I haven’t been this excited about my research in quite a while. The seed was planted by a document I found years ago. I am overly cautious when I report. So unless I can find several sources to link items together, I leave a theory on the side of the desk and move on. Luckily my memory hasn’t failed me yet, so I remembered the document when the time finally came.
Anyway. This would be the document:
Three years after his dad died, Tio Jose Maria Escalante had started his wanderings. He was looking for work. His manifest stated he was going to Bisbee, Arizona, to “join his cousin, Frank Blackburn.”
To be with family.
Now I know Tio Jose had a fondness for Bisbee. His eldest son was born there in 1930. But I didn’t realize he, I mean “we,” had family there.
The name on the manifest matched none of the names I knew. A few hours wasted searching for Frank’s people told me his mother was one Margarita Escalante de Blackburn. I didn’t know any Margaritas though. (Well, not PEOPLE margaritas.) I wanted to hope, but left it to the side.
A few years later, enter my mom’s DNA results. Many of the names look unfamiliar as the trees that others built had no names that I recognized. Finally a light bulb went off over my head. I figured out that I could sort results by last names. I decided to search Blackburn. And hot dog! Several trees came up. And there was Margarita’s name. We were Bio-Related. Excellent! Research, research, missteps, people who don’t know they are related, and here we go. (Sorry for the slanted chart. I doodle sideways!)
Our Escalante tree starts at Leonardo Escalante I and Maria Narbona. I can document they had two sons: Our Leonardo II and Ramon. Ramon and his offspring would become the Escalante’s of Southern Arizona.
Ramon Escalante married Maria Jesus Saldamando. The couple had 5 children I could find. Margarita, Alejandro, Josefa, Sara, and Maria Luisa.
Ramon’s family came up from Northern Sonora closer to the mining towns in the Arizona Territory. The Earp’s and the OK Corral shoot out had already come and gone (1881) by the time the family arrived. By 1883, the two eldest Escalante children married.
Today, I am writing about Margarita Escalante. She met and married a widower, 11 years her senior. Charles W. Blackburn was born in Vermont. He had been a civil war veteran (Union Army). His first wife had died in child-birth, including the child. He and his surviving son made the long trek to the wild west of Arizona. He met and married Margarita.
Margarita became step-mother to C.W.’s son, Charles Leonard Blackburn. The couple proceeded to have their own children in good succession: Eleanor, William, Josephine, Albert, Charlotte, and Frank.
C.W. took to life in this mining territory. He was a saddler. He also got into the undertaking business. He was a Notary Public. He might have been a general store merchant. I found an additional ad that told Cochise County they could buy White Sewing Machines at his place. The newspapers reported C.W. was “Bisbee’s hustling citizen.”
Being married to a Spanish-speaking woman assisted him becoming a Court Interpreter, earlier in his career. Their son William also pursued this career as well. The family lived in Tombstone for a long time, moving to Bisbee in 1891, and eventually to Warren.
They were a fun-loving family. Besides the below “entertainments” they gave, their family was featured in party news as guests about the town.
For timeline purposes, I will place the other female Escalante siblings here. Margarita’s sister, Josefa, married C.W.’s brother, William Blackburn. They were only married 3 sweet years before she died of Apoplexy. The below article lets us know she was from Ures, Sonora.
I could not find Margarita’s mom Jesus Saldamando on paper anywhere after the first wedding announcement. She was not listed in the above obituary either. She must have passed between 1883 and 1891 because she simply disappeared. I have yet to find much on her at all. I found one lead on Jesus and Ramon’s wedding date years ago when I still wasn’t sure we were related. I took a written note down in quick passing. I’ve been unable to document it since.
The last sibling was Maria Luisa. But she died at 2 years old.
Margarita’s youngest living sister, Sara, lived in the Blackburn home while she was younger. She was living with them in 1900, aged 25. Their father, Ramon, was in Bisbee living as a widower. My “guess” is that because she was a young woman with no mother at home, Margarita took her in for a more stable home life. I think she died early and was buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in Bisbee.
Back to the Blackburn Family.
Charles was a mover and shaker. By 1901, he was a Superintendent for Copper King Mining Company. The eldest of their children started marrying. Eleanor married a Mr. John W. Scott. This little episode must have been THE news about town.
Charles and Margarita were such involved citizens, their photos are on display in the Tombstone Courthouse State Park in Tombstone, Arizona. A very kind person helped me in getting pictures of their photos. Thank you, Nina!
Charles Sr. got sick around 1911. He went to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Sawtelle, CA, outside of Los Angeles. He had a Double Inguinal Hernia and prostate issues. If I read the chart correctly, he was there for 6 years until he was better.
He was able to go home February, 1917. However, the homecoming happiness didn’t last long. Charles died at home on Sept. 26, 1917. There was a random (or purposeful) omission from the obit. His eldest son was not mentioned although Charles Leonard was still living in Tombstone at the time.
Margarita did not live much longer than her husband. She passed away April 17, 1918 in Bisbee, Arizona.
Margaret’s children go various ways after her death. A few stayed in Arizona and some ended up in California; Los Angeles, San Diego. In her lifetime, she witnessed the western frontier become more and more “civilized.” The gun fighters, miners, businessmen were all a part of her life at the southern most part of Arizona. It was only a territory up until the last 6 years of her life.
Margarita and her husband made the most of their lives in a place where few dared to tread.
This blog post could NOT have been as full of great photos had it not been for Mrs. N. Womack-Rangel. Luckily for us, she is a family historian too. She and her family ventured to Tombstone a few weeks ago. She took the photos of the portraits in this piece. She is our cousin and descendant of Margarita’s brother, Alejandro, of whom I will write about next time. (Nice cliffhanger, no?)
Can’t wait to write about Alejandro’s branch next. This post should have been done a few weeks ago, but I kept finding more and more information on this new group.
Have a great July everyone!