Dad, Gabino, was born on February 19th, 1892 and passed away on September 27th, 1974. He was 21 years older than Mom who was born in 1913
Not too much is known about Dad’s personal history, it is actually a bit of a mystery. He did not originate from the area of the Rincon but possibly an area to the west of there. I have tried to research his records and found one website that had his birthplace as Mexico City.
This document seems accurate as it lists his death place in Long Beach, so guessing when I entered his date of birth and this came up, it might be right. But, when he re-entered the US in 1921 through Eagle Pass, Texas, he listed his birth place on his immigration document as San Luis Potosí. No way to tell which is right as no documents have been found that shows where he was actually born
Then when he crossed over to Texas in 1917, the immigration document lists his last place of residence as Aguascalientes. Could be that during this time the revolution in Mexico made him move around and this is where he resided in 1917
When I was quite young I spent time talking to Dad about his early years. Being of young age at that time I naturally figured I would always retain those shared conversations. Now I only have some glimpses of those recollections, some of which I will share.
One of those things that is still very confusing is who his real Mother was. I recall ever since I was a kid, once in awhile Dad or Mom would mention his Mother’s name, Espiridiona. Her name appears on his death certificate as Espiridiona Contreras. But when going through Mom’s trunk, where she stored documents and photographs, we came across his passport application of 1921 and on this document his parents are listed as someone with surnames of Garcia for his mother and Ramos for his father. I have no clue as to the names listed on the document and don’t of course ever recall Dad mentioning these names. Searches using these surnames have drawn blanks as well. But when Dad crossed over to TX thru Eagle Pass in 1921, his immigration document questionnaire asks who he is going to visit and he notes that he is going to visit his uncle, Jesus Contreras. So this last name of Contreras has some meaning, I just have not been able to find out where or how it came from.
With some help from Maria Caldera Mitchell, a cousin from my Dad’s side who resides in Houston, I have found some other info on Dad’s Mom, Espiridiona. She was born possibly in 1846, Hacienda de Bocas, SLP. Her parents are listed as Sostenes Rios and Jesusa Saucedo. With two of her children, no spouse is listed, it appears they were born out of wedlock. With one child it notes the child’s father is unknown, and with the other child, it merely lists her as being single.
Melquiades was Dad’s sister and she was born in 1883 in Villa de Santiago del Rio, San Luis Potosí. She married in 1909 to Santos Caldera at Nuevo Leon, Coahuila. We are related to the Caldera clan from Gomez Palacio through this marriage. Melquiades had a girl, Esidia, born in 1912. In 1913 she had another girl, Angela, and she is the one that came to visit us in the early 70’s. Her granddaughter is Maria. In 1919 she had a son, Pedro Calamaco, but he died in 1919. Another child, Marcial was born and died in 1909. Her husband, Santos, died in 1918 from the Spanish Flu epidemic. Melquiades passed away in 1960 at Gomez Palacio, Chihuahua.
One of Dad’s brothers, Delfino, was born in 1885 at Villa Ahualulco, San Luis Potosí. He married Eloisa Perez in 1921 at Hacienda el Alamito, San Pedro, Coahuila. They had a daughter, Eulalia, in 1922, then tragically, Delfino passed away from the Spanish Flu the same year.
On Delfino’s birth registration it notes that his mother, Espiridiona Rios, was 40 at this time, so if this is accurate, then she was born in 1845, although one baptism record shows her baptism occurring in 1846.
I was unable to find any hard evidence of Dad’s birth record so we may never know where he was born for sure. On the death registration for Espiridiona in 1904, it notes that she was originally from Hacienda de Bocas when she passed away in 1904 at Hacienda de las Esperanzas in Coahuila.
And was also unable to find any concrete evidence on Anastacio or Cruz as well, two other brothers Dad had talked about. There are plenty of records with these names but none show a connection to our Rios family. Searches failed to turn up their birth or baptism records. But just recently I came across an immigration record that shows a Anastacio and Cruz traveling together to TX in 1906, they were both teenagers at the time and coming from a Rancho La Piedad in Coahuila, very close to Piedras Negras.
This is the town that Dad came from in 1921 when he crossed over to TX thru Eagle Pass.
But this is not definite proof these are his brothers as it does not say where they born or who their parents are. But their birth years at this time, 1888 and 1886, are close to Dad’s age and I do recall him telling me about having his brothers work with him at the slaughterhouse somewhere in the old country.
Dad also had a cousin, Gumesindo Perez, living in Colton, that he used to visit and took us along for the ride. Never knew how we were related, just that we were. In 2019 I came across some records that had clues as to how we were related. Dad’s Mom, Espiridiona Rios, had parents listed on her death registration as Sostenes Rios and Jesusa Saucedo. Then on her baptism record, these same parents are listed again. When I was searching for info on the Perez clan, I came across a baptism record for Lázara Rios and her parents were listed as Sostenes Rios and Jesusa Saucedo. This would mean that Espiridiona and Lázara were sisters. Lázara had a daughter, Eulogia Rios, who wound up marrying Pomposo Perez. One of their children was Gumesindo Perez, Dad’s cousin. So now this would explain how we came to be related to the Perez clan from Colton. Through some of this new information I found that Dad had a bunch of uncles and aunts, 9 siblings altogether. Espiridiona 1846-1904, Lázara 1849, Juan de la Cruz 1853, Dionisio 1858-1901, Asuncion 1861, Arcadia 1859, Eustacio 1864, Amada 1866, and Sebastian 1869. Dad’s abuelos were Sostenes Rios 1808-1896, and Jesusa Saucedo 1832-1892. Sostenes’ parents were Sebastian Rios and Sezaria Sushayta. Jesusa’s parents were Elenterio Saucedo and Maria del Jesus Valerio
So far it appears that the Rios and Perez clans both had baptisms and marriages at the same place, San Miguel Mexquitic de Carmona, San Luis Potosí. But, both clans were also originally from Rancho de Bocas and Hacienda de Bocas, both very close to each other but a good distance away from San Miguel. In 1846 the Count of Peñasco sold Hacienda de Bocas to Juan de Dios Pérez Galvez making living conditions worse with the result the locals beginning a revolt which was eventually crushed by the government with help from Aguascalientes authorities. And perhaps with the changes in living conditions, this may have motivated the Rios and Pérez clans to move out of the area and how they all wound up living in Mexquitic de Carmona
Some of our ancestors settled in Colton, CA, as did Gumesindo Pérez and his parents, Pomposo and Eulogia. Through census records I found that there were several Rios families that settled in Colton, sort of next door to the Perez families. There was Pomposo and his wife Eulogia, Eustacio and Secundina, Gumesindo and Lucina, Juan and Paula, and Jose and Sarah, Cruz and Luz, Alberto Carlos and Maria Rios. All of the families lived very close to one another, mostly around K and L streets in Colton, CA. But with so many Rios families living next to Gumesindo, why didn’t Dad tell us about them, or at least visit them while we were in Colton visiting with Gumesindo. The Perez and Rios families grew up and lived next to one another in San Luis Potosí at the Hacienda de Bocas area, then looks like they all moved to and lived around Mexquitic de Carmona in San Luis Potosí before a lot of them followed each other and finally residing in Colton, CA. Anyone’s guess as to why there wasn’t any communication between Dad and his many relatives, perhaps there was some horrible incident that happened in the old country or in Texas that caused the rift. All of the people that might know are gone now so we will never know what happened. One thing all of us recall when visiting the Perez family in Colton was the pit stop we would make to the tortilleria. We would always grub down on fresh tortillas with butter. Dad would tell us that this was Tío Carlos and Tía Maria. So that is how we took it and had no clue as to who they really were, we just called them that since that is what Dad told us. So all these years none us really knew anything about the bakery or tortillas until 2020. By accident I found some business listings for Colton and discovered Carlos Tortilla Factory, owners, Alberto Carlos and Maria. Alberto married María, who was my Dad’s 1st cousin, she being a daughter of one of his uncles, Dionicio, who passed away in 1901. And Eulogia, who married into the Perez family, was also a 1st cousin being a daughter of one his aunts, Lázara. Maria and Eulogia both lived out their years in Colton. But we never associated with any of her children, probably because they were much older than us.
One of the earliest recollections of our conversations was he told me that before marrying Mom, he had been married before. All I can recall is that his family all perished, from what or how I don’t recall or if he ever explained that to me or how many children he had, if any. During a search in 2019, I stumbled across some cemetery records with the Rios last name in Asa, Texas. The segregated Santa Cruz cemetery in Asa is the same cemetery where grandmother Diega Loredo and her infant daughter, Ynasia are buried. I found one infant whose father is listed as Gavino Rios. Then I found another child, Sanguano, also listing the father as Gavino Rios. Both of the death records I was able to find show the father as Gavino Rios and the mother as Dominga Lopez. The infant Rios was born on July 10th, 1927 and it shows that the infant died of colitis on July 21st, 1927. The other child was born on May 6th, 1925 and died of whooping cough on July 27th, 1926. The mother, Dominga, died on July 9th, 1927, just after giving birth, according to the death certificate. What I have found in the search for historical records are many contradictions in dates. Dominga’s death certificate shows her death as July 9th and the infant child being born on July 10th and dying on July 21st. The attending doctor wrote her death information on the certificate but it does not add up when the infant is supposedly born one day after her death, then dying later in the month, yet the certificate notes she died at childbirth. But the find of these three individuals does add up to what Dad had told me about his first family dying. He never did say if this first family was in México or Texas. But all this took place in the Waco area and this is where he settled down with Mom after they were married in 1938 in Waco. All this info was found by accident while looking up info on the Santa Cruz cemetery hoping to find great grandfather Norberto buried there, instead maybe discovered Dad’s first family. At the time of death, Dominga Lopez was 34 years of age, one year younger than Dad. Her father’s last name was Lopez and her mother’s last name was Morey. I looked up this surname and it is Scottish. The Scots began arriving in Texas in the early 1800’s and the county of McLennon is named after one Scot as is the city of Cameron near Waco
Would have made for a great book if I had been intuitive enough to jot down some notes of our conversations.
One of the other memories is from when he was a young man. All I do remember is that he and his brothers worked in a slaughterhouse. Dad told me that this is where all new cuss words are invented. His brothers were Delfino, Anastacio and Cruz. With Maria’s help, I found he also had a sister, Melquiades Rios. She was born about 1883 and married in 1909 to Santos Caldera. This is how we came to be related to Maria Caldera from the Gomez Palacio area. I don’t recall seeing any letters from his brothers in Mom’s trunk. Around 1970 or so, one of Dad’s relatives, his niece Angela Caldera, came to visit us. Guessing she was around 50 or 60 when she came by. Like a dummy I didn’t grill her about any other relatives of Dad living in the old country. I do remember that she was from the area of Gomez Palacio which I believe is in the state of Chihuahua.
The above is from a journal we found in Mom’s trunk. It was written by Dad’s brother, Delfino. He appears to have been the official secretary to this men’s organization from 1920, the year the Revolución ended. It might appear to say “Group of Fresno #3”
Book of Meetings of the Defense Society Membership followed by Installed Directive.
Delfino took notes from sessions of their meetings, all from 1920, dating from January through April of that year. This might be part of a series of notes but this journal was the only one found. There isn’t any specific mention of the nature of this society, but since it mentions Defense in its title, it might have something to do with the violence of the Revolución. In one of the sessions, the president of the society does refer to being or having better safety. The members are noted to be delegates so possibly they each represented a community. There were usually about 25-30 members at each meeting and the meetings were always in the evening. The last entry is Delfino’s resignation. He is not specific as to the reason for his resignation but does it with much humility and dignity. A copy of his resignation is below.
All of the aforementioned meetings took place in Matamoros, Coahuila, which is close to Torreon, Coahuila, and Gomez Palacio in the state of Chihuahua. Delfino was born in 1885 in Ahualulco, San Luis Potosí, and died in 1922 from the Spanish flu. He married Eloisa Perez and they had a daughter, Eulalia Rios, in 1921 at Coahuila. Eulalia passed away in 1983 at 95 years of age.
With help from Maria, she found from her family that a lot of the Rios clan perished in San Luis Potosí and they moved to the Coahuila area around the turn of the century.
Dad married Mom on February 5th, 1938, at St. Francis Church in Waco, Texas. Mom and Dad’s courtship was anything but normal. Mom and Dad never did tell us of their marriage details so I suppose we all assumed they were married in the rancho like everyone else. Many years later it came out in conversation with some family members that Abuelo Bartolo was not keen to them getting married. Dad never even mentioned how they met. But one thing seems to be sure and that was Abuelo was not going to give his blessing. My Abuela, Diega, passed away in Asa, Texas, in 1935. Upon her death my Tío Beto recalls they all returned to the rancho. So sometime soon after, either Dad kidnapped my Mom or they just eloped and went back to Texas. Legend has it that Abuelo found out where they went and he came gunning for Dad. So that might explain why they quietly married in this small church. Supposedly the local priest gave them shelter from Abuelo. The witnesses at their wedding were two people that don’t sound like relatives, they just wanted to get married and didn’t have a wedding celebration with any family in attendance.
Dad crossed over to the US for the first time in 1917 through Laredo, Texas. The Revolución was coming to an end in 1920 and Dad may have been cut loose due to a few wounds he suffered. I remember once when he was admitted to the hospital they found some shrapnel in his chest area. And on one of his wrists he showed me two bumps instead of one where he had gotten wounded another time. I don’t recall if he ever told me where he fought. A couple of things about this time I do recall, one was where he was present and witnessed Pancho Villa shoot someone dead in front of the men, guess it was execution style. He also related to me that food was hard to come by when they had to travel and sometimes they would eat a horse or just pull chile off a tree and eat that as there wasn’t anything else to eat.
There seems to be a recollection about his time in the Revolución. I was pretty young but I am pretty certain I saw a six shooter he brought with him from the old country. I think it was stored above our old shower stall when we lived in the old house. I never saw it again and didn’t even think about it till a few years ago. It’s not in the house anywhere that I know of so maybe my Mom gave it to one of her brothers for safe keeping.
When we were all very young I can still remember Dad liking to smoke non-filtered Camels and I think Lucky Strike cigarettes. He also would buy some tobacco in the blue Bugle Boy tins and roll his own, but I don’t think he did that too often. He liked his wine too, like in real cheap Thunderbird wine. He would hide it in our shed and we always knew where it was stashed and we would sometimes steal a swig here and there. Safe to say it was not going to win any wine tasting contest.
Who is Guiferial Rios? This is another mystery from Dad’s family. The above document is what was used during World War ll when rations were a way of life for everyone. Food and gas purchases needed this booklet and/or stamps to make purchases. When we found these in Mom’s trunk I was befuddled by the name on this booklet. It is obviously not a typo and there is a booklet for Dad and Gabriel. Neither of my Tío’s was in the US during this time so they have no clue as to this might be. I googled the heck out this name on various web sites with not one hit. I remember when I was probably maybe around 12 when Mom showed me the booklets and stamps to try and explain how they lived in the recent past. Of course I paid no attention and didn’t read the entries on each booklet. Too bad. Maybe a relative of Dad lived with us for a while but no one seems to remember. So this mystery will continue as to who this person was. You can see our old address in Long Beach on the top booklet for Gabriel.
Dad worked in the carpentry business, not exactly sure as to what he did. Before he had a car he would walk to work somewhere far off, maybe Long Beach. Nowadays we drive our cars just to go get the paper. That’s a time when Men were Men. I do recall a couple of times Dad took us to his work site when he finally got a car. My brother and I would just hang out on the job site picking up empty soda bottles to sell later on. That was one good way to earn a little money back then. Dad would sometimes gather up some of the leftover electrical wiring and bring it home. In the back by the chicken coop he would pile it up and burn off the insulation material. Then when he would have enough copper wire he would take it to a metal recycler and sell it. It was always something to look forward to when he got home from work and we would open his lunch pail to see if he had any good left overs so we could wolf it down. Guess we never had enough to eat in those days.
I think Dad’s first car was maybe a Pontiac. I still can’t get over how gross it was when we were out driving around and being in the seat behind Dad when he hacked a big loogie out his window and the spray would come in through the back window. Yuck!
Dad also belonged to a Men’s Society at Holy Family Church in Artesia. I remember he would wear his suit to the 7:00 a.m. mass and he would help collect the donations in the little baskets. Every now and then there would be a fundraiser dance at the gym next to the church and he would always volunteer to help with the cleanup the next morning. Somehow we would always get volunteered to help clean up with him too.
Dad had a bit of a gut on him when he retired. Don’t remember when, but diabetes eventually changed his physical appearance and he lost a lot of weight towards the end. Mom had to change his diet quite a bit and that really got to him. Especially the salt and chili’s he liked to eat. He and I both liked to munch on the peppers besides some salsa Mom was always making.
On a suggestion from Chaug, I did a search on Dad using an older birth date. So instead of searching in 1892, I extended the search all the way back to 1882 and came up with a possible hit. On this document I found for this year, Item #90, a Feliciano Rios is reporting a birth of Gabino but in Mexico City, DF. This is a long way from San Luis Potosí, but on another record I found a few years ago, it listed him being born in Mexico City, DF, and his death as 1974, Long Beach, CA. So this record appears correct except it did not include any other details except for place of birth. The real odd thing is that when Feliciano presented him for birth registration, he tells the municipal office that Gabino’s parents are unknown. So was Dad an orphan? No way to really find that out now. And searches for Feliciano didn’t turn up anything even though his last name was also Rios. It was the first time I had come across his name. But on the birth registration for 1882, it lists his birthday as February 19th, which is the birthday he has always used. so maybe this is really him being born in 1882 instead of 1892. So maybe after all these years, we find that he might have been 10 years older that he told us, or maybe he didn’t even know he was 10 years older than what he thought too.
Towards the end he always said he didn’t want to die in a hospital, he wanted to die at home. But on his last incident he had to go to Long Beach Community Hospital on Signal Hill. Myself, Mom and little Tacho went to visit with him and he was feeling good. We all hugged him when we left for the night. But Dad said to me when we hugged, “I don’t feel like I’m going to die”, guess he somehow knew the end was near.
Later that evening Dad passed away in the hospital.