This is the 20th article in the genealogy project “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 edition.” This week’s theme is “Black sheep.”
Julian Flores is a maternal great-great grandfather for whom there is little information, but he is a bit of a black sheep in the Flores family. A rumor that he left his family to join Pancho Villa, the famous Mexican bandit and Mexican Revolutionary general, has survived to this day, but there is no proof to back up this oral history. That lack of proof has not stopped the rumor.
There are no birth or death records for Julian Flores. The only evidence of his marriage to Brigida Sepulveda is in the 1900 U.S. Census, where Sepulveda is listed as head of household living in south Texas, mother of six, and a widow. The census also states that she got married in 1872 and was married 28 years. If this is true, it means she was recently widowed at the time of the census. When Brigida died in 1923, her death certificate listed her name as “Brigida vda. de Flores,” which means “Brigida, widow of Flores.”
If this census information is accurate, it makes it difficult to see how Julian Flores could have joined Pancho Villa. The 1900 census said Sepulveda was 50 years old. It is likely her husband was her age or older. In 1900, Pancho Villa was 28 years old. He always had men working for him as part of his army or who joined him in guerilla activity. It is not impossible that a man in his fifties could be part of Villa’s organization, but it seems a bit of a stretch.
What really casts doubt on the Pancho Villa story is why Sepulveda said she was widowed in the census. Of course, Julian Flores could have died while working for Pancho Villa and word got back to Sepulveda.
It is clear that the accurate details of Julian Flores’ death were not passed down through the generations. Maybe there were no details and Brigida Sepulveda knew very little herself. Only one piece of the Julian Flores story has survived and no one is sure if it is true. But it makes Julian Flores a man of great mystery and the search for the rest of the story about this black sheep will continue.
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