This is a story from don Ernesto Garza Sáenz' book Segundas Cronicas de Camargo.

Eustorgio Ramón was born on April 11, 1864 in Cd. Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico to Regino Ramón Pérez and Teodora González García. To remember some passages of his life is like comparing it to tales told by our elderly folks when we were kids. We will start this story in a house on Matamoros street in Camargo when the rurales (Rural Policemen) tried to capture him.

Don Eustorgio had been paid by local politicians to steal the local election boxes from a precinct that they were sure they would not win. After taking the box he was followed by the representative of the precinct proclaiming the return of the box. Ramón took out his pistol and shot to graze him without consequence. He went to his home to wait it out.

The complaint of the electoral representative put the Guardia Rural after him. The police had not yet arrived when don Eustorgio told one of his sisters that he needed to go across to Rio Grande City until the robbery of the precinct box calmed down. While talking, the rurales arrived at the house, banging at the door. While contemplating his escape, his sister told him, "Don't escape Eustorgio, the Ramón have never been one to run, confront them like a man." What surprise the rurales had when opening the door they came face to face with Eustorgio with two pistols in his hands. They shot first wounding Ramón in the leg. While down, he went around in circles discharging his pistols with great rapid fire making the rurales retreat, each with gunshot wounds. Fortunately the wounds were not life threatening.

According to persons close to the family, when his mother, doña Teodora found out that the rurales were after him, she made him kneel and giving him his benediction gave him the two pistols and said, "Defend them like your father did."

With the wounded precinct representative, the robbery of the precinct box, and the shootout with the rurales and their wounds, don Eustorgio found himself in a difficult situation. The dictatorship of don Porfirio Díaz would not rest until he was eliminated. Wounded as he was of his leg, he asked for a bandage, mounted his horse and crossed the Rio Grande and came to rest on a ranch close to Falfurrias, Texas. He knew the rurales would not follow him there.

Don Catarino E. Garza who was in this area and had heard about Eustorgio's incident in Camargo, considered him a magnificent ally in his revolutionary plans against the dictatorship of General Díaz. Together with another native of Camargo, Esteban Longoria Sáenz, they came to form part of the revolutionary army of don Catarino as captains of the Revolutionary Army of the Border.

Eustorgio Ramón and Esteban Longoria with don Catarino Garza and his 200 men crossed the Rio Grande on December 20, 1892 at a point known as Las Tortillas in Guerrero, Tamaulipas. Porfirista Captain Nieves Hernández knowing of this growing revolutionary was waiting. What don Catarino expected as a sure victory turned out to be an unexplainable loss. While retreating to Texas, Eustorgio Ramón and Julián Flores ran into a Texas Ranger camp and when the Rangers tried to capture them they shot and killed one named Edstrom.

The revolutionary camp of don Catarino Garza was based inside of his father-in-law's, Alejandro González, ranch, (near present day Palito Blanco in Jim Wells County). From this ranch the Rangers gathered documentation that Garza had on the revolution. Don Alejandro declared to the Rangers why they were so strict with his son-in-law, didn't they remember that 16 years before in this same camp, Porfirio Díaz had been planning a revolution against the Mexican government? The Federal Deputy of Chihuahua, Abelardo Guajardo on January 20, 1892 filed charges against don Catarino but these documents remained a secret. It is said that there was money paid out. Meanwhile don Catarino made two more revolutionary intents in 1895 and 1897 but also to no avail. He died in combat in Nicaragua in another revolution in 1905.*

Meanwhile Julián Flores and Eustorgio Ramón fled Texas, knowing that they would get the death penalty for Edstrom's death. It is said that Flores died but Ramón fled to Indiana where he lived a life as a shepherd.

After 28 years and with the Mexican Revolution nearly over and without the persecution of the Díaz dictatorship he returned to the ranch of the García'. He stayed there until he investigated that there were no arrest warrants for him in either Texas or Mexico. Word spread that he wished to see his mother.

Doña Teodora, who was now blind, lived in present day Díaz Aertex, Tamaulipas and waited anxiously to hug her son. After crossing the Rio Bravo, Eustorgio knelt on the sand of the river and ceremoniously kissed the soil and said, "Holy land of mine." When he got to his mother's house she said, "Eustorgio, son of mine, why did you go so many years without communicating with us." The knot he had in his throat and his crying impeded him from speaking.

Knowing that Eustorgio had finally come home, she went to her altar, where for 28 years she had a candle burning asking the Virgin Mary to return her son, safe and sound. She said, "Thank you Mother for the miracle of returning my son, now you can take me, holy are you."

This is how the story ends, only the memories of the corrida remain of those old-timers who remembered the feats of the Pronunciados of don Catarino Garza against the dictatorship of don Porfirio Díaz. Don Eustorgio Ramón lived out his days in Rio Grande City where he died of pneumonia and was buried there.

Story translated by permission of don Ernesto Garza Sáenz — Cronista (Historian) of Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Story was also edited for briefness.
* Catarino Garza was also reported to have been killed in Costa Rica and Cuba. This is don Ernesto's version.

• return to Sample Stories