she met Abedon Chavez. On 22 Oct 1932, Benigna married Avedon E. Chavez. They moved to Durango, Colorado for a few years. They returned to Chimayo and built their home and engaged into weaving, a family skill from Benigna's family. During World War II, the family moved to San Francisco for 6 years, returning to Chimayo in 1948. Abedon passed away a year later. The book "Benigna's Chimayo: Cuentos from the Old Plaza" by her grandson Don Usner is a collection of stories that Benigna had preserved and passed down into her family.