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.

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