0015. Francisca Gamboa (1850-1941)

Francisca Gamboa, also known as “Pancha” or “Panchita,” was the daughter of Enocencio Gamboa and Antonia Car. No christening record has ever been found for her, and the exact place of her birth is unknown. However, her death certificate gave her birth date as 15 February 1850. The year is probably inaccurate; other documents suggest a later date. (See note 1 below.) Her parents were living in Burgos in 1850, then had moved to Matamoros by the 1860s. Francisca could have been born in either of those places.

Francisca Gamboa

Francisca Gamboa

Her first known husband was Andres Gamboa, who was also probably her first cousin. Because they were both already in their early thirties when their first child was born, it seems likely that one or both of them were previously married. No marriage record for the couple has ever been found, and it is possible that they never legally married. (See note 2 below.) The marriage record of first daughter Santos seems to describe her as their natural (out of wedlock) daughter. Nonetheless, beginning around 1880, they had eight children together over the course of two decades.

The Francisca and Andres appear to have spent their married life in or near the town of Edinburg in Hidalgo County, Texas. The 1900 census describes them as immigrating to the U.S. in 1878, not too long before their first known child Santos was born about 1880. Her death certificate and the death certificate of brother Francisco both give the deceased’s birthplace as the La Coma Ranch, just north of Edinburg. It is not certain when they moved to town, but it was probably before 1923, when Francisca was the informant for her daughter Francisca’s death certificate in Edinburg. (See note 3 below.) By 1930 they were  definitely living in Edinburg near their daughter Santos; and both Francisca and Andres remained there until their deaths.

Because of the longs gaps between records for Francisca, there are substantial periods of her life that are unclear. Nothing specific is known about her before she was around 30, which leaves her birth and any potential early relationship a mystery. No census listing has been found for her in 1920, which leaves a 20 year gap in the timeline. (See note 4 below.) That period also coincides with the absence of Andres from her household. They lived together in 1900; Francisca was alone with the remaining children in 1910; then Andres was back in 1930, presumably until he died in 1933. How long they were apart, if they actually were separated, and why are all impossible to know, but Francisca may have spent a substantial period of time raising the children on her own.

After the death of her husband, Francisca seems to have been cared for by her granddaughter Demetria Alvear. Her 1940 census listing reports that she was in the household of the Alvear family, and that she had been living there in 1935. The next year, in 1941, she died at age 91, and Demetria was the informant on her death certificate. She was buried in the Brushwood Cemetery in Edinburg. Her grave remains unmarked.


Children of Andres Gamboa & Francisca Gamboa


In the the 1910 census, she reported having given birth to 9 children, with 8 still living. They were:

Santos Gamboa b. 01 April 1881, m. (1) 16 Nov 1898 to Paulino Serda in Hidalgo County, TX, m.(2) 1919 to Juan Garza in Hidalgo County, TX, d. 21 Jun 1973 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named in her death certificate, as well as being well known to family members of this researcher. She had five or six children with her first husband, Paulino Serda:

  • Agueda Serda (possible), b.c 1899, d.aft. 1910.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Santos Serda, b.c. 1913 in Hidalgo County, TX, m.bef. 1941 to Trinedad “Trine” Garcia, d. 2002 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX.
  • 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 three children with her second husband, Juan Garza:

  • Estella Garza, b.aft. 1919 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX, m. to Lionel Sanchez, d.aft. 1946.
  • Cipriana Garza, aka “Chann”, b. 30 May 1924 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX, d. 16 Feb 1934 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX.
  • Francisca Garza, aka “Panchita”, b. 27 Jun 1926 in Edinburg, d. 30 Mar 1930 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX.

Luis Gamboa b.c. 1887 in Texas, d. 22 Jan 1922 in Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named in his death certificate. Never married.

Barbara Gamboa, aka “Barbarita,” b.c. April 1886 or 29 Jun 1888 in Texas, m.bef. 1908 to Juan Arrevalo, d. October 1984 in Hidalgo County, TX. She had at least eight children:

  • Jose Luis Arrevalo, b. 25 Aug 1908, d. 05 Dec 1976 in Ferris, Ellis County, TX. Parents named in death certificate.
  • Domingo Arrevalo, b. 04 Aug 1910 in Delfina, Hidalgo County, TX, d. 10 Aug 1910 in Delfina, Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named in death certificate.
  • Estefana Arrevalo, b.c. 1913
  • Maria Arrevalo, b.c. 1915
  • Eduarda Arrevalo, b. 29 Oct 1916 in Delfina, Hidalgo County, TX, d. 18 Apr 1958 in Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named in death certificate.
  • Juan Arrevalo, b.c. 1923
  • Francisco Arrevalo, b.c. 1925
  • Jacinto Arrevalo, b. 19 Aug 1928 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX, d. 17 Jan 1967 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named in death certificate.

Francisco Gamboa, aka “Pancho”, b. 25 Mar 1890 at La Coma Ranch, Hidalgo County, TX, m.(1) bef. 1910 to a possible first wife, m.(2) 1910 to Demetria Patina in Hidalgo County, TX, m.(3) 1914 to Blasa Calvillo in Hidalgo County, TX, d. 13 Feb 1950 murdered at his dairy farm near Elsa, Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named in his death certificate, which also gives cause of death. His wives and children are not yet well known to me but he had at least one with Demetria Patina:

  • Demetria Gamboa, b.c. 1912 in Mission, Hidalgo County, TX, m.bef. 1930 to Ignacio Alvear, d.aft. 1941. She cared for her grandmother Francisca Gamboa diring the last years of her life and was the informant on her death certificate.

He had at least one child with his wife Blasa Calvillo:

  • Andres Gamboa, b.c. 1915 in Hidalgo County, TX, m. 1939 in Hidalgo County TX to Michaela Luna.

Estefana Gamboa b. 03 Apr or Aug 1893 in Texas, m. 1910 in Hidalgo County, TX to Arcadio Arrizola, d. 06 Jun 1986 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named in her Social Security application. She had twelve known children:

  • Luis Arrizola, b.c. 1913 in Hidalgo County, TX.
  • Leonicio Arrizola, b. 20 Jul 1914 in Hidalgo County, TX, m.bef. 1939 to to Eugenia/Virginia Lopez, d. 23 Mar 1988 in Lubbock, TX.
  • G. Arrizola, b.c. 1817
  • Francisca Arrizola, b.c. 1918 in Texas, m. to Leonardo Ybanez, m.bef 1939 to Alfredo Garcia. (Order of husbands uncertain.)
  • Maria Anna Arrizola, b.c. 1919
  • Margarita Arrizola, b.c. 1920
  • Estella Arrizola, b. 27 Aug 1922 in Hidalgo County, TX, d. 24 Aug 2000 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX.
  • Anita Arrizola, b.c. 1926 in Hidalgo County, TX, m. Tomas Ybanez, m. Enrique Rodriguez.
  • Frederico Arrizola, b. 23 Jul 1927 in Hidalgo County, TX.
  • Arcadio Arrizola, b. 4 Jun 1930 in Texas, d. 25 Jul 1960 in Hale County, TX. Parents named in death certificate.
  • Andres Arrizola, b. 1933 in Hidalgo County, TX, d. 10 Jul 1933 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named in death certificate.
  • Enrique Arrizola

Francisca Gamboa b.c. Sep 1898 in Texas, m. (possible) to Teodoro Medina, her possible first cousin, d. 04 Sep 1923 in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named in her death certificate. If she had children, they are unknown to me.

Antonia Gamboa b. 10 May 1899 in Hidalgo County, TX, m. unknown Cavazos, d. 27 Jan 1975 in Bishop, Nueces County, Texas. Father named in her death certificate. Her only known daughter, “Mrs. Mary Sanchez,” was the informant.

  • Mary, m. unknown Sanchez.

Ynocensio “Rosendo” Gamboa b. 04 Jul 1904, m.(1) (possible) 1923 to Ruperta Dios in Hidalgo County, TX, m. (2) (possible) 1951 to Felia Garza in Hidalgo County, TX, d. (possible) 6 Aug 1996 in Hidalgo County, TX. An Ynocencio Gamboa was baptized in Reynosa on 14 Sep 1906, with the only parent listed as Francisca Gamboa. Possibly he is this person. Francisca would have been in her 50s when he was born; so it is possible that he was actually the child of one of the Gamboa daughters. Andres & Francisca’s granddaughter, Eulalia Serda Ortiz, reported that they had a son named Rosendo, and he seems to be the same person as Ynocensio. Ynocensio had two know children with his wife Ruperta Dios:

  • Eva Gamboa, b.c 1923 in Hidalgo County, TX.
  • Maria Gamboa, b.c. 1925 in Hidalgo County, TX.

Rosendo had one know child with his wife Felia Garza:

  • Rosendo Javier Gamboa, b. 26 Aug 1952 in Hidalgo County, TX.

Documents mentioning Francisca Gamboa


1898Catholic marriage record of daughter Santos Gamboa in Rio Grande City, Starr County, Texas.

1900U.S. Census listing in husband’s household in Hidalgo County, Texas.

1910U.S. Census listing as head of her family in Hidalgo County, Texas.

1922Death certificate for son Luis Gamboa in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX.

1923Death certificate for daughter Francisca Gamboa in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named. Francisca, the mother, was the informant.

1930U.S. Census listing with husband only in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, Texas.

1940U.S. Census listing with granddaughter Demetria in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, Texas.

1941Her own death certificate in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, Texas. Parents named.

1942Social Security application of daughter Estefana Gamboa Arrizola in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named.

1950Death certificate for son Francisco Gamboa in Elsa, Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named.

1973Death certificate for daughter Santos Gamboa Garza in Edinburg, Hidalgo County, TX. Parents named.

1975Death certificate of daughter Antonia Gamboa Cavasos in Bishop, Nueces County, TX. Father named. Mother’s name crossed out and replaced with “unknown.”


Notes


1. There is nothing that makes the March 1950 birth date impossible, and all known facts of Francisca’s life would still work chronologically. However, there are several facts that make a later date seem very likely. The christening record of her brother Eugenio describes him as being born in mid-November of the same year, almost exactly nine months to the day after the birth date given in Francisca’s death certificate, which is certainly possible, but unlikely. Her 1900 census listing gives the same month and year, but all later listings give widely varying information, all suggesting a younger person. It would be extremely unusual for a woman in that era to marry for the first time at age 30, and it would be surprising to have a child (son Ynocencio) at age 54. If Francisca’s birth year were later, though, her birth would not be so close to her brother’s, she would have married at a younger, more typical age, and her last son would not have been born at a time when most women have stopped bearing children.

2. At that time, because of the long distances to the nearest church and the genuine, life-threatening danger of travel in the Rio Grande Valley, couples on isolated ranches were often joined in a traditional community ceremony rather than an official religious or civil one. They were married in the eyes of their families and neighbors, but couples frequently got married later at a courthouse or by a traveling priest when the opportunity eventually presented itself, often many years after they began their relationship and started having children. Nonetheless, these common law unions were accepted and respected as true marriages, official or not.

3. In the 1910s, there was a period of rampant violence against Mexican-Americans in the rural areas of Hidalgo County, particularly those who were well established. It was mainly at the hands of Texas Rangers, who were not official officers of the law at that time, but a racist vigilante militia, whose mission was to “protect” the Anglo newcomers in the county, as well as to push Hispanic people off their lands, which were coveted by wealthy Anglo ranchers. In 1915, Paulino Serda, husband of Santos Gamboa, was taken from his own home, along with his elderly father Donaciano Serda, and shot to death by a gang of Texas Rangers. Unable to manage on her own, Santos herded her cattle and drove them to her brother Francisco’s dairy, then moved to Edinburg to live. It is probably about that time that her parents, Andres & Francisca, moved to Edinburg themselves. Living on an isolated ranch, thier lives were also in danger.

4. Many people known to be living in Hidalgo County, Texas in 1920 cannot be found at all in the census taken in that year, even in a careful, page by page search. Entire sections of the town of Edinburg seem to be missing; so it wasn’t a case of people in isolated rural areas going unnoticed. Given the recent murders of hundreds of Mexican-Americans in the county, which were never investigated and for which no one was ever punished, it seems possible that there was also a systematic effort to under count the Hispanic population.

Published on January 19, 2013 at 4:08 am  Leave a Comment  

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