Author Archives: murpher2

The Other Man – Juan de la Ressureción Ramirez

Greetings all! We are getting ready for Fall to come in full force here in Oklahoma. Leaves are starting to fall, which is early in this region. But I am ready for a new season. I am interrupting the normal flow of Escalante history for a “relative”-ly short detour. Hahaha! N.B. – Escalante’s are not related to the families mentioned below; only to two ladies – Mariana Bustamante and her daughter, Maria Ramirez.

In the last blog entry, I discussed my darling Mariana Bustamante. She had been married to Leonardo Escalante, then ran away with another man. Gasp! She must have been extraordinary to be taken away by Juan Ramirez. Their time together produced a lovely daughter. But Mariana’s inability to be married hindered their future together. Or was it ill-fated from the beginning?

Juan de la Ressureción Ramirez Avila was born in Los Angeles, California, Mexico in 1839. His parents were Juan M. Ramirez and Petra Avila.

According to preliminary research from M. Barbachano,  both branches were part of Spanish colonization. Juan Bernardo Ramirez met a lovely young woman in a new hip and happening town, Santa Barbara, California. Maria Rosa Quijada’s family had come from the interior of Mexico with the 1781 Rivera Expedition to settle the area. The couple married at the Santa Barbara Mission in 1794. Their son Juan M. Ramirez moved to Los Angeles.

The Avila family’s story was similar, with Cornelio Avila’s children/grandchildren doing their civic duty for the crown. Francisco Avila, Petra’s father, settled in the pueblo of Los Angeles sometime after 1794. He became the alcalde of Los Angeles when it was a bustling metropolis of over 410 residents. Petra’s cousin, Miguel, was granted lands which included Avila Beach, and he was alcalde of San Luis Obipso. (As a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo alum, this warms my heart).

The Juan M. Ramirez family had over 8 children. They settled into Petra’s family home, the Avila Adobe. If you have been to Olvera Street in Los Angeles, you may have seen it.

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The Avila Adobe in the 1930s.

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Sign posted outside of the museum.

Italians started immigrating to the Los Angeles area in the 1800s. In the old pueblo, they started showing other Los Angelinos how to cultivate vineyards. Juan M. Ramirez had become a vinter – maker of wine. Los Angeles became the early wine capital of California. (see article below).

Juan M.’s son, Francisco, made a name for himself. A self-educated man, Francisco was tri-lingual. He started his own newspaper. He became an attorney in the late 1860s to fight for rights of minorities in the area. This book is on my amazon wish list: https://www.amazon.com/Clamor-Equality-Emergence-Californio-Francisco/dp/0896727637

So why I am I sharing all of this fascinating information with you? Juan had some very big shoes to fill. Social standing. Familial ties. Lands granted by the King of Spain to  forefathers for devoted service. All of this was vastly important to Juan.

Speaking of handsome devils, here he is below.

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Juan de la Resurreción Ramirez.

It took a while for Juan to get his life bearings (in my opinion). As a young-ish man, he did some traveling.  He could have been conducting business for his family. However it happened, he had wandered into Hermosillo, Sonora. He met, and saved, Mariana Bustamante de Escalante from her marriage in 1867. He found himself with a secret life in Hermosillo. He had a romance with her which produced their lovely daughter Maria Luisa Bernadina Ramirez. And she looks like she had been well taken care of, financially speaking.

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Maria Ramirez. Photo courtesy of C. Amezcua’s Ancestry photos.

Mariana might have been a woman to live with, but was not one to bring home to Los Angeles. Did Juan divide his time between Sonora and California? By the time Maria was 9, her father decided to marry another woman. California Girl Rosa Bustamante (not directly related to Mariana, that I have found – whew!) married Juan Ramirez in Los Angeles in 1879. I don’t know if he saw much of Maria after his marriage, but her life progressed forward. And nicely, too.

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Marriage announcement, “Tombstone Daily Epitaph, 1887”

What I cannot tell from this announcement is whether “Maria’s parents” were just her mom; Or her dad and Rosa living in Ochoaville, Arizona; a town that no longer exists. So vague. Grrrr.

Juan decided to embrace his life in Los Angeles. He adopted two children with Rosa. They were Elias H. Goodwin and Adela Ramirez. Elias moved to San Francisco. He worked in the restaurant industry and patented a new design of salt and pepper shakers. Adela Ramirez married Jan Baptiste Lambert, a French-Canadian baker, in 1912. They had a baby the next year, but the baby does not appear to have survived. They divorced. She kept her married name.

Juan settled into life as the landowner of the ever-growing city of Los Angeles. His parents passed away. He became the head of the family. He started to sell his land off to accommodate the need for housing and roadways. In 1916, he testified when the Federal and State governments wanted to claim public roadways on property that owners insisted was private. (I am envisioning Highway 101 – imminent domain) Juan testified he had “used the road through what is now the Malibu ranch during the 1850s… it was a well-beaten road in those early days, and was the principal line of communication between what is now Santa Barbara and Ventura counties…He said that cattle did not make the path because, on account of bears, they were not allowed to roam over the then wild country. Travelers tramped this road. The cattle had to be kept in corrals because otherwise the bears would have killed them.” (Los Angeles Daily Times, Mar 14, 1916)

Back to Los Angeles becoming a melting pot. Italian and Spanish families had much in common, such as their Catholic faith. There was familial integration during this early time of LA history. Juan’s younger sister Isabel married into the Pelanconi family.  She had a few children, but only one son, the handsome Lorezno.

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Lorenzo Pelanconi, son of Isabel Ramirez.

He was a favorite of his Uncle Juan and Aunt Rosa. These families were successful. They were the Who’s Who of Los Angeles society.  But. Like all mere mortals, Juan eventually died.

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Juan Ramirez died 1922, Los Angeles, CA.

After reading this obit, I realized that the author mistook him for his brother Francisco who started the newspaper. His daughter, Maria Ramirez de Barbachano was NOT mentioned here. Rude!!! And frankly, I think it kind of hurt her feelings.

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Maria contests the will.

There was never any follow-up articles as to whether or not Maria was given anything but the insulting $5. I would bet she never accepted it.

Juan and Rosa never had their own biological children. This ended up being a point of interest at the end of Juan’s life. He left the bulk of his real estate to the Ramirez familial heir, Lorenzo Pelanconi, son of his sister Isabel. Nothing was left to his adopted children. Or his one biological child, Maria. When Rosa Ramirez died, their adopted daughter Adela went to live with her sister-in-law (Goodwin’s widow) in San Francisco.

Lorenzo. Got. It. All.

He had the name. He had the background. He had the connections. He was from a church sanctified marriage.

I’ll tell you more about Lorenzo too, because his story was pretty cool.

He fell in love with a young woman of similar background. Martina Yorba married him. Yep. You’ve heard the name before. Her granddaddy was Bernardo Yorba of Yorba Linda, California. I’m dropping names of Rancheros all over the place.

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Lorenzo Pelanconi’s Death Announcement. 1955.

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Martina Yorba Pelanconi celebrating her 100th Birthday.

He was no shrinking violet. His biography stands on it’s own. Their love was wonderful. Yippee!

But enough about all of them.

******

Mariana Bustamante was the parent who stayed with Maria. She was the one who knew and loved her grandchildren. But in the end, it was Juan’s name that was always dropped as THE parent to whom Maria was related; the one she revered. Even his grandchildren named him as their touchstone to the Spanish/Californio legacy.

 

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Snippet from Manuel Barbachano, Jr.’s Obituary, Feb, 1954.

Sigh….I’m sure you can sense my bias against Juan. But Good Grief! He missed out on SO much. All in the name of the family honor.

So what about Maria? I love her. I feel her story very deeply. It wasn’t as if she were a beggar on the street. She was amazing. She embraced her half-sister, Ana Escalante de Romo, at the end of their lives. I’m sure she valued her social standing as much as her cousin, Lorenzo. Her legacy was in the eyes of this lovely group of people here.

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Extended Barbachano Family at Maria and Manuel’s (front/center) 50th Wedding Anniversary. Photo courtesy: C. Amezcua’s Ancestry photos.

Maria’s origin story was up to her parents. She had to deal with its repercussions. That did not stop her from marrying a son of the Governor of Yucatán. It didn’t stop her children from being very successful. (Compania Telefonica Fronteriza, founders of the Tijuana Lion’s Club and Chamber of Commerce, the Rosarito Beach Hotel, architects, merchants, etc.; and just really amazing people in the U.S., Mexico, and all around the world.) Whether it was because of Juan, or in spite of Juan, we will never know.

 

 

 

Thank you to M. Barbachano for all of your research (and continued support) on this blog post. Her daughter blogged a video of their family visiting the Avila Adobe for the first time. VERY Cool! https://www.youtube.com/embed//tyguBUiaH9c

 

My sources for this piece were plentiful. If you have time, please peruse the following web pages.

http://waterandpower.org/museum/Early_Plaza_of_LA_(Page_1).html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avila_Adobe

https://www.kcet.org/history-society/iconic-hispanic-angelenos-in-history-francisco-ramirez

https://losangelesrevisited.blogspot.com/2012/11/ramirez-street-downtown-la.html

https://www.kcet.org/history-society/exploring-the-remains-of-las-little-italy

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/times-past/article173763606.html

 

Mariana Bustamante – Mysterious Matriarch

Behind every man who thinks he is the patriarch of a clan (of children, in-laws, grandchildren) is the woman who bore the children for him. She nourished his off-spring in her body, she gave half of herself to create the child, she pushed the babe out into the world violently, and nurtured him so he would not die, but thrive.

One person that connects most mentioned in these posts was a woman. Her name was Maria Ana Bustamante. Her life happened so that the rest of us could be here. I know I have many a male family member who thinks that all of this was accomplished by their dad. Or granddad. Well, hooey! Mariana brought six children into the world. The three that I have been able to find created hundreds of off-spring.

When digging up family history, you start at the beginning. You confirm details. What doesn’t make logical sense gets filled in with what might be conventional thinking during the times. Mariana had two families. For many years, in my traditional mindset, I thought Leonardo Senior must have died. Mariana was so beautiful that she was swept off her feet by a new husband, who loved her with many children en tow.  The paper trail doesn’t lie though. This is my current hypothesis of Mariana’s journey.

Mariana Bustamante was the daughter of Jose Antonio Bustamante and Maria Soledad Salasar.

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Wedding registration for Leonardo Escalante and Mariana Bustamante, Hermosillo, Sonora.

She met Leonardo Escalante. In 1856, they married at the Catedral De La Asunción in Hermosillo, Sonora. From what I can tell, they had five children. I have only found two adult children from that marriage: Ana and Leonardo. The 1860s saw many children die at an early age. If only two survived, I cannot even imagine the emotional toll this must have taken upon her.

My great-grandfather was born in November, 1866. For Mariana, being a mother of the Escalante children did not last much longer. Either Mariana was suffering from: an abusive husband whom she could no longer tolerate, postpartum depression (5 babies in 11 years), or a sudden “heart full of love for a new man.” Which ever was her trouble, it killed her in 1867.

 

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Mariana’s Death Registration. 1867.

This document stated that Mariana, daughter of Antonio Bustamante and Soledad Salasar, died May 23, 1867. Her witness was one Juan Ramirez.

Either Mariana became a walking miracle, or she never really died. I believe that she went under the “protection” of  Señor Juan de la Resurrección Ramirez. What would make me think this? She and Juan had a baby girl together.

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Their daughter is baptized at the Cathedral in Hermosillo.

In 1870, Maria Luisa Bernadina Ramirez was christened.  This baby was born “H.N.” “hija natural” – which means Natural Daughter, not Legitimate Daughter (out of wedlock). Juan had either chosen not to marry her, or could not marry her because she was technically married.

This act of bringing their baby into town for a baptism was pretty daring. I have consulted with our cousin, M. Barbachano. She thinks that Leonardo Senior must have died at this point for the couple to bring their daughter out very brazenly to be baptized. My mom though that “preventing eternal damnation by baptism” was a strong motivator. We will probably never know.

Without a paper trail it is difficult to determine how long this couple was together. His home was in the original pueblo of Los Angeles, California. I often wonder if he vacationed in Hermosillo to visit his little family. Sadly, Juan Ramirez left Mariana behind permanently. He married a woman named Rosa Bustamante. I believe they were not related. I think the surname may be coincidental. He proceeded to live his life away from Sonora.

This did not stop Maria from making a good marriage. [I have grown up reading Jane Austen. Sometimes “status,” “parentage” could make or break a young woman’s future.] Maria Ramirez married Manuel A. Barbachano, the son of the Governor of Yucatan. [Not too shabby]. Most of the paperwork named Juan Ramirez prominently as Maria’s father. Mariana was only quietly mentioned, like a small whisper on the paper.

She finally reappears, in a newspaper at least, in 1901. Mariana moved with the Barbachano’s  from Mexico to San Diego where Manuel began his job as the head of Customs at the Tijuana border.

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Mariana appears! She accompanied her daughter and family to San Diego with Manuel’s reassignment. February, 1901.

While Mariana was with Maria, her Escalante children, Ana and Leonardo, and their families, were together in Ventura County. I believe that Ana was a mother figure to Leonardo all of the years he lived.

Mariana lived with the Barbachano’s for another 4 years. She died on November 5, 1905, in San Diego, CA. She was buried in Tijuana. There is no indication that Ana or Leonardo attended the funeral.

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Maria’s Death Announcement in the San Diego Union, 1905.

I am grateful that Maria took care of her mother all of those years. They must have only had each other. I will blog about Maria’s father later because his link to California history is fascinating. I believe he was a cad in his treatment of Mariana. That being said, he did assist (a tiny bit) in creating the Barbachano Dynasty.

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Maria and Manuel sit center stage at their 50th wedding anniversary party.

After the death of Mariana and Leonardo Jr, half-sisters Ana and Maria managed to reconnect. They ended up close. Ana died in the house in the photograph above in 1948. (5289 Canterbury Drive, San Diego, CA.) The Barbachano’s and Romo’s were close family, at the end. My grandfather used to take his kids to Rosarito beach to camp for holidays. Up at the Rosarito Beach Hotel, he could have introduced himself to his cousins. He never did. I feel we truly lost an opportunity for all of Mariana’s grandchildren to get to know each other. And stay connected.

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Mariana’s Legacy: Leonardo, Ana (Top Right), Maria (Bottom Right).

 

 

Albert Charles Escalante – Sara Cecilia Higuera – Part V

Hello all. I had a short hiatus. We have had some family land near us. Okay! It’s my parents! It is wonderful to have them here, but it has taken a bit of time from my family hunting and my blog site. I finally hid myself away to get some time to write, so let’s get started.

This entry is about Albert’s third wife, Sara Cecilia Higuera. I have a virtual plethora of family who come from this union. I love them all. I had never anticipated this entry as being very long, but interest is high in the history I can find for her extended family. And frankly, I was surprised to have found so much.

When I first started this post, I hardly had any information. Then it started pouring in. I was able to research Sara’s great-grandparents. 3 sets. Wooh hooh! You know I had to chart it out. The visual is so much easier to wrap your brain around. There are many  siblings in each family, but I followed the simple version of direct line. There are quite a few Martinez’s running around this chart. Relations? Common name in the Sonora/Arizona territory area? We may never know. (Unless there are tornado warnings one night and I get bored…)

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Chart time! Grandma Sara’s full family that I have discovered. So far.

I will start the narrative with Elisario Higuera, Sara’s paternal grandfather. Elisario was born July 14, 1844. He seems to have lived in the Arizona territory for a while. He married one Gregoria Martinez. They had 10 children. Elisario was quite the entrepreneur. He owned a boarding house in Yuma in the 1870s. He owned property in the Yuma area and is considered a Yuman Pioneer. He is on the porch in the far left of this picture.

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*Updated 2019:

After the boarding house, Elisario was still quite the land owner in Yuma. He applied to the United States Land Office for a Homestead Land Grant in October, 1905. It was granted in December.

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Homestead Grant to Elisario Higuera – December 20, 1905.

According to official Bureau of Land Management maps, here was his property.

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Looks like the middle of Yuma to me!

He sold the 80-acre ranch to one John Syverson in March 1910.*

Meanwhile, in Caborca, Sonora, Sara’s maternal grandmother, Carmen Martinez was born. This area was settled by the Spanish in 1688. The predominate Native American tribe here was the Tohono O’odham people (Papago – Spanish slang name). While I would imagine that these families were part Native, the Spaniards were open to intermarriage with the locals. The blending and transformation to Mestizos were a part of the history of this area.

Carmen Martinez had a daughter named Innocencia Noriega on Dec. 28, 1890. I make note of this birth name with several caveats. Innocencia was born 2 years before her mother married Bernardo Esperanza. On several documents, Innocencia put her maiden name as either Esperanza OR Noriega.

This caused me consternation. How did the woman not know her name? I did find that Carmen’s sister, Maria Angelita Martinez, married a man named Noriega. There was a chance that a Noriega relative took advantage of Carmen thus producing Innocencia while Carmen was only 13. Carmen did find a wonderful husband in Bernardo Esperanza when she was 15. He took Innocencia in as his own child.

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Caremela Martinez de Esperanza with one of her Esperanza granddaughters – circa 1932. (Nana’s mom!)

Meanwhile, back in Yuma. One of the 10 Higuera children was Juan Higuera. He was born in 1884.

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Juan Higuera – on left. Sara looked much like him.  Above – Elisario Higuera. Below: Gregoria Martinez Higuera –  Small photos, but the best images I could find for his parents.

He  married Innocencia Esperanza on April 7, 1904. She was known to us all as Nana. By the 1910 Census, a few things had changed. Juan and his little family included 3 daughters. They were living with Elisario and Gregoria. Elisario was now a wood hauler instead of boarding house owner. Juan had very cool job of Deputy Marshall.

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Higuera family at home. Yuma, April 1910.

Like clockwork, the newest baby arrived. Sara Cecilia Higuera was born on July 28, 1911 in Potholes, Arizona. Potholes, a mining town which no longer exists, was only viable for a brief period. It’s townspeople appeared with the building of the Laguna Dam and the All-American Canal. Sara’s adopted grandfather Bernardo Esperanza died here in 1910.

The little family lived together for a few more years until tragedy struck. On December 30, 1913, Juan Higuera was killed. It was reported in two ways. One rumor is that he was shot while running from a husband who found him with his wife. I prefer the official report.

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Official news release from the Arizona Sentinel, January 1, 1914.

This link is a more detailed notice in the “Yuma Sun” January 2, 1914. https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/2111742

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Official Death Certificate of Juan Higuera.

Elisario died about a year later.

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These two tragedies were nothing but bad news for Innocencia and her daughters. They are now very much alone in the world. It was 1915. She was a widow with four children to feed. Careers were not plentiful for women at this time. While I do not know the details of Innocencia’s life after this, I do have an inkling what happens to Sara and her sisters.

Stick with me here.

Less than a month before Elisario’s death, his family registers for a U.S. Indian Roll Census on June 30, 1915. The Higuera’s are all listed under Elisario – the head of the family. The roll has them listed as Unalotted and a part of “Mohave, Chemehuevi, and Other Indians.”

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Sara (#168) and her eldest sisters now “officially” Native American.

This is a very interesting development. Elisario has never been a very traditional Native American. Remember, that Native Mexicans are much more assimilated to the culture than American Indians, which were kept segregated. As a business owner in Yuma, he was not living off the land, hunting, living in indigenous housing, etc. His Death Certificate calls him Mexican, not Indian. But at this moment in time, he did get his family listed; almost as “generic” Native Americans.

This decision was a double-edged sword. Sara and her sisters were virtually orphans.  Possibly because of their now ambiguous status as Native American, they qualified to go to an Indian School. More specifically, they qualified to go to St. Bonafice School in Banning, CA. By 1916, the girls were at this school, 187 miles away from home. How do I know this?

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Father Benedict Florian Hahn burial at the St. Boniface Indian/Industrial School in Banning, California.

At the far right of this photo are three little girls in white to the left of the nun. The little one is Sara, the next is Eloisa, and the tall one right behind is Gregoria. Amalia was also there, but I cannot identify her. So Sara is a 5 year-old away from her mother. This priest was supposed to be quite a proponent for Indians rights, but obviously his tenure was short. He’s the one in the ground. I do not know many more details of the sisters’ stay here. I have heard that it was not pleasant. Abuses happened to her sisters.

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She is still there in 1920.

When her tenure was over at St. Bonafice’s School, I do not know. Her mother, Innocencia had moved to Calexico, California, where Carmen Esperanza had settled. Innocencia eventually met and married one Eduardo Martinez (there it is again) Othon. She had two children with Othon, Rosalia (born 1922) and Francisco (1934).

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Within the next seven years, Sara went to Calexico to be near her mother. She was a lovely blossoming young woman. Updated 2019: At 17 years old, Sara found an admirer in one Jose Perez. He was 9 years her senior. He was very smitten with her. I found a few love letters she had kept all these years. I can’t read Spanish well, but I can tell his words are quite passionate.  His handwriting/signature was so distinctive, it allowed me to confirm his identity via his travel manifest.

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Jose Perez-Estrada

Their union produced one David Perez in May 1929. As she was so young, and not quite ready for motherhood, a wonderful family in Yuma adopted David as their own. He became David Olaeta Avilez.

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David Olaeta Avilez – Sara’s eldest child. 1929 – 2006. Photo courtesy of C. Callaway.

Her life continued in Imperial Valley. She had another relationship with a prominent man from Mexico, Colonel Cristóbal Limón. Their union produced a fabulous son, still living. [Remember I keep living family anonymous.]

For more information on Colonel Limón: http://constitucion1917.gob.mx/es/Constitucion1917/Cristobal_Limon

After this time, Sara made a major change and moved to the bustling world of Monterey, CA. According to legend, she met the author John Steinbeck while she was a waitress. She was also a cannery worker.

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Sara Higuera – 1932. Photo Courtesty of R. and D. Escalante.

It was here that she met a German-born, but now naturalized citizen, Sergeant Bernhard Fengel. He was stationed in Monterey, CA, in the “E” Battery, 2nd Battalion, 76th Field Artillery. He became her husband. Updated with new photo:

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Bernard Fengel – Handsome guy.

 

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The Santa Cruz Sentinel: January 3, 1934.

There were no children from this marriage. Her son from Colonel Limón had the nickname “Fingo” when he was younger. My mom asked him how he got it. He said Sara’s husband was named Fengel. The kids messed with it and “Fingo” stuck.

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Sara posing. Photo courtesy of J. Escalante and C. Callaway.

While I can produce no actual wedding date/license, I’m 95% sure this took place. In all documents, Bernhard states he’s married. Sara is later called Sara Fengel in the Calexico Directory as well.

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But that was going to change.

My grandfather moved to Calexico with his wife and two girls somewhere around 1945. Sara also appeared to have been in the area with Bernhard. My aunt told me Albert always loved Sara from when they were children. Decisions were made. Two marriages ended, making way for a new one with each other.

Bernhard was 3 months from being released from service. He had been in Imperial County and married. But, in November 1945, he re-enlisted to go to a post in Hawaii. He left his marriage with Sara behind. Eventually, he remarried a woman with German roots. Lieselotte was from Frankfurt. I tried to contact her last year, but she had just passed one month before I my letter reached her. Bernhard was a career military man. He died on April 30, 1963 at Fort Hood, Texas.

Sara and Albert were embarking on their new lives together. There was a delay to their marriage. Possibly due to divorces going through. The couple found themselves at Yuma’s Wedding Chapel on Oct. 5, 1946.

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Later to be called the Gretna Green Chapel, Albert and Sara had a ceremony in Yuma.

 

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Interim Marriage Certificate for the New Mr. and Mrs. Albert Escalante.

Grandma Sara had sent me this in 1990. It wasn’t until I read it yesterday that I realized it read “Interim.” I’m sure they officially got their licensing somewhere. But this is the only documentation I could find – via Arizona or California.

Random Factoid: R.H. Lutes was a Justice of the Peace in Yuma. He was also the coroner.

Sara and Albert started their lives together in Calexico. They had custody of his two daughters from his marriage to Manuela. By November of 1947 though, Sara and Albert were finding themselves with more children. From 1947 until 1958, 6 boys joined the household. Sara gave birth to 5 boys. The last son was adopted. His story is pretty wonderful. This baby’s mom died in childbirth. The father couldn’t take care of a newborn. Albert and Sara knew of a couple that could raise him. By the time they got the couple’s house, Albert knew that the boy belonged with them. My youngest uncle was chosen. He got to be the last baby in the house. Ahhh, the days when you could just love someone so much, and then take them home.

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Various pictures of Sara. Photos courtesy of J. Escalante, C. Callaway, and R. and D. Escalante.

She supported Albert’s adventures into various businesses. (The last of Albert’s blog posts will be about his business ventures and the end of his life.) They worked hard. Being in the Escalante family of Calexico must have been hard work, especially with Tia Panchita looking you over and judging. Often. But Sara handled it well. When Albert decided to start a bar and restaurant in Tecate, Mexico, they moved to the cooler climate between San Diego and Mexicali.

As a couple, they had tons of friends. There were family parties and good times. They had vacations in Rosarito. On the beach. Not at the hotel of his first cousins, the Barbachanos, whom he never got to meet. As far I as I can tell.

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In the Campo, Tecate, Potrero area, the boys ran around: setting the house on fire; feeding one brother’s cut off toe to the dog; lying on the ground, pretending to be dead so buzzards would come eat them; harvesting their own meat from the backyard (chickens or rabbits) in various ways; and ruining their cousin-in-law’s toaster. (They REALLY should pitch in and buy her a new one – just sayin’.)

Around 1960 though, their family went through a major change. Sara took the boys to Ventura County to live with her mom in El Rio. Second Random Factoid: Nana had become a Jehovah’s Witness. She changed her name legally to Juana Othon. (All of these name changes make for difficult tracking, you know.)

By 1961, the whole family was reunited and they lived in Port Hueneme, CA. The Escalante family was back where it had started 50 years before. Albert and Sara landed in the place where most of us remember as their home.

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Sara in Port Hueneme, CA. Photos courtesy of R. and D. Escalante.

My grandfather passed away in 1984. I hardly got to see much of Sara after that. Nana passed away on September 6, 1985. As longevity was a part of her genetics, Grandma Sara lived another 20 years. I believe she stayed in her home until the end. She passed away in Port Hueneme on May 17, 2004, aged 92.

I was at a restaurant a few months ago. I was having a lovely Mexican food lunch. I was startled when the refried beans on my plate tasted JUST like the ones Grandma Sara used to make. It took me back to the house on 5th Street. My heart lifted. It was full.

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Grandma Sara, Nana and I. About 1969. Photo courtesy of the collection I stole from my mom.

This couple brought some really amazing people into the world. I have a flock of cousins whom I love. My poor son has only two cousins. I have a virtual plethora. Honestly, Grandma Sara Higuera Escalante’s life was the stuff of a great telenovela. And. It would all be true.

******

I would like to express thanks to those who donated photos for this post. It was really appreciated. C. Callaway is Sara’s granddaughter via David Avilez. Her research was instrumental in helping me find the Higuera family.

When I do random searches on-line, I find wonderful resources. There is a Higuera family member in Yuma who produced art renditions of her family. Artist Pamela Drapala is a descendant of Elisario and Gregoria. Please follow this link to see her artistic rendition of her great-great grandparents.

https://www.artmajeur.com/en/artist/pdrapala/collection/az-centennial-yuma-higuera-family-1856-to-present/1405888

 

My Inner Feelings about My Outward Appearance

I am writing this piece from my heart. It’s been bubbling to the top for a while now. This is my experience.

From the time of my childhood, I have prided myself on being American. I still do. Being American was enough for any of us. Remember “The Great American Melting Pot?” School House Rock did a song about it.

One day, when I was a junior in high school, David Donate asked me “What are you, Edwina?” When I replied American, he said, “I know that. We’re all American. But what are you?” Until that moment, having lived in a wonderfully multi-cultural town, it had never been an issue. It never occurred to me to ask. It was that day a seed was planted. Thus, this blog site.

mexicanme

Pretty sure this is how most people see my childhood. Haha!

Three of my four grandparents were citizens. My paternal grandparents came from Mexico, but took the citizenship test; prideful of their new country. They birthed children all over the heartland of America: Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, California. My parents were born here. My dad is a Korean Conflict Veteran. He retired from that all-American company, Ford Motors. I have uncles on both sides that served this country, along with second cousins. Even some once or twice removed, proudly serving as I write. We love Elvis, baseball, and apple pie.

My American story is not enough for many though. Simply because I look different.

I have been recently calling myself an Ethnically Ambiguous Bird of Paradise. Ownership is a powerful coping mechanism. I look just different enough not to be Caucasian-American. But if you chatted with me, you would be very confused. Because I talk like one. [Note: the song “Valley Girl” was a part of my formative years and sorority girl talk is like soooo easy to imitate.]

English is my only language. Although my ancestors immigrated through Mexico, I cannot speak Spanish. Why should I? My family has been in the US for over 100 years now. This stereotype confounds everyone. Even those who have Spanish as their first language.

I am not visually American enough for some, and not Hispanic enough, in how I live, for others. This had been a sticking point regarding me for many years.My college roommates were sisters born in Mexico who came with their family in the 1980s. They called me White Washed. Nice.

Then I moved to Oklahoma with my husband. Now that my location had changed, so had the perceptions of those around me. As most Oklahomans weren’t very knowledgeable about Hispanics, I was either going to be classified as White or Native American. When I denied tribal affiliation, I was looked at with scorn. As if I was denying my roots. Yet another group I could not please. Aaarrrggggh!

Over the last twenty years, I have come to realize that human beings simply categorize those around them. They can’t help it. I no longer take it personally. Apparently, I was born to be that special person who throws everyone off by NOT filling the stereotype for which they are looking. I am a California girl, with a Master’s Degree, who has chosen to stay at home with her child, who married outside of her traditional faith and ethnically similar group. Boom!

I have made tamales only a few times – not 3 times a year since I was knee-high to a molcajete. And I learned how to make them by reading about it. Thank you, Rick Bayless. I am learning to read Spanish because I have to translate Spanish documents to find details in my family history. Any Spanish I can speak I learned from Dora and Diego. “Stars! Estrellas!” I took Latin in high school. Didn’t everyone?

My parents are having their DNA evaluated by Ancestry. One of my branches has a partial break down like this:

Europe: 45% (Iberian Peninsula/Italy and Greece); Native American: 18%; West Asia: 29% (Caucasus/Middle East) [with others in there as well].

So. I am Native! Just Native from Mexico; and so very far removed  from tribal life that we have NO idea to what tribe we can connect. I have more Native in me than many of my card-carrying tribal friends here in OK. My great-grandfather emigrated from Turkey to Mexico in the last 1800s. This explains the West Asian facet of the breakdown. Bet none of you saw that coming. Hahahahaha!

I don’t get have the advantage to just consider myself a middle-class American SAHM who drives a super-dorky mini van, drinking coffee from Starbuck’s. Noooooo. (Read with inflection)

Being caught in this vague ethnic limbo forces me to look more deeply at groups outside of my own. From their perspective. I recognize the immigrant who works in the restaurant cleaning the tables. She may not be able to chat with me, but she looks like me. I see men on Facebook being shot in their cars without trial, much less Miranda Rights, differently because I am a visual minority; because others see ME that way. I am looked at by those I attend church with as the person who can easily provide tacos for the college student finals feed. Unbeknownst to them, I would get the recipe from Pinterest, just as they would. Thank you, Rick Bayless pins. I am talked to in Spanish by a non-English speaker who then looks me up and down as if I am broken when I cannot answer.

My new concern. I worry that my having Middle Eastern ancestry could be detrimental to my safety as a third-generation American citizen. And now that Ancestry has my official DNA results, will it ever be used against me? The many DNA evaluation companies are privately owned. Until a court order asks for their lists. Let’s not pretend it isn’t possible. Let’s not pretend that our country hasn’t put racial groups in camps before. For the safety of our country.

This is the crap I get to dwell on occasionally. Ethnically ambiguous birds of paradise have that burden, you know.

I am so made up of various groups that I can’t even get mad at history. I wouldn’t be here if all these people didn’t do their migration, their exploring, their conquering, their loving and inter-racial marriages thing.

This post isn’t to wear everyone down. It’s to ask for one thing. I want you to practice looking at each other differently. Practice looking at a stranger outside of the “race” category. Look at what we all have in common. I’ve seen Muslim women in mini-vans in the Drive-Thru line at Panera on that first day of school. Just like the rest of the other moms. Super glad that summer is over. More than likely, as I happen to know, you will have their story wrong any way. Trust me on this. Like those two Indian men in Olathe, Kansas. You know. The one the shooter thought were from the Middle East. Sigh……

 

https://www.wired.com/2012/11/amy-cuddy-first-impressions/

http://www.cep.ucsb.edu/erasingrace.htm

 

 

 

 

 

Odds and Ends and Whatnots

Greetings!

It’s only the 17th of February, but I can tell Spring is coming early. The air in Oklahoma smells sweet today. Of course the temperature high of 70 degrees doesn’t hurt either. We should have one more frost or even snow before real spring sets in, but we will take these lovely days.

Today’s entry is a bit more of a hodge-podge posting. There is information here that might not fill an entire post all by itself. But they are important, and been on the sidelines waiting.

First of all, I would like to congratulate my 2nd cousin, once removed, The Honorable Armando Real on his election to Mayor of Calexico, CA. He served on the Calexico city council and is now mayor! How cool is that? He is grandson to Aida Escalante de Rosas. I send my best wishes for his success in the political arena. It can’t be easy, but I greatly admire his “being a part of the solution.”

http://www.calexico.ca.gov/mayorcouncil


Secondly.

My great-aunt Guadalupe Escalante has her own blog post. The back story about the details I could uncover on her life and her assault are here: https://tneranch.com/2013/10/08/guadalupe-escalante/. While I found no more about her story, I did find an interesting factoid about the man who assaulted her.

Octaviano Moran was married to one Clara Escalante de Moran in 1927 when all of the drama was going on. As far as I can tell, we are not related to Clara’s Escalante family. She was pregnant at the time with her son Luis Moran.

The marriage between these two was never particularly strong. Octaviano wished to divorce her (consistent with the promises he had made Guadalupe). He even went to Cuernavaca, then considered the “divorce mecca” to end their marriage.  This article was very detailed and can tell the story much better than I can.

bigmoranarticle

Clara Escalante de Moran making court history.

Clara didn’t want to be divorced, especially since she had no knowledge of the trial even happening. She took her case to the Mexican Supreme Court. AND they supported her. History in the making. This article was from an Illinois paper. It was covered all over the United States. I wonder how many Americans this decision affected? Wow.

In all of the other paperwork I find on Clara, she is always married. She does say that her husband Octaviano lives in Mexico City. She and Luis stay in Calexico. Luis died there in 1992.


Third thing I wanted to share was a contact I made via this blog. A great-niece of my grandfather’s first wife, Edith Edwards Escalante, contacted me. She was SO sweet and very kind. We corresponded a few times. (I really do LOVE people who share their stories to give us a fuller picture of how our family lived.)

She had a few pictures of Edith which added to my collection.(Not all of which I am posting)

edwardsgirls

From L-R: Allene Edwards, Lola Edwards Humm, Edith Edwards and her daughter Allene Millar. Photo Courtesy: D. Teafatiller

Ms. Teafatiller was so kind to share these photos with me. The above one is super cute. Remember Edith was almost 10 years my grandpa’s senior. She must have dazzled him with those pretty dimples.

This next photo in particular that I thought would interest a few.

edwardsfamilywithtony

California Dreaming with the Edwards Family. Photo Courtesy of D. Teafatiller.

This photo is a part of the day long photo shoot Edith’s family did one California day. The outfits match the ones that Edith and Allene are wearing  in other photos. The man on the far left may be my grandfather Tony. NOW… I have run this photo by a few people. Some think it is him, some think it’s not. But what I do know is this: This was what Tony’s family looked like from 1936-1939. This was his family before Edith got sick; before the rest of the hundreds of us showed up on the scene. This would have been what it looked like. Tony Escalante – a part of a different family. It blows me away.

Thanks so much D. Teafatiller!


And last, but not least, there is still a reward out for a photograph of Rufina Valenzuela de Escalante. She is my favorite relative. The reward is $100 – nothing to poo-poo either. So if any of you happen to have a photo of Rufina running around your attic, I’d greatly appreciate a digital copy. I am fortunate enough to house a large portrait of her husband Leonardo in my hallway (thanks to my cousin Ferdie and my Tia). I have him across from photos of his sisters. But my dream is to reunite him with his lovely wife. On behalf of myself, and her hundreds of off-spring, we thank you in advance for any help you can give.

That’s all for now. May your last days of winter go by quickly and the sun shine brightly where you are very soon.

Hold Onto Your Hats, M’Dears

We knew I’d get to the scandalously juicy parts of the family stories eventually, right? This is a Valenzuela story. It has to do with Rufina Valenzuela’s family.

Let me start at the beginning.

My mom recently had her DNA tested via ancestry.com. This was fun and informative! She thought it was great. It also gave me leads on possible family members. *clapping hands!* I had sent about 15 messages to various people asking if they want to “share their tree” with me. Many don’t have trees or families listed – just their DNA facts.

Yesterday, I went looking again at results. I felt rejected. All forlorn. No one was answering my pleas in cyberspace. So I took up my own cause. I went snooping.

For those kind few who put up trees, they are more like little seedlings. Two to four people in a tree. The names did not sound remotely familiar. I saw one that had two people listed. Ancestry says she should be a 3rd or 4th cousin. I went on a hunt. And Oh My Goodness!!!

sonora

The state of Sonora, where our drama begins….

Rufina was supposed to be born in San Pedro Palominas, which is near Imuris. My grandfather said it was in Santa Ana, not far from there. Our story takes place in that neighborhood, Tecoripa, Suauqi Grande, Cananea, then north to Tombstone and Bisbee, Arizona.

The DNA results showed that we were cousins to a Guadalupe Valenzuela, via his daughter Petronila. Great! Just like the name of Rufina’s dad. So cool. But after finding names and dates it didn’t add up. Who are these kids of his? This can’t be right. MY chart looks like this:

Guadalupe Valenzuela married Francisca Moreno. They had: Rufina, Jose Maria, Guadalupe, and Margarita.

This lady was related to a Guadalupe Valenzuela (GV) who married Justa Duarte. They had: Catalina, Damaso, Petronila, and Maria Simona. {Petronila’s great-granddaughter is the one who has her DNA in play. My starting point.}

mariasimonavalenzuela

Baptism record for Maria Simona Valenzuela – GV and Justa Duarte.

My mind was all bafflement. Does not compute! Then, I started to read the fine print. Justa Duarte’s children are “hijos naturales.” This indicates they are not a product of a marriage. When I stopped to think about it, I have never found marriage records for GV and Francisca Moreno either. Although none of the records indicate “hijo natural” listed, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t.

valenzuelachart

At possibly 18, GV starts having relations with these two ladies. At the same time.

This is how my new chart was sizing up. Looking at the original map of Sonora, Justa is a girl from his hometown area: Tecoripa. Francisca’s children are born in Santa Ana. I’m starting to think GV is more of a traveling salesman, not a miner. During this searching, I’m singing to myself “Papa was a Rolling Stone.” The DNA said I connected to Petronila on the tree above (as well as my own). How could every one NOT know? It gets better.

They did.

In 1934, the Great Depression was underway. The boon of mining was probably on its way to slowing down. Petrolina had a daughter named Carmen Aldecoa. She goes to visit her cousin Trinidad Garcia de Noriega in Mexicali. Trinidad is our Tia Guadalupe’s daughter. And reading the typed line: Carlos Octavio Garcia – Tia Guadalupe’s son.

proofvalenzuelaaldecoa

They knew about each other!!!

This is the link to the two branches of family.

But why stop there?? I look back on suggested trees. There is another GV listed. Those dates don’t add up either, but this has been a crazy weekend so far. Keep looking! I find this branch of the family had a more committed GV living with them in 1900.

1900census

One GV with his family in Bisbee, Arizona, 1900.

The above census says he was married. The 1910 census says married 30 years, so no concrete date, but he is with her for many years. If this branch finds my blog, they might not be to happy with me. But I think we all have to get a little uncomfortable, if legitimacy is important to you. After some hysterical laughter, I did some more digging. By the end the chart looks more like this:

valenzuelawhole

There is a very large tree of Valenzuela’s there. But it has this: Guadalupe Valenzuela marries Carmen Cota (although other trees list her as Carmen Navarro). They had: 7 children, 4 who lived. Francisca, Guadalupe, Andreas, Hilaria.

I am now connected to 11 Valenzuela offspring and their families. I’m not sure if GV really married Carmen either.

mariadorotea

Baptism Registration for Ma. Dorotea Valenzuela.

If you look right after Dorotea’s name you can read HN. The padrinos are Pedro Nido and Manuela Avila (GV’s mom).

Could there be a connection between the other two families? GV’s children say they are born in San Pedro Palominas (like Rufina). I think this area was located on the old Elias Family Ranch. It became the San Pedro Custom House area.

proof2

Link #2 – Andres knows them too.

Andres uses one Catalina (Valenzuela) Arvallo as his contact in Santana, Sonora. He calls her his aunt. But she is almost 20 years his senior. And his mom may not have wanted them to know. But it appears they know they are related. And the DNA ain’t lyin’ either!

One mistake I have found on this branch’s trees are the fact they name Carmen Cota as Navarro. All of the children appear to have used Cota in their names. General naming of children was First Name, Paternal Name, Maternal Name. As they all seem to share this, and American border agents switched it around, I’m pretty sure Cota is the name.

Here is what the chart looks like a little fuller. You know I love to draw me some charts!

wholething2

And this is how the Sonoran World Turns.

I can find no death records on any of his partners. Carmen disappeared. I cannot find any death records for her in Arizona. Had she stayed with him, or in the area, there would be records. GV dies as a widower.

AND our dear sweet GV lived to be 82 years old. I think we all may know his health regimen. *wink, wink*  I didn’t think it would be quite this tawdry of a tale. I was only mildly aghast. But you know, the ladies seemed to have known. Was he so incredibly irresistible? He must have been.

gvdc

The great thing about this whole adventure is that his death certificate (above) tells us his parents names. The family tree got much wider, but it also got a little taller. I hope that Carmen Cota’s descendants contact us. If they have any additional documentation, I welcome it. I love seeing the whole picture. I am very much of the opinion the more the merrier. I’m super duper merry today.

A Present to Ring in the New Year

Happy 2017, everyone! I hope this finds you doing well. We are in the middle of an ice storm here, but we have eggs, bread, and heat, so all is more than fabulous.

With the wonderful success of Tia Cuca’s video blog post, I have decided to share this snippet of gold earlier than I anticipated. I had wanted to share this after I was done blogging about my grandfather’s life; when it was all done. *insert hysterical laughter* As I am not sure when that is going to be, I might as well share it now.

In the 7th grade, I did an interview with my grandfather for an assignment. My paper included much of what I have here: his youth, boxing career, family. He died about 3 years later. My sweet husband helped me convert this audio tape to mp3 format. I had shared it with my aunts and uncles, but I realized that my cousins might like to hear a familiar voice.

When you listen to it, please remember, I was very young and goofy. I would ask completely different questions today. I wouldn’t giggle nervously. This recording is unedited. We really don’t start talking until about 1:55 in. He was soft spoken so listen carefully. You can hear him move the bench seat in his dining room. Can you see it there, off the kitchen, on 5th Street in Port Hueneme?

His voice is ever the same as I remember. His life spanned almost 77 years. His travels were extensive. His cumulative life experiences unknowable. He is the center of this blog site.

This blog entry is dedicated to my first cousins. Here’s to all the holidays in Grandpa’s den. Click on audio below. ⇓

One more thing about Tia Cuca…

Greetings all! Look at me. Another post. In the same month!

I have been doing family history for a very long time. I started about 1986, two years after my grandfather passed away and I could no longer ask him questions. Before a visit to Calexico, California, to visit my aunt, we purchased a video recorder. She was going to go with us to visit Tia Cuca in Mexicali. The recorder would allow us to ask her questions and record them for posterity.

As many of you know, I cannot speak Spanish. It is a very painful truth, but there it is. My parents only spoke Spanish to each other when my birthday and Christmas were coming. I had anticipated that during this visit to Mexicali, my escorts might share some of Tia Cuca’s knowledge with me. We never did have a post-interview meeting on it. So, not knowing all of what she had to say was my fault.

Flash-forward to about 4 years ago. I found the video tape. Guess what? Tia Cuca shares quite a bit of the information with us that it took me 20 years to dig up. Sigh. What we did manage to do is capture a bit of her on video. You will see her kitchen. I learned to love mole there. This footage is very raw, even having the camera lie sideways on the table. There is nothing fancy to it. Even the questions are shoddy at best. I know what to ask now. But alas, that time has passed.

I realized many of you might want to see this.  The primary reason for this blog is to share all I find (or have) with you. Every day I slap my forehead thinking “They might want to know about this!” So here she is. We loved her kindness and hospitality. You love her for reasons of your own. Please enjoy.

We are Family.

Greetings! I have been working WAY too much recently. My computer has been acting weird too, so my ability to search for family has been disrupted. However, I found that a kind person shared my blog entry regarding the Palacios family on her Facebook page. Many have been visiting and I’m so glad! Connecting with family to share stories is the reason I do this.

As the Palacios’ are my traffic right now, I thought I might share some information with them that they may or may not know. I am surprised how many family circles are in the radius that is Calexico and Mexicali, but they DON’T know it. My mom’s first cousin was Dr. Leonardo Sepulveda, pediatrician. He worked in Mexicali. She never met him. ACK!

I am a notorious Facebook stalker. I see who knows who. Some may know this next batch of information, but many may not.

My connection to the Palacios family is two-fold. My Great-Uncle Ruben Escalante married Maria Del Refugio Palacios. Her sister married my Great-Great-uncle Jose Maria Valenzuela. I have often wondered how Jose Maria’s two sets of children viewed each other.

Jose Maria’s first wife was Maria Luisa Lopez. They had three children that I can find so far. I really love to draw charts. I’m sure one day I’ll get fancy and do it on the computer, but that is no fun for my brain.

firstmarriage

Jose Maria’s first marriage and resulting off-spring.

Adela was important to Margarita Valenzuela (Gil Samaniego) because she was a 15 year-old who was at Margarita’s 2nd wedding as padrino. How cute she must have been at her aunt’s side. I could not find leads on the other children of this first marriage.

Maria Luisa died between 1910 – 1913. In 1914, Jose Maria marries his second wife, Armida Palacios.

wedding

Wedding Registration for Armida Palacios and Jose Maria Valenzuela, 1914.

Now Armida is a married young woman with a few step-children, one her own age. She gets pregnant quite quickly. While they have a baby girl, Francisca, she only lives 5 months.

babyfrancisca

Grandfather Francisco Palacios was the one to report the death of the baby to the officials.

This must have been devastating to the new mother. She did move forward and proceeded to have 9 children. [If she had more, please let me know].

armidaatthestart

This wonderful picture shows Armida with her first three living children. The 10-year old, I can’t find on record.

This post has many images. I thought everyone would like to see photos from waaaay back in the day.

oscar

Many years of using his Travel Manifest. Oscar Valenzuela-Palacios.

armida

Armida Valenzuela de Cota.

Armida’s husband was Lauro Cota. He was a local singer in the Mexicali area. His Manifest says he “sings on the radio.” I found an article in this e-magazine. http://cesu.uabc.mx/images/cesu/magazine/pdf/9-el-rio-imprimible.pdf. Page 5 discusses Cota quickly, as well as another man who married into the Palacios clan, Armando Toledo.

juanvalenzuela

Juan’s manifest. Noting he was going to Heber to see his brother-in-law Arturo Hernandez.

Let’s see. What else. I found Maria Guadalupe Otilia Valenzuela Palacios too. She shortened it and went by Otilia. She was very pretty.

otilia

How does one take such a great picture? Honestly.

She married a Gilberto Castro Millan. A later manifest says she had two children; a boy named Fernando and a girl whose name I couldn’t find.

mario

Mario. One of the last of the children. He looks like L. Escalante.

In my records I have a Cesar Valenzuela listed, but have no idea why. I could find nothing on him.

2ndtree

The Valenzuela-Palacios tree.

So there is what I could find on this family. All of these people are first cousins to my grandfather – Alberto “Tony” Escalante. Also to his brother Ruben. But because Ruben married Armida Palacios’ sister, they are also Rubens’ nieces and nephews. Excellent!!!

I hope that all of the siblings got along. From both marriages. I hope that they all had birthdays, baptisms and weddings together. The age difference might have been an issue. Some of my mom’s best memories were visiting with the Palacios family. She had no idea she was related to them. Twice.

If there is anyone out there who can supply me with corrections, additions, photos, please share whatever you can. I want to report as accurately as possible. Have a wonderful November!

Guadalupe Valenzuela de Garcia

I recently made contact with Margarita Valenzuela’s grandchildren. They have been so wonderfully gracious in sharing information with me. While my blog is generally about the Escalante family, I realize that Rufina grafted the Valenzuela branch onto our tree. Rufina is kind of my favorite and I’m finding so much more about these relations of ours.  So the Valenzuela branch earned its own category today.

The basic run down is this:

Guadalupe Valenzuela married Francisca Moreno in Sonora, Mexico. They were supposed to be from Tecoripa. They farmed in Santa Ana. After he died, Francisca moved to Hermosillo with Margarita.

They had four children which I have been able to find. Those were:

  • Rufina Valenzuela b. 1868 (married Leonardo Escalante)
  • Jose Maria Valenzuela b. 1872 (1st wife – Maria Luisa Lopez; 2nd wife – Armida Palacios)
  • Guadalupe Valenzuela b. 1878 (married Manuel Garcia)
  • Margarita Valenzuela b. 1881 (1st husband – Tomas Gil Samaniego; 2nd husband – Jose Lopez; 3rd husband – Luis Barragan)

This write-up is about Guadalupe. The first time I “came across” this aunt was on Rufina’s death certificate. Guadalupe is the official “informant.”  She was also listed on Tia Panchita’s delayed birth certificate. She was out there as a mythological being, but no one tangible. On one lovely visit to Tio Ruben’s son, he generously opened up his photo album. He is the baby in this picture, with Guadalupe in the center. My heart melted as I saw Rufina’s sister.

Son, Tia Cuca, Tia Guadalupe and Tio Ruben, around 1937, Calexico, CA.

Son, Tia Cuca, Tia Guadalupe and Tio Ruben, around 1936, Calexico, CA.

And then, I had to keep on digging until I found out more. This branch of the Valenzuela de Garcia branch has been very difficult to reach. I have met those who know them, but I haven’t been able to make contact with a direct descendant. Here is what I have been able to piece together. Starting with Guadalupe’s husband…..

Manuel Garcia was born August 17, 1872, in Ures, Sonora, to Manuel Garcia and Trinidad Zamudio. This is Manuel at his elder brother’s wedding. The photo was shared by A. España. She is a relative of the groom.

Back From Left to Right: Trinidad Zamudio de Garcia, Manuel Garcia, Dolores Moreno de Martinez. Groom: Alejandro Garcia Sr. Bride: Maria I. Rosa Martinez.

Back From Left to Right: Trinidad Zamudio de Garcia, Manuel Garcia, Dolores Moreno de Martinez. Groom: Alejandro Garcia Sr., Bride: Maria I. Rosa Martinez.

[If the names sound familiar it is because Alejandro Garcia, Sr. is father to my Tia Panchita’s husband, Alejandro Garcia, Jr. Whew!]

Guadalupe was born in Sonora on September 23, 1878. She and Manuel probably married around 1897. They proceeded to have many children. I’m going to gratuitously list them. You never know who will be doing a Google search. AND, many of my cousins could very well know their offspring, never realizing familial ties.

Carlos Octavio – Born in Ures, Sonora, August, 1898. Married Isabel Guillen.

Victor Manuel – Born in Naco, Sonora, July 1900. Had children, can’t find name of wife.

Trinidad – Born in Nacozari, Sonora, May 1902. Married Luis Noriega Peralta.

Francisca Belen – Born in Naco Sonora, March 1907 (although her gravestone says 1908). Died single.

Hermenegildo Rene – Born in Cananea, Sonora, June 1911. Died young in 1943.

Rene's graduation picture found at the Pioneer's Park Museum.

Rene’s graduation picture found at the Pioneer’s Park Museum.

Enrique Felix – Born in Naco, Arizona, June 1913. If you read his birth certificate below, you will see he was the 11th child born, the 6th living. This would explain the large gap in children between Trini and Francisca, Francisca and Rene. I theorize that he died early as he is never listed in any of the US Census’ later.

enriqueBC

Manuel – Born in Calexico, CA,  June, 1915, . Married Enriqueta Davalos.

Guadalupe – Born in Calexico, CA, December, 1917. She died young at the age of 20. She is buried with her father in the historical section of Mt. View Cemetery, Calexico.

Eloisa Martha – Born in Calexico, CA, January, 1920. She married a man named Perez. I cannot find an obituary even though she only recently died in 2003.

I have tried to track various leads, but no one has returned emails. I completely understand. Not every one reaches out to my “we are cousins!” announcements.  The one thing I cannot comprehend, is how, when Tia Guadalupe lived at 910 E. 3rd Street in Calexico, for what appears to be forever, my mom never knew about her.

Tio Ruben obviously visited her. My grandfather returned to Calexico in about 1945. During the time they lived there, my mom (and aunt) have no recollection of every meeting her. As I keep thinking it odd that family lost touch while living in an approximate 25 mile radius, this Garcia family lived on a street that intersects with Giles Avenue; a street my grandfather and his family lived on. Was it bad blood? Were feelings hurt? Was everyone just too busy to chat any more and then slowly drifted apart?

Rufina came to Calexico to be near her Valenzuela family. And yet, there is no connection in present day relations.

One more photo. Tia Cuca, Tio Manuel Garcia, Baby Escalante.

One more photo. Tia Cuca, Tio Manuel Garcia, Baby Escalante.

Tio Manuel died not long after this picture was taken on February 3, 1936. Tia Guadalupe lived at the same house until her death on February 13, 1960.

I have yet to find any more siblings for Rufina, but at this point I’m not going to say it’s impossible. They could even live right next door to me.  A cousin of mine, a son of my Uncle Jim, lives in Stillwater. I’m going to a wedding where the bride’s surname is Valenzuela. Don’t think I’m not going to corner her grandmother by the punch bowl. “Hi. Sooooo, where are your people from?…..”