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"Voices in the Valley"
The Tubac Historical Society Oral History Project
page 1 of 7


Elvira Hildalgo Amado
Yolanda Amado Wells

Tucson, Arizona

Interviewer: Betty J. Lane
Date of Interview: October 18, 1990

Lane: This oral history is being conducted for both the Tubac Historical Society and the archives of the Tumacacori National Monument in southern Arizona. The interviewee is Mrs. Elvira Hidalgo Amado. This taping session is taking place on October 18, 1990, in Mrs. Amado's home on East Hawthorne Street in Tucson, Arizona. Also here with us today is Mrs. Amado's daughter, Yolanda Amado Wells. Mrs. Wells' home is also in Tucson. Let me ask you, Mrs. Amado, when were you born and where?
Amado: I was born in Tucson, Arizona, on September 20, 1905.
Lane: Tell me your parents' names.
Amado: My mother's name was Maggie Hughes Hidalgo. And my father was Miguel Hidalgo.
Lane: Did you have brothers and sisters?
Amado: Yes, I did.
Lane: Can you give me their names?
Amado: Uh huh. My oldest brother is Miguel, Junior Miguel Hidalgo. And my sisters, Julia she's the oldest and Elinor and Carlos. Carlos died several years ago. [ed: Carlos was a brother.]
Lane: Where did you grow up? In what neighborhood in Tucson?

Amado: In Tucson, Arizona on South Sixth Avenue and Seventeenth Street. That's the south side of Tucson.
Lane: Did you live there most of the time until you...?

Amado: Until I got married. But I was born in another house, by the cathedral on South Stone Avenue and Corral Street. But that house is .... They did away with it, and something else is there, I don't know what.

Lane: Now, where were your parents born, and where were they from?

Amado: My father was born in Mexico, in a little town in Sonora, San Miguelito. And my mother was born in Tucson.
Lane: And her name was Hughes?
Amado: Hughes, si.
Lane: Who were her parents?
Amado: My grandfather was Fred G. Hughes. He came to Tucson during the Civil War. I don't know what rank he had, but he was with the Yankees. He settled in Tucson, he liked it so well.
Lane: That was your father's father?
Amado: No, my mother's father.
Lane: Your mother's father, okay.
Amado: He married my grandmother.
Lane: What was her name?
Amado: Her name was Francisca Barcelo.
Lane: So, your mother was what we would call Anglo, right?
Amado: Anglo.
Lane: That's interesting. Did she speak English only?
Amado: Oh yes!
Wells: She spoke Spanish also.
Amado: Oh, yes, uh huh, but she spoke English too. But at home we spoke Spanish most of the time.
Lane: And she sort of fit into the Spanish community then?
Amado: Yes, uh huh.
Lane: But she still had relatives in the Anglo community?
Amado: Back east.
Lane: Why did her parents come to this part of the country, do you know?
Amado: From Mexico, you mean?
Lane: The Hughes, why did they come?
Amado: The Hughes? I don't remember. (laughs)
Wells: Well, my Grandpa Hughes came here during the war.
Amado: During the war.
Wells: Wasn't he with the Spanish American War? Wasn't he involved with that one also?
Amado: No, it was the Civil War.
Lane: No? Just the Civil War?
Amado: The Civil War, uh huh.
Wells: He entered Tucson as one of the troops. He liked it so well in Tucson it was just a little .... What did they call it? I'm terrible about this stuff.
Lane: Presidio?
Wells: It was a presidio at that time. And then he settled here, and just stayed. And then he married my grandmother. My grandmother's mother, I should say, Barcelo. She was Spanish, they came from Spain, but they came through Mexico. And that's when he married her, here in Tucson. And that's when they settled with Grandpa Hughes. He was in the first Legislature ...
Amado: He was president of the first Legislature of Arizona.
Lane: Did I get his first name?
Amado: Fred.
Lane: Where did you go to school then? Did you go to a Catholic school?
Amado: For the first two or three years I went to the Catholic school on South Sixth Avenue, St. Joseph's Academy. And then I went to Safford School on South Fifth Avenue, and then on to high school. That's as far as I went. I just graduated from high school, and then I went to work.
Lane: Did you play mostly with Hispanic youngsters?
Amado: In those days, yes.
Lane: Did you grow up speaking Spanish?
Amado: No.
Lane: You grew up speaking English?
Amado: We spoke both.
Wells: Mother, she asked you if you spoke Spanish most of the time. You did speak Spanish most of the time.
Amado: Uh huh, but we spoke a lot of English too.
Lane: Was that a problem for you in school?
Amado: No.
Lane: Many people would envy you that now, knowing the two languages.
Amado: We never had any trouble, and we always had nice friends. My mother used to see to that that we had nice friends.
Lane: Both Anglo and Hispanic?
Amado: Yes.
Wells: At that time they were very united, too. There were a lot of relatives and they intermarried with their .... You know, relatives married relatives.
Amado: Not relatives, but friends.
Wells: I mean, they were all related. You know, the friends were related, because ...
Amado: They grew up together in Tucson, and everybody knew each other.
Lane: Your social life was mainly with family, right?
Amado: Yes, uh huh. And close friends.