Saturday, February 22, 2014

52 Ancestors #7 Maria del Patrocinio Quinteros Mendez de Aguirre

Maria Quinteros de Aguirre, circa 1940
I was only five years old when my pater-
nal great aunt Mary passed away in 1975, but I do remember her a little, although what I remember most about her was the funeral. It was a Catholic service held at the old Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church (which was later remod-
eled) in Temple so there was a lot of kneeling, but I grew up hearing stories about my father's paternal side of the family so I feel that even though, I was very young when she died & there are very few memories, I do know her a little.

Her baptismal certificate in the Parish of Santa Elena de la Cruz records that she was born in El Fuerte, Rio Grande, Zacatecas, Mexico to Rafael Quinteros Torres & Domitila "Tila" Mendez Anguiano. Whereas the births of their two older sons were registered with the State of Zacatecas (in accordance with the 1867 Mexican law stating that all vital statistics must be registered with the state in addition to the local parish church registries), I have never yet found an entry for her. Maybe they went to a different parish like La Salada or Rancho Grande to register it & I have yet to find it or perhaps the Mexican Revolution interfered with them fulfilling this requirement. Mexico was only two years into the Revolution & the family may not have wanted to call attention to them-
selves since Rafael was serving as a horse wrangler with Emiliano Zapata. (Their next child, a son who would later become my paternal grandfather, would be born in Belton, Bell Co., Texas).

Baptismal record of Maria del Patrocinio Quinteros Mendez, daughter of Rafael Quinteros Torres & Domitila "Tila" Mendez Anguiano
On 1 December 1920, when she was seven, her father Rafael moved her & her family to Texas. They were originally supposed to go to California where it is believed they had family, but they set out it the wrong direction when they left Eagle Pass, Texas. The Eagle Pass Manifest records them passing through Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico & lists their entire family. There is also a passport that states that their intentions were to travel to California. My grandfather said that they took a train to reach the border & had to do so covertly because the Revolution was just ending & the Federales were looking for former Zapatistas (followers of Emiliano Zapata). Rafael had a friend who was a train engineer who helped hide Rafael & his sons in the coal car. He put Domitila & her daughter Maria up front in the engine with him & when the Federales stopped them to inspect the train, they questioned the engineer about the identity of the woman & little girl in the cab of the engine. He explained that they were his wife & daughter & he was taking them on the train with him as a treat. The Federales bought this claim & let the train pass unhindered.

1920 Eagle Pass, Texas Border Crossing Manifest listing Rafael Quinteros & his family

Photo from their 1920 passport, left to right: Maria Quinteros de Aguirre, Domitila Mendez de Quinteros, Francisco Quinteros, Rafael Quinteros & Jose de Jesus "Jesse" Quintero
This photo of Tia Maria Quinteros de Aguirre, age 7 or 8, was taken with her mother Domitila Mendez de Quinteros after they emigrated to Texas from Mexico.
My grandfather said that they lived in Coleman, Coleman Co., Texas briefly before they moved to Belton, Bell Co., Texas where he was born in 1922. At some point, they moved to Temple which is also in Bell County. The boys grew up & began working on the Santa Fe railroad. I'm sure Maria helped her mother keep house while she was growing up. It's how she came to be the great cook she was known to be. Whenever you came to visit, the first words out of her mouth were always "Te quieres comer?" (Do you want to eat?). You were expected to eat where ever you visited because to refuse would be seen as rude.  Aunt Mary had a sense of humor. Once, my father told her that something tasted like newspapers & she asked him how much newsprint he had been eating lately. Dad spent alot of time with his Aguirre cousins when he was young & his mother was working. She also had a way of getting you to do things. On a visit to a cemetery once as a child, he came back with some loose bits of granite from the headstones there. Aunt Mary told him he had better take them back or the people whose graves he had taken the rocks from would come to visit him. She sure had Dad's number!

Funeral of Rafael Quinteros Torres in Temple, Texas-April 1941, left to right: Mauricia Martinez de Quinteros,
oldest son Francisco Quinteros, next oldest son Jesse Quintero, youngest son Ralph Quinteros &
daughter Maria Quinteros de Aguirre
On 17 August 1940, Maria's mother Tila died of a stroke. Her father Rafael followed her in death eight months later. Her older brothers were already married with families of their own & her brother Ralph & her were the only ones still unmarried. Ralph would marry Beulah Mae Houston Russell on 22 November 1944 while Maria would marry an old drinking buddy & friend of her father's, Eugenio Aguirre, who worked at the Santa Fe Hospital in Temple. 

Eugenio & Maria were married on 9 May 1942 at Iglesia Santisimo Sacramento in Cameron, Milam Co., Texas. They had six children together: Francisco, Mariano, Paulina Martin, Domingo & Natalie. They also adopted Mary Frances Quinteros, daughter of Maria's oldest brother Francisco when his second wife died due to complications of pregnancy & childbirth, to raise as their own. They may never have been what would be consid-
ered well off, but they had a good life & raised their children to be successful & productive people. They had been married for 19 years when Eugenio died of a myocardial infarction on 11 Oct 1961. Maria lived to be 62 years old before she also died of a heart attack on 28 Mar 1975 in Temple. She was laid to rest beside her husband Eugenio at Hillcrest Cemetery. She was survived by ten grandchildren, her brothers & numerous nieces & nephews. Aunt Mary may be gone, but her legend lives on.

Gravesite of Eugenio & Maria Quinteros de Aguirre at Hillcrest Cemetery in Temple, Bell Co., Texas

Mexico, Catholic Church Records, Zacatecas, Río Grande, Santa Elena de la Cruz, Bautismos L. 24-31, 1909-1915, record # 185, img #501, pg 24
Texas, Eagle Pass Arrival Manifests and Indexes, 1905-1954," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 Feb 2014), Rafael Quinteros, 1920.
Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 Feb 2014), Domitila Quinton, 17 Aug 1940; citing certificate number 35766, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2118555.
Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 Feb 2014), Rafael Quinteros, 14 Apr 1941; citing certificate number 16140, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2138479.
Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 Feb 2014), Eugenio Aguirre, 11 Oct 1961; citing certificate number 55599, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2116793.
Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 Feb 2014), Maria Aguirre, 28 Mar 1975; citing certificate number 23972, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2243947.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

52 Ancestors #6 Beulah Mae Houston Russell Quinteros Russell Hancock Johnson Kaufman

Beulah Mae Houston Kaufman, 1966
Wow, what a mouth-
ful! My paternal grandmother married at least five & poss-
ibly six times in her sixty-seven years on this earth. I wrote a little bit about her & her sister Faye a few weeks ago:

Beulah Mae Houston was born on 26 Sept 1918 in Buckholtz, Milam Co., TX, USA to Luther Henderson
"Duke" Houston & Della Green. She was the fifth of nine children & their first daughter. She eloped at the age of 17 with a neighbor boy Lambeath/Lambeth "Lamb" Russell on 25 Jan 1936 in Bell Co., Texas. The story I heard from my great aunt Asalee "Baby" Houston Thompson about this event in my grandmother's life was that no one in the family knew anything about it until later that evening when they saw a big truck full of furniture pass by. When Duke & Della inquired of neighbors what all the commotion was about, they learned their eldest daughter Beulah had gone out & gotten herself hitched without a word to anyone. I'm not sure what kind of relationship Lamb & Beulah had other than somewhat turbulent. I theorize a lot of it may have been due to
her inability to conceive a child based on what I know of her medical history &
Beulah Mae Houston Kaufman
with grandchildren
  Juli & Eddie Quinteros
in Sept 1973
a story my father used to tell about how Lamb had taken him to a bar as an infant complain-
ing to anyone who would listen that Dad should have been his child. How Lamb came to have Dad with him is unknown, but in our present day & time, Lamb would have probably been picked up on kidnapping charges. Lamb & Beulah Mae were together for eight years before their divorce was finalized on or about 25 Oct 1944. Just two weeks later, Beulah would be remarried to another man.

My father is the product of the union between Rafael "Ralph" Quinteros & Beulah Mae Houston. He was their only child & his birth was a very hard one. He was delivered by emergency C-section after hours of intense labor. She was very ill with meningitis afterwards & was told by her doctor not to ever become pregnant again because if she did, she would do just as well to dig her own grave. Beulah had originally intended for Dad's middle name to be Kenneth after her baby brother, but my paternal grandfather named their first son after himself & a close friend named Ray. I don't know where or when they met, but my father used to say his dad told him that "for some reason, she (Beulah) just liked him" (his father also used to claim that "all them Houston girls was crazy"). Since both were from neighboring Milam & Bell Counties & San Angelo is located in West Texas, perhaps they met at some point during my grandfather's time with the Santa Fe railroad. I knew where they were supposed to have been married because it was listed on the back of my father's birth certificate, but I only recently found a copy of their marriage record in the Tom Green Co., Texas marriage records. Coincidentally, they were married in San Angelo on my grandfather's 22nd birthday
(18 Nov 1944). 

Marriage record of Ralph Quinteros & Beulah Mae Houston Russell
Their marriage was not any more peaceful than Lamb's & Beulah Mae's had been & they divorced after only a few years together when my father was between 1-3 years old. I feel that their main problem was that they came from two very different cultures: she was white & of Scotch Irish descent & he was the first of a Mexican immigrant family to be born in "los Estados Unidos". My grandmother made a valiant effort, once even consider-
ing converting to Catholocism & moving to Detroit, MI so that my dad would have a relationship with his father. I don't know where or when they divorced, but they cont-
inued to have a somewhat ongoing relationship until my grandmother obviously decided once & for all that they just couldn't live together. Both would later remarry other people.

Beulah Mae moved back to Texas from Detroit, MI in the fall of 1952. Ralph remarried in June 1953 to Pauline Silva & had two more sons (Arthur & Larry) & a daughter (Lydia). Beulah is supposed to have married Robert Russell, brother of her first husband Lamb, at some point briefly, but I have never found record of it. She did marry B. Hancock at her mother Della Green Houston Schostag's place in Glidden, Colorado Co., Texas on 19 Sept 1954, but had the marriage annulled only a week later. Dad remembers this event in his mother's life & recalls that Mr Hancock had been one way when they were "dating", but changed once they were married, expecting her to behave a certain way & wait on him hand & foot (although she usually preferred younger men, he was considerably older than she was). It was a case of "been there & done that" & she was not going to put up with that kind of mentality again. Beulah moved around alot during this time period, but was a hard worker. Over the years, she waited tables, cleaned, made beds, ran a bar (The Silver Dollar in Temple which she later renamed The Retreat) & worked in an ice cream factory. She was thrifty & saved up enough money to be able to buy a brand new home of her own in 1962 in Academy, Texas when her son was almost sixteen (she had owned two homes prior to this, but neither one was new). 

Beulah married Charles Garland Johnson at Immanuel Lutheran Church on 18 Apr 1957 in Temple, Bell Co., Texas. He was stationed at the Ft Hood Army Base in Killeen & was often gone much of the time. They were married for seven years before they divorced in about 1964. A year later, she was married by proxy a final time to Fred Ralph Kaufman, son of Delward & Winifred Fabin/Fagan Kaufman, on 15 Jul 1965 in Temple, Bell Co., Texas. Fred was stationed at the time as part of a peace keeping unit in Korea. He returned home for good the following year after 17 years of service in the US Army (most of Grandma's spouses were military men). Fred worked for a foam company in Temple for many years while Beulah kept house. He retired about 1981. They then sold their home on Creasey Drive in Temple to the Charles Harrell family who lived across the street & bought a small farm in Soper, just outside of Hugo, Choctaw Co., OK. 

Charles & Beulah Houston Johnson
Fred & Beulah Houston Kaufman
Grandma & I were very close when I was growing up. We spent every major school holiday at Grandma & Grandpa's, plus my younger brother & I each got one month of our own out of the summer school break to spend with them. Grandma was a great cook & housekeeper & there was very little in the way of food that she did not do well (her worst dishes were liver, salmon croquets & meatloaf). Eating at her table, especially during holidays, was like eating at a log rolling because the table would be so full that there was barely room on the table for your plate, glass, napkin & silverware. Always, when we left, she sent a stuffed-to-the-gills igloo cooler of leftovers that would feed our family for a week (usually, she even slipped Dad some gas money too). She was the kind of housekeeper who would stay up all night just making sure everything was done up & put away properly. When I stayed with her, it was one of my chores to do the dusting, set the table for meals & help make sure the house was "presentable" for company as she called it.

Sadly, my grandmother was a heavy smoker (you never saw her without one until the last two years of her life). Twice a year, she would travel to McAlester, OK for her spring & fall check ups at the Veteran's Hospital there. It was quite a long trip & I can remember being wakened at the crack of dawn on days when I was staying with them & she had a doctor's appointment. Afterwards, we would stop at the Commissary & buy food to take home & cases & cases of cartons of cigarettes since she could get them the cheapest there. Her doing such a thing has been one of the memories that has always stuck out with me the most since I came from parents who were non-smokers. She was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in the fall of 1985 when I was sixteen & as I sat with her during the final months of her life, one of the things she told me was that if she had her life to live over, she never would have accepted that first cigarette from a friend who had encouraged her to try one (she had tried to quit & failed many times before). Fortunately, although I experimented with them when I was young & rebellious, I never picked up the habit & I am glad for it. Beulah Mae Houston Russell Quinteros Russell Hancock Johnson
Kaufman passed away at home in Soper, OK during the early morning hours of 15 Jan 1986. She was laid to rest at Mt Olivet Cemetery in Hugo, Choctaw Co., OK. In later years, her sister Asalee, brother-in-law Clyde Thompson & her husband Fred would join her there. Grandma has been gone 28 years now, but I miss her still.

Bell Co., Texas Marriages: Lamb Russell & Bula Mae Houston, Vol 31, pg 224
Divorce Proceedings found in Abilene Reporter in the 6 Sept 1944 & 25 Oct 1944 (pg 15) editions of the newspaper.
San Angelo, Tom Green Co., Marriages: Mr Ralph Quinteros & Miss Beulah Mae Russell, cert #231. Source:
Milam Co., Texas Marriages: B. Hancock & Beulah Mae Houston, cert #10518, v 25, p 44
Bell Co., Texas Marriages: Charles G Johnson & Beulah M Houston, Vol 42, pg 529
Bell Co., Texas Marriages: Fred Ralph Kaufman & Beulah M Johnson

Saturday, February 8, 2014

52 Ancestors #5 Richard Dennington

A couple of weeks ago, I found the last will & testament of the furthest back known ancestor on my mother's Dennington line. Up til now, I had only "heard" about it on & had never actually seen it. Then came the day when FamilySearch announced a list of new & updated records to their site. Among the new records was a database of images covering wills for SC. I went to Ancestry & looked up the pertinent information about Richard Dennington's will & then went back to the FamilySearch site to look through their images of Charleston Co., SC Wills.

Richard Dennington is believed to have been born in either England or Lesson Parish, County Down, Ireland sometime about 1740. He met & married Margaret (maiden name unknown) in about 1760 (I have seen them listed on marriage indexes but have yet to see an actual hard copy document so I don't know the specific date of when or where they tied the knot). They had five sons (John, James, Richard, our ancestor William & Samuel) & two daughters (Margaret & Anne).

Richard is believed to have died between 1776 & 1800 & he (or his executors) filed his will in Charleston Co., SC on 27 Oct 1776. Until I read his will, I had no idea what he had done for a living to support his family. The opening lines gave his name, said he was "of Bristol (I am assuming England)" & his profession was that of a "cordwainer". I had no idea what that was so I googled it & found that it was a fancy word for a shoe maker. Something else I found interesting was that cordwainers were considered to be a rather skilled trade & different from cobblers in the way they made shoes because cobblers made their footwear from old leather & hardware while cordwainers made shoes from brand new everything. The fact that he was a shoe maker by profession intrigued me because I knew that his great grandson William (who was my mother's paternal grandfather) had served on the Confederate side in the Civil War as a shoe maker. Apparently William saw such horrors during the war that afterwards, he changed his profession & became of preacher in Ellis Co., TX where he moved to & lived the rest of his life after leaving Georgia behind in the mid 1880's. I used to wonder how he made such a jump from shoe maker to preacher & now I know that his original profession was something that must have been handed down to him from his father John Louis Dennington, who was Richard's grandson.

His will makes mention of his wife (who appears not to be living in SC, but appears to be back home in Lesson Parish, County Down, Ireland) & each of his seven children. He states that his executors, upon his death, are to notify her of his passing & he leaves each of them 750 pounds, 12 shillings & 9 pence (the approximate equivalent of roughly $48,000.00 USD in the year 2000). At the time of his death, the British Colonies were in the midst of the American Revolution so pounds (& not dollars) would have been the "currency of the realm" then (By 2014, this amount of money would still be quite a bequest; atleast to me). Richard further stipulates that if one of his children or his wife should die before the will is fully proved & executed, their portion should be divided between his remaining survivors. Richard's will also states that if there are minor children, then their portion of the bequest should be held in trust for their benefit until they reach the age of majority (age 21) & if any of them should die before they reach age 21, their portion would be divided among his surviving wife & children.

Richard leaves in his will his horse, saddle & bridle to Daniel Carter, providing Daniel is willing to pay the estate 28 pounds. If Daniel is not willing, then he instructs that the horse is to be auctioned off to the highest bidder & the monies gained to be divided equally among his wife & children. The will makes no mention of any land to be distributed so I don't know if Richard ever owned any (750 pounds may not have been alot in those days & how wealthy can a shoe maker be anyway?), but it does appear that he did have a few gentlemen who owed him money because his will stipulates the amounts & people in question with the instructions that his executors are to see to it that the money they owed him is repaid upon his death.

I don't know how educated Richard was because he only makes his mark at the bottom instead of signing his name. I don't know if Richard served in the Revolutionary War & if that led ultimately to his death, but his descendants would go on to serve their country in the War of 1812 & the Civil War & have families of their own in time. They moved from SC, to GA, AL, TN & finally TX.

Will of Richard Dennington
Next week, I will share another record I just discovered after years of searching about someone who was very dear to my heart.

Richard Dennington's will found on under South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977, Charleston Wills, 1774-1779, Vol. 017, pages 509 & 510, Img #111 & 112/424