My mission to locate descendants of my grandfather’s siblings began in Sierra Blanca, Texas. Marcos Lujan, the eldest child of Hilario Lujan and Victorina Acosta, had settled there shortly before 1920.
All I found was a house with a sign that read Manuel Lujan. No one was home.
Eventually, I did connect with Manuel and some primos and primas from this branch. Now living in El Paso, they were the most fun and full of stories about life in Sierra Blanca. “Papa Marcos”, they told, was a successful entrepreneur there – a master carpenter who helped build the Palace Hotel. He and his sons built the Catholic church that stands abandoned today. Manuel and the family purchased the church in order to save it from being razed.
There is a lot of history in Sierra Blanca. A young General Patton patrolled the area after graduating from West Point. Cattle, that the infamous Chico Cano stole from cattle baron “Luis Terrazas”, were rounded up in Sierra Blanca’s “Texas and Pacific Stockyards” and taken away by the Love brothers, whom Patton doggedly pursued.
As one travels east on the highway, a cross can be seen on a hill to the left. My primos told how their father, “Angel”, and Marcos Jr. fashioned the cross out of old railroad ties. On the day they carried the painted heavy sections up the hill and set it up, there was a great celebration in Sierra Blanca.
At the time I last visited primo Manuel Lujan, he was Commissioner and was fighting plans to dump New York’s waste and sewage in Sierra Blanca. Sadly, today all one has to do is go online to read about the horrible stench and health problems that abound in and around that quaint, historical little town.