Thursday, February 14, 2008

No One Told Me about My Great Grandfather (Part 1 of 4)

My Mexican-American great grandfather was a founding father of Tempe AZ, a fact no one bothered to mention to me until about 10 years ago. He was respected in both the Mexican and white communities in racially prejudiced times. He managed his dry goods store well enough to send his seven children, including the girls, to college in the early 1900s. He went to church every week, he admired and strove to emulate Abraham Lincoln, and a city park is named after him.

But beneath that staid exterior beat the heart of an adventurer. He worked underground as a gold miner to save money for his dreams. He married his best friend's 16-year-old half-sister out from under the nose of her disapproving mother. He dared to give credit to Mormons when they were shunned by other store owners.

I think someone should write his story. I suspect that since no one else even thought it was worth mentioning, that someone has to be me. I've been gathering family stories for 10 years—but everything else will take a lot of research.

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