Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Adolfo Vasquez

Adolfo Vasquez
Adolfo Vasquez was born in Altar, Sonora on 2 November 1851, the first child of Francisco Vasquez and Concepcion Suastegui. Adolfo learned the blacksmith trade in Los Angeles. He appears in the 1878 City Directory in Los Angeles as a blacksmith. His sister Maria Jesus married Winnall A. Dalton in California, and Adolfo and Dalton went into business together making wagons and carriages in Tucson, Arizona.
1883-84 Tucson City Directory
1883 Tucson City Directory
In his memoirs, Federico Ronstadt recalled his days working in the carriage shop for Winnall Dalton and Adolfo Vasquez. "The wagon and carriage trade at that time and for many years after was a major industry in the US. The shop that Dalton and Vasquez had was a plain frame building, but what it lacked in buildings and equipment was made up by skill in the art. Mr. Dalton, himself a man of culture with an excellent background, was an artisan of rare skill. Mr. Vasquez was also a splendid mechanic and they had with them a very fine painter and finisher. His name was Saint Onge. The carriages made in their shop were works of art, made principally from second growth hickory, yellow poplar, Norway iron hand-forgings, and trimmed and painted like the finest furniture."

"In the shop of Don Manuel Martinez in Magdalena, the iron forged by hand was rough, and even after straightened by much filing, was still crude and without symmetry or grace. It was a revelation to me to see the beautiful shaped hand forgings perfectly fitted to the wood parts, the graceful lines of the wood work, and most of all, the mirror like finish of the carriages. I made up my mind I was going to learn that trade!"

The carriage partnership of Dalton and Vasquez only lasted a few years. By 1884, Dalton went into farming. Vasquez continued the carriage business. It looks like they remained business partners over the years, as their families were living in the same household in the 1900 US Census and Dalton and Vasquez appear to be working together. They entered into joint ventures for mining in Arizona and Mexico.

Federico Ronstadt recalled the partnership between Dalton and Vasquez. "Mr. Dalton decided he could do better by taking government contracts, and discontinued his connection with Mr. Vasquez in carriage shop about 1884. Mr. Vasquez gave me the additional job of keeping the books for the shop. I knew very little about this, but by following the single entry method that Mr. Dalton had used and with an occasional aid from Mr. Dalton and the help of a bookkeeping manual that my father had gave me, I managed to get by."

Vasquez later sold the carriage business to Federico Ronstadt, who had already been regularly running the shop while Vasquez visited Mexico looking for a wife. Adolfo Vasquez and Amelia Herras were married in Altar, Sonora in 1887. Their informacion matrimonial appears in the Sonora Catholic Church records on FamilySearch, dated 12 March 1887. Leonardo and Rafael Suastegui were witnesses on the informacion matrimonial for Adolfo and Amelia.

Adolfo and Amelia had at least the following children:
- Raul Vasquez
- Laura Vasquez
- Randolph Vasquez
- Gustavo Vasquez
- Adolpho Herras Vasquez

Laura Vasquez later married Francisco Suastegui, the Mexican government commercial attache I mentioned last week in my post In Between Stories, bringing the Suastegui & Vasquez families back together again.

After Adolfo became a citizen in July 1890, he regularly appears in the Arizona voter records starting with the elections in 1891. He was also frequently in the Tucson area newspapers about his mining activity. Some of the mining claims were filed with Winnall Dalton, so clearly they remained close business associates over the years.

Adolfo Vasquez died on 14 April 1925 in Tucson, Arizona.
Vasquez and Dalton families, 1888. Source: Borderman, Federico Ronstadt. P. 61.

The next post will look at the family of Maria Jesus Vasquez and Winnall Dalton.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hello. I am the great-great granddaughter of Adolf Vasquez.

    1. His story was really fascinating, I'm glad you found the blog!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.