Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Maria Jesus and Winnall Dalton

Maria Jesus Vasquez, about 1864. Photo from P. Rosas.
Maria Jesus Francesca Vasquez was born in Altar, Sonora, Mexico in October 1855. She moved with her mother Concepcion Suastegui (possibly father Francisco Vasquez unless he died before 1864) and siblings Adolfo and Josefa Vasquez to Los Angeles. There she met her eventual husband, Winnall A. Dalton. He was the son of wealthy English ranchero Henry Dalton and Guadelupe Zamorano.
Maria Jesus Vasquez. Photo from P. Rosas.
Maria Jesus and Winnall Dalton were married on 4 October 1878 in Los Angeles. Their wedding portrait is featured in the Memoirs of Federico Ronstadt, see below. Their daughter Lupe Dalton became Fred Ronstadt's second wife in 1904.
Maria Jesus and Winnall Dalton. Ronstadt, p. 67.
Ronstadt described Dalton as "a very distinguished personality", "he had come from a very high class family in California and that he was well educated, spoke several languages and was a real gentleman by breeding and education. His Spanish was pure without a trace of accent. I thought this was remarkable knowing that his father was English. I did not know until later that his mother was Spanish from the original Zamoranos that settled California."

Dalton arranged for Federico Ronstadt to get an education and taught him some French. He also encouraged him to learn music, which set Ronstadt on a path that he eventually became a noted band leader in Tucson in addition to running his own business. According to Ronstadt, when Concepcion Suastegui and her family moved to Los Angeles, she became acquainted with Guadelupe Zamorano and her friends, which is how Maria Jesus was introduced to Winnall Dalton. The story of Winnall's father Henry Dalton is a fascinating one, tied into the history of Los Angeles (see this story from KCET in 2013 on Henry Dalton and Guadelupe Zamorano). Records from Henry Dalton are now at the Huntington Library, as well as letters from Winnall Dalton describing the life of his father (published in 1915) at the California State Library in Sacramento.

Arizona Daily Star, 5 Nov. 1916. Newspapers.com
Winnall Dalton and Maria Jesus had the following children:
- Hortense Dalton
- Guadelupe Dalton
- Natalie Dalton
- Henry Dalton
- Louise Dalton
- Winnall A. Dalton Jr.
- Frank Dalton

Winnall Dalton died in Tucson on 31 August 1917.
Arizona Daily Star, 1 Sep 1917. Newspapers.com
Maria Jesus Vasquez Dalton died on 10 September 1920 in Los Angeles. A large article on her was featured the following day in the Arizona Daily Star.
Arizona Daily Star, 11 Sep 1920. Newspapers.com

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