The Dutchover Connection

7 Aug

In 1989 I searched for the offspring of my grandfather’s (Esteban Lujan) nine siblings. I found grandpa’s sister (Paz) after months of perusing through baptism records.  Paz   married Manuel Heredia and they had a daughter (Cruz) who married Manuel Dutchover.

Dutchover? What kind of a name was that?  Aside from the genealogy aspect of the matter, I was very intrigued by the contrived name. As luck would have it, I ran into a micro-film that told the story of Diedrick Dutchover.

Diedrick was only fifteen years old when he witnessed a murder in Belgium.  Fearing testimony from the young lad, the perpetuators put him aboard a cargo ship where he remained for five years!  He finally made his escape in the Gulf of Mexico, and wended his way to the Balmorhea area in Southwest Texas. His companions commented:  “He looks Dutch-all-over”.   Diedrick eventually dropped the “all’ and remained “Dutchover”.

The enterprising young man went from stagecoach driver to rancher.  He eventually married and had several children.  Among them was Manuel, who would marry Grandpa’s niece, Cruz.

Eventually I learned that there were many Dutchovers in the vicinity of Fort Davis. I was later taken there by my primo, Joe Acosta. We were happily surprised to run into Ed Dutchover who was the assistant administrator of the McDonald Observatory.  We spent a pleasant afternoon with him, but he had no knowledge of a Manuel Dutchover.

More detective work put me in touch with Margaret Hartnet Lara.  Her mother was Beatrice Dutchover, the daughter of Cruz and Manuel! She had been right under my nose in Marfa, but having married Bill Hartnet, I did not connect her with the Dutchovers.

The end result is that I learned that as Cruz lay dying during the great Flu epidemic, she was never told that Manuel had died in a Shafter mining accident.  Manuel’s brother (Frank) took care of raising their children, Jose, Refugio, and Beatrice.

Prima Elisa


One Response to “The Dutchover Connection”

  1. Debbie Rede Lopez Pimentel August 7, 2010 at 4:12 PM #

    Elisa, Great Story, A wonderful look into the trials life puts him through and brings him to this country. What a journey. It brings to mind once again the Story of Francisco, his life as a captive of the Apache Indians and finally his escape. The history of our Ancestors the lives they lived, what they went through living in those times. So interesting to read.

    Thank you Elisa.

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