Leonardo and Rufina Got Married

Every once in a blue moon, I find a clue that leads to some really neat information. This last year has been a little dry in the “family history revelation” department. However, yesterday ended up being a great day.

This post has to do with my Great Grandparents, Leonardo Escalante and his wife Rufina Valenzuela. I had a vague notion of when they got married. It was 1887 according to the US Census in 1900. However, that was all the information I could find.

Until now!

A historian on Ancestry found this snappy little article. Thank you, C. Henry.

It was so neat to see their names together. And getting married. However, the researcher listed that the couple got married in Tucson, AZ. I just didn’t see anywhere where that was documented. I have very serious trust issues on records. Without more information I had to work backward to find sources that would satisfy as “certain proof.”

I went to Tucson’s old newspapers. There was no Epitaph paper there. I am familiar with the “Tombstone Daily Epitaph,” so I wandered that way. While I subscribe the newspapers.com, I could not find this snippet in that paper. Grrrr.

I thought about researching through the backdoor. I looked up the other couple getting married in the article. Peter and Malinda got married in Tombstone that week in 1887. Check one. The Occidental Hotel was in the same town in 1887. Check two. The evidence was getting stronger.

I love to “see” where the life events happened. I searched images for the hotel. While there appear to be no photos, there were several drawings of this really neat hotel in the middle of nowhere. When the postcard below popped up in my search, I may have scared my family with the loud GASP I let out!

This postcard was the clue that clicked everything into place last night. This was where our lovely couple got married the week of May 7, 1887. Do you see the name of the proprietor? He was the man in the Epitaph article whose wife gave birth to their son at the hotel. Check three, baby!

Now how did our loved ones get to Tombstone?

In the month of April, 1887, Leonardo’s half-sister, Maria Ramirez married her beau Manuel Barbachano. In the news announcement of their wedding, it says that her family lived in Ochoaville. (See postcard cancellation above)

Leonardo could have been in the area for his sister’s wedding. His cousins Margarita Escalante de Blackburn and Alejandro Escalante lived in Tombstone and St. David, respectively. Rufina’s father lived in Bisbee. Both groom and bride were listed to be from San Pedro which isn’t too far from the hustle and bustle of this mining district. Nor too far from their new brother-in-law’s work at the Custom House.

In the above map, can you see where the “P” in Pedro is? That is where the tiny town of San Pedro still is. They stayed long enough in the area for their first son, Jose Maria Escalante, to be born there too.

Up until now, I really thought that Leonardo didn’t talk to his sister Maria because their mother left the family to be with Maria’s dad. I know he was a devoted brother to Ana E. de Romo in Ventura and Orange Counties. But this earlier chapter of his life opens so many more theories of their lives together. Ana and Maria become very close after Leonardo died in 1915. There was a good chance that these adults overcame the adversity of their parents drama to become a close knit sibling group. And that is wonderful.

*****

Last, but not least, this blog post is dedicated to all of the friends and family who were touched by COVID this last year. Quite a few of our loved ones recuperated. But not all did. To my Samaniego cousins (via Rufina’s sister Margarita) in Mexicali, Tomas and Diana, rest in peace.

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