Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Day

Source: Getty Museum. Photo by Carleton Watkins. 1 Jan 1889.

Today is the "Great American Eclipse," and we'll be watching this afternoon. We hope the weather cooperates with clear skies here in the Northern Virginia.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mercedes Ballesteros

On Sunday I started following the family of Maria Jesus Suastegui Ballesteros. It was the obituary of her daughter Mercedes Ballesteros which provided the backstory to their journey across the desert from Sonora to California after 1862, more likely closer to 1864. She was born on 30 June 1862 in Altar, Sonora, the last child of Merced Ballesteros and Maria Jesus Suastegui. At her baptism, her name was listed as Maria Mercedes de los Dolores Ballesteros.
Source: Ancestry. Baptism record, 2 July 1862. Altar, Sonora, Mexico.
 In 1913, Mercedes made a land claim on four lots outside Tucson.
Arizona Daily Star, 14 Jun 1914.
It looks like Mercedes never married. She was a successful dressmaker in Tucson and owned her own home and rented rooms to others. She was close to her cousin Josefa Vasquez, and it looks like Mercedes and Josefa applied for naturalization around the same time as their applications are filed next to each other in the Arizona Naturalization Records on Ancestry.
Source: Ancestry. Petition for Naturalization.
Source: Ancestry. Petition for Naturalization.
Mercedes took the Oath of Allegiance on 2 January 1917.

She passed away on 13 January 1936. Here is the top third of the obituary (the middle and bottom portions were included in my post on her mother on Sunday):
Arizona Daily Star, 15 Jan 1936.
For now, this concludes my series on the extended families and descendants of Francisco Suastegui.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Isabel Ballesteros

The first child of Merced Ballesteros and Maria Jesus Suastegui was Isabel Ballesteros. She was born on 17 December 1849 in Sonora. After the family moved to the US, she married Lyman Adams Smith about 1866. Smith was born in Kentucky in 1829 and came to California during the Gold Rush. He moved to Yuma and was involved in cattle ranching and mining.
Source: Ancestry. 1870 US Census, Yuma, Arizona.

Lyman and Isabel had six children:
- Sarah A. Smith, 1867-1947
- Isabela (Belle) A. Smith, 1869-1953
- Emma Frances Smith, 1871-1954
- Lyman A. Smith Jr., 1874-
- Prudence Martha Smith, 1876-1892
- Peter Glover Smith, 1878-1956

In the 1880 US Census, the family was still in Yuma, Arizona:
Source: Ancestry. 1880 US Census, Yuma, Arizona.
The family moved to Tucson in 1882.

Isabel apparently survived a lightning strike in September 1897:
Phoenix Weekly Republican, 16 Sep 1897
By the 1900 US Census, Lyman, Isabel and family appear in the records in Tucson.
Source: Ancestry. 1900 US Census, Tucson, Arizona.
Isabel appears in the 1910, 1920 and 1930 US Census in Tucson. She passed away on 24 December 1930 at the age of 81.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Jesus Maria Ballesteros

Arizona Daily Star, 6 Jan 1963.
You never know where you might stumble on family history information. Thanks to, I found a reference to Jesus Maria Ballesteros in an advertisement for Tucson Warehouse and Transfer Company published in 1963. The ad connects the moving company to the first Customs House in Arizona and mentions "Inspector J. M. Ballesteros." Based on other articles and documents, I've confirmed this to be the son of Merced Ballesteros and Maria Jesus Suastegui.

Jesus Maria Ancelmo Ballesteros was born on 17 December 1857 in Altar, Sonora, and baptized on 4 February 1858.
Baptism record for Jesus Maria Ballesteros, via Ancestry.

He moved with his mother and sisters to California when he was six years old. In the early 1870s he worked as a type setter for the Arizona Sentinel newspaper in Yuma, and later worked at the Arizona Daily Citizen in Tucson. Perhaps he worked at the Citizen first in Tucson and then went to Yuma to work at the Sentinel. The clipping below is from 1878.
Arizona Weekly Citizen, 19 Apr 1878.
By July 1878, Jesus had resigned his position at the Sentinel, and gone on vacation to California for health reasons.
Arizona Sentinel, 20 Jul 1878.
In June 1879, Jesus returned to Tucson and was hired as the Customs Inspector with the US Customs Service.
Arizona Weekly Citizen, 6 Jun 1879.
He got sick again in 1881, and died of consumption on 11 August 1882 in Tucson.
Arizona Sentinel, 19 Aug 1882.

Maria Jesus Suastegui Ballesteros

Since mid July, I have been documenting the two families of my 5th-great-grandfather Francisco Suastegui. The last one to document is Maria Jesus Suastegui, sister of my 4th-great-grandfather Pedro Suastegui. She was born around 1830 in Sonora, although her death certificate lists her birth date as 14 November 1830. Maria Jesus married Merced Ballesteros, likely in Altar, Sonora, around 1848. Merced and Maria Jesus had at least the following children:

- Isabel Ballesteros, 1849-1930
- Maria Josefa Teodora Ballesteros, 1851-1854
- Encarnacion Ballesteros, 1855-1858
- Jesus Maria Ancelmo Ballesteros, 1857-1882
- Siprian Ballesteros, 1859-1862
- Maria Mercedes de los Dolores Ballesteros, 1862-1936

Merced Ballesteros died on 17 October 1862 in Altar, Sonora at the age of 34. Maria Jesus had just given birth to their daughter Mercedes on 30 June, and they had lost their son Siprian in September 1862, the third child lost to illness or disease before the age of four.

With her remaining children Isabel, Jesus and Mercedes, about 1864 Maria Jesus made a journey to California with her sister Concepcion Suastegui and family. The obituary of Mercedes Ballesteros says this journey occurred in 1862, but as this was written in 1936 and Merced Ballesteros passed away in October 1862, I think it is likely this date is wrong. Other documents claim Maria Jesus and family arrived in America around 1864. I have included two sections of the obituary below, recounting their journey across the Sonoran Desert to California.
Arizona Daily Star, 15 Jan 1936
The article indicates that Maria Jesus and family lived in California until 1869, and then moved to Yuma, Arizona. By then her younger sister Maria Engracia Suastegui Burke was well established there, along with her half-sisters Maria Esther and Mariana Suastegui. As seen from Friday's post, Maria Jesus sponsored the baptism of Esther's son Peter John Monson in Yuma in March 1893.

By 1875, Maria Jesus settled in Tucson. She appears in the Yuma, Arizona newspaper, visiting her son Jesus:
Arizona Sentinel, 26 Jun 1875.
Maria Jesus and Mercedes lived at 75 East Pennington Street in Tucson. Their old historic home was part of a block torn down in 1929 and is close to where the Pima County Courthouse now sits.

Maria Jesus passed away on 13 March 1908 in Tucson. She was buried at Holy Hope Cemetery in Tucson.

As I have followed the children of the other Suastegui siblings at least one generation, I will do the same for Isabel, Jesus and Mercedes.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Thinking of Dad

Photo by Patrick Jones. K.D. Jones and S. Jones, Disneyland. 16 Jul 2011.
Today would have been our Dad's birthday. On this day I'm thinking of him, and I know my Mom and Sister are as well. Last year he was taken away too soon by cancer. For photos from happier times, see my post from August 2015 or August 2014.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Esther's Sons

Arizona Sentinel, 22 Aug 1906.
I have spent much of the month recapping the family of Esther Suastegui Graham, half-sister of my 4th-great-grandfather Pedro Suastegui. After several extensive posts on Esther's daughter, Anita Calneh Post, it is only fitting to provide some background on Esther's sons, Asa Frank Post and John Peter Monson (also spelled Munson).

Asa Frank Post

Asa Frank Post was the son of Esther's first husband, Albert G. Post. He was born in Yuma, Arizona on 4 October 1881. Asa Frank married Maria Giron in Imuris, Sonora on 14 August 1906. Maria was originally from Hermosillo, Sonora. She died in the tragic auto accident with Anita on 10 September 1938. Asa Frank and Maria had at least the following children:
- Albert Ernesto Post (1907-1990)
- Asa Frank Post Jr (1909-1976)
- William Louis Post (1912-1987)
- Henry Arthur Post (1913-1998)
- Maria Laura Post (1915-1993)
- adopted daughter Mercedes M. Velasquez (1918-1996)

Asa was close to Anita and his family regularly visited her in Tucson, and often hosted her in Yuma.

Asa Frank died on 30 April 1966 in Yuma, Arizona.

Peter John Monson (also spelled Munson)

Peter John was the son of Esther's second husband, Swedish immigrant Peter Monson (also spelled Munson). He was born on 5 September 1892 while the family was in Los Angeles, California. Peter John appears in the 1900 US Census in Yuma as 7 years old. In the 1910 US Census, he was a 16 year old boarder in the household of Variela Barney in Yuma.

Like his globe trotting half-sister, Peter John applied for a US Passport and regularly traveled from at least 1917. He applied for a passport at the American Embassy in Santiago, Chile on 12 March 1919 in order to travel from Chile through Panama back to the US. According to the document, he left the United States on 24 March 1917 (another document says he departed on 17 March 1917), arriving in Chile in October 1917 (another document says he arrived in Antofagasta, Chile in April 1917) as chief timekeeper for the Braden Copper Company of New York. The passport application includes a high quality photo of him, and his baptism record. The second document provides more connections to the Suastegui family.
John Peter Munson, US Passport application, 12 Mar 1919.
Certificate of Baptism for John Peter Munson. Issued 12 Mar 1917.
The baptism record was sponsored by Maria Jesus Suastegui Ballesteros, Esther Suastegui's older half-sister. I will have more on her in another post.

By August 1919, Monson had traveled from Sanitago de Cuba to San Juan, Puerto Rico. His second passport was issued in June 1919, showing he would be in Cuba and Puerto Rico to supervise construction for the Texas Company (this would later become Texaco).
US Passport application, 26 Jun 1919.
Monson applied for another passport in August 1920, showing he was planning to travel to Tampico, Mexico to supervise construction of oil tanks and other equipment for the Texas Company.

Peter John later settled in Beaumont, Texas. He married Maggie Williams, and they had at least two children. He died on 6 February 1961.

Flying Coastal

Photo by Patrick Jones. Boarding Coastal Airlines at Dar. 28 Jul 2017.

Two weeks ago I took a short flight from Dar es Salaam airport to tiny Mafia Island, off the coast of Tanzania, for 24 hours before beginning the flights back to DC. I took Coastal Aviation, which operates flights throughout Tanzania to many of the most popular national parks and promotes itself as "the flying safari company."
Source: Google Maps. 
Photo by Patrick Jones. Mafia Island Airport. 28 Jul 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Approaching the island. 28 Jul 2017.
Coastal was great. The plane seats 12 but on my flight there were only 6 people including the pilot. It is about 40 minutes from Dar to Mafia.

Mafia Island has about 50,000 inhabitants, compared to bustling Zanzibar to the north, which has about 1.3 million people. I chose Mafia Island to do something a little different with my 24 hours, perhaps I might see whale sharks or humpback whales. On this occasion there were no whale sharks (it's the wrong time of year), but my 24 hours were incredibly relaxing. I will have a separate post of photos from the island.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Leaving a legacy

Anita's will provided $6000 for the establishment of two scholarships in the name of her parents, Albert G. Post and Esther Suastegui Graham. The will was read into probate on 19 September 1938.

Arizona Daily Star, 20 Sep 1938.
The article above contains some errors. Anita's niece, Maria Laura Post, did not die in the car accident, it was her sister-in-law Maria Giron Post. Maria Laura Post was attending the University of Arizona. Albert G. Post, son of Anita's aunt Mariana Suastegui Post, was not found, and the funds were used to create a monument for Mariana in Oregon (although the information inscribed on the monument has the wrong year of death for Mariana).

Anita willed the entire title to a 156 acre farm in the Mohawk Valley, a farm that was purchased by their mother Esther Suastegui as a homestead claim in 1890. Two additional lots were split among her brother Asa Frank Post and half-brother John Peter Munson. The Mohawk Valley property was later sold at auction in 1946.

In September 1939, the University of Arizona Library took possession of 900 volumes from Anita's personal library.
Arizona Daily Star, 17 Sep 1939.
The University also named an annual award to the Spanish major with the highest scholarship average over four years. The Anita C. Post Memorial Award was offered for the first time in May 1939.

Anita's book on Southern Arizona Spanish is still available through Stanford University.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Tragic Loss

Not all family histories have happy stories. My research into the life of Anita Calneh Post revealed a tragic loss for her and two others in the family in 1938. In September 1938, Anita was driving her sister-in-law, Maria Giron Post, and her four-year-old grandson Garland Post, back to her son Albert Post's home in Hemet, California, near Palm Springs. The car Anita was driving lost control on the Pines-to-Palms highway.
Arizona Daily Star, 12 Sep 1938.
The news hit hard at the University of Arizona. From the 13 September 1938 Arizona Daily Star:
Arizona Daily Star, 13 Sep 1938.
Her colleague Helen Nicholson wrote a tribute to Anita, appearing in the Tucson newspaper on 21 September 1938.
Arizona Daily Star, 21 Sep 1938.
The 1939 University of Arizona yearbook also included a recognition for Anita and four others.
Source: U. of Arizona Special Collections. 1939 yearbook, p.10.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Dr. Post

After the death of her mother, Anita Calneh Post applied to the doctorate program at Stanford University. She completed her oral requirements in June 1931.
Arizona Daily Star, 25 Sep 1931.

Anita's doctorate built from her Masters thesis on "The Spanish dialect in Southern Arizona" (see University of Arizona, 1917).
Arizona Daily Star, 25 Sep 1932.
Arizona Daily Star, 22 Oct 1932.
According to another article, she used only two chapters from her book on Southern Arizona Spanish as her doctorate thesis.
Arizona Daily Star, 24 Jun 1932
Anita's work was praised in Spain by the Academia EspaƱola, official royal institution overseeing the Spanish language.
Arizona Daily Star, 28 Oct 1934.
She continued her research at Stanford in the summer of 1935, and traveled with her brother and niece Marie Post.
Arizona Daily Star, 18 Aug 1935.
Arizona Daily Star, 20 Sep 1936.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Arizona's First Organ

Arizona Daily Star, 26 Jun 1960

Above is an organ brought to Yuma, Arizona by Albert. G. Post in 1875. The organ was donated by Anita Calneh Post to the University of Arizona museum. She spoke about the organ in a talk to the Archaeological Society of Arizona in November 1916.
Arizona Daily Star, 21 November 1916
By 1960 the organ was on display with the Arizona Pioneers' Historical Society, which is now the Arizona History Museum at 949 E. 2nd Street in Tucson.

A bit more on Anita's Archaeology Work

Anita became a leader in the Archaeology Society of Arizona. She used her singing skills to learn traditional Navaho songs and perform traditional Spanish songs at events in Arizona. An example of her work can be seen in this clipping from 1927, along with a performance in traditional dress from 1936:
Arizona Daily Star, 1936.

Arizona Daily Star, 20 Mar 1927.