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Cuentos de Nuestros Padres
Stories of Our Fathers
Our Mexican American Community
by Gus Chavez, History Department, Desert Vista Campus, Pima Community College
Teodoro Ramírez was born on November 1, 1791 in San lgnacio, Sonora, Mexico. The Ramírez family arrived in Tubac in 1752 where his grandfather Juan Crisostomo Ramírez served as first ensign. When Teodoro's parents Juan José Ramírez and Manuela Sosa died, Father Arriquibar, Teodoro's godfather, raised and educated him. Teodoro lived in the Presidio of Tucson during the Spanish period, was a rancher, justice of the peace and served as an interpreter between the Indians, settlers and soldiers. Because Teodoro was a successful businessman and rancher, he was called upon to provide food and supplies for the military during emergencies. Teodoro was fluent in the Pima language and had an excellent relationship with Pima leaders. Teodoro was well educated and was called upon to write documents, contracts, petitions and agreements from the Indians, settlers, and the military. Teodoro married twice and had four children from his second marriage. His family lived and traveled between Tucson and Santa Ana, Sonora for many years. Teodoro died on July 10, 1871 in Florence, Arizona.
Francisco Solano León
Francisco Solano León was born to Juan León and Francisca Acuña on August 24, 1819 in Tucson, Sonora, Mexico. Like his father who served in the Spanish military, Francisco served as a Captain of the Mexican military. Francisco also served as paymaster in Arizpe, Sonora and became a lieutenant in the Tucson Presidio. Besides his military career, Francisco was a successful farmer, merchant and rancher. He owned several ranches outside of Tucson and 360 acres in town near what is now St. Mary's Hospital. Francisco was a strong supporter of public education and was a member of Tucson's first school district in 1867. He also served in the Territorial Legislative Council in 1864, 1865 and 1871. Francisco died on March 1, 1891 in Tucson, Territory of Arizona.
Estevan Ochoa was born on March 17 , 1831 in Chihuahua, Mexico. Estevan, who came from a wealthy Sonoran family, acquired the skills in the freighting industry and learned the English language as a boy working on the freight trains from Chihuahua to Independence, Missouri. Before the age of thirty, he started his own business in Mesilla, New Mexico and developed a freighting partnership with Pedro Aguirre. He arrived in Tucson in 1860 and soon developed a freighting partnership with Pinchney Tully. Tully, Ochoa & Co. was one of the largest freighting Industries in Arizona and before the arrival of the railroad Ochoa was known as the King of the freighting Industry in Arizona. His business employed hundreds of men and was the largest taxpayer in Pima County. Ochoa was a strong supporter of public education. In 1871, he was chairman of the education committee and introduced Governor Safford's bill to establish Arizona's first public schools. Ochoa served as the President of the Tucson School Board, donated the land and supervised the construction of the first modern public school in Arizona. During the 1870's, Ochoa was one of the most influential citizens of Tucson. Ochoa was elected the Mayor of the Old Pueblo, served as Justice of the Peace and served in the fifth, sixth and seventh Territorial legislature. He promoted and supported the Southern Pacific Railroad and presented a silver spike to celebrate its arrival even though it marked the end of his freighting industry. Ochoa was known for his honesty and integrity and was a successful merchant, freighter, public servant, and entrepreneur. He died on October 27, 1888 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Mariano Samaniego was born in Sonora, Mexico in 1844. As a young man Samaniego moved to Mesilla, New Mexico with his mother who owned a mercantile establishment. Samaniego became a United States citizen after the Gadsden Purchase and graduated from Saint Louis University. He moved to Tucson in the mid 1860's and became a freighter, cattle raiser, merchant, and the most successful Hispanic public official during the territorial period. Samaniego business accomplishments included a successful freighting business, owner of grazing land and various cattle ranches in and around Tucson, owner of his own stage line, harness shop and involved with the development of a modern day irrigation system. He was the most influential citizen during the 1890's in the pueblo of Tucson. He held public office in the city, county and at the state levels. Samaniego was one of the founders and president of the Alianza Hispano-Americana, served on the first Board of Regents for the University of Arizona, and was President, Vice President, and Director for the Arizona Historical Society. He served four terms in the Territorial Assembly, County Board of Supervisors, Tucson City Council and Pima County Assessor.