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.

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