One of the books I want to write one day will be loosely based on family history and stories my father shared with us as children. Though I have worked up an outline for this generational novel, I will have to do quite a bit of research before I can start it.
My father’s story always began with a land grant given to mis antepasados (my ancestors) by the Viscount of Santander in the mid 1700’s. Dad didn’t know much about the Martinez or the Ramirez families before then other than they were titled Spaniards. They traversed the ocean and came to claim their land but found it so uninhabitable they retreated to the more “civilized” cities (at that time) in Mexico. They either wore out their welcome or they were forced to claim their “porciones” or lose them, because they soon moved back in the 1750's to what is now the area between Laredo and Zapata, Texas.
The land yielded only rocks and cactus, and any livestock that survived in that desert was usually stolen by outlaws or raiding bands of Comanche. They were too busy eking out a living and protecting their lands to get too involved in the politics around them.
Through the generations that followed, the government around them changed hands from Spain to Mexico and all those who came along anxious to claim it. It wasn’t until 1848 when the border crossed over them that they became a part of the United States. They were given one year to give up their lands and move across the border into Mexico, or stay and become American citizens. Their Spanish land grants would be honored if they did.
Oral tradition was such a big part on these ranchos that my father and his family would share many colorful stories about one “uncle” or another. He told of heroic men and women and that mixed with my own imagination might one day make an interesting read, two hundred and fifty years and ten generations later.