Chosen Family ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks ~ Week #34

group-hugThis week’s prompt of “Chosen Family” made me think of the family that we chose by choosing a spouse. Since I have been married more than once I think I understand that term very well. Since I have been married to my husband for almost 34 years, I decided to focus on his family.

My heritage is Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, and German. My husband is Mexican and Native American. Believe me, there is a big difference in our upbringings and family dynamics. I had a brother who was 18 years older than me and a sister who was 4 years older. We were not a close family at all. His family consisted of 9 children, 3 daughters, and 6 sons. Most of them were born 2 years apart! I have 2 nephews from my brother’s first marriage, he has 19 nieces and nephews. This is my chosen family.

It has been fun researching my in-laws family. First of all researching Mexican Genealogy is very difficult. Because of the way they switch their given surname with their married one or their mother’s surname, it can be hard to follow an ancestor’s line. There is also the language barrier. I do not speak Spanish, however, I can understand a lot of what is said and I can read it pretty well. My husband is the same. His mother was born in Mexico, and she learned to speak English after she married his dad. They never taught any of their children the language.

My “new” family history is fascinating. My father-in-law, Arthur “Art” Francisco MartinezMartinez (1930-2017) had some rather strange events happen in his family. The not so odd member of his family was his Dad, Francisco Martinez (1902-1995). He worked on the railroads his entire life, moving so many times that Art attended over 30 schools while growing up. Francisco was an accomplished musician, playing several instruments but his favorite was the violin. Arthur’s Grandfather, Eutimio Francisca VegaMartinez (1874-1947) wanted a wife, so he held up a stagecoach in Texas, killed all the travelers on the coach except a young girl named Francisca Vega (1882-1956). He took her and married her. Francisca’s older sister, Lorenza Vega (1874-1958) was married to Carlos Lozano who was forced to join Pancho Villa and his reign of terror. Lorenza joined her husband as they traveled around Northern Mexico and Texas raiding villages.

My mother-in-law Minnie (1936) family lived in Arizona before it was aRamona State. When it did become a State in 1912, her Grandmother Ramona Salazar (1898-1974) who was born in Tubac, Arizona became a United States citizen. In November that same year, she married Francisco Acuna (1892-1902) and they moved to Mexico returning to Arizona shortly before their first child was born in 1915. At the beginning of WWII their oldest son joined the army. Being a very devote Catholic, Ramona made a vow to God. If her son returned home safe from the war she would cover her beautiful hair with a scarf and wear it until she dies. He came home safe and Ramona kept her promise. Minnie’s Isidro Torresgrandfather, Isidro Torres (1862-1927), was ½ Yaqui and ½ Spaniard. In the 1880s the Mexican Government decided that they wanted to take control of the Yaqui land in the Northern State of Sonora because it was very fertile and any crop could be grown in it. The Yaqui’s 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 Yaqui’s. 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.

So, I feel blessed to have “chosen” such a colorful family and their unique stories.

You can read their stories here:

Francisca Vega/Lorenza Vega – https://wp.me/p4gvQU-Ih

Ramona Salazar – https://wp.me/p4gvQU-d8

Isidro Torres – https://wp.me/p4gvQU-8z

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

Newsworthy ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks ~ The Baron of Arizona

Map_of_Peralta_land_grantExtra, extra, I’ve got some news!!! This week’s prompt is Newsworthy, and I was waiting for the right time to write about my newest find. Let me preface the blog with this statement…..I have lived in the State of Arizona for 50+ years and I had never heard about this story. That is until a few weeks ago.

James Addison Reavis, my 3rd cousin 3x removed, was born in Henry 800px-James_Addison_Peralta-ReavisCounty, Missouri on May 10, 1848. He was the second child of Fenton G. and Mary (Dixon) Reavis. The family lived on a small farm and owned a tannery. James had very little education, however, his mother who was of Scottish and Spanish descent read Spanish romantic literature to him. Because of this, he developed a grandiose writing style.

His family moved to a new farm located in Montevallo, Missouri about 1857. Here they opened a country store. At the beginning of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Confederate Army under Hunter’s Regiment, 8th Division of the Missouri State Guard. The war was not romanticized like he had envisioned so at 18 years old he accidentally discovered that he could reproduce his commanding officer’s signature. He used the skill to begin forging passes so he could spend time visiting his mother. It wasn’t long before the other soldiers noticed his frequent absences and his ability “make his own leave pass” and he began selling the forged passes to them. When his commanding officers became suspicious, he got one last pass, supposedly to get married. He immediately went and surrendered to the Union forces, joined the Union Army, and served in an artillery unit.

170px-Peralta_grant_document_1After the war, James began to travel, ending up in Brazil. Here he learned to speak Portuguese. When he returned to the St. Louis area near the end of 1866, he worked many jobs, including a traveling salesman, a clerk in a variety of retail stores, and a streetcar conductor. Finally, he became a successful real estate agent and after a few small deals, he saved enough money to open his own office. He soon realized that the same skills he had learned in the army worked very well in this business. In 1871, he met a man named George Willing who had purchased a large Spanish land grant in the Arizona Territory but did not have any paperwork for it. The two hatched a plan to obtain control of the land, and they made their way to the Territory. They soon learned they could make a lot of money by buying a stake in mine deeds then selling them back to the original owner.

It took a few years for Willing and James to be able to obtain or forge deeds and paperwork for the Peralta lands. James had discovered a letter some years before that had been signed by the President of Mexico, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, that was dated 1853 and he was going to forge the deed to these lands using his signature. Willing finally arrived in Prescott in March of 1874 and filed a claim for the land in the Yavapai County Courthouse. The very next morning he was found dead under suspicious circumstances. When James finally arrived he posed as a subscription agent for the San Francisco Examiner. After he discovered that the land grant was a floating grant and touring the land, he chose the boundaries for his land. Altogether, the land was 78 miles north to south and 236 miles east to west. The grant contained the towns of Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Casa Grande, Florence, and Globe and stretched to the outskirts of Silver City, New Mexico.

Now he had to convince the Territory that he had a legal claim to the170px-Don_Miguel_Nemecio_Silva_de_Peralta_de_la_Cordoba land. He went to Mexico and learned of a man named Baron Don Miguel Nemecio Silva de Peralta de la Cordoba who was born in 1708. He spent his time in Mexico forging paperwork that claimed that he was a direct descendant of Miguel. He added the name Peralta to his last name and so the scheme began. However, this plan died quickly so he devised another one. James began spreading the news about a Peralta heiress. In 1877, he met a young girl named Dona who bore a striking resemblance to a800px-Doña_Sofia_Loreto_Micaela_de_Peralta-Reavis2 baroness. She was only 15 years old at the time, so in December of 1882, they were married. He then enrolled Dona in a convent school to train her in the skills that were expected of a well-born lady. He went to Tucson to file a new claim on behalf of his wife, Doña Sophia Micaela Maso Reavis y Peralta de la Córdoba, third Baroness of Arizona, thus becoming the Baron of Arizona.

170px-James_Addison_Reavis_in_prison_clothesAfter the inauguration of Benjamin Harrison in March 1889, Royal Johnson, with whom James had encountered on numerous occasions, was appointed Surveyor-General for Arizona Territory. The first thing Royal did was send a letter to the outgoing Surveyor-General and inquired about James’ claim. When the responding letter reached Royal in October 1889, it was a release of an adverse report upon the Peralta Grant. It concluded that it was a complete fraud. Royal then denied the claim. Outraged, James filed a lawsuit against the government for 11 million dollars in damages. This was a mistake because the force of the Government began an investigation. After several years of investigations, James was found guilty of forgery on June 30, 1896, and he was sentenced to two years in prison and a $5000 fine. While in prison, his wife gave birth to twin220px-Peralta-Reavis_twin_boys carlos and miguel boys, Carlos and Miguel. Upon his release, James began traveling the country trying to raise support and revenue to refile the Peralta claim. In June of 1902, Dona filed for divorce on the grounds of desertion. After this, little was heard from him and by 1913 he was living in a poor house in Los Angeles. James died penniless and alone in Denver, Colorado on November 20, 1914, and was buried in a paupers grave. Dona died on April 5, 1934, still believing that she was the Baroness of Arizona. It is said that the marriage certificate had also been forged!

 

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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

Handed Down ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #24

Francisca and LorenzaWhen my Father-in-law first told me these two stories about his Grandmother Francisca Vega Martinez (sitting) and her sister Lorenza Vega Lozano (standing) I thought “that’s pretty interesting”. Maybe a little far-fetched but that is how oral histories can be. When told from generation to generation some details can be lost, and others can be added. This is verbatim (I recorded it).

Eutimio Martinez (1874-1947) lived in Southern Texas in the early texas map1890s. When he was a young man, he decided it was time for him to find a wife, so he went into town to find one. None of the girls there were what he was looking for, so he got on his horse and headed south towards Mexico. After a couple of days of riding, he found a wagon heading north with several people in it. He took special notice of a beautiful young girl named Francisca Vega (1876-1956) who was traveling alone. He hitched a ride with the wagon heading back north. After talking with the girl for a while he decided that she was the one. No one knows how or why this happened but Eutimio ended up killing all of the people in the wagon and kidnapping Francisca. He then took her back to town and married her.

I started thinking if the kidnapping of Francisca and the murders of those on the wagon were true, why would she stay with him all those years and have children with him? Why didn’t her parents come and rescue her and why would in later years her sister come and live with them? My Father-in-law also told me that Francisca’s sister Lorenza (1874-1958) rode with Pancho Villa. Could either of these stories be true? These are valid questions.  As I was transcribing the tapes from my interviews with my Father-in-law, I decided to do a little research.  First, I Googled their names…nothing.  Then I typed in kidnappings in the 1880s in Texas…nothing, then in Mexico, again nothing. After a few more inquiries I decided to take a different approach.

Pancho VillaI decided to start with Lorenza and see what I could find. I looked up Pancho Villa and The Mexican Revolution. I discovered that Pancho Villa did indeed have women who rode with him between 1910 and 1920. Some of them fought alongside the men and were called Soldaderas, others were “persuaded” to come along, and others followed their husbands who went to fight.  One of the practices of Pancho Villa was to ride into a town and ask the citizens to “donate” to the cause of the Revolution. He would then gather up all able-bodied men and “encouraged” them to join his army. He then would “invite” some of the young women to come along to help cook and care for the soldiers when they were injured. Most of the wives and children of the men who followed Pancho went along because they really didn’t have much choice. I believe this is the case with Lorenza.

 While looking into the Mexican Revolution I found that back in the 1800’s up until 1930 married women and single women living in Mexico had different rights under the law.  Single women had the same rights as a man. They could come and go as they pleased, work, attend church, and even own property. Married women were the property of their husbands. They could do nothing without the permission of their husband. This could explain why no one came to get Francisca after she and Eutimio got married. Regardless of how she became his wife, she was now his property and they accepted it.

I have still not found any evidence that the stories above are true, but they would be considered Oral Traditions and therefore I added them to my husbands’ Family Trees. They add “color” and excitement to the family history.    

 

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

 

Monday’s for Me ~ Grandpa Smiths Excellent Adventure

Grandpa SMithIn 1962 my mothers’ dad came from Missouri to Tucson AZ for a 2-week visit. John Pleasant Smith was born in 1882 and he had never been to Arizona before so my parents planned a fun-filled vacation for him. I was 7 years old and I was so excited because I had never met my Grandpa. Well OK, I did but I was a baby and I didn’t remember it. Some of the planned activities were to take him for a cookout in the Saguaro National Forest, make a trip up to the top of the 9000 ft Mount Lemon, watch the gunfights at Old Tucson Studios, see the wildlife at the Sonoran Desert Museum, and last but not least an exciting day in Nogales, Mexico.

saguaro national park

The day finally came and I got to finally meet my Grandpa. He wasn’t as tall as my dad but he still looked like a giant to me. He had piercing blue eyes and a smile that made him look like he was up to something. He brought my sister and me each a doll and a bag full of “Missouri Candy”. I loved the way he talked. He had an accent that rivaled Hee Haw! (you can google it LOL). Over the next week, we had so much fun. Each night we hit the bed exhausted but so happy.

nogales mx postcardIt was finally time to make the trip to Mexico. I had been there a couple of times because my dad bought medicine for his stomach there. We would make a quick trip down and back with very little sightseeing. This time we took our time. It was an hour’s drive south from Tucson and Grandpa wanted to stop at all the Missions and other points of interest so it took us much longer. When we got to the border we parked on the US side and walked through the checkpoint into Mexico. My dad told my Grandpa to not, under any circumstance, take his wallet out of his pocket while we were on the street. He forgot about my Grandpas’ big heart! It wasn’t long before a couple of poorly dressed kids approached us asking fordad and grandpa change. My Grandpas heart broke and he took out his wallet and pulled out two dollar bills and gave each kid one. This was a lot of money in those days. Immediately we were surrounded by kids all wanting money. A shop keeper came out and tried to chase the kids away but there were too many so he grabbed my Grandpa and pushed him in his shop. We followed. The shop keeper lectured Grandpa about not doing this and after the kids left we finished our shopping. Dad and Grandpa picked up some souvenirs and we headed home.

In the 1960s, in order to cross the border in either direction, all you had to do was declare where you were born. Easy and efficient. My Grandpa went first, then me, my sister, and my dad, Then it was my mother’s turn. She decided to try to be funny and when asked where she was born she responded: “I wasn’t born I was made in Japan!”. We all laughed but the border agents did not. They refused to let her leave Mexico. They made her go sit in a room with a female agent. My dad talked to the men but they told us it would be at least 2 hours before they could verify that my mother was born in Missouri. We were all hungry so Grandpa suggested we go get something to eat. We went to our favorite restaurant, ate a leisurely lunch then headed back to the border. By the time we got there, they were ready to release my mother. I can’t express how upset and angry she was. She cussed and ranted non-stop for about the first 20 minutes we were on the road. All of a sudden my Grandpa burst out laughing. I got a little nervous because there was one thing I knew, you never laugh at my mother. He told her the look on her face when they wouldn’t let her through was priceless and he hoped she learned a lesson. It was all her fault for being a smart a** and she was setting a bad example for us. She didn’t say another word all the way home.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

 

 

Nearly Forgotten ~ 52 Ancestors #12

treeMy husband George and I have been married for almost 34 years. I wasn’t used to such a large family since mine had consisted of only 4 people. George had 7 brothers and sisters and more cousins than I could count. When I first started researching my family I thought about maybe working on his would be fun. Unfortunately, none of the family was interested in their genealogy, so I gave up the idea.

Lorenza.

A few years later I was sharing with my mother-in-law some of the things I had found out about my ancestors. She got a strange look on her face then asked: “So genealogy is about your family?” I felt really bad because I hadn’t thought that she may not understand the word since English is her second language. Suddenly she wanted me to work on her family tree. She gave me what information she could remember and when I got home I got to work. Hispanic Genealogy is very different than what I was used to. First, I don’t speak or read Spanish and the naming practices can get very confusing. I stuck to it and I was able to get back about 5 generations.

Isidro

When I took what I had found to my in-laws they were both so excited. They both began telling me stories about their different ancestors. I also asked them about their own lives. My father-in-law grew up in Texas and my mother-in-law in Mexico. The stories were fascinating to me. I was so glad I recorded them. I even interviewed one of George’s Aunts and I was able to collect photos and documents from her. When I got home I started trying to put it all together. It took several months but I did it.

Ramona & Scarves

I presented my in-laws with the final product and they were thrilled. I had put two books together, one for the Martinez side and one for the Torres side. I included a family tree, individual pages with photos, and documents. The part they liked best was I had taken some of the family stories and put them with corresponding photos. When we had the next Martinez family get together they brought out the books for everyone to see. There were 21 grandkids there, some with their own families and everyone was so excited over the books. Most of the stories had never been told before, not even to George’s siblings. His Tia (Aunt) pulled me aside and told me their family never talked about the past but now the future family will know of their heritage. I felt good that this family and their stories were not going to be forgotten. However, they were “nearly forgotten”!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

Hometown Tuesday ~ Rio Grande,  Zacatecas, Mexico ~ Manuela Moreno Campos

hometown tuesdayI get so caught up in researching my family’s history that I sometimes forget about my husband’s. To be honest he isn’t as interested in it as I am but he does enjoy learning about his family when I am able to find something new. It is difficult tracing Hispanic Ancestry for me for two reasons: #1 Neither I nor my husband speak the language. I have to use a translating app when I do find something and most of the time the translation does not make sense. #2 the way most Hispanic names are arranged. For instance, most people have their mother’s maiden name as their middle name. Even if they are given another middle name. An example is Jose Sanchez Torres, but his given middle name is Roberto. Also, there are instances when someone is given a Grandmothers’s maiden name instead. It’s no wonder I get confused.

Rio Grande ZAC MEX

I decided I would just start researching the places his family was born and I would begin with his paternal Grandmother Manuela Moreno Campos. She was born in the town of Rio Grande, Zacatecas, Mexico on February 3, 1909, to Santiago Campos and Evalin Moreno.  The town is situated in the central part of Mexico. Before the mid-1800s this region was occupied by the Spanish. When they arrived in Mexico in the 1700’s they found an abundance of silver which they began to mine. In 1812 the Mexican people won Independence from Spain.

By the time Manuela was born the town of Rio Grande was bustling with activity. There were 12 mines that were spread out around the outskirts of town and people came from all over to work. They were a medium-sized family, especially for the times. Manuela had 4 brothers and one sister.

Beginning in 1910 the Northern and Central part of Mexico was in the midst of a war between Pancho Villa and the Mexican government. In 1914 the battles came to Rio Grande. I really don’t know how this affected the Campos family but in 1919 we find the family arriving in Bexar County Texas where Santiago’s brother lived. Manuela was 10 years old at the time and for whatever reason, she was left in the care of her Uncle and his wife and her family returned to Mexico.

Manuela Campos picIn 1923, at the age of 14, she first saw Francisco Martinez. He fell in love with her immediately. He didn’t care that he was 7 years older than her. I heard the following story from my father-in-law. “Francisco had never spoken a word to Manuela but he knew he loved her.  After months of watching her from afar, he decided to ask her Uncle if he could marry her. He climbed up in a large tree by their home and waiting for the Uncle to leave so he could speak to him. Francisco spent 3 days in the tree. Finally, her Uncle emerged and Francisco jumped out of the tree and asked for Manuela’s hand. Within a week they were married”.

Manuela Campos HS

One year later they had their first child.  They went on to have 7 children, 3 who died in infancy.  Francisco worked for the railroad and by 1930 they were relocated to Southern Arizona. Over the next 37 years, the family had lived in 21 towns in Arizona. Manuela passed way in May 1967 in Eloy, Arizona. She never returned to her home town, instead, she made every place she and Francisco had lived her new hometown.

 

 

cropped-blog-pic1.jpgI am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

 

 

There Is One Thing Wrong With “Who Do You Think You Are?”

family tree, who do you think you areI really enjoy the program “Who Do You Think You Are?”  I have even gotten my non-genealogy enthusiast husband to watch it with me each week. I know there is some controversy about the program only highlighting “famous” persons and how these people can handle all these wonderful old documents, with white gloves on of course. They fly to the places their Ancestors came from and visit the places they lived and where they were buried. All in all it is a good show. The bonus is it is bringing more of the younger generations into the Genealogy fold.

So why am I writing this blog? Because, no matter how good the program is, there are some drawbacks to it. Let me explain. My husband comes from a very large family. They are spread out across the country from Alaska, to New York to Florida and even down into Mexico. I have been working on his family’s genealogy for over 5 years. I put together a private family page on Facebook and have posted my findings. I even put together a beautiful book for my in-laws which included photos, documents and stories.  Several of my husband’s siblings have asked for copies and the word that I am a Genealogist has gotten out.

One of my husband’s cousins, who I only met once at her Grandmother’s funeral, recently contacted me. She had heard about the Facebook page and asked if I could let her have accessEurope to it. Then she asked if I could maybe find some information about her father’s side of the family. After a couple of days she asked me if I could also find anything on her maternal Grandfathers side. She gave me what little information she had about them so I faced the challenge and felt pretty good about what I discovered. Then a week later she asked if I could also research her husband’s family. Again she only had limited information about them. I was amazed at how diverse their families were. Her father’s Ancestors came over from Ireland in 1865. Her maternal Grandfathers side came from Mexico, Poland and Germany! Her husband’s family emigrated here in 1967 from Italy.

So where is the problem? After giving me the sparse information that she had about both her family and her husband’s family, she contacts me 3 days later and is upset that I hadn’t found more data. I had traced her husband’s family back to the mid 1800’s in Italy; her father’s Ancestors back to 1834 in Ireland and her mother’s paternal side back to 1845 Germany. I told her it could take years to find and document these lines; it can’t be done in a week. Her response? “Well, on ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ they can find it faster than that.”

watchingTV1After I quit laughing, dried the tears from my eyes and counted to 10, I let her in on a little secret. It is a television program! We have no idea how long it actually took to find the information they have. They also have a large staff and researchers working on the tree. We also don’t know if they screen the “famous” people to make sure their Ancestors are the easier ones to find. I also told her, that as much as I would love to, I really couldn’t afford to fly to Ireland, Germany, Poland or Mexico to do research.  I explained that I could throw a tree together for her if she really didn’t care about having proof that these people belonged to her. Thankfully, she understood what I was saying and told me to take my time and do it right.

So, from where I am sitting I can see some of the problems this wonderful television show can cause for us. We already live in an instant gratification world. Everything should be quick, easy and available on the internet. By showing how a person can find not only their Ancestors, but documentation, stories and photos in a one hour program, people are lead to believe that this is how it is. Maybe there should be a “disclaimer” included in either the opening or closing of the program that explains that in real life it takes longer than one hour to create your family tree. In the meantime, I will just hope that future clients will be open to the fact that genealogy does take time and is a lot of work.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.

 

 

 

 

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 Amazon.com: 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.