Monthly Archives: July 2013

Maria Escalante de Morales

Maria Escalante de Morales.

Maria Escalante de Morales.

The third Escalante child was Maria Escalante. Maria was supposedly a twin. For the longest time I thought Maria was twins with Lupe, but that proved not to be the case. On the 1900 US Census, it stated that one of Rufina’s children had died already, maybe it was Maria’s twin that passed.

Be that as it may, Maria was the only girl in the family until 1903 when Panchita was born. She was the only girl in the Romo family too, now that I think about it. She followed her family as her siblings had done. Between the time her dad died in 1915 through 1917, she got married. Her husband was Gabriel Morales. Gabriel was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco. He was an attorney.

The two settled into domestic life and started having children. According to her Travel Manifest, dated 1928, her children were born: Helen (1917), Leonardo and Mary Luisa (1919), Arcelia (1924), and Gabriel (1926). She and her husband live in many different places, including Los Angeles, Mexicali, Jacumba, CA.

Maria Escalante de Morales' manifest. The two children pictured are Arcelia and Gabriel.

Maria Escalante de Morales’ manifest. The two children pictured are Arcelia and Gabriel.

By 1926, Gabriel was making a name for himself in the Mexicali political world. In a November, 1926 article in “Heraldo de Mexico,” there was a discussion about the electric company wanting to leave Mexicali. “Mr. Gabriel Morales, Secretary of the Municipality” was quoted in the article.

Gabriel Morales 1926

In January 1927, the newspaper was relieved to find Mr. Morales was recuperating from a dislocation injury he suffered on New Year’s Eve, 1927, with friends and family at a ballroom.


He is quite busy. March 1927 finds him returning on business from Mexico City.

Gabriel Morales' 1927 Travel Manifest.

Gabriel Morales’ 1927 Travel Manifest.

His above manifest stated that his occupation was a lawyer. A District Attorney in Baja California, to be more specific. According to the newspaper, he went as “Secretary of the City Council.”

Gabriel was also mentioned in an article from a situation that takes place in July 1927. It involved his sister-in-law, Lupe, and his brother-in-law, Albert. But that ordeal will take several posts to get through.

June 1928 is the last time we see Gabriel mentioned in relation to Mexicali political business. He decided not to run in a district election.

Gabriel, June 1928

Eventually, the Morales’ moved to Mexico City. We know a little about what the family was doing because Tia Panchita went to visit her sister often. On a visit to Mexico City, Panchita’s second son, Ruben, died when he was about 3 or 4. When Maria’s son, Leonardo (yes, named after her father), went to medical school, Panchita made sure her son, Oscar, did the same.

Then one day, her son, Leonardo showed up to visit.

Leonardo Morales visits Tio Ruben, 1943.

Leonardo Morales visits Tio Ruben, 1943.

He was visiting Tio Ruben and Tia Cuca in Mexicali. One fascinating item on his manifest is “Sepulveda-Escalante” as a secondary name. What?? Did Gabriel Sr. die and Maria remarry??

In 1944, Arcelia Morales comes to visit Tio Ruben and Tia Cuca as well.

Arcelia visiting Mexicali, 1944.

Arcelia visiting Mexicali, 1944.

Wasn’t she lovely?  She stated her father is Gabriel Morales. She stated her mother was Maria Escalante, but that Maria was dead. That would have Maria dying in her 40s. The manifest stated that Arcelia wanted to stay in Mexicali permanently. I don’t think she did.

The last visit we see from one of Maria’s children was when Leonardo visited once again in 1950.

Dr. Leonardo Sepulveda - Escalante, 1950.

Dr. Leonardo Sepulveda – Escalante, 1950.

Leonardo was now a full medical doctor on his own. He was visiting. He was now married to Alicia Vildosola. If Leonardo stayed in the area, there was no further documentation. And the same with Areclia.

The Morales’ had established a life in Mexico City. It sounds as if several of the children wanted to come and reconnect with their Escalante family members. Did the other three children die early? Are their offspring living on in Mexico City?

Maria managed a family of 5 children and an educated husband with an active political career. She was a role model to her younger sister. She worked to educate her children for a better life back in the country from which her parents had come.

Carlos Escalante

There is difficulty in tracing the steps of family with such a huge span of time between the births of siblings. Jose was hard to find because he was already 19 when my grandfather was born. He was starting his own adult life when my grandfather was taking first steps. This kind of age range doesn’t always allow the younger childrens’ relatives to know them.

While Leonardo Jr. wasn’t known well because of his early death, Carlos was the uncle behind the scenes. Some called him Uncle Charlie, some called him Tio Carlos.

Carlos was born in June 1897. The US Census stated he was born in Mexico, but later documents say he and his sister, Maria, were born in El Paso, Texas. Like his other siblings, Carlos followed his family from Mexico to Ventura County, Orange County and finally, Imperial County. The picture below is the only one I have found of him.

Charlie Escalante crossing, Dec. 1919.

Charlie Escalante crossing, Dec. 1919.

He married Lupe Navarro. They had a son, Charley Ricardo Escalante. His family called the son Carlitos.

Charlie and Lupe had a second son.

Robert Escalante's Birth Certificate, 1932.

Robert Escalante’s Birth Certificate, 1932.

Escalante cousins who are alive do not remember Robert, so they aren’t really sure if I have the right family member. However, on Robert’s birth certificate it says he was the second child, the parents were the same, and they were still living in El Centro. My last hint is this: Two other Escalante cousins are named Robert, both born right around the same time, the early 1950’s. Escalante parents loved to name their children after family members that passed. After questioning some of the family, it is thought that there was a really handsome doctor in town named Robert. I have a hard time believing that Sara and Alica would name their kids Robert after the “hot doc” in town. My theory is that Robert passed away at some early time in his life.

Tia Lupe disappears.

Uncle Charlie, Imperial County Directory, 1949.

Uncle Charlie, Imperial County Directory, 1949.

Uncle Charlie lived with Tia Panchita. He lived in the back room of their home. This was remembered by several nieces who went to live with her for periods of time. He was quiet and elusive, very much in the background of the Escalante family. Then, Uncle Charlie disappears too.

Carlos Escalante Jr.'s Wedding, 1957.

Carlos Escalante Jr.’s Wedding, 1957.

Carlitos was married in 1957. In the place of parental figures are Tia Panchita and Tio Alejandro.  (In the above photo from Left to Right – The Limon’s, his lovely wife, Carlos, Tia Panchita, and Tio Alejandro.) Tio Fernando and Tia Alicia are the Padrinos at the wedding.

Carlos' Wedding Party, 1957. With his Padrinos, Tia Alicia (left of bride) and Tio Fernando (right of groom).

Carlos’ Wedding Party, 1957. With his Padrinos, Tia Alicia (left of bride) and Tio Fernando (right of groom).

Uncle Charlie is rumored to have died in Mexicali, so I have been unable to find any definitive dates. He is supposedly buried there in “Cemetario Dos.”

Uncle Charlie’s legacy was his one surviving son. Carlitos married his sweetheart. He had a good life with his family in the Bay Area. He passed away in 1989. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

Leonardo Escalante Jr.

Leonardo Escalante Jr was the second child. According to the documentation I can find, he was tall, with dark hair and eyes. He had three fingers on his left hand that were disabled. Fortunately, he was able to make a living on his skill as a barber.

He is the brother of which I know the least. He was born April 5, 1892, in Mexico. None of the paperwork I found have pinpointed which town, although Sonora is probably the state.

He worked as a barber in Santa Paula, and later in Orange County.

1919 must have been the year of great change. Before Maria’s twin children were born, it appeared that the Escalante’s were already going to Calexico and Mexicali for social events.  I may have mentioned that the Romo’s of Orange County got left behind. But that was okay, because there were quite a few Romo’s in Calexico as well! In fact, these Romo’s, cousins of David Romo Sr, open the social doors to several of the Escalante’s.


The above article was from the Los Angeles Spanish newspaper, “Heraldo de Mexico.” It got quite the write-up. Leonardo was one of the “caballeros” at the baptism of Armando Marcelo Grisanti. His sister, Panchita (aka Frances), was one of the young ladies in the party. (Alejandro Garcia was also in the male listing. Panchita married him. Could this have been their first date?)

The party sounded amazing. Being the foodie I am, after finding family names, I read: exquisite mole poblano, chicken tamales, fresh beer and good wine. Wow!

The only other thing I have found on Leonardo was a listing in the 1926 Imperial County Directory. The address was 624 E. 4th Street. The name Rufina is in parentheses. Was this because he took over the house (or boarding house) after his mom died in 1923?

Leonardo Escalante, 1926 Imperial County Directory.

Leonardo Escalante, 1926 Imperial County Directory.

And that is the last I can find of him. Anywhere. If he had lived, and died, in Calexico, there should have been an accessible death certificate on him. Maybe he went to be cared for in Mexicali, dying there…leaving me no paper trail.

You may have noticed his name was listed as Leonard here. When I interviewed my grandfather, he listed his siblings like this: “Joe, Leonard, Charlie, Mary, Ruben, Frances, Lupe, and Fernando.” My grandfather’s name became Albert, although he went by Tony. The Anglicizing of the names, on formal paperwork,  started early on.

Rumor had been that Leonardo died of the Spanish Influenza. But that period of turmoil was from 1918-1919. If he was still alive in 1926, maybe it was something else that took his life.  Even though he had no family of his own, he shared the name of his father, two nephews and one great-nephew. Not bad. Not bad at all.