Sun Dublan
Opression Brings Rebellion 

Each of us that are born in the world bring with us deep within our being a feeling of self worth and an inherent knowledge that we should be free to work out our happiness. When we are pushed it is natural to push back. When we are oppressed it is instinct to rebel. We as parents sometimes try to force our will upon our children whether that will is right or not. When a parent tries to dominate a child it will eventually bring rebellion.

My own Grandfather Henry Eyring Bowman received such harsh treatment from his father that as soon as he could he escaped and left his home and family to fend for himself. In these times physical abuse is much more rare but unrighteous dominion is practiced in more subtle ways. No matter how oppression is practiced it will eventually bring on rebellion.

I have been reading some very interesting day to day journals of some of the men who fought in the Mexican Revolution and have gained a new respect and a new insight into the reasons for that rebellion. It seems to me that the oppressed people of Mexico had greater reason to rebel even more than the early Colonists of the United States.

Bernabé González Vasquez was born in Cuencamé, Durango on March 1, 1886. His father was Diego González Mireles also of Cuencamé. His mother was Juana Vasquez Elizalde who was born of humble working people on the Hacienda de Juan Pérez, Durango.

His father and mother were married in 1872 and settled down in Cuencamé to work and raise their family. By 1890 they had twelve children and had acquired a ranch and farm where they raised cattle, horses and goats. They had a big herd of goats and four hundred head of cattle. They planted about 25 acres of Corn and about 15 acres of Beans. And were very well respected in their little community. All of their community were humble hard working people who worked together and helped each other. They formed part of the small villages that had not been gobbled up by the owners of the huge Haciendas.

When Bernabé was eight years old he started school and finished his schooling at age 15. He then moved with his parents and family out to their ranch that was a little ways out of Cuencamé. There he worked with his family taking care of the cattle and goats. And taking pride in their horses which they used for the farm and taking care of the cattle and goats. They were also used for their transportation on the buggies and under the saddle.

He worked on the ranch taking care of his father's interests until the year of 1906 when there began to be some trouble between the little towns of Cuencamé, Santiago, and San Pedro de Ocuila and the big Hacienda of Sombreretillo de Campa, Durango. The owner of the Hacienda was Laureano Lopez Negrete who was a good friend of the Governor of the state and had the Governor's support and the support of the other big Hacendados that owned most of the good land throughout Mexico.

With this support he proceeded to gobble up all of the farm land and the pasture land of the Indian towns of Cuencamé, Santiago and San Pedro de Ocuila. He proceeded to order the commanding officers of the Rural Police both those that were in his employ and those of the state, to go and dislodge the Indians off their ranches around the towns and concentrate them in the towns to which they belonged. They carried out their orders and cleared the ranches and farm lands without any opposition.

The people organized a commission consisting of 14 men to go and talk to the Hacendado to see what could be done about their properties, their cattle and their harvests. When this commission went to interview the Hacendado, instead of being received by the Hacendado Laureano Lopez Negrete he ordered his Rurales to fire upon the Indians. The Rurales fired upon them and drove them off and pursued them taking four of them Prisoners. Only three were left because they hid in the dense Mesquite thicket. They watched in horror as the Rurales tied the prisoners hand and feet behind their back and threw them on the ground face down. They piled dry Mesquite wood on them and set it on fire and burned their prisoners alive before the eyes of the hidden witnesses. The leader of the commission Ventura Martinez and two others with him, even though he was wounded was able to escape and get back to Cuencamé to report the failure of his mission.

When the people of the towns found out how the commission had been received they organized a "Batida" of six hundred Indians. Some were armed with clubs some with knives others with old Pistols and still others used the old Remington rifles that the French that Maximillian of Austria had brought over and used in 1862. Thus armed they went with determination to attack the big Hacienda of Sobreretillo de Campa. When the Hacendado found out that they were coming he fled shamefully with his Rurales to the City of Durango. There he appealed to the Governor for help and was given the second troop of Cavalry with orders to go to Cuencamé in pursuit of the men of the uprising. By the time they got to Cuencamé most of the men had gone back to their homes. Only about twenty men were left still bearing arms. They were led by Calixto Contreras and his two brothers. Bernabé González Vasquez was with that group that were trying to get back their lands and animals. In the day light hours they would be hidden in the mountains and at night they would come down to their homes. When the Cavalry arrived in Cuencamé they didn't find anyone to fight with so they turned back to their barracks in the city of Durango. The bad blood continued between the Hacendado and the people who were trying to get back their ranches and lands.

In the year of 1908 a man by the name of Flores Magon tried to stir up the people for another revolt but he had little success. The Hacendado and the Government used that excuse to come to Cuencamé and make some arrests to eliminate the owners of the lands that had been taken. Among these land owners that were taken prisoners was Bernabé's father Diego González Mireles. Through a certain influencial man by the name of Pablo Mesta he was given his liberty by the commander of the garrison of the Hacienda that were guarding the jail in Cuencamé. His liberty lasted only two weeks and he was killed in vengeance for being released. Thus the hate grew with each injustice and oppression. They could see the futility of trying to right the terrible wrongs perpetrated upon the poor people. They were called Indians because they did have Indian blood but most of them had Spanish blood mixed with the Indian blood through the Generations.

The twentieth of November 1910 was the glorious day that the Francisco I. Madero's Revolution surged through the country. Bernabé Gonzalez and Calixto Contreras and the twenty men that had been with them in the mountains began their attacks and to work their strategy to take back the town of Cuencamé that had been taken over by the Rurales to guard the jail and hold the people in subjection.

They went into the Plaza and formed their firing line and called for the Rurales to surrender. They were answered with rifle fire and some dynamite bombs as they retreated to their prepared protected line of fire. At night they took over the Jail and released and armed their friends with the old rifles that they took from the prison guards. They now had 80 men in their little band and they started their campaign from town to town, soon to return with more men to take the Hacienda de Sombreretillo de Campa. They attacked the Hacienda in hate and to avenge their wrongs. The Hacendado had fled as soon as news of the revolution was out, knowing that he would be one of the main targets.

They sacked the Hacienda and took everything that was of value replenishing their supplies and especially taking the horses for their campaign. They burned the houses where the Peons had lived as a symbol of doing away with the slavery in which they had lived.

Similar situations had happened all over Mexico. Cirilo Perez and his group had taken refuge in the rugged mountains near Madera, Chihuahua. Pascual Orozco had gathered his group from the little towns of the Papigochic River Basin. Pancho Villa was making a stir in San Andres with his group that had joined him in the mountains.

Each had been oppressed until they rebelled and banded together gaining strength enough to go against the Cruel Government and private Rurales.

Doroteo Arango was raised on a big Hacienda where his family worked almost as slaves each day getting deeper in debt to the Hacienda store. The son of the Hacendado violated Doroteo's sister. Doroteo sought vengeance and killed the pampered son of the Hacendado and fled into the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains. He changed his name to Pancho Villa taking his Grandmother's maiden name. He joined up with others that had also rebelled against the oppression and soon began to get their provisions by robbing.

When the Madero Revolution started they were all ready to join and fight against the oppressors. Under Madero all of these groups in north central Mexico joined forces and formed up the great Division Del Norte under General Pancho Villa.

Bernabé Gonzalez Vasquez soon gained recognition in the army of the Maderistas going from rank to rank until he was commissioned as a Brigadier General. He fought through all of the revolution until he was retired in 1923. He came to Dublan and bought a home from Anson Call's brother. He lived out his days here leaving behind a big family and a numerous posterity.

The oppressed people of Mexico rose up in rebellion and fought for their freedom, thousands giving their lives in the bloody battles of the Revolution of 1910,

An example of the big Haciendas of that period is the famous Don Luis Terrazas Hacienda in San Diego. He built beautiful big Haciendas in many parts of the State of Chihuahua. Each Hacienda had a big Palacial Home for the Hacendado and his family and guests. The quarters of the Peons who did all of the work of the Hacienda were a big square of rooms with a big patio in the middle of the square. Each room had a back door opening on the common Patio in the center and a front door opening to the outside. Each Hacienda had big rock corrals to handle the cattle and horses of the Hacienda. Adjacent to the big house was the store where all of the Peons were supplied with their food and provisions. Even their clothes and everything they needed was bought at the store on credit. They never did receive any money for their wages because it all went to pay their debt at the store which was always more than they earned. Thus they were held in subjection by the debt at the store. I am sure they felt the hopelessness of not being able to be free of debt. So they were bound to work out their lives giving their all to pay on the ever growing debt at the Hacienda store.

Many of the Hacendados were proud greedy and cruel but others loved their people and treated them well. Don Luis Terrazas was well known all over as an honorable Hacendado of that day. He would travel from Hacienda to Hacienda in his coach drawn by a six span of matched mules. The Haciendas were spaced about six hours apart by fast mule drawn coach. Some were situated in the best places near hot springs where he had nice tiled bath houses in which to relax after a days travel.

When Don Luis would go to El Paso he would be asked if he was from Chihuahua and he would promptly answer, :"No Chihuahua is mine". When he was approached by the Army to see if he could supply the Army with a thousand steers. He answered, "What color do you want them". He had thousands of cattle roaming over most of the state of Chihuahua.

I knew some of the men that worked as young cowboys on the vast holdings of Don Luis Terrazas. The ones I knew were proud of their skill with the rope and their skill of training horses. They seemed to be proud of the fact that they had been chosen to go from Hacienda to Hacienda to help with the big roundups because of their skill. They told tales of roping wild cows and bulls, in the brush country and in the mountains, that refused to be driven into the huge rock corrals. One of these was Don Isabel (Chabelo) Alvarez. He was a little bowlegged man who sat a horse like he had been born there.

One of Don Luis Terrazas' Haciendas was the beautiful one at San Diego a short distance from Colonia Juarez. When the Colonists first settled Colonia Juarez they started to build on Don Luis' property. The were informed that they had to move up river to be on the land that they had bought. Don Luis was ever friendly to the Mormons did not bother them at all. Some of the men of Colonia Juarez visited Don Luis in his Hacienda.

I remember Uncle Harvey Taylor telling me of his visits to the Hacienda. He and his father went on occasion to visit Don Luis when he was in his Hacienda at San Diego. They even did some business with him bringing in supplies from El Paso. Uncle Harvey told me that when he was preparing to be married he went to see Don Luis and asked him for a loan of some money to get married on. Don Luis freely lent him the money, with no more than a hand shake, which he paid back soon after he was married.


An example of this comes to mind which I will relate. A little boy of about seven years old lived with his father and family. Don Tranquilino Villelas was an embittered man who after losing his wife moved his family to a remote ranch in the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains. He had a big herd of Goats that roamed the country being protected by the Guard Dogs that roamed with the Goats. They usually came back at night to the protection of the ranch. But sometimes they would not come back.

Don Tranquilino worked little José mercilessly often punishing him for not doing things right or for not hurrying to his satisfaction. Sometimes he would be sent out at night when the Goats would not return. Little José learned to take his roll of Goatskins with which he covered himself to ward of the cold of the high mountains. He generally had to stay out all night to find the goats in the morning.

One afternoon he was sent out to bring in the goats and told to not come bck without them. The sky darkened and it began to snow. The storm grew worse and the boy could not see where he was going. He became disoriented and didn't know which way to go to find protection from the storm . He huddled down near a tree and covered himself as best he could with his goat skins and prepared himself to wait out the terrible snow storm. The snow piled up completely covering him in a mound of white. The storm raged for three days finally stopping having covered the whole country with over a foot of white.

Don Cirilo Perez had camped with his companions to wait out the storm. They had a good fire and plenty of food so they did not suffer too much. When the storm was over Don Cirilo went out to hunt a Deer for Camp Meat. As he was riding along his attention was drawn to a curious mound of snow when his horse snorted and shied away from it. He got off cautiously, took out his rifle and approached the mound. He scraped off a lot of snow and removed some Goat skins. There under the skins and the snow he found little José huddled almost unable to move. He took him to camp and revived him with warm food and drink. He told them his story of how he had been sent out to find the Goats and that he had been caught in the storm and had waited it out under his goat skins. When they wanted to take him back to his father he refused to go and said that he wanted to stay with them.

Don Cirilo took the boy into his home and raised him as part of his family. When he grew to manhood José married and established his ranch in the Sierra Madre mountains and named it Rancho José Villelas. He raised a large family and always kept in touch with his adopted family and was known as a good man until his death.

May we learn to be honest and kind in our families and remember that each of our children are given to us to raise in love and respect. We must learn self-discipline and never be guilty of Unrighteous Dominion in any form or degree.

8/24/2003 Webmaster: Troy Bowman