The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 310
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Rancho San Diego, which later developed into the present-day city of San Diego,
Life on the rancho centered around the main house (casa mayor), typically
constructed from stone or sillar, where the patriarch, and in some cases the ma-
triarch lived, along with the rest of the family members. The laborers lived in
smaller log cabins (jacales) within close proximity of the main house. Some of
the bigger ranchos had a general store, a school, a chapel, and a cemetery. The
kitchen consisted of a fireplace or a stone chimney where a hungry person could
always find "a tortilla, a pot of beans (frijoles), and a pot of coffee on the fire most
of the day" (p. 39). For the most part, people ate four meals a day, which consist-
ed of Tejano food commonly found today, i.e., barbacoa, menudo, nopalztos, mzgas,
etc. And, of course, the popular dish was the taco since "it required no dishes at
all (p. 40).
The immediate family unit protracted out to the extended family of compadres
(co-fathers) and comadres (co-mothers), who were just as important to the chil-
dren as their father and mother in instilling the core values of work and respect.
Compadrazgo or godparenting was a strong social institution that eventually
evolved into a broader community, which also included close friends. According-
ly, there were no orphanages on the frontier, as "any orphaned child was quickly
incorporated into a family unit, which was considered the pillar of society" (p.
Roping and riding skills were essential to survival on the frontier. Coinciden-
tally, many of these tasks were so spectaclar that they found their way into the
modern-day rodeo, "but Tejanos had no audiences and drew no applause as they
performed the work from dawn to dusk" (p. 61). There were, however, festive
occasions that occurred periodically throughout the year, allowing the entire
ranch community to participate, especially during the Christmas holidays, St.
John's Day (June 24), St. James Day (July 25), Easter, and weddings. It was dur-
ing theses traditional celebrations that "Tejano ranch life had its rich forms of
entertainment in storytelling, feast day ceremonies, and strict rules of the ranch
dances, and these entertainments were intended to reinforce the Tejano group
consciousness" (p. 106).
The Tejano ranching empire ceased to exist by the latter part of the nine-
teenth century. By this time, Tejanos had lost most of their lands. Anglo capital-
ists had eventually succeeded in arrogating the Spanish and Mexican land
grants. In many cases, the Texas Rangers and the Anglo bandits were one and
the same, committing brutalities against the Tejano families. According to the
author, the most atrocious act of violence was known as the Pefiascal Raid of
1874 where deputized Anglos plundered, burned, and killed hundreds. Shortly
after the massacre, "most of the lands involved were incorporated into the King
and Kenedy ranch empires .. ." (p. 126).
Tejano Empire is well researched and will make a significant contribution
to the growing genre of historical studies dealing with the trans-Nueces re-
gion. Through his mellifluous writing style and his in-depth understanding of
the language and culture of the region, the author has undoubtedly com-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/362/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.