General Toribio Ortega

30 Mar

For reasons that only he knew, my grandfather never spoke about his activities during the Mexican Revolution,  nor did he speak about his close association with Pancho Villa. He also never spoke about his “compadre”, General Toribio Ortega.

When I inherited some of my grandfather’s papers I found a little book he wrote, “El Rondin”, in which he gives a detailed account of General Ortega’s activities during October and November of 1912.

I later gave permission for El Rondin to be published in an Ojinaga newspaper. The newspaper editor, Armando Mata, suggested that I look up the General’s son, Galacion Ortega, who lived in East Los Angeles.

After returning to Los Angeles, I introduced myself to a very surprised “Galacion”.  At the mention of my grandfather, Esteban Lujan, his face lit up.  His first anecdote was that his mother often told him that: “Don Esteban Lujan le enseno al General a leer y escribir.” translation:  Don Esteban Lujan taught General Ortega to read and write.”  That puzzled me because I have a book in which it is stated that an ancient man in Cuchillo Parado schooled the General.

When I met Galacion, he suggested I get La Brigada. A nephew of Toribio’s wife found it in the rare-books section in Austin Texas. He put out copies in Spanish and English.  In the book it was noted that anti re-election clubs opposing the re-election of 35- year Dictator Porfirio Diaz were springing up all over Mexico.  In Chihuahua, Toribio Ortega established the Cuchillo branch and was installed president. Esteban Lujan was installed secretary. Other members were: Jose Lucero, Fabian Rico, Marcelino Juarez, and Fulgencio Olivas.

It was a pleasure to have known Don Galacion.  He conveyed a lot of his father’s “old world” mannerisms; it was almost like conversing with the General himself.

Prima Elisa


36 Responses to “General Toribio Ortega”

  1. ALBERT RAMIREZ May 12, 2010 at 7:21 PM #



    • Stephanie Hughes May 21, 2011 at 6:50 AM #


      I am finding that also. I have several instances from church baptism/marriage records where the parents as:

      Groom’s Father’s Name: Teodoro Ortega
      Groom’s Mother’s Name: Maria Ysidra Ramirez

  2. GloriaA lujan August 18, 2010 at 3:17 AM #

    Hola ~~estoy escribiendo porque soy de los desendientes de el general Toribio Ortega que interesante esta pagina

    • Edelmiro Ponce de León October 29, 2010 at 7:41 AM #

      deseo comunicarme con hijos de Don Galación o nietos del General Toribio Ortega para invitarles a la ceremonia en Cuchillo Parado por los cien años de la revolución
      yo soy hyistoriador y vivo en la ciudad de chihuahua mexico.
      mi telefono (614) 411 -4655 y cel (614) 229 4653.
      contestare toda correspondencia gracias.

  3. Adan Ortega September 13, 2010 at 11:46 PM #

    Dear Elisa and Albert y Gloria

    Do you know if Don Galacion had any siblings (hermanos/hermanas)? And, if the General had any brothers. My grandfather, Marcelino Ortega, was born in 1905 and was adopted by an Ortega in that part of Chihuahua, and as a young boy served as a messenger during the revolution (or was tagging along for lack of another place to go since his mother had died). These things are always a reach but who knows what one might find?
    Adan Ortega

  4. Norma Martinez September 14, 2010 at 11:31 PM #

    I am the great grandaughter of Toribio Ortega. My uncle, Victor Martinez, wrote the book “La Brigada”. I would like more information on El Rondin or a copy of the article that was printed in the newspaper.
    I also would like any more information on my great grandfather, Toribio, if anyone has any.

    • Polo Nieto Gabaldon October 13, 2011 at 1:14 AM #

      Soy Polo Nieto Gabaldon desendiente de veteranos que pelearon al lado de Toribio Ortega. Estoy tratando de escribir algo sobre lo hechos de nuestros biejitos de Cuchillo Parado que fueron el apoyo para el levantaminto y la lucha en la revolution de 1910.

    • Bert Lujan October 16, 2011 at 7:18 AM #


      Would you tell me and send me the tree of your family. General Toribo Ortega is related and I am putting information on my records. My email is

  5. Martha Aceves September 30, 2010 at 7:21 PM #

    Elisa I remember when you were researching this. You were so thrilled to have met Don Galacion and I remember the remarks about his demeanor and carriage. Its like reliving over 20 yeas ago.

  6. olivia December 5, 2010 at 4:28 AM #


  7. Humberto Gabaldon Garay February 14, 2011 at 3:03 AM #

    Hola, mi nombre es Humberto Gabaldon Garay, si alguien desea una foto de los veteranos de la revolucion de Cuchillo Parado , mandenme un mensaje a yo tengo la foto original, mi abuelo fue Hurbano Gabaldon, su esposa Leandra Levario, sus hijos Pimenio, Tito, Agustina, Angela mi madre, Jose, Paula y Magdalena, todos originarios de Cuchillo

    • salo October 22, 2011 at 12:00 PM #

      no body wants to know about them old people.

  8. Bert Lujan February 15, 2011 at 3:38 PM #

    Love to read those posting. Keep up the good work.

  9. Oscar Ortega March 2, 2011 at 11:17 AM #

    Hello, my name is Oscar Ortega. My grandmother, Elena Ortega was from Chihuahua and I was wondering if there was any relation. I do not know her parents names but I believe she was born in the late 19teens. She had a sister that we called Lily, I am not sure if that was a nickname or not. My father’s name is Oscar, he was born with the surname Compean, but changed it to Ortega.
    Please contact me if you know of any link.

  10. Stephanie Hughes May 21, 2011 at 6:24 AM #

    I am a genealogist and have just discovered this newest relation. I actually had NO IDEA that he was famous! *lol* My direct ancestor is Nicolasa Ortega, daughter of Tomaso Ortega and Ysidra or Isidora Ramirez and sister to Toribio.

    Just an FYI… if you are currently researching Mexico, I would recommend using the Mormon Family History Centers and their webside

    They have recently opened up the baptism/marriage/death records for Mexico.

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me.

    Stephanie Hughes


    • Stephanie Hughes May 21, 2011 at 11:11 PM #

      Sorry, I miswrote—that’s what I get for typing at 3 am in the morning… Not Tomaso but Teodoro Ortega.

    • Theresa Lujan Clark March 15, 2012 at 5:35 AM #

      I am an Ortega too. I don’t know if I am related to the
      General. My grandfather was Amador Ortega and his father was Pablo Ortega. My Great Grand Mother was Jesusita. I don’t know what her maiden name was. My Grandfather was born in Coyame. I am just starting my research and would like any help I can get from any of the Ortega descendents. I can read spanish. I am not very good at writing it. My address is

  11. Manny Rico June 23, 2011 at 10:28 PM #

    Just discovered this page. I am the great grandson of Fabian Rico, whom I believe was an organizer working for General Ortega during the No Re-election movement. I have had the pleasure of visiting Cuchillo Parado where I discovered a charming museum dedicted to Gen. T. Ortega and the movement. I am also the great nephew of Faustino Baeza who was involved with the General. There are photographs of both my my ancestors in the museum.

  12. Polo Nieto Gabaldon October 13, 2011 at 1:28 AM #

    Soy Polo Nieto Gabaldon de Cuchillo Parado desendientes de veteranos que lucharon al lado de El General Toribio Ortega en la revolution de 1910. mi abuelo paterno Jose Antonio Nieto Mata y Mi bisabuelo materno Jacinto Quinones y sus hijos Felipe y Isac . Lucharon hasta el final dr la revolution . Exepto Isac quinones que falllecio en combate en la batalla de Zacatecas

  13. Polo Nieto Gabaldon October 13, 2011 at 2:16 AM #

    Polo Nieto Gabaldon estoy preparandome para ir a Mi pueblo de Cuchillo Parado el proximo 14 de noviembre de 2011. Llevo un escrito que arregle con el propocito de promover la importancia de mantener la lucha para protejer los hechos de nurstros viejitos en la revolucion de 1910 y presentable en el museo.

  14. Ivan Hernandez October 29, 2011 at 5:19 PM #

    Hola buenos dias, soy Ivan Hernandez, estoy trabajando sobre el arbol genealogico del General Toribio Ortega, de hecho e comenzado con la familia Ortega Ramires, ya tengo informacion sobre hermanos del Genral Toribio Ortega pero se ha difucultado un poco sobre la desendencia directa de Toribio Ortega a sea sobre los hijos ya que al parecer no se quedaron en Cuchillo Parado, si alguien que me pueda dar informacion sobre los hijos le agradeceria mucho gracias.

    • Michael Queensboro (@Michael_QBr) November 2, 2013 at 2:15 AM #

      Susana Martinez she is a great-granddaughter of Mexican Revolutionary General Toribio Ortega

      The census lists 1910 as the year her grandfather, Adolfo Martinez, immigrated to the U.S. He worked as a taxi driver and spoke English. Her grandmother, Francisca Martinez, came to the U.S. in 1915, according to the same census document.

      United States Census, 1930

      Head Adolfo Martinez M 25 Mexico
      Wife Francisca Martinez F 26 Mexico
      Daughter Yolanda Martinez F 9 Texas
      Son Victor M Martinez M 7 Texas
      Son Alberto Martinez M 4 Texas
      Sister-in-law Alice Ortega F 12 Texas
      Brother-in-law Galacion Ortega M 24 Mexico
      Mother-in-law Fermina Ortega F 50 Mexico

  15. Debbie Rede Lopez Pimentel January 22, 2012 at 11:12 PM #

    Hello Elisa I have been reading, and you are getting such wonderful feedback on your it’s great to see all the inquiries and messages coming through. your prima Deb,

  16. Debbie Rede Lopez Pimentel January 22, 2012 at 11:14 PM #

    it’s great to see all the inquiries and messages coming through. your prima Deb

  17. Donna Lee Monteros March 4, 2012 at 2:02 PM #

    I have a newspaper dated 1913, where my grandfather Isamel Monteros was captured by the US army as he was crossing the Rio Grande taking supplies to Toribino Ortega, my grandfather was shot as he crossed and taken to US doctors. In the article Ortega said that Monteros was his servant and apologized to the US; The family story told to us by my grandmother Carlota Monteros (Ismael’s wife) was that the US was helping Ortega with arms and supplies and that Ismael was the carrier. That is why he was taken care of by the US and his wife and chilrdren were taken care of with money and food, I was old enough to know my grandfather and heard this story told many times. Washington Post, New ourk times and El Paso Times carried the story.

  18. Elizabeth Ortega April 21, 2012 at 8:18 PM #

    El abuelito de mi abuelito Cresenciano Ortega se llamaba Juanito Ortega que viene siendo el hermano de Toribio Ortega. Quiciera saber si ay decendientes de Toribio Ortega… tengo un facebook porfavor agregenme a 🙂

  19. Genaro Ortega Villareal November 5, 2012 at 7:23 PM #

    General Toribio Ortega was my Grandfather. My Mother was Juanita Ortega who died in 2006 just after my Uncle Galacion Ortega. My mother had 12 children, 3 have gone to be with God; mother was married twice, with her first husband she had 6 children and 6 six with my Father, Roberto VILLAREAL.

    • La Prima Elisa November 6, 2012 at 10:37 AM #

      HOLA genaro:

      Great to hear from you. I only know TERESA AND HER BROTHER–gALACION’S KIDS.



      • Eric Puentes May 2, 2013 at 8:57 AM #

        Hello, my name is Eric Puentes, my father name is Eusebio Puentes-Luna, my grandfathers name is Guadalupe Puentes-Ortega son of Juan Puentes and Ortega, who his father was Tito Puentes. I have an understanding that General Toribio Ortega was my grandfathers Gudalupe Puentes-Ortega uncle. Toribio was brother to my grandfathers mother. Which I don’t know her name. I would just like a little more information on my ancestry family tree. Thank You.

  20. jessica January 17, 2013 at 1:51 PM #

    Hola mi nombre es jessica y me estan platicando familiares q nuestro tatatara buelo fue toribio ortega oh que era familiar de mi abuelo lo que me confunde y me ase dudar es que mi abuelo era de zacatecas. Si tenemos familiares en chiuahua, de echo mi mama es nacida en chiuahua pero se mudaron para zacatecas. si alguien me pudiera ayudar estoy tratando de hacer mi arbol familiar.

    • Manuel Trevino October 21, 2013 at 2:21 PM #

      Jessica si me puede de enviar de email a
      Yo tengo el arbol con Toribio. Pueda que le ayude.

      Manuel Trevino

  21. Edelmiro Ponce De Leòn Estrada January 23, 2013 at 6:24 PM #

    Hace tiempo iniciè una investigaciòn sobre la vida del General Toribio Ortega Ramirez y logrè que cada año se re4alice una ceremonia en Cuchillo Parado y en este gobierno van dos veces que el Gobernador visita cada aniversario el pueblo.
    Se construyo pavimento y se plantaron arboles y la plaza quedò muy bonita pero los familiares de Toribio Ortega casi no participan como que no les interesa porque yo quisiera que entre todos comprar la casa en que vivio el general y nadie muestra interes.
    yo le puedo ayudar con su arbol genealogico sin costo porque yo no necesito cobrar para eso mandeme todos los datos que tenga y yo le contestare
    Prof. Edelmiro Ponce de Leon Estrada
    Telefono 6144114655
    Chihuahua Chih.
    Cel. 614 2294653
    yo no hablo inglès.

  22. Linda October 24, 2013 at 9:25 PM #

    I am Linda Phillips grand-daughter of General Toribio Ortega, daughter of Galacion Ortega My mother was Guadalupe Ortega who died in 1984, she gave birth to 7 children three boys and four girls, one boy and one girl died as infants. Living now my younger brother Jose my two older sisters Theresa and Elvira my oldest brother Galacion Ortega Junior died 3 years ago. I am surprised to know that so many people were associated with my grandfather and my father. I am the youngest daughter of Galacion Ortega’s children. Although I knew of my grandfather and saw his name in one of my school history books my father never spoke of his father General Toribio Ortega to me. It almost seemed like a secret he had kept for a long, long time. it would have been great to know all of this from him and not have to read about it 13 yeas after his death. By the way Genero Ortega Villareal and Norma Martinez on this blog are my cousins children of Juanita Ortega my aunt.

    • Manuel Trevino October 29, 2013 at 6:03 PM #

      Martin and Tomas were brothers. martin is the father of Toribio and Tomas my great grandfather. So we are related. I would like to share the family tree with you and share some stories. I located some Muniz, in California that related. Please contact me on my email or call 970-351-1750

  23. Patrick March 28, 2014 at 1:17 PM #

    Susana Martinez, the governor of New Mexico is Toribio Ortega’s Great grand daughter

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