Macedonio “Hercules” Gonzalez

Here’s one for Don R. Gordy de Necochea, and I’ll bet he’s read it a million times anyhow. It’s Michael White’s [Miguel Blanco] statement about Gordy’s great-great-great Alferez [Ensign] Macedonio "Hercules" Gonzalez, who surely had one of the most macho names ever. Now in this chapter of California All the Way Back to 1828, Michael White was trying to build a case for Eualia Perez, his mother-in-law, being about six years older than God. Now she was old, she just wasn’t that old. And it is true that this family is a particularly hearty bunch, with a few notable exceptions like her first husband, Miguel Antonio Guillen. So in order to make her well into her hundreds, he had to do some fancy math adjusting everybody’s age upwards by about 20-30 years. Nice try, Miguel. I ain’t buyin’ it. But leaving out any age references, these do make for some great anecdotes.

 

Miguel Blanco starts up: The above information was also given me by Eulalia's nephew, Macedonio Gonzalez, a son of her sister Teresa (Eulalia Perez had several sisters and two brothers―Teresa, Petra, Juana and Josefa, Bernardo and Leon). Macedonio Gonzalez was alferez of the frontier company. He first told me the facts about 1834, he was then upwards of 85 years of age, but very stout and hearty, and a great Indian fighter. This Macedonio entered the military service when he was a boy, taken and made a recruit of when he was about 12 or 14 years old, and assured me that he remembered the departure of the expedition to found San Diego.

 

He also told me that a cousin of his (whose first name I have forgotten) of the surname of Cota, a son of another sister of Eulalia's embarked on the vessel called the San José, one of the three which left Loreto to found San Diego [This event occurred in January, 1769, but other sources say that the San José was a supply ship and it turned back. The two ships that made it took a horrible beating in the storm], and was never heard of again. The San José must have foundered at sea with all her crew and passengers. I presume that she was blown off to Sandwich Islands and wrecked.

 

Macedonio Gonzalez was a very truthful man, as far as I was able to judge him. He served (according to his own statement to me) 18 years under the Spanish flag. I know when I was in the Gulf of California in 1817, the Mexican flag waved over every place I was at, including Loreto. [the Mexican War of Independence ended in 1821. I’m guessin’ that really means that he was born around 1803, just two years after Michael White. His first cousin Maria del Rosario, Michael White’s wife, was born in 1814 and the Whites married in 1831. He probably met Macedonio in 1834, as he said, at a family thing – but he sure wasn’t “upwards of 85 years of age.” The very oldest Macedonio could possibly be, by his own reckoning, would be a 1789 birthday, making him 47, not 85! And that would still make him 25 years older than his cousin – not that weird on the dad’s side, but on the mother’s side, that’s a pretty big age gap.]

 

In 1820 the Mexicans removed from Loreto to La Paz all the archives and other valuables and the place was discontinued as a military post or port of entry. Gonzalez died in 1862 or 1863 at the Estudillo's ranch, San Jacinto. Therefore he must have been at the time of his death 105 or 107 years old. [no way]

 

He told me a dozen times that when he and a cousin of his named Aniceto Morillo came to San Vicente to serve in the escolta [guard], Francisco Maria Ruiz, who was in after years Comandante of San Diego, was commanding on the frontier. There were a ram and a goat there which began to fight. Ruiz saw them, and hallooed to Macedonio to come, saying: “Mata a esos hijos de puta. Aqui no hay mas hombre que yo” [“Kill these sons of whores. There are to be no other men here than myself”]. Ruiz was a native of old Spain, lived till some time later, 1837 and 1842; was a perfect despot; and the soldiers called him a loco [a lunatic].

 

Yep. And you think your boss is crazy. Try working for Francisco Maria Ruiz. Well, that was frontier life for ya. Tough times, tough people, and a few crazies thrown into the mix.

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~ by ravenjake on June 23, 2010.

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