After the Mexican Revolution three Generals of the
Revolution came to live near the Mormons. I got to know all three and
their families so I will write some of the memories I have of them. I
don't think anything has been written about them so I will leave at
least some history of them to at least show that they lived here.
When I was a young boy I used to ride the irrigation
canal for brother Cardon. He was the water master and our scout
master. He asked me as one of his scouts to patrol the Canal coming
from the big lake and report to him. As I remember I would ride out
along the canal and arrive at the head gate a little before noon.
About the first time out there I met Arnulfo Arias who lived with his
parents in a little two room adobe house in the big mesquites east of
the Canal about 100 yards from the head gate. We became good friends
immediately and soon we were swimming in the lake and having a great
time together. After a good swim we got out and he invited me to his
home to meet his family.
His father was sitting in the shade of an arbor that
they had made of willows laid across poles making a nice shade in
front of their little house. As I was introduced I was asked if I was
the son of the man that ran the mill and I assured him that I was. A
young girl brought out a chair for me to sit on and I sat down to
visit with Don Manuel Arias. He told me right off that he had been a
General in the Revolution. He told me that he had come through Casas
Grandes several times and liked the country and especially the people
and wanted to come back and raise his family here. He said I am a
simple man and like to live simply. We have our goats and a little
corn field and garden here and my pension and I live happily here with
Soon we were invited in to eat dinner. As we went into
the small room I learned that the old General had three wives but only
two were living in the house with him and the family. We had a very
delicious dinner of Chile con Quezo made with goat cheese and green
chile. The Frijoles Refritos were delicious and the calabacitas were
fixed with green chile and onions and goat cheese. I guess I was
especially hungry after our long swim but everything tasted very good.
They kept urging me to have some more which I did until I could not
I looked up in the pole rafters of the roof and saw a
huge Blow Snake slowly moving through the brush over the pole rafters
of the mud roof. I must have looked surprised because they all assured
me that the Snake was a pet and ate the mice and rats that came into
The old General was dressed in a white Manta home made
shirt and pants and had on a pair of Guaraches. He looked very
comfortably dressed for the summer heat. His family all treated him
with great respect and love and they all seemed to be happy living
together in their little house in the big Mesquites by the Lake. Two
or three of the smaller boys were out with the goats. When I saw them
come in with the big herd of goats I marveled at the big dogs that
were with the goats to protect them. They were raised from tiny
puppies sucking the goats for their milk so they were always with the
goats and even slept in the corral with them at night.
The Old General told me that he was very tired of
fighting in the fierce battles of the revolution and seeing his men
die around him. He said that he was content to live as Patriarch in
his big family in his peaceful ranch near the Lake. He was a small man
but had a commanding presence and was used to being obeyed instantly.
In his family he spoke with love and gentleness. His hair and short
beard were grey almost white. He had a forked Mesquite stick for a
cane and used it to point with as he talked.
His first wife was about as tall as her husband with
dark hair that was barely streaked with silver threads. When she
smiled which was often a gold tooth shone out in front and her dark
eyes twinkled amid the smile wrinkles of her dark face. She ruled the
household with a loving but firm hand she spoke softly but was obeyed
instantly. I was impressed by the way she attended to Don Manuel with
love and respect. The other wife was a smaller woman with dark hair
and eyes and seemed to have her special place in the family.
I don't think I ever knew exactly how many children
they had but I think it was about fifteen. Six girls and the rest
boys. Arnulfo was my age. He had a round face and a friendly smile and
was built about like I was at that age. His older brother was married
and lived in Casas Grandes. He worked for the Municipio for many years
and we all knew him as Guero Arias because of his light skin and blue
I really enjoyed my visits with that family when I
would go out to the lake checking the canal. It seemed to me that the
Old General Arias was happier and lived more in peace than his good
friend Gerneral Bernabé Gonzalez. They visited each other occasionally
and talked of the days when they were fighting in the Revolution.
Don Bernabé González was a tall well built man with a
military bearing. When he went walking up to the store or around town
he dressed in his Military uniform complete with his shiny military
high topped boots with shiny little spurs on. His military pants which
buttoned inside the tops of his boots were part of his uniform. He
always wore his shiny medals on his chest and swung his beautiful
inlaid cane or his riding crop. He walked proudly with his shoulders
squared and his head held high. He reminded me of being on parade as
he passed by on the street. I remember going to his place once and
seeing him in his office in full dress uniform sitting straight and
tall at his big desk.
I don't know much about him accept that he came to live
in Dublan. His home was a nice big house two blocks down the street
north of the School. He had a big family and all were well liked and
respected in Dublan. Serafin Gonzalez drove the school bus for many
years for Leland Robinson who had charge of the buses at that time.
Serafin later moved to Sonora with his family. The General's daughter
Agripina came to live with José Morales in the old Morales home across
the street from the old Bowman home by the mill. After Don Matias and
Doña Martina, the parents, died the family all moved away except José.
He and Agripina Gonzalez lived there for many years and grew old
Back to the Old General González He lived out his days
in his home in Dublan and we all knew that he must have been an
important General in the revolution because of his Military training
and his strict observance of dress and Military bearing.
GENERAL CIRILO PEREZ
Now I come to General Don Cirilo Pérez. He was small in
stature and looked like he could ride a horse for months and he nor
the horse would ever get tired.
I went to interview Emilio Burgos about his Grandfather
General Cirilo Pérez and the following history is what he gave me.
My grandfather was born in the area of Moris in the
state of Chihuahua. That area of mining towns that include Moris and
Ocampo, in the year of 1878. They had a ranch this side of Yepachic
that was called Rancho Viejo. He was raised on that ranch handling
cattle and horses and grew up in that area. He married Inez Peña
Duarte from the town of Yepachic and they lived in that country until
they had six children. The were as follows Alberto, Margarita, Maria,
Damiana. Then came Cirilo and Rafael. After six years in the wars of
the revolution Cirilo came home and Eleazer was born.
Then they moved to Madera where they found a great
unrest and inconformity with the existing Government. He, Cirilo,
became very active in these small secret groups from which the
revolution was beginning to bud. Pascual Orozco was heading one of
these groups at this time and they began to join together and gain
strength for the coming revolution. Between 1905 and 1910 these groups
grew and gathered followers and Cirilo was one of the main ones in the
Madera group. For protection from the Government they fled into the
mountains above the Aros river near the Círupa crossing. Villa was
beginning to move in and around San Andres and they began to
communicate with other groups and to gather their strength. Villa at
that time wasn't really anything he didn't have any rank except that
he was a leader of a group at San Andres.
The groups began to get together and Villa joined
forces with Pascual Orozco. Cirilo's group was in that bunch. That is
how the group of La Division del Norte was beginning to form.
When Cirilo Perez was in the great Division del Norte
General Villa soon recognized his ability with horses and men and took
him to be in his personal guard. He also put him in charge of all of
the Horses of the Great Division Del Norte. To supply the number of
men that needed horses for the great battle of Zacatecas, Cirilo came
back to the big Bavicora Ranch and the surrounding country and
gathered up over five hundred horses and shipped them on the train to
Villa's troops. He was one of Villa's right hand men and was not only
in his personal guard but was in charge of the horses of all of the
Division del Norte.
On one occasion they were being bombarded by cannon and
he was in charge of a group of mules that pulled the canons and
standing near by. He said that Felipe Angeles was sitting near reading
a news Paper when a cannon ball hit killing some of the mules and
blowing dirt over them. He said that Felipe Angeles calmly brushed the
dirt off his News Paper and continued reading without even looking
They all became hardened to the danger in the many
battles they fought in. General Villa's Army was successful because of
the brave men that fought with him with fierce abandon. Cirilo fought
by Villa's side in many fierce horse back battles. General Villa
referred to Cirilo as mi Caporal or "My ranch foreman". He trusted
Cirilo to take care of and see to the invaluable horses of the
Division del Norte.
When Villa's struggling Army went to Agua Prieta and
suffered that great defeat Cirilo was there fighting along with Villa
and his men. His men were cut to ribbons by the entrenched
Carranzistas. After that great defeat Cirilo and his few men went
south through Nacozari and on into the Sierra Madre on the route that
they knew very well. They went back through Tres Rios and La Estancia
and Chuhuichupa and on to Madera where his family was. They suffered
on that trip from hunger and exhaustion, living off the land, but
finally got home.
This was really the disbanding of the great Division
del Norte and Villa became a hunted Bandit after his raid on
Cirilo came back into the mountains north of
Chuhuichupa where he had seen all that beautiful country while passing
through it many times. He had been running a mule train with his
brother in law Pachito Peña from Madera to Nacozari hauling provisions
and stuff for the stores in Madera. He would take beans and grain and
other products from Madera to Nacozari and the mining towns of Sonora
and bring back the things needed for the stores in Madera.
In 1918 he came to the Estancia and set up his camp and
claimed all of that country for his ranch.
There was not a soul in all of that country. The day
that they got to the Estancia and set up camp they went down towards
Black Canyon to look around. They were also looking for a Deer for
camp meat. They killed a Deer since they were very plentiful at that
time. They saw a mule track and were curious as to who was riding a
mule in that abandoned country. At that time there was not a soul in
that country and the grass was belly high to a horse and the enormous
pine trees dotted the landscape. They came back to the estancia to
their camp for the night. The next day they went to follow the tracks
of the mule to find out who was riding through the country. They
followed the mule track down into Black Canyon and there the found
where a band of Apaches had camped for several days. The ashes of the
fire were barely cold so they figured that the shot that killed the
Deer had alarmed the Apaches and they had left going up the trail
towards three rivers. They found the brush huts of the rancheria.
They established themselves at the estancia. A
companion of Cirilo's from the revolution days was with him. His Name
was Bacho Ramos. Bacho went down on Black Canyon and established
himself on Black Canyon and ranched there for many years. Cirilo's
Ranch country started from the estancia and went down and across the
Chuhuichupa River and took in the San Carlos. Marion Vance had his
ranch. Up river from Cirilo's. Marion Vance and Cirilo being Neighbors
soon became great friends and had many experiences together following
the Apaches to get back their stolen horses. These three ranchers
formed a protection between Chuhuichupa and the raiding Apaches.
Cirilo became friends with the people of Chuhuichupa
and for many years was very prominent in protecting the Colony from
On one occasion a group of thieves stole a bunch of
horses from Chuhuichupa. A group from Chuhuichupa including Marion
Vance came and told Cirilo about it. The thieves were camped on the
Mesa de la estancia and among the thieves was an escaped convict from
San Juan de Ulua who had come to establish himself at Three Rivers.
His name was Melqueades Vargas. He later became the grandfather of the
Fimbres family who continued living at Three Rivers after the old
The Chuhuichupa group approached the camp and found the
men eating a calf that they had killed belonging to Cirilo. One of the
men in the party said I am going to kill that Melqueades Vargas and
raised his rifle to fire. Cirilo pushed the barrel of the gun up so
that the bullet went off into the air. At the shot the thieves fled.
The group of pursuers went after them and followed them down into
Black Canyon where the thieves were forced to give up the stolen
horses. The horses were returned to their owners. Most of the horses
belonged to the Mormons in Chuhuichupa.
Don Cirilo told me the following story: The Apaches
came in and stole a bunch of horses that belonged to me and my
Neighbor Marion Vance. I went over and got Marion to go with me and we
went to follow the Apaches to get our horses back. We followed them
through the country northwest down through the hole and on past the
Bavispe river into Sonora. Late one evening we came up into a saddle
and stopped to make a dry camp.
We could hear the Apaches down in the canyon feasting
and dancing. Their feast lasted long into the night and we decided on
a plan to try t get our horses hack. Just at daylight we started
shooting down into the canyon moving from one point to another quickly
so they would think that there were many of us. The Apaches awakened
confused and hurriedly mounted their own horses and fled down the
canyon we waited awhile to make sure they had gone and went down into
the canyon where they had feasted on a mule they had roasted the night
before. They had stopped by an ancient cave dwelling with a lot of
houses in it. Thinking they were safe from pursuit they killed a fat
mule and were feasting and dancing honoring the ancient inhabitants of
the cave dwelling.
Up the canyon we found all of our horses. We gathered
them up and drove them back to our ranches. We left the saddle in
which we had camped so hurriedly that I left my Tobacco pouch in the
saddle. We named the Saddle "El Puerto Del Tabaco".
Don Cirilo brought his family from Madera down to the
Estancia to live on the ranch. The ranch prospered and Cirilo took
many trips into Sonora to buy steers and drive them to the Rail road
at Estacion Chico. On one occasion he and his son Rafael were
traveling to Sonora with his group of drovers to bring back a herd of
cattle. They camped for the night by a stream in a canyon. The next
morning early they ate breakfast and packed up to go on to their
destination. They had a new little pack mule training her to pack.
They packed her last putting Don Cirilo's bed roll on the mule. It was
heavy and well balanced and they pulled it down tight. They finished
and took off the blindfold . The little mule quickly ducked out of the
horse hair halter and turned and trotted off up the back trail heading
for home. Don Cirilo and Rafael mounted their horses and hurried after
the little mule. The climb was steep and rugged so they had to go
their own pace. No matter how they urged their mules they could not
seem to gain on the little mule. She was eagerly going home. Finally
as they approached a steep climb and the little mule seemed to be
getting away. Don Cirilo said to Rafael, "Shoot her". Rafael took out
his 30-30 rifle and taking careful aim shot her in the neck and she
dropped on the trail. They retrieved the bed roll with great relief
because all of the money that they had brought to buy cattle with was
in the bed roll.
There was a young drover that had a mule train. With
his companions they would load up their pack mules with Salt from the
Salt Mines in Bacadéhuachic and haul it over the rugged trails of the
Sierra Madre to Zaragoza. There they would load up with farm products
and pack them back on their mule train to Nacozari. The trail passed
by the Estancia and they always stopped to sell Don Cirilo some Salt
for his cattle. On the way back they would stop by again to leave the
supplies that Don Cirilo had asked them to bring. The young drover,
Gildardo Burgos soon became very good friends with Don Cirilo and his
family. Especially the pretty young daughter Damiana was attracted to
this young mule skinner. Don Cirilo liked the young man very much and
was soon doing business with him and entrusting him with a lot of
Rafael Perez tells the story that once as a boy he was
home alone at the Estancia. Gildardo came bringing four heavy bundles
on two pack mules he unpacked the mules and told Rafael that the
bundles were for his father. Rafael tried to carry one into the house
but could not lift it. Gildardo and his helper had to carry them into
the house. When they were opened they were full of big peso coins.
Soon the Wedding was arranged between Damiana and
Gildardo. The wedding was held in Nacori Chico in 1930. That was where
Gildardo's family lived at that time.
Living in Nacori Chico they had to go clear over into
Chihuahua to buy corn and beans and most of their food products. They
hauled it all by Mule train and it took nearly a month to go and
return with their food. Damiana soon urged Gildardo to move to where
the food was produced saying, "why are we here and have to haul our
food so far". Gildardo came over and bought a ranch on the lower
Gavilan River from a Señor Vargas. Chuhuichupa being the closest town
to the ranch they soon bought a home in Chuhuichupa and moved
Don Cirilo went to Chuhuichupa and bought a house from
a man by the name of McKay and moved his family to Chuhuichupa. They
would take care of their ranches from their home base in Chuhuichupa.
At that time the only merchant in Chuhuichupa was Cliff Whetten and
Glen Whetten was hauling his produce from Estacion Chico in a
Gildardo put up another little store in Chuhuichupa to
help to earn a living for his family. Cliff Whetten and Gildardo
Burgos became very good friends and cooperated with one another in
Gildardo and Don Cirilo went into business together and
bought cattle in Sonora for a company called Ganado y sus Productos in
Cd. Juarez. They would buy big herds of long horn steers and drive
them to Black canyon where they had their dipping vats. Some of the
herds contained as high as 500 or 800 or even a thousand Steers. Some
of them had such long horns that they would not fit in the dipping
vats. The steers were forced to turn their heads to one side in order
to go through the vat. After dipping and resting for a few days they
would drive them on to the shipping pens in Estación Chico. They
usually made one of these trips a year, It took them over a month to
make the drive.
The store business prospered for Gildardo and they were
doing very well but when Gildardo was killed by lightning in 1947,
Damiana had a large family of little children to look after and the
business went down hill.
While we were visiting Chuhuichupa as Stake
Missionaries Damiana and her family were Baptized all except the two
oldest Maria Cristina and Lalo. Many of Don cirilo's posterity are
good members of the church.
In 1948 the people began to move out of Chuhuichupa.
Emilio remembers that Clifton Whetten was the school principal when he
was in grade school in Chuhuichipa. When Clifton moved out the school
was closed so many families moved out at that time.
Don Cirilo moved down to Nuevo Casas Grandes and bought
a home there and later bought Cohn Allred's home in Colonia Juarez.
Damiana bought a house in Colonia Juarez in 1952 and established her
family there. Emilio took on the big job of taking care of the Gavilan
Ranch and supporting the family while finishing High school at the
Academy in Colonia Juarez. When Sorina Whetten Shupe moved out of
Juarez Cliff Whetten suggested to Damiana to buy Sorina's house so she
bought it and lived there for the rest of her days.
Emilio commented that it was hard for them to move from
Chuhuichupa to Juarez because up there they all had their vegetable
gardens, fruit trees and corn fields and raised most of their food.
When they moved down they even moved their milk cow down but soon had
to sell her because they did not have a place to keep and feed her. It
was hard for them to leave their home in that beautiful place in the
I thought that it was very interesting that the three
Generals that fought together in the cause of liberty. Should be so
different in their lives after they got out of the war.