Friday, April 1, 2016

Where We Come From: Rosales/Villa Union, Coahuila, Mexico

In continuing with the "Where we come from" series, and after taking a look at some of our German origins, I thought I'd cross to the other side of the tree and find out a bit about where a part of my husband's family comes from:

Rosales and Villa Union, Coahuila, Mexico

     Rosales, or Villa Union as it is called today is in the Mexican state of Coahuila, near the border of the United States.

State of Coahuila in which Rosales resided.

 It is our Lopez name that comes out of Rosales, so I was interested in finding out a little more of its history. I am sure there is so much more than what I have here, but it's a start!

       The first settlement of the area was in the mid 1600's and was a Mission. According to Wiki, the Mission of The Holy Name of Jesus Peyotes to be exact.This mission was small and soon after abandoned. An interesting write up by on the Holy Child of Peyotes can be read here in Spanish, but easily translated with google. (Thank you, Google!)
Iglesia Santo Niño de Peyotes
      The area was left alone until 1737 when another misson (San Francisco de Vizarrón) was formed and inhabited by mostly indigenous people. 2 tribes, the Pausana tribes and Tampajuaya came together to form the Mission of San Francisco de Vizarrón as a more permanent settlement.
      Later, on Valentine's Day, 1868, the town was named Rosales, for a Mexican Field Marshal who fought the Spanish Royals in the Mexican War of Independence, Victor Rosales.   
Victor Rosales
             In 1927, the town of Rosales joined the town of Gigedo, creating what we know now as Villa Union.

 The oldest relatives of Rosales I can locate from my husband's tree (So far) were found on a tree given to me that was previously worked up by I believe a professional. They are the 5th great grandparents of my husband: Francisco Barrera (b 1760) and his wife, Maria Josefa Maña (b 1757), both said to be born in Rosales.  Their daughter, Paula Barrera Maña (b 1784 in Rosales) married Domingo López (b 1780, from unknown place), from whom our Lopez name comes from, and who was of fighting age during the Mexican War for Independence from Spain; down the line to their son Jacinto López Barrera (b. 1802 in Rosales) who came of age during the war; to his son, Domingo López Peña (b. 1830 in Rosales); on to his son Antonio López Ortíz (b. 1873 in Rosales and pictured below on the left) who would have been 37- 47 years old during the next armed struggle Mexico was to participate in, the Mexican Revolution; to his son, Antonio López Antú, (b. 1917 in Rosales), my husband's grandfather, born in the midst of the Revolution. 

Antonio Lopez Ortiz on the left, and his brother Jesus on the right
         I am not aware of who, if anyone, was engaged in any of these historical events, Although I was told by my father in law that the family's purpose for coming to America was to escape Pancho Villa's rise in the north, as their family had sided with the Federal Government. According to him, they lost all of their land and all they had because they had to either flee or face death. And that, my friends, is about as much as I know about the Lopez family and the Mexican Revolution. But I look forward to learning more!

Part of Mexican history and history of Villa Union includes Cabalgatas, or Cavalcades, in which a famous event is honored by a "parade" of people following an historic trail on horseback, or as part of a pilgrimage. I watched one on Youtube coming through Villa Union and it was fascinating! The people and their horses in these Cabalgatas aren't on parade, on show in costume, but rather, participating in something for themselves. Whether it is commemorating an event, or following a pilgrimage, it is about the person and the ride, not something necessarily on show for display. It is simply what it says it is.... a cavalcade. And it would be awesome to be a part of one! Some are small, only passing through town with a few hundred riders while some ride through several towns. Some Cabalgatas can stretch over 100 miles, and can even have over 10,000 riders and horses!


 To the left is a map of Coahuila. I have circled present day Villa Union in blue, and also circled the two most common ports of entrance to the U.S. used by the family based on the border crossing documents I've found. These are Eagle Pass, TX and Laredo, TX.

 I hope to learn much more! So of course, Lopez Family, if you have any information, please leave what you know or what's been passed down to you in oral history in the comments below! It's a great way to communicate with each other over family history!

Want to take a drive through Rosales/VillaUnion today? Why the heck not.... 
Just turn that radio down. ;)


  1. Enjoyed your site. I am not a Lopez but I'm sure we are connected somewhere down the line. My maternal grandfather Jesus Hernandez Duran (b1889, d1967) came from Villa Union. He also rode with Pancho Villa! Good ancestor stalking! (I like your title!)

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  3. I just read the death certificate for Domingo Lopez. It was my great grandfather who reported his death (Antonio Villarreal) in 1904, stating that he died of an hernia. Since my great grandfather was Antonio Villarreal Benavides and his mother was a Pena, I believe we are related. However, if we are, that branch is not original to Rosales - they come from elsewhere.