Earlier this month I received a call from a lady here in Del Rio and she told me about the following article.
This article was published in the Galveston Daily News Friday December 11, 1891.
I have lived here all my 78 years of life and never heard about this.
The following is some of what happened and why it happened.
HE CONFESSED HIS GUILT AND DIED GAME
When he ascended the flight of steps three windows gave him a view of the crowd below. He asks and received permission to address the crowd.
He said I AM ABOUT TO BE CONDEMNED FOR A CRIME OF WHICH I ACKNOWLEDGE I AM GUILTY.
I killed FRANK WILKINS AND I AM SORRY I DID IT.
He said the gentleman he killed was mean to Mexicans and in a heat of passion killed him.
I am sorry that Mr. Wilton was also killed because he was a good man and treated the Mexicans well.
I am prepared and willing to go. I am not afraid, the only regret I have is leaving my parents in such trouble.
He talked about five minutes. He spoke very clear and firmly.
He was affected by the crowd, some crying but he continued talking.
When pictures were taken, he asked that only his mother and father would see them.
When he finished speaking, he ascended the steps to the trap door.
He asks for one last cigarette and while smoking continued talking very calmy. When he finished smoking, he stepped on the trap door and said I am ready. As he was being tied as they usually do, he turned and bade goodbye to some. He placed the noose around his head and drew it up and said it fits real nicely.
At first, he objected to the black hood but finally consented.
The trap door was sprung about 11:30 and nine minutes later he was pronounced dead. They left him hanging there until 12 and then the body was taken down and turned over to the family for burial.
Before the trap door was sprung the priest prayed and blessed him.
There were windows on three sides of the room. About 25 were in the room and two to three hundred people outside, the crowd was very quiet.
The article went on to tell how and where the crime was committed.
On December the 8th 1890 two bodies were discovered at the store that was run by the owner of the ranch, it was located on their property.
The man had been dead for some time and the indications pointed to three Mexicans who were employees at the ranch.
There was no known reason for the crime, although a lot of people new the way the man treated Mexicans and it was thought to be a murder of revenge.
It was soon discovered that the three Mexicans had fled to Mexico.
There was a lot of time and effort to finding and arresting these three men.
After several months they were able to capture only one of the men and he was brought back for trail.
He was first tried for the murder of Mr. Milton but was acquitted.
He was then tried for the murder of Mr. Wilkins and found guilty and sentenced to death. The other two men accused of this crime were never caught and were never heard from again.
He met his fate coolly and his family made arrangements to play music on the day of his death.
I was not able to write all of this article but I wanted to do it as close as possible for a reason. At one time or another we have all been so upset for some reason that things could have happened to push you or anybody past the edge and when that happens people get hurt or sometimes die. I have always said, treat people the way you want to be treated.
Remember as things are slowly getting better wear you mask and give people the respect you want from them, enjoy my home town of DEL RIO Texas and GOD bless each and every one of you. Thanks to the Val Verde County Library and Victor Cirilo.
Well, here we are again and I must thank all of the people that called the radio station, and my cell phone to say they enjoyed the article about the Loma de la Cruz. There was one lady who said she knew the person that it happened to and even though what I wrote was not all the facts they were pretty close.
That being said I am going to tell you about what happened one night at the West Lawn Cemetery.
I am not going to mention any names because some of the people involved have passed away.
My friend and I were told a certain movie was coming to town and they would be selling tickets in advance.
Now I knew it would not do me any good to ask my parents for money so we spent about five days walking the streets and hi ways looking for soda water bottles which we would wash them and then sell them to a
local grocery store.
We also had several yards to clean from people there in the project.
The day the tickets went on sale we had seventy-five dollars and we were ready.
We went down and bought the four tickets and when the time came the movie started at seven p.m. I do not remember all of the movie but it was like a cartoon and I did not enjoy it very much.
After the movie we ask the girls if they wanted to go to the carnival on Las Vacas St.
We spent about thirty dollars and did not win nothing but a small teddy bear but we rode a lot of rides. I hated riding the ferris wheel because I am afraid of heights.
After the carnival we decided to go somewhere quiet and spend some time alone.
We ended up at the west lawn cemetery.
We got out and were walking through the graves and we come up on a head stone that was laying long ways across the grave instead of the way they are standing behind the grave.
I remember reading the inscription on the grave and thought it was a good saying.
My friend said let’s lay down on it and I said you first so we decided to flip a coin to see who would go first. My friend said no. lets flip a coin and heads you walk barefooted on it and tails you lay down on it.
I flipped the coin first and I took off my shoes and walked from the bottom of it to the top and I told my friend it hurts to walk on it even though the surface is flat and smooth.
I sit down to put on my shoes and they were not where I left them.
They were about ten feet away from the stone, at the time I thought my friend had thrown them, he later told me he did not touch them.
Then my friend layed down on the stone and I hear him say I could lay here forever.
All of a sudden, he started yelling I can’t get up. HELP ME
I RAN OVER AND GOT HIM BY THE SHOULDER AND LIFTED UP ON HIM AND SOMETHING THREW ME BACK ABOUT TEN FEET.
HE SAID SOMETHING IS WRAPPED AROUND MY CHEST AND I CAN’T GET UP and I am starting to have trouble breathing.
By then we were all screaming and all of a sudden, a gentleman showed up with a flashlight and hollered what’s going on.
All of a sudden what ever was holding my friend down let him go and the caretaker ask if we needed medical help we said no and got out of there. My friend told me that when he said I could stay here forever a voice whispered, careful what you wish for.
What was it I do not know but it scared all four of us and I have never talked about it until today?
In closing let me say respect things like that and never take for granted anything, THANK YOU GOD BLESS AND ENJOY MY HOME TOWN DEL RIO TEXAS. Thanks to Victor Cirilo and the Val Verde County Library.
Looking Back with Freddie Mac
Well, it looks like we can finally say good bye to 2020.
I am sure we will never forget that year it was to say the least the worst year I have ever been through. During all those months we were not
able to visit anyone I watched one channel on tv and they showed a lot of horror movies. I think I saw the silver bullet at least three times.
It took me back to a time when my grandmother lived on East Viesca and she would make a fire out side and put a big black pot there and make lye soap.
She had an elderly lady that would help her and she told a story about the GHOST OF THE LOMA DE LA CRUZ. Now this was in the early sixties and she told me and my friend Robert Diaz that she was eighty-five years old. The following is pretty close to what she told us.
There was a young man who was in to black magic and he was told that if he read a certain book until midnight and said certain words that a demon would appear.
He did as he was told and at midnight, he said the words and a demon appeared and grabbed him and took him to the top of the Loma de la
Cruz and ripped his body to shreds.
He was able to crawl back to his house and get help and she said he survived. I ask what were the words she said she could not tell me because if I said the words the demon would come after me.
Now I was a young teenager and was more curious than I was afraid. My friend Robert and I talked about it and we decided that we would
go and spend the night at the Loma de la Cruz and see what happens. We told our mothers that were going to spend the night at each other’s house so we would not be told not to go.
We each took a blanket and some food and waited until almost sunset got on our bikes and away we went. We walked a little way up the hill and found a good spot where we could see in front of us and behind us and we sit down and waited. We talked a while and then we feel asleep and some kind of noise woke us up. What was that I ask Robert? He just looked at me and shook his head and we started listening and looking around.
Some where around the top I saw some movement but there was only the moon light so I could not be sure what I seen. All of a sudden rock started falling around us and a sound like a lady screaming and a baby crying and a cold wind started blowing and I have to admit I was getting scared. Who are you what are you I screamed?
The sounds got louder and I told Robert to stand up and we were both going to scream as loud as we could and see what happens. As soon as we screamed it got real quiet and the wind stop blowing and then all of a sudden there was like a fire ball that came down the hill at us and we got down and it went over our heads and I watched it and it landed in the old cemetery. At the same time our blankets were picked up and ended up at our bikes and I told Robert that is enough for me let’s get the hell out of here.
What was it I do not know but I have been leery of the Loma de la Cruz ever since I will not go around that place at night. A lot of people said
that I made this story up but I will leave it up to you to decide, that’s it for this month and I hope soon that Del Rio can get back to normal until
then as my friend Tom says KEEP THE FAITH GOD BLESS AND ENJOY MY HOME TOWN DEL RIO TEXAS happy new year 2021. Thanks to Victor Cirilo and the Val Verde County Library.
This will be the last article for the year 2020.
I would like to say thank you to Mr. Javier Martinez for the chance to write this small article every month. Also thank Victor Cirilo for his help.
I must say 2020 has been a year that we will remember for a long time. The virus turned everything and everybody upside down. It was and still is a plague that is affecting the whole nation if not the whole world.
Then to add on to that we are in the middle of an election like never before. I must admit that it is the weirdest election I have ever seen. We still do not know the outcome although some say Mr. Biden has won. Every day it is something else. I guess time will tell. It seems like something comes up every other day and in the mean time we are all waiting.
I also pray for the good lord to let it be settled as soon as possible.
Now for looking back I am going to take you to 1958 here in Del Rio at the San Jose housing project. I was 16 years old.
My step father was a truck driver and the boss of the company was hit by a train and killed. The truck he was driving was destroyed and most
of the cattle on the truck were killed. The insurance company shut down the business and froze all money in the company.
Now this happened one week before thanksgiving. My mom was so worried that we were not going to have any food for Thanksgiving. Since my step father was not working, there was no money coming in.
The day before Thanksgiving the neighbors started bringing all kinds of food to the house. Food I had never heard of. Things like migas, mole, tamales, pollo, pavo, bell peppers with meat in side tortillas pan du Ice, menudo. It was the first time I ever ate menudo but I still love it today.
My mom could not stop crying and thanking everyone. In total there were 62 people that ate with us on Thanksgiving and everyone ate as much as they wanted. My grandmother said I told you the lord will supply. I was so impressed with our neighbors that I just could not understand
the kindness in other people.
A lot of the folks that brought us food lived in the project but we never would talk to them. That was one Thanksgiving I have never forgot.
THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE OUT THERE BUT NOW DAYS THEY ARE NOT AS FRIENDLY AS THEY USED TO BE.
In closing, let me say that although it is hard right now with the good Lords help it will get better. Here are some words my friend Tom says some days are good somedays are bad sometimes you’re up then your down you laugh you cry but in the end Del Rio will come through and be better than before.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year GOD BLESS. A special thanks to
the Val Verde County Library and to Richard D’ Avy.
Well here we are in to December and I can not help feeling sad about the way we are forced to live in this day and time
Thanksgiving was always a great time where my family my dads parents and my moms parents would all go to my moms house and spend most of the day and enjoy good conversation .good food good music.. Get a chance to reflect the past year and any changes that might occur. It was a time where we would cry or pray for someone that had passed away the past year
It was a time where we would all look forward to. The ladies would try to out do each other on some special food they would prepare.
On thanksgiving morning we would get there earlyto be able to get some venison back strap and good home made bread and gravy. I have eaten a lot of venison and goat meat but I loved the way my grand mother would cook it.
There was a lot of times the neighbors would come over ..My mom would sing my grand dad would play the fiddle. They would come over for the food and almost for sure the music..We were so blessed and did not even realize at least us kids
My brothers kenneth and boogie were in the navy but when they were able to be there it was that much more fun
If I had the power I would go back to that time in my life
Today I am so depressed about the way the united states is with the elections and the virus which seems to control our lives..Every where you go people seem almost afraid to get around you and everyone is wearing a mask and people are not as friendly as they used to be.
We are not allowed to be in a large group and there are some people that do not obey the rules even though they are for our on good My good friend TOM says KEEP THE FAITH.
I pray every day that the good lord will see a way to make things right again where we are able to go out in this beautiful city of Del Rio Texas and enjoy all that it has to offer which is a lot
In closing let me apologize for the spelling. the library was closed and I was not able to get Victor Cirilo to correct my mistakes . I have trouble with any key board
Stay safe take care and do everything you can to be sure you do not get any one sick because you do not follow the rules.
Well as October winds down I can’t help but remember the way it was years ago on Halloween the 31st day of October. Back in those days you didn’t have to worry about come crazy putting poison or razor blades in the candy. People would sit outside with bowls of candy or apples and sometimes even a small toy. People would make the kids feel good and always act like they were scared of their costume. Even a lot of the store owners would give out some kind of treat and it was a time where you could send your children out to go trick or treating without worrying about something happening to them.
My how things have changed. The last few years it got to the point where the parents have to go with their children and then inspect all of the candy they receive. I was told that there will be no trick or treating allowed this year due to the virus that has almost got the whole country walking on egg shells at all times.
So, people please pay attention to what our elected officials tell us to do so that we can get through this with the help of God.
Also coming up in November we have an election that will change the way we live. I believe the election on Nov 3rd will be an election that will be remembered for many years to come. I am voting for Hugo Sanchez for school board place six hope you will too. But you make your own choice just get out and vote.
Be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. Del Rio has always had a problem with people not getting out to vote. Please this time make your choice and let your voice be heard by voting.
Looking back my mom said that years ago as election day would come up there would be meetings or parties to discuss the people that were running for office. I also recall the time when I was a teenager in the San Jose project that I would take my guitar and sing a few songs to be a part of what was going on.
I was glad to see they opened up the park so that the young people can get in the water but they may have waited too late. The days or getting colder and it won’t be long before it will be too cold to get in the water.
When I was younger, I used to sell grit newspapers once a week to make money and during the summer I’d cut grass for people using a push mower. I remember my mom would cry because she was not able to give six kids an allowance. My step father made 75 dollars a week driving a truck. They never had any extra money but we were never hungry. This year I turned 78 years old but my youth was a time that I always refer to in these articles both the bad and the good. My parents have passed away and my grandparents also and I lost a son when he was only 32 years old. It has been a struggle to deal with ever since his passing. So, if you still have your parents or grandparents spend time with them. It will make them feel good and you will enjoy it to.
In closing just let me say you live in a beautiful city Del Rio Texas my home town so get out and enjoy it as much as you can.
Stay safe god bless each and every one of you and remember get out and vote. Thanks to Victor Cirilo and the Val Verde County Library.
I was asked to make the article shorter this month.
Well here it is October and it was sad to hear that the Fiesta de Amistad was cancelled this year due to the virus.
As far back as I can recall we would look forward to the parade. I would always stand there on the corner of Main St. and Greenwood set. right in front of Del Rio loan. Looking back I remember that at times the parade was almost two hours long. There were a lot of different cities that would attend every year and it was something to look forward to.
I remember enjoying looking around and seeing a lot of your friends and neighbors and spending time with them during the parade.
I afso recall years later covering the parade live on KWMC Radio with Mr. Javier Martinez and Mr. Memo Garza and other members of the staff was there also.
That was the same corner I was standing at when the President of the United States came to our city.
It is so sad now that every where you go you have to wear a mask and can no longer shake hands with some one or hug their neck.
Looking back to a better time I recall that while living in the San Jose project in the summer time I would borrow a wash tub from my grandmother buy a big watermelon put some water in the tub then pour in some ice and then put the watermelon in the tub and wait until later on in the evening when it would cool off and then my friends and I and some of the neighbors would all sit out in the yard and eat ice cold watermelon. It was delicious, I remember one evening my two brothers boogie, and Kenneth were on leave from the navy and they would bring their guitars and sometimes even my mom and we would sing, laugh and just enjoy being alive.
Any one that wanted to sit there with us were welcome. My mom was a very sweet person and everyone liked her there in the project. Some of them would have a problem with my step father but he was a truck driver and was almost all of the time working. Let me close this by
saying if you still have your parents or grandparents spend as much time with them as you can.
Remember the upcoming election in November. I am supporting Mr. Hugo Sanchez for school board place six I hope you will too. But no matter who you vote for get out and vote this will be an election that could change the way we live.
Remember there is still plenty of places that are a big part of my home town Del Rio Texas and I am proud to say that I live here God bless stay safe.
Thanks to Victor Cirilo and the Val Verde County Library.
As the month of August came to an end it got to the point that I hated to pick up a newspaper or listen to the local radio station. It seems like almost every week or so we would lose a good friend.
We lost Mr. Joe Martinez, Freddie Esquivel good friend and great
musician then we lost Mr. Juan Alverez a gentleman who would call KWMC radio almost every time we did town talk live. These are just a few friends we lost to this horrible virus. It seems that people will not listen and wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Why? Do they not understand that it is for their own good?
Looking back to another time we were able to be in a crowd and have hardly any effects. Maybe catch a cold but always something minor.
But these are different times and the rules have changed. Pay attention to what is going on around you and stay away from crowds. Wear the mask and listen to what the experts say. I can recall a time when I was playing music you could go to a club and
be around hundreds of people and not think nothing of it. For many years on the 4th of July, Easter Sunday and other days we would have a lot of people over to my house to play music, talk, play horseshoes, and just be together as family and friends I recall that my dad J.B. McDonald would really look forward to those events he would tell me I know you are working and playing music but do not forget the family we need some time too. My dad was a truck driver most of his life and in his later years we saw a lot of each other. I miss him a lot.
When I was growing up, I remember almost every night myself and my friends would end up at the club cafe. It was on the corner of Ogden and Main St. all of the railroad workers went there. It was almost
always packed and we never thought nothing of it. It has closed now but when I drive by there, I remember the chili they were famous for and that is where I met a woman who played a big part in my life years later.
Back in those days we lived life to the fullest and enjoyed being young and living in Del Rio Texas.
I am going to tell you what happen to me in the month of August at a
funeral home. I was asking to leave a funeral because of what I said to the so-called son of the deceased. Now I have known this person for over fifty years. Him and his wife went to all my dances and even after his wife passed away, we remained friends, when he started having health problems, I would go visit him. He had a provider that was with him every day including the day he passed on during that time I would go visit him. He suffered from kidney failure, heart problems but he always tried to stay in good spirts. One time I took my son Michael with me and I noticed he looked like it bothered him. I ask him if Michael bothered him and he started crying and said no I just thought of my son. Now I had been around this man for many years and never heard anything about his son. When I ask about him, he said he lived here in town but I have not seen or heard from him in thirty years except when he needed money or a car or money to pay bills, he claimed he hurt his
back and could not work. When he passed on, I went to the funeral home and there was this person crying acting like his world had ended and I ask him who are you?
He said I am the only son of this man I loved him so and will miss him so much. I am sorry to say I said you are a liar. He got real upset with me and I told him I have known this man for over fifty years and I never heard of you.
I told him he may be your dad but you are not his son. If you were his son you would have spent time with him while he was alive and even more time when he got sick.
I told him as far as I was concerned, he should be thrown out of the funeral home. He complained and I was asked to leave which I did.
I said all of this to say if your parents are alive spend time with them while you can because we all have to die.
Here hoping we can get to where we can cope with this virus and enjoy my home town Del Rio Texas god bless stay safe and enjoy and thank god every day for another day of life. Thanks to Victor Cirilo and the Val Verde County library.
Well the month of July 2020 will be remembered here in Del Rio for a long time. This virus that has taken over Del Rio has got a lot of people either confused or afraid, maybe a little of both.
On July the 15th the mayor stated that we were up to 11 deaths and that there was no room at the local hospital and even in San Antonio they were not taking any cases of the virus from Del Rio.
I believe what surprised a lot of people was when the mayor stated that they were trying to locate a refrigerated trailer to put the people that had passed away in because there was no more room, not even in the funeral homes. I am not sure what it will take for the people to realize that this is very serious.
It took me back to the flood of 98 when they had to bring a refrigerated trailer for the people that were lost in the flood.
Driving down highway 90 East I noticed the barricades in front of the entrance to the blue hole or to what we all called my favorite swimming place the pump house. It is sad to see that we have reached that point that we are not even able to go to the park and go swimming.
For as long as I can remember the parks were always full during the summer time and especially on the fourth of July.
When I was young, we would get up early and eat breakfast usually cereal, make a sandwich and head out to the San Felipe creek. We would spend the day laughing, swimming, goofing off just enjoying being with good friends.
My best friend back then was Roberto Diaz. We went everywhere together. We got our first bike at the same time then later on we got a car about the same time. Robert lived on Ware St. and I lived in the San Jose project. Our other friends that went with us some times were Salvador Torres Tobie, Danny Mesa, Jimmy Flores, and others it was a good time to be alive and we did not even realize it. I worked for Rudy Corbinas and Robert worked for Ross Drug Store but we spent a lot of time together. Roberto passed away in 1999. I remember Victor Camposano told me that he would go and dive in the San Felipe creek to get golf balls and then sell them to people that played golf to get a little money to buy some thing to eat or drink. I have not seen or spoke to Victor in a while but I was told he is like me with a few health problems.
What really impressed me about Victor was he is very smart and he knows a lot about the way Del Rio was back in the good old days and a lot of people do not know that he knows a lot about the bible. At one time we would talk almost every day, so if you want some history about Del Rio talk to Victor, he remembers things that I forgot or never knew.
I can recall the time when you could walk down Main Street and have trouble walking because there were so many people. We would stop at the entrance to Kress just to smell the popcorn that they were making and selling
Then we would cross the street to the city café I believe that was the name. I know that a man named Harry Pierce was the owner. They made good hamburgers.
Then we would go across the street to the Rita theatre since Roberto and I worked in the early morning cleaning the Drive-In theatre we were able to get in free to any movie we wanted to see.
He has been gone a long time but I still visit his grave and still talk to him.
At night we would go to San Felipe to pick fights. Since we lived in Chihuahua we were really not welcome in that part of town and me being gringo just added to the problems we were faced with.
Let me finish this by saying you never forget things that happen to you when you were growing up, but right now we live in a Del Rio like I have never seen. We are faced with a deadly enemy we cannot see but it is there so we must learn to face it and deal with it. Listen to what he city and county leaders say and let’s get through this. To do that we must work together and pray that the good lord can help us get through this time. Stay safe take care and remember wear your mask when you leave your home so that soon we will be able to walk the streets and enjoy my home town Del Rio Texas GOD BLESS. Thanks to the Victor Cirilo and the Val Verde County Library.
This past June the seventh I turned 78 years old. Looking back at my life there has been some good times and bad times.
I recall how I got my class A driver’s license and started driving a dump truck for Val Verde County pct.2 at that time I recall that Thomas Rose was the County Commissioner had a place where we stayed during the week. It was located about a mile past the store at Loma Alta Tx. You could not really call it a house, there was no inside plumbing, no water inside, there was only two rooms. One was the kitchen area with a table with six chairs and a wood stove. The other room was wide open
with cots where we slept.
In the summer time you would sweat so bad and be so hot you could not sleep and then in the winter it was so cold at night you had to sleep with your clothes on and with all of the quilts and blankets you could stand. If it was 30 degrees in Del Rio it was 20 degrees in the area where we were. Outside the kitchen door which by the way was the
only door it had there was a faucet where you could drink water or wash up whatever the case might be.
We worked on county roads from what they called the lower county road all the way up to the county line going towards Sonora Tx.
I enjoyed working outside and I enjoyed learning to drive the dump truck but I hated the place where we had to stay.
I would argue with the foreman that the county should be ashamed of themselves allowing those living conditions.
Years later they built a new place up off of the highway and although I never saw it, I heard it was really set up good.
I started off as a dump truck driver but later on the county bought a Caterpillar front end loader and the person that was the operator did not follow instructions and got hurt. When we got him to the hospital here in Del Rio, he told the foreman he would not go back. They offered it to me and I took it. Once I learned the do’s and do nots it was a hell of a machine it was fun.
There were a few things that happened during the time I worked there. One time we were eating lunch along side of a county road and a group of men that were not here legally stopped and ask for water. We gave them water and gave them food. They talked among themselves that they were going to rob us and take one of the dump trucks. I understood what they said and made some excuse to get something out of the truck and went and got a 22 rifle we carried for snakes. They
took off running and I shot up in the air and let them go.
One time I was loading the dump trucks with caliche and I dug up a nest of copper head snakes, they started crawling up on the machine and I had to get off of the loader and get inside a truck. We had to use gasoline to get rid of them and we quit using that pit. There was another time we came to work and when I opened the cab to get inside the loader there was a bobcat. He jumped at me and I moved and he hit on my shoulder and kept going.
On every other Friday we would work until 3 o’clock and then drive in to Del Rio and sit on the grass at the court house and wait for the foreman to come out with our checks. It was not a lot of money but I was young and thought I was rich. I was off every weekend to play music and live life such as it was.
I have lived in Del Rio all my life and as my life is coming to the end. I feel it more every day I give thanks to god that I was born and raised in Del Rio Texas. How much more time do I have only god knows but I am
proud to say that Del Rio Texas is my home town. Stay safe and take care of yourself and your family. God bless. Thanks to the Val Verde County Library and Victor Cirilo.