The Memoirs of
Federico José María Ronstadt
Transcription of the Original Text
from the manuscript in the Ronstadt Family archives
at Special Collections, The University of Arizona Library
The same boat that brought us from Guaymas had also brought the lumber for the house in which we were to live and also an American carpenter named John Campbell. Our first day at this mine we had to camp in a brush cabin that my father had had cleaned for us. He ordered the meals be brought over to us from the mess house in the tunnel. The first meal, however, never reached us. My father overheard the cook telling one of the miners (while he was carrying a large box with our dinner) that the family of the new superintendent were too high toned to come to his mess room. My father said something about this to the cook when he handed the box to us. The cook made some disagreeable remark to my father, and my father kicked him out of the place and threw his box containing our dinner after him. That day we had no dinner.
My mother begged my father to let her cook over a place made of a few rocks, so we got some utensils from the store and got along fine for several days while they were building our house.
It was discovered that the lumber was not enough to roof and floor the two large rooms that were up. My mother told my father that she preferred floors and for a roof we had heavy white canvas until the next boat brought some more lumber. For a kitchen and pantry we had a large tunnel. A shed or porch connected these tunnels with the house.
The poor cook who had trouble with my father was killed, with a rock over the side of his head, in a quarrel with a miner only a few weeks after we came to the mine. The miners were principally Yaquis. The provisions were corn, beans, dry meat, lard, sugar, coffee, and dry fruits like dates, figs, raisins, also potatoes, rice, onions, garlic, chili, macaroni, cheese, no milk or butter and very little wheat flour. In season we would get fresh fruits and vegetables from Santa Agueda.
The copper ore was cleaned and sampled carefully. Only that which assayed 40% could be used. After all the hand cleaning and sacking it was taken by mules and burros to the sea coast. The sacks were emptied and the ore piled up until there was enough for a ship load. Sailing barks would come from England around Cape Horn, and would anchor a mile or more from shore. The ore was again sacked, taken aboard the ship in lighters by oarsmen, hoisted on deck and the sacks again emptied into the ship's hold. This would be taken back to be smelted in England.
The arrival of these English barks was a gala day, as they would bring supplies from Europe. I remember one time when my father bought a case of eggs from some sea bird. My mother would use them only for baking. Also several crocks of a yellow butter that most of the time was melted. The only person that would eat this butter was the carpenter John Campbell. He would use it in his coffee as cream.
Our first summer at the mine was found unbearable, and my father took us to Santa Agueda where we had a good adobe house that belonged to one of the wealthy ranchers there, Don Anastacio Villavicencio. They had stored their furniture in one of the rooms and we had all the rest of the house for ourselves. The Villavicencio family were then living at their cattle ranch some distance away. This old house was built at the foot of a hill the top of which was full of pitahayas, a delicious cactus pear the size of an apple. In front we had a valley with several acres covered with a jungle of carrizo (bamboo) and a stream of crystal water running through it.
The village or town was across a creek about a mile away. This little river had running water all the time. The bed of it was really nearly all solid granite. In some places the sides were flat slabs of granite and had water holes deep enough to swim and dive.
One day while wading in this creek I stepped into a hole beyond my depth and would have drowned if an older and larger boy had not come to my rescue. I remember that I would kick the bottom and bob my head out of the water to cough the water out of my lungs and shout. I did this several times. Evidently the bottom was only a few inches below my height. I was about 8 years old at that time.
My father would come to spend Sundays with us, and it was then that he told me the tale of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves." I read "Angel Pitou" by Dumas to my mother while she was confined when her fourth baby was born at this place. I never forgot the impression this book made on me. I have tried to find it to read it again but never succeeded.
We had a lot of chickens here and many were killed by wildcats. These cats would go into our kitchen at night if the door was left open and steal food.
In Lower California at the time everybody had a large knife, and the boys would carry them as soon as they could get them. I had one with me all the time. I cut a tunnel several feet deep through the carrizo jungle and at the end made a sort of room where we would play. My brother Dick was 5 years old by that time.
We also found an old tunnel in the side of the hill back of the house with a chest of rusty tools. At another time we broke into the rooms where the owners of the house had their furniture stored and found some two or three silver dimes on the floor. We explored for more treasure several times when my mother was not around but never found any more.
We certainly enjoyed our stay in Santa Agueda. We had our own pool of crystal water in a cabin cut out of the carrizo jungle. Here we would play and started to learn to swim. The cook left us, and my mother happened to be in bed with a bad cold and fever. I had to do the cooking under her instructions until my father came from the mine at the end of the week and hired another cook.
When we left Santa Agueda my father had resigned as Supt. of "La Ley" and acquired the "El Limbo" mine to work it for himself. Here we found that he had built a good house with 3 large rooms and a porch. He made the walls of stone laid in mud. The roof was thatch of tule and the floors petate mats.
When we started from Santa Agueda we had our furniture loaded on pack mules. The table with its four legs sticking up was all broken up when the mule got scared and ran with it under some of the branches.
At the Limbo Mine we lived through the winter months of 1877. My father had his assay office in the house and I used to help him to do the grinding. I also knew how to clean ore and would gather the good pieces that the miners would throw over the dump until I had a ton of clean ore. My father would give me sacks and pay me twelve pesos for it.
I had a small saddle mule and would ride with my father to the other mines. A German named Pablo Dato who wore side whiskers was running La Providencia, Bon Plan and Cerro Verde, all within 6 to 8 miles from our mine. A German company was working a marble quarry on the coast. The manager's name was Carlos Eisman. All the Germans would visit my father often and had good times. Most of their conversation, however, was in German and we could not understand it.
My father was the justice of the peace, "juez local," for the group of mines and every week the mine policeman, a very tall man named Justo Chavez, would bring someone for trial. I only remember one murder. A boy about 19 who worked for us stoned a man to death from fear that this man would kill him. It was a sad affair, not so much on account of the dead man, as he was a bully who had killed several people, but because of the poor boy who had to be sent to Mulege for trial accused of murder. Mulege was the county seat (cabecera de distrito).
We were sent to Mulege to attend school the summer of 1878. My mother sent me to inquire about this boy and I found him in a tunnel cut out of the granite. He was locked in there, with the same clothes he had on when he killed the man, and was half starved. My mother sent him some of father's old clothes and several times she would send me with food for him.
The house where we lived in Mulege, while located in one of the main streets, had its back yard facing the Estero, a river that ran along one side of the town to the sea. Our next door neighbor had a large canoe, which he used for fishing, tied to his back porch. We had a dandy swimming hole in our back yard surrounded on three sides by a heavy growth of tule.
At Mulege I attended a private school conducted by Don Jesus Padilla assisted by his son Ismael and his oldest daughter Erlinda. Brother Dick was now about six years old and had to go to school. He had to be carried by myself and another boy by force as if going to jail.
We soon became acquainted with many of the Mulege families. The Prefecto, Don Pablo Poza, acted as godfather when our baby brother Joe was baptized.
Mulege had date palm groves and large groves of olives, particularly across the river. For 6 /4 cents (a medio) we could get a large soup plate full and piled high with delicious olives pickled in brine. Dates and other fruits were also very cheap.
Of our stay in Mulege some episodes remain clear in my mind. The first happened to me on a Sunday when I crossed to the other side of the river over a narrow foot bridge at the lower end of the town to see the date palm groves. I walked through these groves towards the sea for a mile or more. I had gathered a small basket full of dates as I went along. The tide had gone down in the late afternoon; and as it appeared to me that the water in the river was only a few inches deep, I decided to wade across it to the other side where I could see the road from the port to the town and better walking than returning to the bridge a mile away through the heavy growth. I took off my shoes, rolled up my trousers and started across. For a hundred yards or so the water was only to my knees, but all of a sudden I stepped into the channel, deeper than my height. Fortunately, this channel was not very wide and I soon reached the other side where I could walk on the bottom with my head out of the water. My shoes were safely tied to my belt but the basket of dates was gone. It was not yet dark when I had to walk through the town to reach home, while most of the neighbors were sitting outside. My humiliation may be surmised.
The next thing was when I went to the port to meet my father who was coming from the mine on a sailing schooner that had weathered a storm and came into port with both masts broken off and all the rigging banged up on deck. Hearing my father tell about how they expected to be lost all through the night with the ship out of control in the storm made a never to be forgotten impression on me.
At another time one of the Mexia boys who had fishing boats invited me to a night of fishing with a large net. We pulled out a boat full of fish about two o'clock in the morning and many strange sea animals, one that they called Guitarra on account of its shape that would give us an electric shock if touched with our bare feet.
My half sister Chonita was married at Mulege to Carmelo Mexia, a member of one of the leading families of the town. I remember the wedding feast and that a mining engineer, who was married to one of the Mexia girls, Don Manuel Tinoco, was a good pianist. He had organized a quartet that sang parts of the opera Martha that day.
Soon after Chonita's wedding we returned to my father's mine. He had failed to find ore of the required 40% in sufficient quantities to make it pay and had to discontinue operations.
Before we left Mulege I had a chance to see how the pearl fishers handled the business at the time. The Fierro family had several small ships engaged in this industry. They would claim a portion of sea water and land along the coast in the same manner that a gold claim was filed on land for their exclusive exploitation. They had divers with diving suits. The shells taken out by these divers would all be sent to Mulege to be opened later for pearls, but they also had a number of men who dived in shallow water with only a stout knife and took out three or four shells at every dive, whatever they could find and take in their hands. These fellows would dive in water 20 feed deep and deeper. At the end of the day their little mound of shells would be divided, half of them for the diver, and half for the owner of the field or camp. These shells would be opened on the spot. The divers' shells would sometimes have valuable pearls which they would sell to the camp owner or take with them to the towns for a better price. Many of these poor fellows would be attacked by sharks and sometimes killed.
The Lower California gulf coast has produced fine pearls from the time of the conquistadors to the present day.
When we returned to the mine "el Limbo" we again had no school and my time was taken in helping my father in the assay office and walking over the hills. Sometimes I would ride my father's saddle mule or one of my own burros. I had two, one gray and one brown. The brown one was the best one, a pacer and very easy to ride. On account of the roughness of the country, horses were used very little. I would amuse myself also by digging tunnels on the hillside and building stone parapets (trincheras) as those used by the Indians.
When the work in the mine was stopped, my father took four of his best men and ten or twelve good mules for riding and for carrying equipment and supplies and started on a prospecting expedition going north over trails all the way to Ensenada near San Diego. This trip took him nearly a whole year. He took along a quantity of dry dates for mule fodder. These were free for the gathering at the town of San Ignacio where date palms grow wild in such profusion that they have to be thinned down to get the fruit.
The family remained at the mine while my father took this trip and we did not hear from him for many months until he reached the mine El Real del Castillo near Ensenada. His first letter to my mother told about how they traveled over mountains where they had to build their own trails as they went along and would take weeks to make a 100 miles without any sign of water. They had to carry water on mule backs for the men and the mules.
I never forget the feeling of desolation we had at home the evening we saw my father and his party ride away from the mine. We retired early after saying our evening prayers with heavy hearts. Before I fell asleep I heard the steps of my father's saddle mule coming towards the house. He had forgotten his compass and had to come back after it.
My mother had a young Yaqui servant to do the outside work, cut firewood for us, look after the pack burros that we had for hauling water from a well four miles away and do other chores. An old Mexican woman, Dona Reyes, who had kept a boarding place for the miners while the mine was active, was the only person remaining at the mine near us. She had a boy about 7 years old and two daughters, Cuca, about 12 years, and Bersabe, about 10. These girls would help my mother with the housework. Dona Reyes continued to run an eating place for men from "Cerro Verde," a neighboring mine about three miles away.
My mother had some cash for living expenses. We would get provisions from the store of La Providencia about nine miles away on the other side of the mountain. I would always go along with Juan, the Yaqui boy, and help him draw the water, fill the 10 gallon barrels with a funnel, cut wood and also bring "dipna," a very good feed for mules and cattle, growing all over the hills in that country. It is a green tree similar to our palo verde excepting that the branches grow thin and straight like broom corn. It is very succulent and sweet. The stock eat even the bark of these trees and get fat on it.
About twice a month we would ride to Santa Agueda, nine miles over the mts., to get fresh vegetables and fruit such as we could get. One day I made this trip alone when Juan was away and on my return I told my mother that I could also get the water by helping the water men who also came from the other mines to get their water from the same well. I tried it the first time without Juan. While the water men would draw the water with a hand windlass in 10 gallon buckets from the 100 foot open well and fill the water troughs, I would fill their 10 gallon barrels, sometimes 50 or more, with a can and funnel to get 20 gallons of water to fill my own.
They would help me load my two 10 gallon kegs on my burro and the rest was easy. I only had to drive my pack burro and ride the other one home.
Unloading the water at home was easy. One of the girls would hold one of the 10 gallon kegs on the right side of the aparejo (pack saddle), partly held by the X rope while I would let the left side keg slide down to the ground. I also tried bringing a burro load of firewood and my mother and I decided that Juan was not needed, particularly as he had been going away to visit friends at the other mines and staying away for one or two days at a time.
From that time on I was a person of responsibilities. I had to keep up the water supply, and the firewood, and look after the burros. Sometimes I would hobble them and let them range in the hills until I found that they would never go far from the house. Then I would let them loose without hobbles. I learned to track them when I wanted to bring them home. Sometimes I would lose the tracks and have to walk for hours before finding them. However, this was less work than to have to bring a load of dipna for them every day to keep them in the corral.
We had a lot of English Red chickens of the fighting breed. A friend of ours loaned us a very fine thoroughbred rooster. We kept it for some time and when my mother thought we should return it she sent me with it and a note of thanks. The owner of this rooster lived about ten miles away from us. I was given the directions for reaching this mine. I had to climb to the top of the mountain to the west of us, travel south along the top for a few miles until the trail would go down the canyon on the other side and then a short distance up this canyon where this mine was supposed to be. I saddled one of my burros, took the rooster in my left arm, and started on my journey. I followed the trail along the top of this mountain until it started to get dark. I could not find the trail going down to the bottom of the canyon on the west so I decided to go down anyway, thinking that I would find the trail on the bottom. I started my burro down the side and I finally reached the bottom, part of the time crawling and sometimes sliding. The mountain burros in that part of the country are almost like goats to negotiate the rocks. I traveled along the bottom of the canyon for some distance without finding any trail or signs of travel until it was so dark I could not see the ground. I realized the futility of going farther and decided to return. By that time the rooster that must have actually weighed 4 or 5 pounds felt like half a ton on my arm. I tried to find a place on the side of the canyon where my burro could climb back to the trail I had left on top, but the more I looked the steeper and rougher the side of the mountain appeared. I could only continue going down along the bottom which, for my good fortune, happened to be easy to travel. After many hours I came to the sea shore and the well-traveled road to Sta. Maria, another mine that I knew. I was then about 15 miles from our mine but I knew how to reach home.
I had to travel east along the coast until I could turn the point of the mountain and then turn south along the other canyon where our mine was about eight miles from the coast.
I must have arrived home just before dawn. My poor mother had sent Dona Reyes' boy to "Cerro Verde" to get two men to send them to look for me. Fortunately, they had not started when I came home with my burro pretty well tired out and my left arm nearly paralyzed from holding the rooster.
My mother had another bad scare when I failed to return one evening. This time she knew I had gone only a short distance to get one of the burros and she walked with brother Dick (7 years old) along the trail and met me lying on the bareback of the burro walking towards the house. I only remember that while riding the burro bareback it stumbled and I fell hitting a rock with my left hip. I must have found the burro near me when I got up and climbed on its back. I was lame for a long time from this fall.
Another time, returning from Santa Agueda where I had been sent for vegetables, I had Dick riding with me on one of the burros. We started from Santa Agueda in the middle of the afternoon, expecting to get home before dark, but our burro got sick and refused to go when we were about half way. I tried to make it walk ahead of us, tried to lead it also, but she would not budge. She laid down groaning and I had to take the saddle off and leave the burro there thinking it was going to die. I carried the saddle on my back and led Dick by the hand over the trail which I could hardly see. Poor Dick was scared and crying all the way. We got home about midnight. Next morning I borrowed the mule from Don Justo Chavez, the policeman, who happened to be at our mine that morning. I went back to see what had happened to my burro. I only found a wet spot and the signs where coyotes had taken what must have been a prematurely born burro baby. The mother went back to Sta. Agueda and we brought her back a few weeks later.
Dona Reyes knew that my mother had a few dollars in the house and persuaded her to make small loans to some of the Cerro Verde miners who were boarding at her place. The rates were one bit (12 1/2 cents) on the dollar per week. That was the prevailing rate and it was not long before my mother was making money. Dona Reyes would make the loans and collect the interest and principle on paydays for my mother. Dona Reyes probably collected commissions also because her eating house business prospered. Unbeknown to my mother she was also selling liquor. My mother discovered this one day when in a free for all fight at Cerro Verde one of Dona Reyes' boarders was seriously stabbed and Dona Reyes and her children came running to our house begging my mother to let them hide a few bottles of mescal, fearing that the judge from Cerro Verde might trace the liquor to her house and have it searched. The sale of liquor was prohibited in all the mines of that district. She told my mother with tears in her eyes: "Please let me hide these bottles in your kitchen. They would never think of coming here for them and if they find them at my home they will ruin me." My mother took pity on her, but that was the end of Dona Reyes' liquor business. She told us that from a quart of mescal that cost her $1.00 she would serve 20 drinks at a quarter each.
One 24th of June, San Juan's Day, I was sent to Santa Agueda after vegetables. San Juan is celebrated by the Mexicans and Yaquis and at Santa Agueda on that day a lot of miners had gathered to have a good time, principally by drinking mescal. About 3 p.m. the hilarity was at fever heat and quarrels were starting. I was standing by the side of a young man getting ready to start for home when a shot rang out and the fellow at my side doubled up pressing his hands against his stomach. The bullet had plowed across his stomach missing his intestines by a half inch. This was the signal for a general riot. Don Justo Chavez, the policeman, was on hand and mounted on his mule charged the crowd single handed, firing his pistol now and then. I did not stay to see the end. This time I was riding a good mule and I took to the road at a gallop.
I thought the Yaquis would cut Don Justo to pieces, as they all had knives, but in some way his mule brought him out of the mob unhurt. On the road home I saw one man lying by the side of the road moaning and cursing. We heard later that this man had had his stomach slashed and died. Several others were cut badly.
My trips to Sta. Agueda were many. I used to walk sometimes following a short cut over the mountain. One time I became so thirsty I could not hold enough water to quench my thirst when I finally reached the water creek near Sta. Agueda. I am sure that, if I ever go to that country, I can locate all my old landmarks. Near our mine, El Limbo, was an overhanging ledge perhaps a 100 feet high like a leaning wall along a dry sandy wash. We used to talk to it and get a perfect response back from the echo. We called this wall El Cantil (steep rock).
The miners and ranchers of Lower California would tell us tales of ghosts and witches that could take the form of cats and talk, and tell these stories so sincerely that it was difficult for us to doubt their veracity. They believed them themselves. They also told us of haunted mines where the spirits of miners killed in them would come out after dark. I used to pass an abandoned mine when going after water. One night I imagined I could hear the steps following me and started to run. The faster I ran the louder the steps following me. I surely had a bad scare.
My mother was called to Mulege while our half sister Chonita was ill. The wife of Don Justo Chavez was left with Dick and me at home to take care of us. My little sister Emilia and the baby Joe went with my mother. From time to time I would go to the beach hoping to see some sail coming from Mulege with my mother on board.
While Don Justo was spending a few days with us, he sent me on his mule with a message to the well man about two miles from the sea coast. Knowing how I would go to the coast at every chance he warned me not to do it this time. When I found myself only two miles from it I decided to go, thinking Don Justo would never know it. However, to save time I took a short cut through a salt water marsh that looked dry on top; but, when the mule stepped into it its legs sank right down to its knees and I had a hard time getting out of it. The mud was like molasses and it stuck to the mule's legs clear up to its belly.
You may imagine how Don Justo felt when I returned with his mule in that condition. I expected a terrible whipping but he did not go that far.
A few days after that my mother returned and did not again leave us.
While waiting for my father to return we would expend our evenings listening to stories that my mother would tell us and learning simple songs. I always had a good ear for music and from the time I was four or five years old I could learn tunes and knew a number of songs that my mother would ask me to sing. Many of those old songs were sad and sentimental. A few were folly and comical. I still remember some of them but seldom try to sing them. They bring memories that usually choke my voice.
My trips to Santa Agueda continued regularly. During the pitahaya season I would take one of my burros to Sta. Agueda with a pair of argenas (large leather bags). I would have a long bamboo pole with a needle point on the end and a chisel-like palette back of this point four inches lower. The pitahaya is a delicious cactus fruit the size of an apple. In Lower California in the southern part several kinds of pitahayas grow in profusion. Some have a deep red heart; others are yellow and others white.
A man came to the mine one day and traded with my mother for a lot of dry cowhides that remained from the time the mine was operating,. He gave us fifty pounds of sun dried dates for each hide and the dates came already packed in surrones (hide bags). So we had more dates than we would use in a long time.
At last my father came back by water. He had a position as superintendent at the Real del Castillo mines, not far south of San Diego. He had gone to San Francisco to have some dental work done and from there by steamer to La Paz, Lower California; from La Paz to Mulege, and from Mulege to the beach near our mine in a small sail boat.
It was certainly a great day when he arrived home after being away from us for over a year. He brought me a tin flute and showed me how to play the scale on it.
While stopping at La Paz he met an old friend, Mr. Rabago, who had a flat bottom schooner shipping cattle across the Gulf from Sinaloa. The schooner had a capacity for 50 head and it was a good business to buy the cattle in Sinaloa at a very low price and sell them at La Paz at a good price. Mr. Rabago induced my father to mail his resignation to El Real del Castillo mines and bring his family to La Paz, a nice little city with an ideal climate and good schools, and organize a wholesale meat business in partnership with Rabago. My father saw a good field there for this business and with Rabago's capital he decided that it would pay him to go into it.
When he came home to us he told my mother that we would have to be in Mulege to take the next steamer for La Paz. We had a considerable amount of mining tools like wheelbarrows, crow bars, drills, sledges, shovels, picks, etc. Also the house furniture, none of which could be sold readily. The only boat available was an open fishing boat with two men to man it, a single mast and sail. We could only take our trunks with such things as we could pack in them and some bedding. Everything else was left with Dona Reyes at the mine. We loaded our things on pack mules to take them to the coast.
We all piled into this sail open boat and made sail towards Mulege 40 miles away. We had a strong wind behind us. One of the men did nothing but bail water from the bottom of the boat and in about three hours we were landing at Mulege. It was a rough little sea voyage that made my mother deathly sick.
The trip on this steamer was very enjoyable for us boys and my father. La Paz is a very picturesque little city. We went to Mr. Rabago's home and found that he had left with his schooner for Sinaloa after a load of cattle. My father rented a house across the street from the public school. It had no furniture so we had to camp making the beds on the floor.
When my mother went to prepare the first meal for us we discovered that there were no knives nor forks. She had packed a few dishes in the trunks and some pans and pots, but forgot the knives and forks. I cleaned some fish for her with the pieces of glass from a broken bottle. In a couple of days my father had a few things brought to the house, a table, some benches, two or three chairs, some canvas folding cots, and we got along better. His funds were very limited and the second day in La Paz another friend that he met told him that Rabago was very unreliable and that he seldom kept his word.
My father waited to hear from Rabago but he never came back from Sinaloa while we were in La Paz. He would send an occasional boat load of cattle to one of the butchers but he never would come himself. So my father found himself stranded in a strange town with his family and no funds.
He was too proud to write to the Real del Castillo Mining Co. for the position he had resigned, and I think that he felt he had made a serious mistake by depending on a verbal agreement instead of making Mr. Rabago sign a good contract with him before changing his plans and giving up his position.
My father, like many educated Germans, was a linguist. His friend knew that and suggested that he could give private lessons in English and French to a number of men who he knew would be interested. So my father did that very thing in La Paz for over a year to make a living.
A Mr. Felix Gibert, who owned a number of ships and other valuable properties, wanted to install a pumping station at an orchard he had near the city and lay a pipe line to the port to sell water to the ships. The people of La Paz, like in many other Mexican towns, obtained their water supply from private wells, many of them on the main streets. These were open wells only a few feet to water and anyone could take his own bucket with ten or fifteen feet of rope to draw his water from these public wells. The rich families had windmills, but these were very few.
Most of them used a long beam hung in the middle from a cross bar over two posts near the well. The beam had a bucket hanging by a rope on the end over the well and a rock or some other counterweight on the other end. To draw the water one would force the rope end with the bucket into the well and when the bucket filled with water the counterbalance on the other end of the pole lever would lift the water out.
Don Felix Gibert heard that my father was an engineer and knew something about machinery. He asked him to install his water plant; also to move some forty or fifty good size orange trees and transplant them in this orchard where they could be irrigated with the power pump. I remember this work very well. The engine was a two cylinder, hot air type, and they used brazil nuts (coquitos) for fuel.
For each orange tree they dug a hole 10 feet in diameter and four or five feet deep. Many of the trees were in bloom and had oranges the same year.
After my father finished this work for Don Felix Gibert he went with a two masted schooner "El Salvatierra" to Ahome, Sinaloa, to purchase a shipload of wheat for Mr. Gibert. In the meantime, he took care of several students who were taking private lessons in English and French.
I was sent with my brother, Dick, to the public school across the street from our home. The teacher was a retired priest, Padre Pedroza, said to be a very fine teacher. We had the usual trouble of all newcomers with the tomboys until we established ourselves. A good many of my own difficulties were while trying to defend my younger brother, Dick, who was always getting himself into quarrels.
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Last updated 11 August 1997