Sunday, May 29, 2016

Achieving the Dream

The first of June marks another Immigrant Heritage Month. Last year I wrote about the Journey of my Granny's side of the tree, from a small Sonoran town in the Mexican desert to Arizona, and now with descendants spread across the US. Last week, the Arizona Historical Society recently found a reference to my great-grandparents in their holdings. Plutarco Campuzano and Manuela Portillo came to the US on foot, by separate paths in 1915 and 1922, seeking opportunity in the US. They were married on 1 December 1923. After a lot of hard work, in 1949 they were able to buy a home located at 453 South Main Street in Tucson, Arizona from Alejandro and Ruby Hidalgo.
Document from the Arizona Historical Society.
Ruby Flynn Hidalgo was a pioneer member of the Arizona Historical Society, so I was in luck the Society inherited her papers, and the mortgage with Plutarco and Manuela was in her files preserved by the Society.


Buying a home was no small feat. Plutarco was a painter, and worked on construction projects in the Tucson area during the 1940s. They also had 9 children to care for. I think it was very impressive they were able to save and buy a home, as resident aliens.

There was another connection to Ruby Hidalgo, which might have played a role in connecting my great-grandparents to her. She was the daughter of Howard Andrew Flynn and Nellie Hayes, "well known pioneers" in Tucson. Ruby's sister, Mary Flynn, married Carlos Elias Calles, a nephew of Mexican President Plutarco Elias Calles. I wrote about the Campuzano family connection to Plutarco Elias Calles back in February 2016 (see my post Family Connections). Perhaps this family link brought my great-grandparents together with the Hidalgos to purchase their home.

Ruby's first husband was Julian A. Montano. I don't know yet if there was a connection between Julian and Cleotilde Lopez de Montano, but Cleotilde worked at the Tucson Steam Laundry, the first place Manuela Portillo worked when she arrived in Tucson in 1922. Maybe this link introduced Ruby to Manuela.

Or maybe it was something else, and these family links had no connection at all to bring my great-grandparents together with the Hidalgos. In any case, their home purchase was quite an achievement. The home still stands today, although it is now a law office. I am glad to learn my great-grandparents were able to purchase a home, and I take time to remember this for the start of Immigrant Heritage Month this week.

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