Sunday, 16 September 2018

Continuing from the previous post….


The last two paragraphs of our previous posting:

   To make a long story as short as possible, the Galan Grant reverted back to the Galan family, and they extended their efforts there, which was a real chore.  Four brothers from Lampazos had to travel 60 to 100 miles just to arrive at this tract of land that really was huge and somewhat useless without heavy financing and constant investment of attention.   The wool business was the best alternative, and there were already relatives who had flocks on the south side of the Rio Grande in the same area.

    Now, remember, we are not speaking of 30 or 40 ewes penned up in an arroyo channel with a small pond of water.   We have reference to various assemblies of flocks of 30,000 to  100,000 sheep in different meadows and constructs, designed to provide "pacas" (bales of approximately 250 pounds) to English ships for delivery to the "spools of Liverpool".  Special milk, meat, hide, and wool goats were also shepherded and prized.

     (As a refresher, allow us to restate that, among the Spanish surnames, most that are names that represent an animal or geographic or geological item tend to have Sephardic, Hebraic roots.  In the case of names that end in an "n", or an "s" or a "z", and have two syllables or at times more, with an accent on the last syllablethose are almost entirely of Hebraic roots.   It is the nature of Spainwhose ethnic make-up is Hebraic, Arabic, Celtic, Visigothic and Gothic (Teutonic), and Latin (Italian / Roman) bloodlines.   Many, many Jews came into the Iberian Peninsula, accompanying the Saracen - Mohammedan Invasion.  The Mohammedans trusted the Jews as quartermasters and accountants over their own people, and employed them in such pursuits.  The last vestiges of the official Islamic presence on said peninsula was shoved into the Mediterranean Sea in 1492, after 700 years of occupation Spain and much of southernmost Europe.) 

 We now move into the last stages of this aspect of the lore of the family.   In order to rein and tongue the horses to the wagon though, please allow us a bit of backgrounding.     The Galan family of Lampazos, 100 miles to the South, managed to intermittently utilise the massive acreage.  There were border disputes between Texas and Mexico, a war between Mexico and the United States, and border depredations by bandits on both sides, along with a Civil War or War Between the States.  The Galans managed to work through and around such distractions.

    As normally things do progress, younger men grow up and become older men until finally they become old men and then men who used to be.   From the period of Texas as a Republic until after the War Between the States, four Galán brothers and a blood Uncle, a fellow  Galán, all flocked their sheep and goats on that downriver part of the Rio Grande / Rio Bravo.   The Uncle had a baby who was baptised at the parish church of Revilla, part of a community that 100 years later would be flooded by the waters of Falcon Reservoir in 1953.  Only rarely now, can visitors to the old Chapel see the bronze marker commemorating the first child baptised in that church, a Galan baby, back in the 1780s.   I had the pleasure of "discovering" that plaque and bringing it to the attention of the caretakerwho, oddly enoughhad never seen it during almost forty years of taking care of the essentially abandoned, colonial era building.

     All these Galan men were related by blood, and they were known on both sides of the Rio Bravo / Grande and respected, apparently by Anglo and Latin alike.   By the time Reconstruction had run it course in Texas, 1865 - 1875, the Galan Brothers were dispersed into other activities, involving themselves only infrequently with the extension of land on the north side of the Rio Grande.  The Uncle who had originally flocked sheep around Revilla and Mier, downriver from the Laredos, had gone on to his Reward, and the Galans were re-orienting their business and dealings.

     The matter of the disposition of the land has been a thorn in the side of literally thousands of people in South Texasa number that mushroomed to that point, chiefly because babies and old people stopped dying so much, and numbers, obviously increased.   What was, in the 1850s, a matter of three or four score potential heirs and interested parties has grown into a universe of the qualified by blood heirs that numbers in the thousands.  To wit:

By:  Marty Toohey

Staff Writer - Austin American Statesman
10:00 a.m. / 06 September 2015

    "Garza, a McDonald’s corporate trainer who lives in Dallas, said she is an eighth-generation descendant of Joaquin Galán. She said the family, after research into what its ancestors had insisted was its rightful claim, began compiling evidence in the 1940s, but ran out of money.

    "The family’s lawsuit, filed in July in Travis County District Court, says the state commission formed in 1850 to sort through land-grant claims recognized the family’s ownership of Palafox. After the necessary research and surveying, Gov. Edmund J. Davis endorsed the family’s ownership in 1870.
    "But for some reason, the state cancelled that endorsement four years later and took possession of the land. Garza said the state later passed pieces of the Palafox land to other owners, some of whom still live there. The state kept the 40,000 acres at the center of the family’s case, she said.The office of General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush, the lead defendant in the lawsuit, declined to comment per its policy for ongoing litigation, spokesman Jim Sudyam said.
Garza said the family is only interested in the mineral rights under the state-controlled land, not the property itself. She said dealing with the surface land could draw in other people who received pieces of the Palafox land over the years"


     As a brief side issue, as it is revealed in the above text, there is a statement that Governor Edmund Davis endorsed the family's ownership in 1870.  One can look up the author of the article from which the above excerpt is extracted and inquire as to why he (1) assumed that the Governor of Texas would "endorse" the family's ownership, and (2) why he did not look up the fact that the Governor of Texas would be powerless in this issue of the Courts, even if the Governor endorsed the matter 1,000 times, and (3) Governor Edmund Davis was a Reconstruction Governor who was hated by the populace by at least a 9 to 1 ratio.   He had been a high-handed, even brutal martial law governor who literally had to be dragged out of the Governor's Mansion by physical force when Reconstruction was finally discontinued in Texas (the last State of the Confederacy to be 'set free').
     We feel remorse for those people who have involved themselves and paid monthly dues, essentially, to peopleattorneysothers who have been trying to resuscitate this case.   Lamentably, this case would have to start at the top of the food chain, in an unofficial wayinformally, but engaging the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (the supreme court, so to speak, for criminal law adjudications).   Judges and clerks would speak very carefully and declare that this matter has been settled law for over 150 years.
     Your humble servant…no attorney he…would declare that there is an apple hanging from the tree that has not fallen in the past 160 years, neither far from nor close by.  It is a fact that the agent of sale of that property did not have full and complete control over the property and the purchaser of the property, a member of a legal firm from New York, knew that fact and yet proceeded with the transaction, hoping and almost knowing the other parties would probably never know about the matter until far too late.   Those parties were the three Galan brothers who did not know what the Oveja Negra of the foursome was up to while counting saloons and excitement in Laredo, Texas.  Three older brothers were gentlemen and industrious types, highly respected.   And their brother was a known rowdy, undisciplined, self-centre'd individual.
     The attorney took advantage of that opening and rode the train back to New York City to flaunt his success, I am sure.   The attorney committed a breach of law by not doing the due diligence to assure all parties that original ownership had been reasonably established.   By the time the youngest Galan boy had spent something like 12,000 American dollars on his fling, the ink was dry, and days, weeks, and months would pass before the three other brothers would learn of this treachery.    Things became worse for the errant Galan, an I must confess some pleasure in that fact.

     For those who might like to review this case, one need only type into the search engine, Google if need be, something like "Galan Spanish Grant - Webb County, Texas".  The searcher will be immediately rewarded with about 10 or 12 choices.   Some are pitiable, self-torture stories about "little people" being trampled, others are more studied, even if strident, because, after all, these people of the present lost their economic heritage in many ways.  Most of them are professional people, proprietors, high-skill blue-collarabsolutely one of the finest slices of the American and Texian Pie that exists.   Their resentment is justified so long as it does not cause ulcers.

    I finish this now, because otherwise it would become something like a Doctor Zhivago interminable commentaryending in a pointless point.   Suffice to say that a girl by the name Librada Galan would marry a boy by the name of Rufino Rios…and they would forward the population, but in an area much closer to the Escandon people's settlements and cities.   The coming together of people of similar backgrounds but different geographic characteristics and life challenges.

     That girl became the grandmother of my mother-in-law…and the great-great grandmother of my daughter and son.  They lived in Penitas, Texas…forming part of the population of Hidalgo County that would always draw the comment from the Anglos that, "Those people out in Penitas and San Isidrothey are really strange birds.   They're really honest, hard-working people."  And it was truealthough there were many of those rural communities where such work ethic and moral self-control were normsSanta Maria, Granjeno, Salinen~o, they were the ones who stayed in when the American Army passed them by on the way to the Battle of Monterrey in 1846.  They were primordial Americans and Texians.

More sometime soon…this has been a bit exhausting…but pleasant. Thank you for your kind attention.

El Gringo Viejo

Saturday, 15 September 2018

The Past, the Present, and the Future - Immigrant, Migrant, Citizen, Colonial…What do these things mean?

    During these times we have arrived at a point where folks have been misled and ill informed to the point where it is difficult, at times, to carry on a coherent verbal exchange with over half the population.  One example is the leftist proclivity to refer to an illegal alien as a "migrant".   The fact is, an illegal alien is an illegal alien.   He/she is not a "migrant".
     A legal alien, who has sought permission to enter the United States of America and obtained such permission, can be called a tourist, business investor, student, or even resident if he / she can demonstrate self-sufficiency, and above all else, is a legal alien.
    It is not my fault that someone might have decided to cross the international boundary illegally, with childrenwho may or might not be related to the adult who is conducting them into the illegal alien morass.  Further, I have had more personal contact with "illegal aliens" than almost anyone who happens to be standing there at the bar at the Sunset Bar and Grill.   I am a son, grandson, and great-grandson of farmers in southernmost Texas.   We never had a problem them any of them.  Loyal, clean, honest, quick to learn, kind, literate, are words that come to mind during my time of contact with literally hundreds of "illegals".    But that was in the mid-1950s and before.  Like the Confederacy, that day is gone.

     One of the things that infuriates me is for some person who ignorantly, and almost gleefully, informs the listener that "We are all immigrants".  Such is not the case.  Neither my wife not your humble servant is an immigrant.  We are not descended from immigrants on this American and Texian soil, nor are we anti-immigrant.   We celebrate people who come to our shores, legally, and with pure intent and purpose.    Tourists, students, business operators, and folks seeking their path to naturalisation and American citizenship.

     My wife's people came into Spanish territory in the 1580s, only sixty years after the arrival of Cortez at the Halls of Montezuma, Tenochtitlan.  They established farming, ranching, mining, and other commerce where once there had been nothing.  Great cities and industries were finally established in the area of what was known as Coahuila, an area encompassing much, including the centre and eastern parts of what would become Texas.  That was her mother's side.   And all her people were subjects of the Crown.
    The father's side was a little later to the game, but they did arrive, also during the Colonial Epoch of Spain in Mexico during the 1750s, settling a similar group of people, all Spaniards.   Some of these arrivals had already been in Mexico, settling around Queretaro, to the northwest of Mexico City, for two to four generations.  These people were all competent players, and were looking for land to call their own.   There were some Portugese, but most all were either Spanish and Azorean background, and all were subjects of the Crown.
     Neither side was immigrant, migrant, or anything beyond a colonial, subject of the Crown.

     In my case, the surname and peoples who would compose "the lineage" were very similar to those above, except English…very English.   My father's people came from Northumbria, near York, but more especially from the area near and about Nottingham, and then over to the east, in Anglia, at the precincts of Bury St. Mary - Kelsale, pictured below.
     The church pictured to the left here is the Parish chapel for Bury St. Mary - Kelsale (Anglican).  Only the good Lord and Father Mckenzie know how many Newtons are buried there.  But from these non-London precincts came the people who would pour into the North American continent.
    In 1642, a ship off-loaded various people with my surname at Boston Harbour.  Among them were people who could be found guilty of founding the city of Newton, Massachusetts and who continued their spread to the north (to Maine) and west, along the Hudson River from the Catskills up to Duchess County in New York (how appropriate), and then into northeastern Pennsylvania.
     Then in 1660, a group of lower level aristocrats from Saxony and Prussia, along with some English (of some sort) relatives with the surname of Bonesteel settled on that same River Hudson in New Amsterdam (or New York as it was becoming).  
    Finally, another batch of English, the Christians, who were from northwestern England and also the Isle of Man (Manxmen), went to the "New World" and established their businesses to which they were accustomed, jewellery, brewing, and distilling, grains and milling. The last one from that family came over in the 1800 - 1801 period, to join the family in those businesses.   And therein we find the base of the paternal side of the family.  They generally folded into the Manhattan scene, and then dispersed, especially to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
     Thus was composed the stew that made the writer's "pure, non-immigrant paternal side".   In their great, great majority they were colonials.  Even the Germans travelled with a passport from the British Crown.

  The last addition as a cornerstone family starter to the mass of humanity in America came in the 1740s, a George Frederick Limbaugh…another Saxon - Prussian, travelling as British subject arrived in the "colonies" and joined similar people in eastern Pennsylvania.    He served under Washington during the Revolution, fighting against the Brits and the Hessians, interestingly enough, and then his family turned their faces South and homesteaded in North Carolina.
     In the meantime, Neals came into Virginia in the 1660s and after a generation moved on to the higher elevations of North Carolina.  In fairly short order the entire Clan of Neals went over the mountain (The Smokies), and homesteaded around a place that would grow to be Winchester, Tennessee.
     Both sides of the family were very much pre-Revolutionary, and all were pro-Continental.  Consider, for instance, that Winchester is the county seat of Franklin County…named for the famous kite-flyer.   Other like families, all English save for the Limbaugh family, had birthed and buried many generations in Franklin County.  Neals, Donaldson, Chisums, Grants, composed the maternal side of this non-immigrant citizen.

    These four legs of one couple, a couple that is not immigrant does not make us any better than anyone…or worse.  But we both resent the notion that someone can actually believe that he / she has the right to come into this nation without first asking and receiving permission.  We further take exception to the idea that anyone who does come in and demands free accommodation and services is entitled to such things has a right to such.


     We now move on to the real meat on the bone.  The peculiar and ever-so-interesting background of my wife's people who helped colonise one of the wildest parts of the North American Continent is the actual reason for this submission.
The Count of the Sierra
 Gorda and later Governor
 of the Province of Nuevo
     There is a bit of confusion among people who have ancestry that dates into the colonial period of Spain's populating and governing what is now Mexico for 300 years.   Most of those people who wound up being absorbed into the Texas and United States, after the Mexican - American War, frequently thought they were derived from the nearby Mexican State of Tamaulipas (a Chichimec - Nahuatl term meaning 'great extension of grasslands) and from the colonial peoples who settled there in the mid-1700s.   And that is that. 

    It is well, good,  and advisable then, to point out that there  might some value in exploring a little more deeply into their winding up on this part of the globe. It was known, for instance, that one of the forbearers of my wife's family was a well-placed fellow by the name of Joaquin Galán.   This fellow was ordered by the Spanish Royal Court to travel to the new Province of Nuevo Santander and render aid to the Governor of said province.  He had a charge from His Majesty to "inhabit and socialise" the community of Santander (actually the capital of the Province, situated in the very centre of said entity) and assist Don Jose de Escandon in the administration of necessary duties.

     Santander was the capital where Jose de Escandon was the original overall founder and first governor of a region that had been scrupulously avoided for 250 years as a place for colonisation.      The Crown had honoured Escandon with an array of titles; Governor of the Yucatan, Count of the Sierra Gorda (Queretaro), Count of Nuevo Santander (which became Tamaulipas and southernmost Texas) but not Conquistador or Viceroy.
   The Province of Nuevo Santander included almost all of the present State of Tamaulipas (northeastern Mexico), and about one-fourth of what is now Texas.  Escandon was a meticulous administrator and before ten years had passed, he had established and caused to thrive seventeen distinct and functioning cities.

   Finally, some years back, due to a contention about who was and who was not entitled to what began to take place.   It was an issue not easily untangled for the reader, but it was a minor and significant fuzziness in the Garza - Garza family's combined history and genealogy.

     The problem is this.  None of the above pertains directly to my wife's mother's side of the Garza - Garza union.   It pertains to Colonial Spain to be sure, and Jose de Escandon was one of the very finest colonial regional governors of the entire Colonial period.   But, his  colonists were drawn out of Portugal, southernmost Spain, and the Azore Island.  There were also
 a few hundred families that had been in New Spain (Mexico) for a generation or two, and wanted to live with their own land and away from the central part of "New Spain".  The core of my wife's father's people came from that background.

     Commonality between my mother-in-law's and my father-in-law's lines is that both lines were / are white folks of yeomen's and lesser aristocratic ancestry, just like El Gringo Viejo's English lineage.   Both of these Iberian Peninsula sides had considerable Sephardic (Hebrew) blood, along with Arabo-Pheonician, Gothic (Germanic), Celtic, and Italian ancestry, like most Spaniards.  My wife's mother's lineage is the one that has the greater amount of Sephardic (Spanish Hebraic) ancestry. 

     That particular side came into what is now Mexico, but it was a different place in the 1580s.  They were settled into what had to have appeared to them, upon arriving, as something akin to a Moonscape.  Stoney, mountains as dry as bleached buffalo bones, and entirely dependent on mining and a very few springs and barely running creeks for limited and risky farming.   Grazing significant herds of cattle was a laughable alternative for them in almost all cases.  For that reason, they began to incorporate the grazing of sheep and goats (especially sheep) into their economic fabric.
Conquistador Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva
begins the Royal colonisation of the Coahuilteca,
an area that would also include what would be
involved in the extension of the Spanish 
into a place to be known as Texas

     They were settled into this place with only one recourse to support themselves;  work all the time or starve.  The Conquistador Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva chose these new colonists carefully.   These folks, who came over in three waves during the last quarter of the 1500s (the 16th Century), established very significant communities in what became Coahuila…later,  Coahuila y Texas.  This province finally extended from Cerralvo in what is now in Nuevo Leon State, and into what is now central and eastern parts of Texas, and to the west, to the famous community of Parras de la Fuente (Grapevines of the Springs), Coahuila, the site of the first winery in northern Mexico…four hundred years ago.  Parras also became among the largest Levi's factories in the Levi Strauss industry.   The central core of the area includes to-day the large and famous cities of Saltillo, Monclova, Cuatro Cienegas (four swamps), Cerralvo, and Lampazos (Elephant ears), among others.

     It should be pointed out that the formal plan of this endeavour was to carve out a northern centre to co-ordinate the insertion of population and to blunt the waves of very competent, totally brave, Indian warriors.   Secondarily, it would serve to keep an observant eye on English and French designs on the sparsely populated territory.  The formal name was Nuevo Renato de Leon (the New Kingdom of the Leon), which many years later would be reduced to the present day State name of Nuevo Leon, wherein is found the metroplex of Monterrey, Mexico's industrial powerhouse, and the capital since Independence (1821).
     Oddly enough, although Carvajal y de la Cueva founded the entire province by Royal authority…a province about half the size of Texas to-day…the southernmost part of that province received the least of his attention.   After the death of Carvajal y de la Cueva in 1591 at age 54, another adventurer came to the fore and went to review the status of the province of the "Coahuilteca". 
     This new adventurer was equally competent, somewhat less imaginative, equally Sephardic in much of his bloodline, and committed to establishing more permanent structure to the frontier outpost.   Along with white people of his own stripe, he also brought several hundred Tlaxclalan Indians, people from the highlands just east of Mexico City.
     These Indians, along with the Otomi' allied with the Spanish Army of Hernan Cortez (another Sephardic type) and overthrew the hated Aztecs who had oppressed those two quite noble nations of civilised Indians.  Those two tribes viewed Cortez and his forces as liberators, after first contesting with his army, and Cortez was wise enough to offer them an alliance.

     In any regard, two efforts to establish a "metropolitan" area at the southern end of the province of the Nuevo Renato de Leon failed…one by an officer name Otono, and the other by our friend Carvajal y de la Cueva, who died not long after that effort.   The first one was named Santa Lucia, built around springs with abundant clear water, but too close to the bi-polar Rio Santa Catarina…which was usually nearly dry, but after hurricanes bashed themselves by draining the adjacent Sierra Madre Mountains.   The Rio would destroy everyone within a mile's breadth in three minutes with water running at 50 miles per hour.
     The second effort, by Carvajal y de la Cueva, had the name of San Luis, King of France.   It also failed due to this above mentioned flooding.  Diego de Montemayor, therefore, is credited for finally succeeding and establishing the town with people that Carvajal y de la Cueva had brought in and settled to the north and west, almost all racially white, and significantly Jewish by their chromosomes.
A Mural in the State Palace of Government
 of the State of Tlaxcala, depicting the
 surrender of the Tlaxcalan forces to
 Hernan Cortez.

  Between the two leaders is the incredible
 Malinche, the Sacajawea of that period.

  She learned fluent Spanish in three weeks.

   As a true Mayan Princess from the

 Guatemalan / Yucatan area.    
She intervened without 
prejudice in almost all original encounters
 of Cortez with the Indigenous of 

Central Mexico.

   The Tlaxcalans won this  encounter either way.
  if they won, they won.  If they lost, they would

 ally with the Spaniards and go with him to

 destroy the hated Aztecs. Without the Otomi'

 and the Tlaxcala, Cortez would have been

 destroyed by the Aztecs.

  (Truth in History)
     Race relations were not all that bad after the Tlaxcalans established themselves somewhat near to the southwest edge of the city.   They had requested and received significant good farming lands to the south, and in front of the Sierra Madres where the alluvium was extremely rich and excellent for corn, vegetables, and goat / sheep / cattle raising.
   The Spaniards also had an understanding that the Tlaxcalans would defend Monterrey against the Huajuco Indians who populated the Valley of Huajuco to the south of Monterrey, living high in the second ridges of the Sierra Madre.  The Huajuco were known as "white Indians" to some because of the lighter colour, and at times green eyes.  But, they also tended to be bellicose, as were their cousin tribesmen, the Hualahuises further  to the South.    As was their custom, the Tlaxcalans were true to their word, and spread their culture there and even up to New Mexico in terms of fine crafts and handwork.

   Much of what folks think, accurately, is Navajo, Zuni, Pueblo, etc. must also recognise that much also was shown to them by the Tlaxcala People who escorted considerable portions of the Spanish settlement and religious penetration into the indigenous lands that became known as Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

     At this point the Familia Galan of this group, who had come into the barrens of  'La Coahuila', and founded their towns and made their way by employing trades, pushing sheep and goats, mining, and a very small bit of farming.   This life style went on for two centuries…the XVIIth and the XVIIIth.
    They begat and begat (relatively small families), and they slowly prospered. Without being coy or negative  in any way, I have reviewed various of the registries and it is clear that they selected their mates by Roman Catholic rite, formula, procedure, and proper order.  They also chose from a close area and rank of people who were almost all derived from the Carvajal y de la Cueva entry.  
   Their Jewishness was a source of good (and not so good) humour, high intelligence, high skill, and a keen sense of the value of money and instruments of wealth and production of wealth.   They had long thought of themselves as Europeans and Spaniards, even knowing that they were a "mongrel" race.   But, by now, they were beginning to think (and realise) themselves as Spanish land owners and established agrarians…as "landed people"…and they were right by the sweat and blood of their efforts.
     But,  the Spanish hold on the land began to weaken due to the incessant depredations by the Kickapoo, Kiowa, and especially the Comanche and Apache and a few smaller Indian Nations. By this time, the settlers in what would become the Texas territory numbered around 2,000.   Another 25,000 populated the area (once again, about half the size of Texas) in the "settled" zones of 'La Coahuilteca'.

     To close this passage, the Garza family which pertains to my grandchildren and children, from the side of my mother-in-law predate the foundation of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico and Texas as we know it. Many understandings concerning the complexities of Spanish / Mexican / Texian population establishments and movements held by to-day's politicians, commentators, and even educators are erroneous…even if innocently.
     Those original colonists who came into 'La Coahuilteca', as well as those later arrivals who came in with Jose de Escandon to 'La Tamaulipeca', were people whose souls and fortitude were made of iron, copper, silver, and gold…in their vast majority.  They had almost no imagination to dedicate to useless speculation …but they had, almost to a man / woman,  a lightning quick mind and a commitment to commitment…compliance…a steady catechism and sense of responsibility…protection of assets…patriotism to one's flag…all very common qualities generally shared by both of these sides.


        After pushing sheep and goats around for a century and a half, the Galan family, the one associated with the Saltillo, Monclova, Lampazos grouping  petitioned for property from the Crown, offering a commitment to ranching and to generally develop whatever grant they could wrangle out of the authorities.
   After several years, in the early 1800s, very late in  the Spanish Colonial period, the Galan family was awarded a staggering 400,000 acres, all entirely on the northern side of the Rio Grande, located on and fronting on  the aforementioned watercourse.  The entire southern portion of the grant was fronted upon the Rio Grande del Norte, just downstream from what is now Laredo, Texas / Nvo. Laredo, Tamaulipas.
     This property was almost a joke, in the sense that in Spain (in full disarray) the Crown thought nothing about giving away a huge stretch of land that had no value beyond the natural gypsum and gravel it had in the near sub-surface.    The Galan people, being en situs,  thought it would be an excellent place to extend the grazing of goats and sheep.  To wit:
     "About 100 settled in the Balconcitos and Palafox area which was also a part of the Galan Grant. Joaquin Galan fell ill and in December 1804 he granted power of attorney to his son Juan Galan. In April 1805 Juan turned the property over to Manuel Garza.  Garza resided on the property until April 1810, when Manuel Antonio y Bustamante in accordance with the wishes of the Spanish King, condemned a large tract of land that included Garza's property."

     The Spanish government then ordered the establishment of a new town on the margin of the Rio Grande. It was named Palafox, in honor of a Spanish general Fransisco de Palafox Melci, who won distinction opposing Napoleon's forces in Spain. Juan Jose Diaz was to administer justice and distribute land to settlers, mostly families from the older settlements of Saltillo, Monclova, Cuatro Cienegas, and Lampazos, Coahuila, though no money was available to fund the construction of public buildings. The settlers themselves built a church in the center of town. The townspeople prospered by raising livestock, especially sheep and goats, and the town grew to almost 240 inhabitants in 1815 to 277 by the end of 1816."
    The townspeople, however, soon faced the possibility of depredations by Indians, usually Comanches, but Kiowas, Kickapoo, and various types of Apaches also.   Though the Palafox documents give no indication of fear or panic, they do reveal an awareness of the need to be well armed. In April 1823 Capt. José Manuel García lamented "the attacks of the indians were brutal and the indians burned the entire village in 1808."  Remember that this period was closely associated with the War for Independence, the establishment of a Mexican Emperor, Agustin de Iturbide, his expulsion, execution, finally the establishment of the Republic in 1824. 
    Some families had returned by 1824 (the beginning of the Mexican Republican period), and in 1826 sixty soldiers were ordered to Palafox to build barracks, but the town was finally destroyed in 1829, with the massacre of most of its inhabitants. Attempts were made to restore it under the name of Houston in the 1840s, but by 1850 the name Palafox was again in use."


     To make a long story as short as possible, the Galan Grant reverted back to the Galan family, and they extended their efforts there, which was a real chore.  Four brothers from Lampazos had to travel 60 to 100 miles just to arrive at this tract of land that really was huge and somewhat useless without heavy financing and constant investment of attention.   The wool business was the best alternative, and there were already relatives who had flocks on the south side of the Rio Grande in the same area.

    Now, remember, we are not speaking of 30 or 40 ewes penned up in an arroyo channel with a small pond of water.   We have reference to various assemblies of flocks of 30,000 to  100,000 sheep in different meadows and constructs, designed to provide "pacas" (bales of approximately 250 pounds) to English ships for delivery to the "spools of Liverpool".  Special milk, meat, hide, and wool goats were also shepherded and prized.


        We are going to retire from the field of battle for a moment and prepare for the next chapter in this recounting of the times that brought my wife's family into a form of prominence in South Texas.   The explanation is at once extremely complicated and very simple.  Within the next 36 hours, barring electrical problems or floods, we shall roll out that part of the story.

El Gringo Viejo

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Various Ramblings and Observations…Analysis of matters on the Frontier…and beyond


     We have been having Upsandown's Syndrome for the past couple of days, after having returned late last Tuesday from our little hideaway down in Nowhere, Mexico.   After several attempts to make a statement or provide information that the OROG community would appreciate or have some interest in, to-dayfinally I have girded my loins and begun my journey.
   There will be information published here, to-day!

Let the journey begin!

   The couple of weeks we were down the daylight hours, especially and obviously the afternoon hours, were very hot.  No records, but steady 98 - 100 degrees every day.   Even with the rain during the very early morning hours on the second night…some 2.34 inches…there was little respite from the heat after the "dawn's early light" arrived.

    En lieu of whining too much, it was decided to siesta during the day in the deepest shade possible and then stay up during the dark hours, because the temperature falls rapidly in our environment during the overnight hours at hour location.  Before midnight, for instance, our temperature was normally falling below 80 degrees, on its way down to the middle and upper 60s. This level of temperature, as the advertisements say, "For Free!!" for man or beast.

     Speaking of beasts, we have lost all of our old girl cats…the two sisters and the calico…all of whom were over 16 years of age.  All died within four months of each other.   Our remaining cat is the little pure white male cat who seems incapable of "growing up".  He persists in wanting to play and in tormenting our "home dog" Prieto (dark one), although it must be said that Prieto does seem to be able to tolerate, even enjoy, the now full-sized white cat's company.  His name balances the name of the dog.  The cat's name is the somewhat unimaginative name, "Blanco" (Whitey).

     The brother / sister act of the dogs of the Hacienda de La Vega, including Guera (Blondie) the girl dog and her beat-up, tired twin brother Terco (Low Energy - Intellectually Challenged) frequently come over to take advantage of doggy treats and the generally pleasant, shady grounds, free food, fresh water, doggy treats, and sleeping on the cool tiles of the "famous west-facing corridor" that makes up the front access of the Quinta.

     Prieto does not like them very much, because they are Rhodesian Lion Hounds and smell like dogs, while Prieto is a human, knows tricks, and is the "house dog"…smelling like El Gringo Viejo, which is bad enough…but still better than smelling like a Rhodesian.


          Concerning the composition of the Mexican Congress and the accession of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to the throne of the Presidency of Mexico, everything is proceeding relatively smoothly.   The philosophical underpinning of the MORENO (Movemiento Regeneration Nacional) seems to being settling around a "kinder and gentler, liberal - not socialist, come let us reason together"mode.   The problem is that the consist of the power figures in the make-up of the management is drawn from hard-line conservatives to ardent socialists.   It is substantially abnormal.
       In my opinion the infighting will begin early and often once the new presidente is sworn in.  The hard left is dedicated to re-nationalising heavy industry and the re-establishment of a single labour union, nationwide, that is affiliated directly with both the party and the government by law, like back in the bad old days of the first 50 years of rule by the PRI party.

     A bit less than a week ago the outgoing Presidente de la Republica,  Enrique Pena Nieto, had a sit-down with a ranking member of the press and had a frank and lengthy interview.   His points, to be brief, were three main observations:
     (1)   The old Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) while governed Mexico for nearly a century needed to dissolve itself and have it various members go to the remaining parties and join their ranks, depending upon one's own political or moral compass.
     His observation is that the PRI has "lost the value of its brand" and is now the fifth ranking party in both the Lower Chamber and Senate of the Mexican Congress.
     (2)   The organised criminal elements in Mexico have been substantially degraded.   The major cartel personalities and leaders are dispersed, dead, or in prison.   The central government, by use of massive national military intervention managed to do this.
    However, he opined that with that disorganisation, lower ranking members of the old cartels, who did not and/or do not have the understanding of how to operate a complex enterprise like a cartel broke into much smaller pandillas (gangs) and have become a plaque in the localities.  They fight each other continuously and cause local instability, according to Mr. Pena - Nieto.
     He then declared, and I think with validity on his side, that the local authorities and their constabularies have done a poor to mediocre at best job of doing the actual work of policing their jurisdictions.   He essentially suggested that the local politicians wait, hiding behind the skirts of the Army and Naval Infantry if there is a case of shoplifting at the local Walmart.   He declared that the job of local law enforcement is and should be a local responsibility.   The Military should be for National Integral Defence…but during the last four years, especially, it has become ubiquitous, inserted, involved, and exhausted from their work schedule.
     Pena - Nieto declared that, as Commander-in-Chief, his hands were tied.  He had to commit to insertion, especially when petitioned by the Governors of the various 31 States to commit the Military to control the Cartels and "disorderly personalities and gangs".

     (3)     He also did not apologise for "allowing" Trump to come to Mexico for a possible debate with Hillary Rodham Clinton.  He recognised that Trump was a difficult personality to deal with but that, all in all, he advanced Mexico's interest in the long run, and Mexico also advanced the American interests by working and compromising with American positions.   Win - win.  

     The sit-down lasted for two and one half hours, and I followed it with at least passive interest for 90% of the time.  My personal impression after watching the event was that Pena - Nieto would have served himself well had he had a monthly sit-down, one-on-one with some known press member and had that kind of talk.  But that was  yesterday, and yesterday is gone


     We intend to write more later, but for right now, there are two other writing projects that I have been trying to finish.  Once that is accomplished, those Beacons of Enlightenment will be posted here for the OROG community.
Thanks for your kind attention.  Questions and observations will be responded to.
El Gringo Viejo