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
About that time my brother-in-law J. M. Zepeda was expecting to receive several thousand dollars from a mine that Mr. L. H. Manning was selling. I had told Zepeda about my conversations with Andres Rebeil and how glad I was not to have obligated myself to a partnership of a doubtful success. He got interested right away and asked me if I would care to take him in on some similar proposition as the one I had planned for Rebeil. I discussed the idea with my friend Rufino Velez and thought out a plan as follows:
Since I already had the shop and a satisfactory going business, we would not involve that. I had room in the north side of the shop building fronting on Scott St. and at the corner of the alley for a 30 foot front store to build a store 30x80 two story and basement where a stock of wagons, vehicles of all kinds and farm implements could be stored, displayed and sold. To form a corporation between J. M. Zepeda, my brother Pepe, and myself -- Zepeda to furnish $10,000, Pepe to clerk at a salary and a percentage of the profits, and myself to manage it with no salary at 30% of the profits at the end of the year. I would lease the store building for $75.00 per month. In other words, Zepeda would put in his $10,000 against my work. I would furnish the store building at $75.00 per month rental, but would draw no salary for my services. Pepe would draw a nominal salary of $60.00 per month. At the end of the year the net profit, if any, would be divided 20% to Pepe, 30% to me, and 50% to Zepeda after leaving in the business 10% as a reserve to add to the capital.
Example: we made $3000 net profit. We would take $300 for added capital, would pay Zepeda 50% of the remaining $2700, $1350, pay me $810 and pay Pepe $540. The added capital would then be owned by the three of us in the same proportion - 50, 30, and 20. This was my set up of which we had no definite written agreement. Zepeda was willing to put up the cash against my work and accept whatever details I would work up. Rufino loaned me $3000 to put up the store building on my lot and I gave the job to Quintus Monier to go ahead on a plan that we had ready. Zepeda expected to have the money ready within two months but was not sure of it. He suggested a conference with Mr. Manning in January. On Mr. Manning's promise I decided to go to Los Angeles to see what agencies of wagons, other vehicles, and farm implements I could secure. I was anxious to start early to take advantage of the spring trade, the best of the year, as well as to discourage another merchant who wanted to get in to this same line. At that time Tucson had only one merchant in this line of business, F. J. Villaescusa. He had a monopoly and there was room for one more agency.
In Los Angeles I had a very good friend, George Scovel, in the wagon material business. He was a blacksmith like myself who had gradually developed a large business selling wagon materials all over California and Arizona. I knew George well and could depend on his help. He took me and recommended me to all the jobbers in Los Angeles. After he was through he told me that he thought Hawley King would be the best house to deal with. I had seen the lines that they all had and decided that Baker and Hamilton had what I wanted. Bain wagons, Deal light wagons and buggies, Benicia Road wagons and plows, Buckeye mowers, Tiger rakes, Lightning hay balers, etc. I told George Scovel that and he told me to see Joe Lynch, the manager, but to keep in mind that the real man with Baker Hamilton was a big man named Bill Demery who was only a salesman but dominated Lynch. Demery was a young Irishman about 26 years old, weighed 250 pounds, and was without question the producer for Baker and Hamilton. He had ability, a thorough knowledge of his business and a most wonderful personality. When I spoke to Mr. Lynch, who by the way was a fine gentleman, he told me that they had an agent in Tucson and the lines that I wanted would not be available for the current year. Demery was listening and by the time I had explained to Lynch what my plans were and why I preferred his lines and started to get up to go, Demery blurted out, "Take the agencies away from Villaescusa. He does not handle them right and is nothing but trouble." The result was that I got what I wanted and purchased an initial order of a mixed carload of Deal wagons, buggies and implements amounting to $4000. I told Mr. Lynch that I would pay for it when it was shipped about March l5.
On my way back home, thinking about the new business on the train, it occurred to me that my proposition was not going to be as clear and simple as I would like. Holding my own shop business independent, a conflict could occur since I would make and sell wagons in competition to the store. True, of different class and higher cost, but to do similar service. By the time I arrived home I had a different plan that I thought would simplify the situation -- to sell my shop business, to a corporation organized by myself, J. M. Zepeda and J. M. Ronstadt -- take stock for the value of my shop business, and let Zepeda buy his own stock with cash. I made a rough appraisal of my business as $6000. I did not then realize the importance of the controlling interest and allowed Zepeda to buy enough stock to give him over 50% of the stock. As a matter of fact, my appraisal of my own shop business was too low. I had over $1500 in good accounts receivable, $3500 in staple materials and jobs in course of construction, and tools and machinery worth at least $3000. I had lumped all at $6000, a sad mistake because it was a deal with my own relatives. The next mistake was to agree to take out only $100 per month as salary for my management. So the corporation was organized for $12000 paid up capital, $6500 for Zepeda and $5500 for me. Pepe was to have some of the Zepeda stock later on some deal between them for three hundred dollars that were to come to Pepe later out of some sale of supplies at the Mexican mine. The certificates of stock had been made in Pepe's name but endorsed to Zepeda.
The mine was sold and the money for the Zepeda stock came in by the time the Baker and Hamilton carload of goods arrived. My friend Rufino was down with a bad case of pneumonia. I employed Ben Heney, an expert accountant, to open and start a set of books for the new corporation. When Rufino recovered he took over the books following the Heney system and only charged $50.00 per month. Rufino would also furnish us ready cash to pay for merchandise when our own cash balance was not enough to take the cash discounts.
We increased our sales a lot by using Rufino's capital to buy goods in larger quantities at better prices and paying cash established for our little corporation a better credit rating. Rufino would charge us no interest if he had to wait longer than the 60 to 90 days on invoices he would make the cash discounts which were usually 2% on 60 day invoices and 5% on 4 to 6 months bills. We usually had from 10 to 15 thousand of Rufino's capital in merchandise.
J. M. Zepeda stayed around the store some of the time since he had no other occupation. We allowed him $30.00 per month as a courtesy fee for being a director on the board. The board had only two or three meetings during the year for matters of routine.
During the first year we had a chance to buy a carload of bar iron and steel at 2 1/2 cents per pound base. While the car was in transit the price advanced to 4 cents. We made close to $1000 on this transaction. We also had a chance to buy a carload of hardwood wagon material from the Scovel Iron Co. of Los Angeles. They had decided to move their store to San Francisco and since the San Francisco trade required heavier and better grade stock, they offered a large part of their stock at a 50% cut before moving it to San Francisco. George Scovel, the manager and my own friend, allowed me to select a full carload of items that we were using in the shop all the time, to us staple material. We made a large saving on this car also, and Rufino's financial assistance came in handy.
At the end of the year when we took inventory and made a profit and loss statement, the profit was very good indeed. I found my personal account overdrawn over $300. I had been drawing a salary of only $100 per month and it did not cover my living expenses. Before we had our board of directors meeting I spoke to Zepeda about this small salary that I had agreed to take to begin with the first year and proposed that it should be increased to at least $125 per month for the second year. He objected to that saying that we should not add any more expenses until the business had a chance to grow.
He could not understand the report and did not appreciate that the business had not only my services for much less than I could have earned working for someone else but I was also furnishing the shop and store buildings for a nominal rental of $75 per month. The property had cost me including the lot over $8000 and had a ready market value of $12000. Zepeda also demanded that I should discharge my friend Rufino Velez, claiming that he was making too much money and that I could keep the books myself or hire it done for less than $50 per month. I suggested to him that he would take the financial statement and profit and loss report for the year's operations to some of his business friends who could explain it to him and advise him. He did show them to Leo Goldschmidt and Leo objected to the inventory value of the stock of iron which we had taken at four cents per pound base. He said that since we had bought it several months before at a lower price the inventory should have shown the cost value in place of the actual market value. The next thing Zepeda did was to transfer one share of his stock to a friend. This friend came in to my office to tell me that he had purchased this share of stock and wanted the proper entry made in the stock book. When Zepeda came in I asked him about this and he said that he wanted to be elected president at the annual meeting and while he had the controlling stock his friend Leo Goldschmidt had advised him to have some stock transferred to some one who could propose his name at the meeting for President. I realized that it would be impossible to continue working under such conditions and told Zepeda that I could not go on. I offered to sell my interest to him at what I had put into the corporation plus 12% or buy his interest on the same basis. He refused either to buy or sell. He thought that since he owned over 50% of the stock he could impose his ideas. When I failed to convince him I told him that I would have to resign the management and get out. He said that he would enjoin me from starting any business of my own, etc. Rufino had offered to help me if Zepeda would sell and I tried one more plan as a last resort. I knew that Zepeda had great faith in General Manning who had handled his mines and made it possible for him to get several thousand dollars. I knew enough about Mr. Manning to believe that he had sound business sense and proposed to Zepeda that we should submit our problem to Mr. Manning, let him check it and decide what should be done. Zepeda then offered to sell his interest to me if I would pay him a profit of 25%. This I refused. He finally agreed to let Mr. Manning advise him. Mr. Manning employed Ben Heney to check the business and make an audit and report. Heney took several days to do this carefully and Mr. Manning decided that the business should pay me $600 more for my year's work, that the accounts receivable should be discounted 25% on general principle, and that since the net profits for the year showed to be l8% after that adjustment, Zepeda should sell his interest on that basis and consider himself very fortunate. Buying the business himself at any price would be a terrible mistake for the simple reason that he knew nothing about it and would make a dismal failure. Manning justified his recommendation allowing me $150 per month in place of $100 which I had been drawing saying that the magnificent result obtained by my management was worth much more.
This settled the controversy between Zepeda and myself. I paid him $5000 in cash and gave a year's note secured with a mortgage on my buildings, my home, and some vacant lots that I had for the balance, paying 8% interest on the mortgage. Zepeda and his family always felt that I had taken advantage of him, but a few of my business friends who knew the details thought that I was more than fair with him. I had to buy also the stock that Pepe was supposed to own since it was held by Zepeda. After I paid Zepeda for his interest I found that the Ronstadt-Zepeda corporation owed about $12000 to manufacturers and jobbers including $5000 that we had borrowed from the Consolidated National Bank on my personal note. The mortgage I owed Zepeda for $5000 secured by my real estate was not included. What I owed Rufino for loans to me was about $5000 which I had borrowed from him to pay for the lot and the building was carried by Rufino in a memorandum without a scratch of a pen from me. Therefore, the combined obligations of the corporation and my personal debts totaled about $22,000.
About that time W. C. Greene [see note 1] of Cananea fame had started to build a R.R. from Naco to Cananea, approximately 40 miles, after failing to interest the Southern Pacific R.R. Co. in his project. The grading was done by mule teams, wagons, and scrapers. Bill Demery called on his regular visit and told me that there was going to be a shortage of wagons for the following year and also an advance of 10% on the prices. He estimated that I would have a demand for at least 100 wagons for the Naco-Cananea R.R., and advised me to order four carloads before the advance saying that the Bain Wagon Company would accept the order if received before December 31, and I could get the wagons shipped one carload at a time as needed. Of course I was glad to sign the order, but when it reached the factory they refused to accept it unless I would take shipment at their convenience. Demery thought I would be safe in that believing that the factory would not be able to make early shipments. I consented and prayed for delay. Between January 15 and March 1, all four carloads of wagons were shipped. The freight alone amounted to $3000 and the Baker and Hamilton invoices totaled over $10,000. Since most of 100 wagons were heavy, I had to hire barns and old adobe houses, where I could find them, to store the wagons safely where they could be insured.
The corporation as I said before had only $12000 capital authorized and its total debt limited to two-thirds of its capital stock. In other words we could only owe $8000 legally. No one had thought of that until Mr. Horace Coffin, Baker and Hamilton's credit man in the San Francisco home office received from the Los Angeles branch the invoices for the four carloads of Bain wagons. He called Joe Lynch and told him to come to see about this right away. Lynch arrived unannounced. He had called on Villaescusa first to adjust some matter pending connected with the cancellation of the Bain wagon agency that had been turned over to me. Villaescusa had resented that very bitterly and had resorted to various mean tricks to hurt our sales. When he saw Mr. Lynch here, he made up his mind that Lynch had come to Tucson to close my business. One of our employees saw him passing the corner across the street hoping, no doubt, to see our shop doors closed.
When Mr. Lynch came to the store he told me how Mr. Coffin had almost fainted when he had read that our legal credit limit was only $8000 and our debt to them was over $12,000. I showed Lynch the stored wagons and also the sales record and the last financial statement. He checked it with our books and found that it was much better than he had any idea. We were selling an average of $3500 per month with a total overhead of $350. Our repair shop was producing a net profit more than enough to pay all our cost of doing business.
He proposed to cancel the corporation since I was the sole owner of the entire capital and operate the business as an individual. I saw the advantage of his suggestion and told him that I would proceed to do that at once. To cancel a corporation the first requisite is that it must pay all its obligations. This was not easy to do, but by giving all the creditors my personal notes the thing was done. Again my business friends took a chance on my capacity for working to pay out. After this the firm's name was F. Ronstadt. Pepe and Rufino remained with me. Baker and Hamilton took 12 notes for $1,000 each payable over a period of 18 months. We had a rush demand as Demery had predicted and sold all our Bain wagons in a few months. I paid the Baker and Hamilton notes before they were due. All were cleaned up in less than 12 months. This made a hit with Mr. Wakefield Baker, the President and Manager of the House, and that opened the way for many favors, one of which was a $1,000 credit memorandum on a contract that I had not expected. For years after that I was numbered among the select customers of Baker and Hamilton. Mr. Baker was a real friend and proved it several times later on several occasions.
The business continued to grow and the next problem was to get a larger place. I bought from the City a lot 100 x 120 feet on the corner of Broadway and Sixth Avenue. The Military Plaza had been subdivided, creating the park and sites for the Carnegie Library and the Armory. Lots were to be sold at public auction. A controversy developed by a question whether the municipality actually owned the military plaza. Dr. George Martin filed a homestead location on the plaza, built a lumber shack at the present site of the Santa Rita Hotel, moved into it and dared the city to dispossess him. Others followed the idea of Dr. Martin overnight at different points in the plaza. In the meantime the matter was taken to the courts and payments on my lot purchase were suspended until the courts would decide the city's legal right to sell them. While waiting for this I built a corrugated warehouse on the rear of the lot and made good use of it.
About this time, 1897, Mr. W. A. Dalton, returned from Sonora where his minimg venture had collapsed. His family was in California. He had bought a home in Los Angeles with the idea of living there permanently, but after losing about $20,000 in his last mining deal, he decided to try no more. He said that he would prefer to stay in Tucson if he could find a permanent position. While he did not ask me for a place, I surmised that he would take one if it was offered. I was glad to offer it to him and he appeared happy to accept it. He went to Los Angeles to dispose of his home and bring his family back to Tucson.
My mother and myself had been much concerned about Pepe's interest in a girl that we did not like for a relative-in-law. I could not help thinking that when Mr. Dalton's family would return to Tucson, Pepe would be attracted by one of the Dalton girls, all of whom we admired very much, and I personally knew them to be not only beautiful and intelligent but of excellent breeding and background.
The very day when Mr. Dalton's family came from Los Angeles, Pepe brought Hortense and Lupe to the office and the store to show them where and how we were working. I am sure that the contrast between the girl in whom he had been interested and the Daltons had impressed Pepe plenty. Before many days he and Hortense became more than friends and in less than a year they were married.
When Pepe married (1901), I had built the two story brick buildings on the corner of Broadway and Sixth Avenue and again incorporated the business for the purpose of separating it from my private personal investments in real estate. This time the corporation was capitalized for $50,000 with over 50% of this capital paid up. I gave Pepe a fourth interest in the business as a wedding present and raised his salary to $100 per month to start with.
To finance the construction of the new building I had first purchased the adjoining 65 foot lot to the south. Dr. Pilling had bought this lot from the city a year before for $300, its minimum valuation. I paid him $1,000 for it and when he found out what I was going to do with it he pulled his hair because he had not held out for more money. Dr. Pilling had made bids against me for the corner lot which started with a minimum valuation of $450, but I raised my bid to $800 and he quit. I had leased my old buildings on Broadway and Scott to Julius Goldbaum for his wholesale liquor and delicatessen business. He was to start paying $100 per month increasing the rental $25 every year for 5 years with an option to purchase the property within the five years of the lease for $15,000. I had arranged to borrow $10,000 from the Tucson Building and Loan to build the new store and shop building, but I needed more money and had to sell my Broadway and Scott place for $11,000 subject to Goldbaum's lease and option. This was the best I could do. In less that two years Goldbaum had to move and terminate his lease. Kirk Hart had bought the property for $11,000, and in less than two years he sold the two story brick building which only occupied one third of the lot for $15,000. By that time the Santa Rita Hotel had been built and property values in that district had boomed. The same property that I sold to Kirk Hart for $11,000 was sold a few years later to John H. Morgan for $40,000 and the Masonic Lodge took it over from Morgan and built the Roskruge Hotel on part of it. My old two story brick which Monier built for me is still standing and occupied now by the DeLuxe Cafe.
When we moved into the new building in 1901, we had a much larger store room on the corner 40 x 100. Here we had the offices, the stock of harnesses, hardware and carriage and buggy accessories such as whips, lap robes, horse blankets, horse medicines, sponges, chamois, and many items used by horsemen and stables, also a few samples of buggies and implements. The second floor over the store room was the repository for buggies and carriages. The basement under the store room was the implement stock room and surplus stock. The shop room to the west of the store room was separated by a heavy brick wall and fireproof doors. Here in the basement we had the hardwood material. On a balcony in the shop room was the stock of wheels in the white. The shop was fitted with four down draft blacksmith forges, power hammer and power machines for iron work, also benches for two woodworkers and power saws, planer, and other needed woodworking machines. The second story room over the shop was used for a harness and saddlery shop and a paint shop. We had a dust proof varnish room, a carriage trimming department and a long porch on the south side for drying the first coats of paint on the vehicles.
We did all kinds of repair work on wagons and implements. We also did forgings for machine repairs, iron work and buildings; and later we added a machine shop for lathe work and general repairs on pumps and engines. Our specialty was carriage building. We made ice wagons, dray trucks, express wagons, delivery wagons of all sizes and types, road wagons, buggies and carriages for pleasure driving and public service. We also made harnesses and saddles.
The process of building a carriage was an art that required first a capable designer that knew the details of construction, and a good woodworker to construct the wood parts for gears and bodies. This trade was entirely different from cabinet making or carpentering. In other words, a good carpenter would be lost trying to build the framework and body for a carriage. Bodies were made of fine poplar and oak frames.
After the wood work would come the iron work. The forgings had to be made of the proper sizes and proportions to stand the service and look graceful and pleasing to the eye. We would use Norway iron for all the forgings. They were fitted to the wood parts while hot but not allowed to burn or even char the wood. After the irons were shaped and fitted for their corresponding places the finisher would take them. Finishing was almost a special trade in itself.
The finisher was an expert with the file. He had to file the forgings smoothly and bright, drill the holes of the proper sizes for the bolts and screws to be used. The rule in good carriage work was for every bolt hole to be made for a driving fit. After the irons were finished by hand the work of screwing, bolting and riveting them in place had to be done just so. The projections filed smoothly again so that when the first coat of paint was applied the assembly appeared as all welded together perfectly. When this last operation was done right, the parts of a carriage would remain tight and solid for many years. All the wood parts would be given a coat of priming paint before the irons were attached. The priming coats were boiled linseed oil with a small part of turpentine and white lead with a little color, usually gray. The gear woods were made of hickory for the best jobs, second growth grade. The painting of the gears would differ from that of the bodies. For the gears the painters would use two coats of priming to close the pores of the timber, next two or three coats of lead and oil, next two coats of the color selected. After all these coats had ample time to dry hard one after the other, the surface would be polished with horse hair. I should have noted that before the color coats are applied the gear surface is covered with oil putty to fill up any possible open pores. Sometimes the painter would use pulverized pumice stone applied on a pad of broadcloth wet to polish the rubbing varnish coat or unevenness. When hard this putty is polished off with fine sand paper. For the finer jobs, two coats of rough stuff filler are applied all over the gears. When these are hard and dry, fine sand paper is again used to polish the surface down to the white lead coats before the flat color coats are applied. When the color coats are dry and hard and polished with hair, the first coat of rubbing varnish is applied. This is also polished slightly with hair to kill the gloss and take the striping. Of course, the surfaces have to be washed with cold water every time before any varnish is applied. For this purpose the painter uses a good sponge and a chamois to dry the dampness on the surfaces. This sponging and chamois wiping has to be done very carefully to prevent any scratching or water spots. The striping is done with pencil brushes made of finest camel hair. The colors must harmonize with the color of the paint. After the striping would come the last coat of gear varnish. This last varnish has to be of the very best. We used English Valentine varnish for which we paid $10 per gallon. The varnish brushes must be the finest of camel hair made for varnishing. The varnish room must be dust proof and maintained at an even temperature of about 80 degrees. The painter must try to apply it as thick as possible. The painters art was gauged by the thickness at which he could apply this last varnish so it would dry smoothly without brush marks or wrinkles.
The process of painting a good carriage properly required about three weeks and sometimes longer if the weather was damp. The cost of painting a one seated buggy was from $25 to $40 -- a two-seated surrey $40 to $60 -- a cabriolet or landau from $100 to $150. With proper care in washing, a carriage paint job would last from 3 to 5 years. I knew several jobs that lasted for l0 years. Mrs. Charles Pogue had a Phaeton that looked like a mirror always for over ten years.
The bodies are usually given to the trimmer after the priming coats have dried. The trimmer has to fit the lazy back cushions and fasten his leather work in place. He uses good canvas fabrics for building the cushions and the leathers or cloths for finish are fastened on top. For the cushioning they used excelsior with a thin layer of moss for the cheaper jobs but for the better jobs they used hair. For deep backs on carriage seats they used spiral springs under the canvas padding. The finishing beads or moulding around the edges of the seat backs were left to be nailed in place after the painting had been finished. The trimmer also makes the seat cushions, and covers the dash boards and side fenders with patent leather. He also makes the covers and trimmings for the tops. However, these things are detachable and can be put in place when the job of painting has been finished. When the tops are collapsible they are made and fitted to the body at the same time that the backs are trimmed while the body is on the first coats of priming.
One phase of carriage and wagon building that the general public would hardly think of was the construction of wheels. [see above] For medium light wagons we would always buy our wheels ready made by the wheel factories in the white without tires. We had to let them season in the dry Arizona air for several weeks before finishing them. Most of our wheels were the Sarven patent-type made on iron clad hubs with the spokes of white second growth hickory and No. 1 black hickory rims all grades A and B. The Sarven wheel factories also made grades C and D of inferior material but we never would use any grade cheaper than B for our own jobs. We would sell some C grade for replacing old wheels on light factory made wagons.
The application of the tires on wheels required training and extreme care. The wood work of the wheel had to be adjusted to fit evenly at every joint. If the wheel was too straight, the rim joints had to be slightly open for the tire to give the wheel the correct and necessary dish. The dish of the wheels had to conform to the sizes, heights, and type of construction. On straight line hubs more dish was needed than on wheels with staggered spokes. The tires had to be made smaller in circumference than the circumference of the wheels, from 1/32 of an inch to 3/4 of an inch according to the size of the wheel, thickness of the tire, and condition and construction of the wheel.
A careless or incompetent blacksmith would be sure to injure a first class new wheel nine times out of ten by improper application of the tire. In fact very few blacksmiths were first class wheel men, and many of them would not only injure the wheels when setting the tires but would actually ruin them so as to require new ones in a short time.
We made all the heavy wheels for farm and freight wagons. We would buy hubs already turned of various standard sizes made of oak, birch, or maple, - the spokes also half finished, A grade white oak for the larger sizes, - also felloes and rims half finished. Making wheels out of this material required fitting the spoke tenons and driving them into the hubs at the proper angle after mortising the hubs and shrinking iron bands on them to prevent splitting.
Then the ends of the spokes had to be cut and tenons made to fit the rims adjusted to the desired diameter. Mr. Dalton was an excellent wheelwright. His wheels were not only perfect in constructing every joint but they would stand up under the hardest service. Of course the cooperation of the blacksmith in applying the tires and hub bands properly was necessary.
Other branches of wagon and carriage building were the making of springs and correct shaping and setting of axles. The set of the axle spindles had to be guided by the taper of the spindle and the height and dish of the wheels to make the wagon run with all the wheels balanced so that there would be no strain either against the axle shoulder or the nut. In other words, a properly set axle would allow the wheel to float on the full length of the spindle.
In the new building we had ample room to handle the work without crowding. There were 25000 feet of floors in the building plus 6400 feet of porches and 2000 feet of balconies. In addition to that, we had the entire Pilling lot 65' x 122' and a horse shoeing shop and the corrugated iron shed on the south side of this lot.
After the second year of the new building, Rufino Velelz was told by his doctor that his lungs were infected with tuberculosis, the aftermath of a serious case of pneumonia which had nearly killed him three years before. Rufino had to give up his work in our office and go to a ranch, but he never recovered. He decided to visit his native town of Balmaceda near Bilbao in Spain and go to Lausanne, Switzerland to a tuberculosis sanatorium for special treatment. He took his wife with him and stayed in Europe for a year and when he came back to Tucson he only lasted a few months. When Rufino's health became so bad I insisted on giving him a mortgage for the amount of money that I owed him, $10,000. He would never record it. Before he died he told his wife to keep the note and mortgage without recording it and let it remain to assure her of the interest as long as I would want to use the money. He never listed this mortgage in his will and Mrs. Velez kept it secret until she died a few years later. She had married a boy much younger than herself. Only four months after this second marriage she died suddenly from an abortion and a hemorrhage. She had written a letter to me when she had decided to marry this boy and in this letter she said that she was going to give her sister, Mrs. Mariana Urquides, whatever wealth she had before her death. Mrs. Urquides was older and had mothered Mrs. Velez for many years and had also helped her to take care of Rufino during his illness. I was able to make her young widower accept $1500 in cash out of the $10,000. I paid his lawyer $250 and $250 to my lawyer acting for Mrs. Urquides and the remaining $8000 went to Mrs. Urquides as I knew her dead sister and my poor old friend Rufino would have wished it. The entire thing was a windfall for the young widower. He knew nothing about this until I told him. He also inherited about $20,000 in real estate that had to go to him since Mrs. Velez had left no will. Not a bad deal for a young good for nothing to get for being the husband of an older misguided but very good woman for only four months. He soon mortgaged the real estate and before long he lost it all.
Notes (click on the note number to return to the text):note 1 Greene's biography is that by C. L. Sonnichsen, Colonel Greene and the Copper Skyrocket (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1974).
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Last updated 13 August 1997