SPECIAL PRICE – Prima Elisa’s Book $5.00 off at Amazon.com

28 Nov

screen-shot-2013-01-30-at-10-27-32-am1.pngPrima Elisa’s book is now reduced to $7.50 at amazon.com.   If you haven’t purchased the book yet…or desire extra copies, this is a chance to save $5.00 per book!




You can purchase the book at Amazon.com.  Click on the following link to order the book from Amazon.com:




You can also purchase the book at Createspace.com.  Click on the following link to order the book from Createspace.com:


I Never Had A Banana Split is a collection of vignettes (short stories) about growing up as a Chicana in the East Los Angeles area.  It will bring back fond memories of your youth and give you a vivid understanding of Elisa’s life experiences in a fun-to-read account of her life.


If you have enjoyed Elisa’s writings in this blog,  you will surely enjoy reading her book.   The list price is $12.50, but you can save $5.00 by ordering now!   The book is now available for immediate shipment.

Thanks for being loyal followers of the Prima Elisa Blog.

Dave Perez (Elisa’s son)


Memorial Services For Prima Elisa

24 Oct
Memorial Services for Elisa Perez will be as follows:
Rosary (viewing) will be held on Monday October 28th at 7:00-9:00pm
Pierce Brothers Mortuary 1136 E. Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Funeral services will be held the following day (Tues) at 10:00am
Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church
1901 S San Gabriel Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776



Thank you for all of your loving comments.

The Perez Family

Elisa Perez April 29, 1926 – October 20, 2013

21 Oct

Screen shot 2011-06-27 at 11.27.49 AMElisa Perez passed away on October 20th, 2013 after    several months of being ill.  She died at home in La Puente, California with her loving family present.  She will be sorely missed by her family and many friends.

May she Rest in Peace and forever be in our memories.

Now It Can Be Told

2 Jun

 How I found “La India in The Cave”

During my second trip to Ojinaga, I met with primo Manuel Tercero Proano, the former presidente de Ojinaga.  Manuel’s grandfather (Deciderio Tercero) was a descendant of early La Junta soldiers.

Deciderio married Susanna, the sister of my grandpa Esteban Lujan.   At the time that we met, Manuel was prepping primo Victor Sotelo Mata who would be running for presidente when Manuel would reach the end of his term.   I related my mother’s story about my great-great-grandfather having kept an Indian mistress in a cave.

Some months later, Manuel, who spent much time organizing records at Ojinaga’s Cathedral (Nuestro Padre Jesus), sent me a seemingly insignificant scrap of paper that cites my great-grandfather Hilario Lujan and Chona Saez as “natural parents” of Concepcion!

Bingo!  I now had the name of La India!  But how was I to find those primos?   Down the line I made the acquaintance of Joyce Means, author of  “PANCHO VILLA DAYS IN PILARES”.  She mentions not only Concepcion but another brother, Ygnacio Lujan.   Soon a reliable Ojinaga source told me that indeed there had been “primos” who worked at the T. O. Ranch of Pilares, Mexico, and that Ygnacio Lujan had been Straw-Boss there.  I had searched in vain for descendants of Elisa and Eloisa, daughters of Ygnacio.  I had kind of put my search on the back shelf until recently when I received an e-mail from a prima (Andrea Saenz Holms) who lives in Arizona.  She is a highly accomplished scholar, a poet and an all-round beautiful individual.

Now that my primo, two-time Ojinaga presidente Manuel Tercero Proano is gone, I would like to return the little scrap of paper, The Baptism record of Concepcion Lujan   Parents: Hilario and Chona Saez, to its rightful place.   At the time the primo sent it to me he stated that it was better in my hands because it was not being properly cared for at the church rectory.

Indeed, when I went to the rectory, folders dating all the way back to the early 1700’s sat on a shelf in the open, exposed to dampness and extreme heat.  I might add that the last time I was there a book of 1860 entries was missing!  The last I heard was that the State of Chihuahua had taken these records over.  Now that El Primo is not here to suffer repercussions for having taken the entry, I shall return it to its rightful place.


21 May

 “My father (or grandfather) fought with Pancho Villa” or

“My grandfather was tall and blue eyed”

The above are two oft-repeated phrases I overheard during my youth.

The “tall and blue-eyed” statement came from my maternal Grandmother (Rosa Flores) in reference to her father, Manuel Flores.   Somehow I never bothered to ask my mother, who had known him, if this was true.  After they were both gone, I went to Ojinaga and got the rest of the story.

I was told that Manuel’s grandfather had been sequestered off the streets of Paris, France and chained to other youths.  He was then brought across the Atlantic to do battle against Mexico.  As a fledgling overzealous genealogist, I quickly figured that if Papa Manuel had been born in Julimes in 1844, surely the battle that his father (Richard) participated in had to be “The Pastry War of 1838”?

Apparently some drunken Mexican soldiers did some major damage to a French Bakery.  France was demanding payment of $600,000 for damages done to its citizens.  When Mexico made no move to pay, King Philippe of France sent a Fleet to San Juan de Olua off the coast of Vera Cruz where they launched an attack that began the war.

Along comes Ex-President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna on his white horse.  While he did manage to drive the French back, it did cost him a leg.  But that’s another story.  I quickly figured that Papa Ricardo had been left behind by the French Army.  Because part of the story is that he had to cross an enormous river to get to Julimes, Chihuahua, I quickly deduced that it had to be the Rio Panuco that runs east and west just north of Vera Cruz.  I typed a version of the incident and pasted it below the only photo of Papa Manuel.

Fast forward to a year ago.  Since familysearch.org now provides access to actual baptism records on the internet, I went back two more generations prior to papa Manuel.  All were born in Julimes, Chihuahua!   So…which war was the original Flores involved in?

Papa Manuel’s mother, Ysidora Carrasco, and his two brothers eventually settled in Cuchillo Parado, Chihuahua, Mexico.  One brother (Calistro) died in the Mexican Revolution.  I have no record of the other.  Today there are many Flores descendants in Aldama , Chihuahua.  Hopefully I will hear from them via this blog.


27 Apr

Initially, my genealogy search was intended to locate the descendants of my Grandfather Esteban Lujan’s nine siblings.


REYES AND POMPOSA: To date I have touched bases with all but the youngest of the boys (Reyes), and a sister (Pomposa).  Thanks to Primo Victor Sotelo Mata’s high mobility as Ojinaga Presidente, he learned that Reyes settled south of Ojinaga on land that he received for having participated in the Mexican Revolution.

SEVERITA:   Esteban’s sister (Severita) married Pedro Tercero.  Interestingly, their son (Reynaldo) was a lifetime chauffer of the prominent Brite family of Marfa, Texas.

SUSANNA:  His sister (Susanna) married Deciderio Tercero, the grandfather of Manuel Tercero Proano, who was twice the Ojinaga presidente.

PAZ:  Esteban’s sister (Paz) married Romualdo Heredia, whose Daughter (Cruz) married Manuel Dutchover.

MARCOS:  The eldest brother (Marcos), the only sibling that was born in Mexico, married Ynez De Anda and settled in Sierra Blanca, Texas where he was a successful entrepreneur.

BIBIANO:  Bibiano Lujan married Luz Quiroz and lived his life out in Marfa, Texas.

JUAN and VALENTIN: Juan and Valentin Lujan, despite being USA citizens, chose to live in Tierras Nuevas Ojinaga.  Valentin descendants are still farming there.  Valentin’s wife was “Mama Lola” (see: ‘Jewel Created from Mud”, in Blog).

To date I have not been able to locate descendants of Pomposa Lujan and Gabino Sanchez.  Gabino is part of the extended family of Victor Sotelo Mata.  I do have three of their children on file.  They are:

Jose Maria Vicente: 1/7/1885

Juan: 4/28/1883

Macario: 3/10/1892.  (Macario was born in the mining town of Shafter, Texas).

It is my fervent hope that someone out there can provide the missing link to the extensive La Junta Sanchez line.


BOOK PREVIEW-chapter one

13 Apr


                THE STORY TELLERS

We are the chosen.  My feelings are that in each family there is one who seems to be called to find the ancestors.  To put flesh on their bones; to make them live again; to tell the family story, and to feel somehow that they know and approve.  To me doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all that have gone before.  We are the story tellers of the tribe.  All tribes have one.  We have been called, as it were, by our genes.  Those who have gone before cry out to us: “Tell our story” — So we do.


It goes beyond just documenting facts.  It goes to who I am and why I do the things I do.  It goes to pride in what our ancestors accomplished and how they contributed to what we are today.   

It goes to the deep pride with which they fought to make and keep us a Nation.  It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us; that we might be born who we are; that we might remember them.  So we do.  With love and caring we trace each fact of their existence because we are they and they are us. 

 So, responding to my call, I tell the story of my family, as it is up to those who are called upon in the next generation, to take their place in the long line of family story tellers.

And that is why I do my family genealogy–that which calls young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.

(Unknown author)

                   IN THE BEGINNING

In 1989, I embarked on a search for the ancestors of my grandfather, Esteban Lujan.  The pursuit was to take me to Southwest Texas and across the Rio Grande from Presidio to Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico. Eventually I went further south to Cuchillo Parado, birthplace of my grandmother Rosa Flores. And finally: to Chihuahua City itself.

Once bitten by the “genealogy bug”, I prodded along the fascinating, sometimes frustrating, sometimes lonely path of genealogy research. Fortunately, before the first year was over, it became apparent that my “tribe” had settled in the area–La Junta de Los Rios Del Norte y Conchos of colonial times.  They remained there for over one hundred years. This turned out to be a bonanza for it enabled me to find and document countless descendants of the original settlers.

Genealogy and history going hand-in-hand, I got into the history of La Junta long before I had found any significant numbers of ancestors.  I wanted to know why they had chosen to settle in such a desolate, inhospitable place, and what kept them there for so long.  For those of you who never heard of La Junta, the following should be helpful.


The La Junta de Los Rios, as termed by the Spaniards, extends twenty like miles north of the Rio Grande to Shafter, Texas. It had Ruidoza, thirty odd miles to the west, and Redford (El Polvo) twenty miles to the east. The triangle was completed at Cuchillo Parado some 25 miles south into Chihuahua.  Often referred to as “The Last Frontier”, it is easily one of the oldest farming communities in Texas.  As early as 1250 A.D. to 1500 A.D., semi-sedentary natives who traded with nearby hunter-gatherers peopled villages on both banks of the Rio Grande. It has been speculated that the trajectory may well have been the path through which corn and beans were brought into North America. Or, could it have been the other way around?

In 1535, Alvaro Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and three companions, survivors of a ship- wreck in the Gulf of Mexico, wended their way back to Mexico along the Rio Grande. After seven years of incredible, and sometimes miraculous, feats of survival they visited the La Junta area.  There they found the “comeliest” of all the Indians that they had thus far encountered.  Sadly, Vaca’s assertion of the existence of “The Seven Cities of Cibola” resulted in raids that gathered his beloved natives as slaves for the mines of Mexico. Numerous “entradas” followed the Vaca “noticia”. Among them: Rodriguez- Chamuscada (1581-1582), Espejo (1582-1583), and Mendoza-Lopez (1683).  By the time Trasvina Retis was authorized to accompany Priests who were to establish missions at La Junta in 1714 (The Official date of the founding of Ojinaga), he found Christian natives sporting western dress! * 

In the early 1700s, the Comanche was moving south as far as the Trans-Pecos area.  Pushing the Apache before them, both raided areas south as far as Durango, Mexico.  In an effort to seal off the area, Don Jose de Berroterran was sent to explore El Despoblado.  The journey turned out to be futile and disastrous.  In 1747, a three-pronged attempt to explore the area, with the possibility of establishing a presidio, was made.   In Captain Ydoiaga’s final report, recommendations were that there were no suitable agricultural areas, no grazing land for animals (not enough to support a garrison).  Ydoiaga further argued that if soldiers were moved into the area, fearful natives might move out.  Despite these points of view, the Real Presidio de Nuestra Senora de Belen y Las Amarrillas was established in the Indian pueblo of Guadalupe (Ojinaga) in 1759.


Primo Enrique Madrid, Redford Stewart,  translated the Ydoiaga papers.                                                        

By the late 1700’s, real or imagined encroachment of the French and the Americans, coupled with Comanche and Apache raids, prompted the establishment of a cordon of Presidios along the Rio Grande.  Soldiers assigned to Presidios “Del Norte” (Ojinaga), and “El Principe” in Coyame (1777), were joined by Indian auxiliaries, familias, and providers of related services. Meanwhile, Native American “rancherias” existed on both sides of the Rio Grande and up the Rio Conchos as far as Cuchillo Parado.  The permanent Presidio Santiago del Norte was established around the time that the thirteen Colonies of New England were pursuing their independence.

My earliest Lujan in the area was a soldier stationed at El Principe, in Coyame Chihuahua.  (Coyame is on the west bank of the Rio Conchos—with Cuchillo Parado to the east.)  I discovered my Lujan getting married in Chihuahua City in 1785.  Therefore, I am guessing that he arrived in Coyame in the late 1700’s, for by 1800 I find him fathering children born in Presidio del Norte (Ojinaga). Since he appears as an “Invalido” (retiree), this could indicate that he had already served the required ten years of service.  Twenty odd years later his offspring are marrying locals at Presidio del Norte.  Others in Coyame marry back and forth among the military families, and those new hybrid natives began forming their own clans. A few mix with those of Cuchillo Parado, thereby extending their families across the Rio Conchos to the East.  Their struggle for survival was constant. Our antepasados (ancestors) suffered Indian depredations, droughts, and the resultant years of hunger and poverty. Plagues killed hundreds. Up until the 1870’s, the population in Presidio del Norte rarely exceeded 1500 souls.

As my research progressed, I outgrew my little notebook. I fashioned an index out of a telephone and address book. Then I converted to a stenographer notebook until, at the insistence of my son David, I dove into modern technology and the Family Tree Maker Program.  In time I became so familiar with the names on the Ojinaga micro-film that as soon as I saw Mata, Ramirez, Levario, Ortega, Navarette, Zubiate, or Juarez, I knew I was in Coyame or Cuchillo Parado. Today my computer holds over 20,000 names. A second file, REDFORD, exceeds five thousand direct descendants.  Later on, with the coming of Anglos to the area (1843), names like Russell, Leaton, Faver, Landrum, Spencer, and eventually Dutchover, Miller, Bulliex, were added to the surname stew.

Come along with me as I retrace a most interesting and rewarding journey.


Please be mindful that historical, and genealogical discoveries are not always in order of occurrence.

I have opted to insert them where expediency is in order, and where it will facilitate familiarity with main characters and events.

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