Telles’ mother was Jesus Maria Martinez, a Mexican woman. His father was Santiago Telles. As sixteen-year-olds the two met and fell in love but Telles did not marry Jesus Maria, perhaps because of resistance from Santiago’s parents. His given name at birth was Felix. In 1858, Jesus Maria and her two children, Felix and his half-sister, Teodora Rangel, met and moved in with John Ward, an Irishman who had migrated to the Arizona Territory and started a ranch. The August 26, 1860 United States Census for the Sonoita Creek settlement in the Arizona Territory indicates that Felix Ward was 12 years old, his sister Teodora was 10, and his sister Mary Ward was 5 months. Jesus Maria Martinez was listed as 30 years old and John Ward as 54 years old. A half-brother, Santiago Ward, later claimed his birth as July 25, 1860, but this contradicts the census record. John Ward and Jesus Maria had five children before his death in 1867.