Isidro Torres – “The Man With The Hole In His Hat”

Isidro Torres and his wife Juana Isidro Torres was born on May 15, 1862, in Sonora Mexico. His Mother was a Yaqui Indian and his father was from Spain.  Isidro’s’ Mother died in childbirth. His father, not knowing what to do, gave his son to the Godmother and he returned to Spain.

Growing up Isidro was reminded daily that he had been abandoned and that he was lucky to be living with his Godmother. He was the last to be fed, the first to have to rise in the morning, and the only child who had to work all day. He had no formal education and could not read nor write. He did however learn to farm and to shoot. He was very good with a gun and he hardly ever missed. When he was a teenager he would go off into the woods and hunt animals. He was very good at tracking them and he always came home with meat for the table.  Isidro was a proud man.  He never worked for anyone else once he left home, he worked only for himself.

In the 1880s the Mexican Government decided that they wanted to take control of the Yaqui landSonora Mexico in the Northern State of Sonora because it was very fertile and any crop could be grown in it. The Yaquis’ rose up in rebellion against the Government and a war ensued. Having been raised with no connection to his Yaqui heritage, Isidro began to do scouting for the Government.  It was a dangerous job and during one scouting mission, he was fired upon by a band of Yaquis. He was able to escape but was surprised when he removed his hat and found a bullet hole through the crown of it. From that day on Isidro wore that hat proudly.

In 1885 the Governor of Sonora, Luis Torres, along with 1400 federal troops organized an expedition with the intention of meeting the Yaquis in battle. During 1886, the Yaquis continued to fortify more of their positions. During this time Governor Torres asked his men to gather up some scouts. When Isidro came into the camp he was immediately recognized because he was considered the best scout in Northern Mexico. Governor Torres knew that he and Isidro shared the same last name but he refused to call him by that name. The Governor told one of his men to go and get the scout with the hole in his hat and tell him we need his help. When the soldier told Isidro what the Governor had said he was insulted that he was so rude to ask for him in this manner. He then told the soldier to go tell the Governor that “He was not available”. He then got back on his horse and left.

In 1904 Isidro met and married a young Yaqui girl Juana Garcia. He was 45 and she was 15. Over the next 20 years, they had 10 children, two who died at birth. Isidro moved his family into the Territory of Arizona in 1910, 2 years before it became a state. He began to farm. Seven of his children were born in the US.

On May 15, 1927, on his 65th birthday, Isidro was out in the field planting cotton. His wife brought him and some other workers their lunch and some ice water. Isidro was very thirsty so he drank 2 cups of the cold water very quickly. One of the women who were there scolded him, telling him it could cause him to have a heart attack to drink ice water when you are hot and sweating. Isidro laughed and continued to drink. Later that evening Isidro did have a heart attack and died.

Isidro Torres GraveHe was buried in the Goodyear Cemetery in Chandler AZ next to his two Goodyear-Ocotillo Cemeteryinfant children. Juana took her surviving children and went back to Mexico.

Isidro Torres is my husbands’ Great Grandfather.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

4 thoughts on “Isidro Torres – “The Man With The Hole In His Hat”

  1. I think we have a story of Isidro Torres in our family, related to my great grandfather. I have been trying to locate stories of my great grandfather from Curupe Mexico and how he fought with the Yaqui’s in Mexico. His name is Juan Saccuhi Torres.

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