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Ancestor 28: Single mom Brigida Sepulveda becomes a farmer

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This is the 28th article in the genealogy project “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.”

Brigida Sepulveda is a maternal great-great grandmother. After years of marriage and motherhood she found herself alone, raising her children because her husband abandoned the entire family.

There are no birth or baptism records for Brigida, but there is a census document and a death certificate that provide clues about her life.
The 1900 US Census states that Brigida was born May 1850 in Mexico. Her death certificate states her birthdate was July 15, 1854 in Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Her death certificate also states her parents were Ramon Sepulveda and Dolores Garcia, also from the state of Tamaulipas.

In 1900, Brigida was the mother of nine children, although the census states only six were alive at the time. Five children were living with Brigida in 1900. There are no family records of a sixth child, and the five from the census are the only ones listed in the family tree. They children ranged in age from eight to 23. There were four boys and one girl.

Although there is no record of who Brigida married, the family knows it was Julian Flores. The census states Brigida was married 28 years and was recently widowed in 1900. This places her marriage to Julian around 1872.

In 1900, Brigida was living in Precinct 1 in Duval County on a farm outside present day San Diego, Texas.

No one is certain whether Brigida was actually a widow in 1900 because family tradition is that Julian left the family to join the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, or someone like him. The family story is that numerous men from San Diego left Texas to go back to Mexico and never returned.

No one ever heard from Julian again, so it is not known whether Brigida received word that he had died or if she declared herself a widow after he abandoned the family.

Brigida had to take over as mother and breadwinner, and she is listed as head of household with occupation of farmer in the census. She owned the farm and was free of a mortgage.

In November 1923, Brigida purchased 160 acres of land in Duval County from the State of Texas. The class of patent was designated as School Class, which meant she purchased land from the state and the money from the sale was used to fund the state school system.

Brigida Sepulveda died December 15, 1923 in San Diego. The death certificate states she was 69 years old. The cause of death was apoplexy, which means a sudden death, usually caused by stroke, cardiac arrest, or aneurysm. The death certificate lists her as Brigida S., vda. De Flores, which means “widow of Flores.”

She is buried in the San Diego, Texas city cemetery, next to one of her sons, great-grandfather Eulogio Flores. Her heirs likely inherited her newly-purchased land.

Brigida Sepulveda became a single mother who had to continue raising her five children off the land. She owned a farm and she purchased more land. She proved to be courageous and resourceful in the face of daunting circumstances. She most likely was a positive role model for all her children.

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