0007. Santos Gamboa (1881-1973)

Santos Gamboa was the daughter of Andres Gamboa and his likely first cousin Francisca Gamboa. She was born on April 1, 1881 in Texas, on the La Coma Ranch just north of the town of Edinburg. Her future husband, Paulino Serda, worked on a neighboring ranch, and they were married by a traveling priest on November 16, 1898, when Santos was 17 years old.


Santos Gamboa. This very small photo is stapled to a county-issued identification card, which is barely legible. Her age is given as what looks like 48, which would place the date of the photo as approximately 1928.

Paulino and Santos were cattle ranchers and lived on their family ranch called Las Noritas, where their six known children were born. (The 1900 census reports that they owned their home, free and clear.) Santos had her own registered brand and her own herd of cattle, which was an early indication of her entrepreneurial nature.

In 1915, after 17 years of marriage, Santos was widowed when Paulino was murdered by Texas Rangers. Political upheaval in Mexico caused bandit troubles along the border, and the Rangers, which were then a racist vigilante militia, stepped in the keep the peace. Killing somewhat indiscriminately, they targeted all people of Mexican ancestry, whether an American citizen or not, but with a particular interest in property owners, whose lands were coveted by Anglo large-scale ranch owners. The Rangers who murdered Paulino and his 71 year old father, Donaciano, who happened to be visiting, were most likely stationed at the very-close-by La Coma Ranch, whose Anglo owner supported them enthusiastically.

With her husband dead, Santos was unable to take care of the ranch, and her aging were parents were probably still living at La Coma, the base for the murderous vigilantes; so it is likely that they all feared for their lives. It was soon after, according to family lore, that she drove her cattle to her brother’s dairy and moved to the town of Edinburg, probably joined by her mother and father for their own safety.

Four years later, in 1919, Santos married for the second time at the age of 38. Her husband, Juan Garza, was ten years younger. They lived in Edinburg and had three daughters together, in addition to the five living children from her first marriage. He worked at the county courthouse, and she ran a little store across the street from the Sam Houston School. My mother, her granddaughter, knew her at this time and remembers Santos as a tiny lady, towered over by her grandchildren. She was a sweet little granny, ready and willing to put on a blindfold at a grandchild’s birthday party and take a swing at the piñata.


Sam Houston School, Edinburg, Texas. Santos and her husband, Juan Garza lived across the street, on the corner on the right side of the photo.

Santos was widowed for the second time in 1958, when she was 77. She lived out the last fifteen years of her life in Edinburg, where she died on June 28, 1973, at the impressive age of 92.


Santos Gamboa Garza, Edinburg, Texas, probably in the 1950s or 1960s, when she was in her seventies or eighties.



Children of Santos Gamboa & Paulino Serda

Agueda Serda (possible), b.c 1899, d.aft. 1910. She is known only from her listing with her parents in the 1910 census.

Librado Serda, aka “Paulino,” b. 17 Aug 1904 in Hidalgo County, TX, m. 1923 to Maria Salazar in Hidalgo County, TX, d. 5 May 1981 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. They had one daughter, who is still believed to be living (2016), and possibly two other daughters who died in childhood.

Andrea Serda, b. 10 Dec 1908 in Hidalgo County, TX, m. 31 Oct 1926 to Guadalupe Valenzuela in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX, d. 3 Feb 1971 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. They had ten children: nine daughters, two of whom (Maria and Marta) died in infancy, and one son. All eight children who survived to adulthood are living at this time (2016).

Estefana Serda, b. 15 Aug 1909 in Hidalgo County, TX, m. 1926 to Amador Salazar in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX, d. 6 Jul 1947 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. They are believed to have had eleven children, several of whom are known to still be living (2016).

Santos Serda, b.c. 1913 in Hidalgo County, TX, m.bef. 1941 to Trinedad “Trine” Garcia, d. 2002 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. They had three sons and one daughter, all of whom are believed to be living at this time (2016).

Eulalia Serda, aka “Lala”, b. 5 May 1914 in Hidalgo County, TX, m. to Luis Ortiz, d. 27 Mar 2008 in McAllen, Hidalgo County, TX. She had one son before she was married. He is deceased. With her husband Luis she had seven children, five daughters and two sons. One son and one daughter died as children. Possibly two of her daughters are now living (2016).

Children of Santos Gamboa & Juan Garza

Estella Garza, b.aft. 1919 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX, m. to Lionel Sanchez, d.aft. 1946. They had three daughters and one son.

Cipriana Garza, aka “Chann”, b. 30 May 1924 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX, d. 16 Feb 1934 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. She died at the age of 9 when her dress caught on fire.

Francisca Garza, aka “Panchita”, b. 27 Jun 1926 in Edinburg, d. 30 Mar 1930 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. She died from burns at the age of four after an accident with a kerosine heater.

Documents mentioning Santos Gamboa

1898Her own mariage record to Paulino Serda in Rio Grande City, Starr County, Texas. Parents named.

1900 – U.S. Census listing in the home of her husband, Paulino Serda, in Hidalgo County, Texas

1910 – U.S. Census listing in the home of her husband, Paulino Serda, in Hidalgo County, Texas

1920 – U.S. Census listing in the home of her husband, Juan Garza, in Hidalgo County, Texas

1930 – U.S. Census listing in the home of her husband, Juan Garza, in Hidalgo County, Texas

1973Her own death certificate in Hidalgo County, Texas. Parents named.

Published on March 15, 2016 at 6:25 pm  Comments Off on 0007. Santos Gamboa (1881-1973)  
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