Sunday, July 10, 2016

Concepcion Suastegui

The Memoirs of Federico Jose Maria Ronstadt contain many references to Concepcion Suastegui, sister of my 5th-great-grandfather Pedro Suastegui. In yesterday's post I wrote about their father, Francisco Suastegui, and his appearance in various Los Angeles records. I am continuing with this line of the family, focusing on Concepcion Suastegui and her family.
Photo from P. Rosas, Concepcion Suastegui, c. 1882
Concepcion was born in Altar, Sonora on or around 12 June 1836. She married Francisco Vasquez around 1850 or 1851. It is not clear to me yet if Francisco is related to my Chilean Vasquez line. They had at least the following children:
- Jose Teodoro Adolfo Vasquez, 1851-1925
- Maria Jesus Francisca Vasquez, 1855-1920
- Josefa Enriquita Vasquez, 1858-1933
Photo from P. Rosas, the Vasquez family.
The photo above is from the University of Arizona Special Collections file, sent to me by Pat Rosas. Adolfo Vasquez is on the left, followed by Josefa Vasquez, Concepcion Suastegui and Maria Jesus Vasquez.

Perhaps after the death of her husband, Concepcion made the journey with her children from Altar to Los Angeles, California. She appears in the Los Angeles City Directory in 1875 as a widow.

I found the family in the 1870 US Census in Los Angeles, the family name was mispelled as Swistija.


By 1880, the family had moved to Tucson, Arizona. Concepcion and her children Adolfo and Josefa appear in the household of her son in law Winnall A. Dalton and daughter Maria Jesus Vasquez.

Adolfo and Winnall Dalton went into business together building wagons and carriages in Tucson. Federico Ronstadt was sent from Sonora in 1882 to be an apprentice in their shop, and he lived in their home while working as an apprentice. In his book, Borderman, Federico referred to Concepcion Suastegui as "Tia Chona". "Tia Chona was then about 45, very vigorous and in complete charge and control of the home. I had seen Tia Chona at Magdalena (Sonora) a few months before when she had gone there to visit her brother, Don Jesus Suastegui. Tia Chona was very methodical. Her house was well managed and she exacted punctuality from everyone but, with all that, she was kind and very charming. I soon learned to love her."

"Tia Chona had a nice garden in the back lot and part of my work was to draw water every evening from a sixty foot well to irrigate the garden...In my first year in Tucson, Tia Chona saw to it that I made my First Communion and was confirmed."

"Tia Chona would also tell me about her trip from Altar to Los Angeles in a covered wagon with her two small daughters and son Adolfo Vasquez, Jesusita, who became Mrs. Dalton, and Josefita, who was never married; their arrival at Los Angeles when Los Angeles was a small town populated principally by Spanish pioneer families; and how she became acquainted with Mrs. Henry Dalton and her friends." Given the photos above, it looks like Concepcion had some money and managed to circulate in an upper class social community in Los Angeles.

In the 1900 US Census, Concepcion was still living in the Dalton household, located at 60 N. 6th Avenue in Tucson.

Concepcion died on 5 March 1903. Her son Adolfo administered her estate. Josefa Vasquez was granted property from her estate on 11 November 1903.
Arizona Daily Star, 4 Apr 1903.
Newspapers.com, Arizona Daily Star, 11 Nov 1903.

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