Monthly Archives: October 2013

Ana Escalante de Romo – The Final Chapter

Ana Romo, 1930s.

Ana Romo, 1930s.

I could have written this a while ago, but since 2010, I’ve had a few things to chase down.

In April of that year, we went to Disneyland. Not too far down the road is the Santa Ana Cemetery where a great deal of the family is interred. On this trip, we were finally able to pay our respects to the Romo family. Here at Tia Ana’s headstone was an interesting inscription.

Ana Escalante de Romo's Gravesite, Santa Ana Cemetery, CA

Ana Escalante de Romo’s Gravesite, Santa Ana Cemetery, CA

Loosely translated, it says “In memory of her daughter and her grandchildren.” In 2010, it made me think that Mercedes was still alive at Ana’s death. Unfortunately, she wasn’t.

Mercedes died in 1924. I found Manuel Romo had died in 1927. He died in Banning, California. He was also a widower. I can find no record of his wife’s name, as his brother David was the one to claim the body in Banning. In 1930, Rodolfo, David Sr., and Ana were in Tijuana. My guess is that Rodolfo was looking to work. (Maybe from his Barbachano cousins.) But by Christmas Day, 1930, he died in Orange County. All of these siblings died of complications from Tuberculosis.

Ana’s husband of over 50 years, David Romo Sr., died in 1938. He died of coronary occlusion. Her last living child, David Jr., died 3 years later of Tuberculosis.

So then who is left to be her “daughter?” This would be Carmela Romo, her ex-daughter-in-law. You read “ex” right. But that is for another post. Carmela married David when she was so very young. She had been married to him for almost 30 years. Who else would she call “mother?” But Carmela remarried and Ana needed a place to go. So Ana looked up her half-sister, Maria Lucia Ramirez de Barbachano, in San Diego.

Their mother, Mariana Bustamante, remarried Juan Ramirez. They had a child together in 1870 named Maria Lucia Ramirez. Juan must have been the father-figure to Ana and Leonardo. Maria married Manuel A. Barbachano. He had been in charge of the San Pedro Customs House in Sonora, but moved to Tijuana Customs later. They resided in San Diego. Maria’s children were quite successful. One of her sons, Manuel Jr., started the first electric and phone company in Tijuana.  He also purchased, and made famous, the Rosarito Beach Hotel.

As Elvira Barbachano was witness to Mercedes Romo’s 1920 wedding, the families were obviously in touch with each other. Because Leonardo Escalante died in 1915, his children never made a connection with Maria’s family.

I found several travel manifests. She visited Rosarito in the 1930s and 40s. This is where I have found a picture of her. I do like how the Border Patrolman said she was “very deaf.”

Ana's Travel Manifest.

Ana’s Travel Manifest.

I believe all of the nieces or nephews that had seen her at the house on Canterbury Street in San Diego all those years ago have since passed away. I would love to have heard any stories about her.  I think that she stayed with her younger sister the entire time. Until her death.

Ana’s Obituary

On May 4, 1948, Ana Escalante de Romo died at her sister’s home in San Diego, CA. “The San Diego Union” inaccurately reported that she shared Maria’s father, Juan Ramirez. What made the biggest impact on me was the following sentence. “Mrs. Romo was the mother of  17 sons and daughters, all deceased.” This particular sadness in her life must have been overwhelming.

She was sent back to Santa Ana to be buried near her family. There is one last mystery that involves her Death Certificate.

Ana's Death Certificate with real age.

Ana’s Death Certificate with real age.

Correction to Ana's Death Certificate.

Correction to Ana’s Death Certificate.

In the original Death Certificate, her date of birth is listed as May 2, 1862. But 21 days later, Maria and her son, Ruben, file a revised Death Certificate claiming that Ana was born in 1870. Now, Maria was born August 27, 1870. I really do admire Mariana Bustamante but there is no way she could have two babies, from 2 daddies, 3 months apart. I have no idea what the reason for this was. None.

Ana’s life was full. From losing her own father at a young age, to a long marriage with David in their adopted country, a strong relationship with her brother’s family, and then with her sister’s. And all of the baby heartache in between. Life, location, time and tragedy caused these families to drift apart.

However, all was not lost for Ana. Her legacy lives on in the descendants of one child, David Romo Jr.

Guadalupe Escalante

Thanks to new information discovered in the Calexico Chronicle, I am able to update and close Lupe’s story.


The eighth sibling in the Escalante family was Guadalupe (Lupe) Escalante. She was born in 1909 in Santa Paula, CA. She was born during the last great year of the Escalante’s living in Ventura County. She was the baby for 5 years, until her brother Fernando was born. Her eldest brother had already moved out of the house. Her dad died when she was 6, then she was her mom’s responsibility. The last three kids in the house were Alberto, Lupe and Fernando.

Guadalupe Escalante - on a travel manifes to see her sister in Mexicali.

Guadalupe Escalante – on a travel manifest to see her sister in Mexicali.

In 1923, Rufina died. Alberto was 16, Lupe was 14, and Fernando was 9. The children went to live with various older siblings. From what I can gather, they moved in with Tia Panchita and Tio Alejandro. This was a key fact. Oscar had been born. Tia Panchita was busy mothering her own child. The reason this was important is that, while I’m sure the siblings were cared for, they no longer had parents to dote on them, and love them more individually. Alberto started working on his boxing career. But Lupe was a little less supervised.

Not much is known about her either. My grandfather never talked about her much. I had asked my mom’s cousin about her. He said that she had died at an early age, away from Imperial County and that the family had to go and get her body to bring back for burial. Something about “a man and a broken heart.”

It was difficult to find any information on a girl who was already a forgotten person in a big family. I was on the website. I was doing my usual “go down the list of family members” routine, putting in everybody’s name when I got a hit on Lupe. Really?? Oh wait! Quite a few hits on Lupe. And her brother, my grandfather.

The first articles I had found were from the Spanish Los Angeles newspaper “Heraldo de Mexico.” For convenience of the reader, I am attaching somewhat equivalent articles from the “Imperial Valley Press.” (I will give a shout out here to the kind staff of the Imperial County Campus of San Diego State University. They used their microfilm machine to dig these up for me).

The cast of characters are as follows: Guadalupe Escalante, a 17-year-old girl who had been drugged, and raped. Antonio Escalante, her 19-year-old brother. You may ask, “But wait! Your grandfather’s name is Alberto.” My grandfather’s nickname was Tony. His boxing name was Tony “The Mexicali Kid” Escalante. The papers assumed that his full name was Anthony. Octaviano Moran – a married man from Mexicali. He was fascinated by Lupe. He took her to dances and promised to marry her after he left his pregnant wife.

Lupe ended up pregnant. Eventually, Tia Panchita found out about it and had Tio Alejandro file charges with the police department. Antonio wasn’t about to wait for the proper channels to get the man extradited to the United States. Understand that those who live in Calexico/Mexicali might not have seen the big border line that others saw. They were pretty much one big town. Not two independent and sovereign nations.

Antonio proceeds to take a gun across the border and bring Octaviano back to Calexico police custody. The court proceedings begin. However, there is a glitch. Antonio kidnapped Octaviano out of one country and brought him to the United States. Without his consent. And this is where the troubles started.

IVP – July 1, 1927

IVP – July 8, 1927

IVP – July 9, 1927

IVP – July 13, 1927

IVP – July 15, 1927

The articles told us:  Antonio then had a warrant issued for his arrest by Mexico. There was an “application for release of the prisoner (Octaviano) on a habeas corpus writ.” Antonio was arrested and taken to a jail in Mexico. Mexican ambassador to the United States, Manuel Tellez, and Secretary of State Kellogg were going to be discussing this matter together.

In the end, Octaviano Moran was freed because he was brought into custody illegally. From what I could find, he never came back to the United States. While I have the original trial minutes before all of the “you captured him illegally” stuff came out, he was never brought back in to stand trial for the attack on Lupe. Antonio was released from the jail in Mexicali in November, 1927. This was never discussed at Thanksgiving get togethers.

Octaviano was married to a Clara Escalante de Moran (no relation that I can find). She had been pregnant at the time that her husband was romancing Guadalupe. The son she bore was Luis Octavio Moran.

Lupe Court Transcript

Guadalupe is still a mystery. The court documents say that she was pregnant, that Octaviano kept meeting with her at an apartment he kept in Calexico, and that he gave her pills (possibly to miscarry) but she never took them. What happened to the baby?


Recently, I found digital access to the Calexico Chronicle. What I normally do is put in the names of every family member to see what pops up. I found this article by putting in the address of Tia Guadalupe Garica – 910 Third Street. It was very fortunate, because I never would have put in the name Lupe Holman.


Announcement of Lupe Holman’s passing. From the paper dated August 23, 1934.

I’m not exactly sure why the funeral was held out of Manuel Garcia’s house. She had siblings who could have hosted. Also, Mrs. Manuel Garcia was her aunt, Rufina’s sister. Oh well.

She is buried in the Mountain View Cemetery. However, she is no where to be “found.” I had been told that Hems Brothers Mortuary has control over the cemetery. I have asked them repeatedly via letter to help me find those family members without headstones. To no avail. But at least we know where she is now.

I have ordered her Death Certificate from California. As soon as I get that I will post it. I am so glad that we know she was back with the family. Her life was not an easy one. It seems like she was happy on her own in San Francisco. I truly hope so.