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Teary-eyed people greeted each other and exclaimed at their good fortune of finally meeting one another at a reunion held at the West of the Pecos Museum this past weekend.
The Thomas Alvarez family of Brogado was honored as the pioneer family for 1997. The West of the Pecos Museum honors the local Mexican-American community every September.
About 170 people were on hand for the special occasion.
Exhibits and a reception are prepared in recognition of the Pioneer Family. This started in 1989 to encourage local Mexican-American families to preserve their rich and interesting history; it continues to grow every year. The museum is continually in need of complete, accurate histories dating back to the 1800's from the Hispanic Community.
"I've been working on the genealogy of my family for the past 25 years," said Pecos resident Alberto Alvarez.
Alvarez said his interest stemmed from the many stories his father told him as a child.
"I was always very inquisitive and asked a lot of questions," said Alvarez.
Alvarez' father is the youngest grandson of Francisco Alvarez. "This is the first Alvarez that I started this history on," said Alvarez.
Alvarez stated that he went to many old churches and found documents and visited many cemeteries.
"My research stems from a lot of visits to odd places, it's amazing the history you can find at these places," said Alvarez.
Alvarez was excited and thrilled at the many people who showed up for the special occasion and said, "I met so many relatives I didn't even know."
"All of this was inspired by my dad, he has a memory that is unbelievable and can remember dates and things that others wouldn't," said Alvarez.
Alvarez' dad is 79 years old and the great-grandson Francisco and Maria Alvarez. Along with Albert, Candida Alvarez Martinez and Thomas Alvarez were honored for being some of the oldest descendants of the family.
"I was always hanging around with older people and facts and stories about my famly have always been interesting to me, I've always wanted to learn everything about them," said Alvarez.
Alvarez also did the family history for his mother's side of the family a couple of years ago and they too were honored as a pioneer family. The Talamantes family whose history also dates back quite a bit was honored by the museum.
"When my grandmother died she was 104 years old and we buried her next to her parents who had been deceased since 1916," said Alvarez.
"We found the gravesites out in the desert in Toyah, there's a special section for my family and their descendants," said Alvarez.
Alvarez states that he is fascinated with things like these. "You never know what story might originate from one of those tombstones, they are just so interesting," he said.
Alvarez stated that the best part of being honored is knowing that his Hispanic heritage is growing and will carry on.
"It's a lot of pride in knowing we are Hispanic and have long roots," he said.
Alvarez outlined the family history during the reception. He told the guests, that the surname Alvarez is the 15th most popular surname in the United States according to the Institute Genealogico and historico Latino - Americano (Latin American Institute of Genealogical and Historical Studies).
This ancient surname, meaning "son of Alvaro" originated in Spain, specifically from the regions of Andalucia, Aragon, Austrias, Galicia, Leon and Navarra. Many Alvarezes can trace their ancestry to Spanish royalty and lesser nobility.
The Institute reports that between 1509 and 1534, some 155 individuals named Alvarez immigrated to the New World. By the 18th century this surname had spread significantly, as native Americans adopted it from their owners or patrons.
Two of the first recorded Texas settlers were Don Vicente Alvarez Treveiso who served as the Alguacil, or Chief Constable of what is now San Antonio. In 1790, 30 year-old bachelor Diego Alvarez was living in "Tejas."
The Alvarez family from Brogado arrived and settled in that community in the early 1880's.
Brogado, a fertile farming community located about one mile east of Balmorhea was and continues to be an ideal farming site due to it's rich soil and the availability of an abundance of water from the nearby San Soloman Springs. The most prominent land owner and settle of that time was Don Augustine Hernandez.
Francisco Juan Alvarez and his wife, Maria Saenz de Alvarez moved to Brogado from Presidio, Tx. Francisco was a native of Julimes, Chihuahua, Mexico and Maria was reportedly born in Salamanca, Spain. Both Francisco and Maria died in Brogado Cemetery (El Cerro Del Nopalero).
Francisco and Maria had a son named Thomas. In the early 1890's Thomas married Crescencia Vegil Fierro, a native of Brogado. The couple gave birth nine children, those being: Heriberto, Eduardo, Fermin, Juan, Nicolas, Chana, Longina and Crescencia. Maria Alvarez died in 1910. Several years later Thomas remarried. His new wife was Juana Carrasco and three children were born from this union...Francisco, Thomas, and Doningo. Don Thomas Alvarez died in 1922 and he also was buried in Brogado.
Eduardo Alvarez, one of Don Thomas' sons, was born in Brogado on Aug. 12, 1895. He lived in Brogado all his life and he married Sylvestra Hernandez. Sylvestra was born in Brogado on Dec. 31, 1896.
Children born from this union were Lucia, Albert, Edwardo (Lalito), Juanita, Hilario (Parna), Carolina and Celmente. Eduardo Sr. (Lalo) Alvarez died on March 1, 1958 and Sylvestra died on Aug. 13, 1982.
Eduardo, Sr. was the last Brogado native and resident to be buried at the "Cerro del Nopalera" (Brogado hill top cemetery). He was a barber, a gast station owner and a farmer.
Clement continues to reside in Balmorhea and Edwardo, Jr. is the last known Alvarez to reside in Brogado.
Marie Cardenas is excited about her new position in Pecos and hopes she can do as good a job as her predecessor.
Cardenas is the new Reeves County Extension Agent-HEC.
She and her husband, Luis moved to Pecos earlier this month, in time for her to begin her new duties and work on the upcoming activities scheduled.
"I guess I'm just in time she said, with fall fair activities coming up," she said.
Cardenas is a recent graduate of Texas Tech with a degree in family consumer sciences.
"I wanted to teach high school at first, but through my teacher and mentor, Ruth Martin I learned about this position," she said.
Cardenas stated that this would bring her more fulfillment and those she could help through her position would be more appreciative.
Cardenas and her husband have four children the eldest, Ana Lisa is 21 and a beautician; son, Joseph is a 17-year-old student and a nurses aide; Luis is a 16-year-old student and daughter Barbara is also a student and 13 years of age.
Cardenas stated that since she is new to the position she hopes to meet a lot of people and is open to any new or old ideas.
"We can work on things that working right and improve or change those that aren't," she said.
Cardenas also spoke of maybe organizing a quilting class and will be busy this month with the culinary part of the Reeves County Fall Fair.
The extension agency also offers a Diabetic Clinic yearly and she plans to continue that tradition.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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