Jose A. Salinas   & Maria Emilia Guerra

      Jose Angel Salinas: Born on May 2, 1853. 
     Place:  Cerralvo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
     Parents:  Jose Salvador Salinas and Margarita Barrera. 
     Siblings: Four sisters, Margarita, Maria Augustina, Maria Francisca and            Narcisa; and two brothers, Jose Eduardo and Jose Guadalupe. 
     Married: Roma, Texas on February 12, 1876.
     Children: (five boys and four girls) Salvador, Francisco, Zaragosa, Jose            Eduardo, Manuelita, Margarita, Ramoncita, and Paulita.
     Died:  April 16, 1928 in Starr County

        Jose A. Salinas, my great grandfather, was  a schoolteacher  by occupation. When an opportunity arose he went to Las Escobas Ranch to teach families and ranch hands how to read and write in Spanish. He was hired by Don Felipe Guerra the ranch founder and well established rancher, my great, great grandfather.  Don Jose had not intended to stay long, but upon falling in love with my great grandmother, Maria Emilia Guerra (la hija del patrón), he made Las Escobas Ranch his home. 
 
     My great great grandmother, Mamá Emilia inherited  18, 000+ acres and the main ranch headquarters from her father Felipe Guerra Hinojosa. Jose Angel and Maria Emilia lived and raised their family at the ranch headquarters house. They were very well off financially. According to the 1900 census, they had four servants: Rita Torres, 19 years old, Jesus Candelario, 80 years old, Juan Cantu, 23 years old and Ponciano Galindo, 21 years old. Don Jose learned ranching and many other valuable skills from his father-in-law (Don Felipe). He began to implement improvements in the watering system for the cattle. He began by building a trough 40 feet long between two shallow wells 50 feet deep. Ranch hands would stand at the wells all day lowering buckets into the wells and bringing them up one by one. A bucket at a time, they dumped water into the trough for the livestock to drink. My great grandfather lucked out in marrying the bosses' daughter, however his accomplishments in modern improvements for the times at the ranch were many. He went from teaching to ranching and earned respect from his father-in-law Don Felipe because he quickly learned how to manage the ranch. He revolutionized operations with modern watering systems. 


     
Early ranchers demonstrated a keen sense for finding groundwater under arid lands. With iron pikes, rock saws and chisels, they dug shaft wells (norias) to water table depths of forty feet or more. Spanish ranchers engineered the first means to capture groundwater. Sillar-lined wells (norias de buque) were built to furnish water for the ranch's residents of the late 1800s. Later, when windmills were introduced to the area, Jose (my great grandfather) placed several around the ranch to allow cattle to graze more freely without worry of water. The cattle for the time were longhorns. Installations of windmills helped revolutionize the ranch in the 1870s. Early drillers relied on horse-powered equipment. Maintenance duties kept wind millers and vaqueros constantly on the move to grease the gears. Today, windmills are vanishing when in the past, they were as vital as vaqueros to ranching success in dry South Texas.

     Jose Angel Salinas died on April 16, 1928 at the age of 76 and is buried in Rio Grande City, Texas. Las Escobas was partitioned again in 1931 equally among the nine children. My great grandmother Maria Emilia died on June 30, 1923. She is buried in front of my great grandfather's grave. The cemetery is called "El Cementerio de los Padres" located in Rio Grande City, Texas. My grandfather, Francisco Salinas, inherited one ninth of the partition of 1931.

 
 
Resources:

El Mesteño: Homero Vera, 1900 census, interviews: Uvaldo Salinas, 1931 partition map, birth and death certificates.
Interviews with family: Margarita G. Salinas, Uvaldo Salinas, Dario Garcia. 

A story written by Maria Irma Salinas de Saldaña

"Jose A. Salinas, El Maestro Ranchero"

(click on PDF below )

Jose A. Salinas' tomb at "El Cementerio de los Padres"

Rio Grande City, Texas

Maria Emilia Guerra de Salinas' tomb at "El Cementerio de los Padres" 

 Rio Grande City, Texas

Jose Eduardo Salinas

(Jose A. Salinas' brother)

Margarita Salinas Zuniga

Berta & Eduardo Salinas Daughter

Berta Estefana De Leon

(Eduardo's wife)