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The Alcala Exodus


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My father-in-law Mauro Alcala was born in Jimenez, Tamaulipas, Mexico in 1913 during a revolutionary period in Mexico's history. It was that revolution that forced the Alcala family to flee Jimenez and emigrate to Texas.

Francisco Madero had just become President of Mexico in 1911 after overthrowing the dictator Porfirio Diaz. But in 1913, Francisco Huerta attempted to take over Mexico. An assassination attempt was made against Madero and he was shot. Venustiano Carranza united Madero's followers and fought against the dictator Huerta, finally taking Mexico City away from Huerta and forcing him to leave the country in 1914. However, the struggle for power continued with Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata fighting against Carranza. The struggle continued even after 1917, when Mexico adopted its current Constitution. Carranza was killed in 1920 during a revolt led by Alvaro Obregon, who was elected President of Mexico in September 1920. It was during this tumultuous period, probably during the years 1916 to 1918, that the Basilio Alcalá and Donaciana Quintana family fled Jimenez, Mexico and arrived in Matamoros, Mexico to await entry into the United States.

Mauro’s grandfather Jesus Alcalá was a man of privilege and a landowner in Jimenez. However, revolutionaries during that time were murdering the wealthy landowners and confiscating their properties to redistribute to the poorer people, who until then had not owned any land. Jesus Alcalá, his eldest son Basilio Alcalá, and Basilio's eldest son Jesus Alcalá (the 2nd), were all marked for death by the revolutionaries. The only recourse for the three men was to flee from Mexico. Aided by Fiacro Betancourt, a son-in-law of Jesus Alcalá, the three men, representing three generations of Alcalás, fled south to Tampico in 1916 or 1917. Jesus Alcalá was then probably about 73 years of age, Basilio Alcalá was around 47, and Jesus Alcalá (the 2nd) was about 18 years old. Once in Tampico, the only way the three men could escape was to disguise themselves in women's clothing. Dressed as women they were successful in boarding a ship bound for Galveston, Texas. They stayed in Galveston for about one year, with Basilio and his son Jesus finding jobs working for a railroad.

Donaciana Quintana left Jimenez, Tamaulipas, Mexico in 1918 after being displaced from her husband's lands by the Mexican Revolution. She came to Matamoros, Mexico, with her 7 youngest children and an unborn child in her womb. Moving in with the N. Torres family in Matamoros, Donaciana and her family awaited the day they would be reunited with Basilio and Jesus, as well as Basilio's father, Jesus. Immigration records show that day finally arriving on April 10, 1919. Though they lost all their lands and property in Jimenez, they retained many fond memories of the life they once enjoyed there. To this day there are still extended family members living in Jimenez.


Jimenez 1 (click to enlarge)Jimenez 2 (click to enlarge)

Mauro Alcala was so proud  he had a direct male descendant, he took his first grandson to Jimenez to show him off to his remaining relatives there. These photos were taken on October 24, 1970 when Raul N. Longoria Alcala was about 14 months old. In the left photo are Raul N. Longoria Villarreal, Raul N. Longoria Alcala, Mauro Alcala Quintana and Panchito Rodriguez. The right photo includes my wife Maria Minerva Alcala de Longoria, Victoria Rodriguez de Quintana and Maria Lydia Garza de Alcala. Victoria was Mauro’s aunt by marriage, and Panchito was her brother.

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Copyright © 2001.  Raul N. Longoria.  All rights reserved.