The House of David

David Romo Senior and his wife, Anita Escalante de Romo, had 17 children over the course of their marriage. The only child to thrive and have a dynasty of his own was their first son, David Romo Jr.

The Romo family had a small tradition of marrying cousins. I had no idea that Sonora, Mexico was so “Jane Austen” in their customs. This is not limited to the ones we see in these posts either. I’m finding it with many different branches of their family.

That being said, David Jr had a cousin brought up from Mexico to see if they could make a match. The girl who came up was his Tia Juana’s daughter, Carmela. They married in 1910, apparently in Sonora. She came back David’s bride, but escorted by her father.

Carmela Martinez de Romo's travel manifest.

Carmela Martinez de Romo’s travel manifest.

The couple followed their elder Romo and Escalante family members. They all ended up in Orange County by the time the men register for the draft of WWI in 1917.

David Romo Jr and Carmela Martinez de Romo.

David Romo Jr and Carmela Martinez de Romo.

Carmela and David Jr. Photos courtesy of Rose.

Carmela and David Jr. All photos courtesy of their granddaughter, Rosemary.

Carmela had no plan to marry this man who lived so far away from her family in Sonora. However, here she was. These two started their lives and proceded to have their children.

(For reference to my first cousins, David Jr was a first cousin to our grandfather Albert, and David was 22 years his senior.)

David had many jobs. He’d been a barber with his dad and uncle. They had a pool hall in Santa Paula. By the time he was settled with Carmela, he had different jobs. He was a barber in the 1920 US Census. He worked as a mechanic at a creamery in the 1930 US Census.

Their family grew over the years. Here are their children.

Ralph Romo

Ralph Romo – 1911- 1994

Ralph was married twice, having one stepson.

The second child was Elia. She lived only two years. She was such a delightful child that Tia Panchita would name her first daughter after this child. According to Rosemary, the family was so devastated by her death, that David went to the church, laid himself on the floor and prayed for another daughter to bless their home.

Elia Romo's Baptismal Certificate.

Elia Romo’s Baptismal Certificate.

The next child was the answer to that passionate prayer.

Anita Romo. 1920 - 1980

Anita Romo. 1920 – 1980

Anita was just lovely. She married Benito Rubalcaba. They were not married long before he passed away. They had one child. In this picture, Anita had died her hair dark. Her natural hair color was on the blonde side. Apparently she got some grief for being a light-complected Mexican-American. Later, she embraced her blonde, going platinum.

Robert Romo - 1923 - 1980.

Robert Romo – 1923 – 1980.

Robert was next. He worked as an officer for Orange County. He married Charlotte Noriega. They had one daughter and three sons.

Ruben Romo - 1926 - 1982.

Ruben Romo – 1926 – 1982.

Ruben was a Shoeshiner in Santa Ana. While he had no spouse or children, in town he was so popular there was a write up about him in the Orange County Register after his passing.

Carmela and David had another pregnancy in 1927. They had two baby boys, David and Manuel. The babies were born on June 8. Manuel died on August 13, David on August 22. The cause of death was “not thriving.”

I’m sure you can see a theme of the name “David.” A strange thing I had found was all of the boys had the first legal name of David, then their middle name, which was the one they went by.

David Jr really wanted his sons to join him as mechanics in his business. They wanted to do their own things though. He was alone in this venture.

On paper, I had discovered that Carmela divorced David before 1940. When asking Rosemary about this, she explained the situation.

She said it wasn’t so much that Carmela didn’t love David. They were living in the Depression. Many people were unable to pay for the services he provided. They bartered with different things to pay him. When monies did come in, he was extravagant with them. She could not get him to understand her concerns, and she divorced him.

David Romo Jr, late 1930s.

David Romo Jr, late 1930s.

This picture of David was toward the end of his life. Rosemary said that while the doctor put his cause of death as Tuberculosis, which killed many in his family, the real cause of death was a broken heart. He passed away on April 9, 1941.

David should have had a hundreds of nieces and nephews. However, his legacy was to allow his family name to continue. He had healthy children and grandchildren. However, no man has children all by himself.

Carmela went to live with her kids for a while before getting remarried. She lived for a very long time. But that story will need to be something for another day. Carmela’s tale takes more time to tell.


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