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Octavio Castro Garcia

Octavio Castro Garcia was born 1955 at Paradise Valley Hospital in National City. For the first six years of his life, he lived on a ranch in Tijuana. He currently holds dual Mexican and American Citizenship and his ancestors go back nine generations to the pioneer families and the Californios.

Octavio grew up in Chula Vista, attending Robert L. Mueller Elementary, Chula Vista Junior High, Chula Vista High School and then he graduated from Montgomery High School. He became a construction worker and now is part of a large ranch in the Rosarito area that his family inherited. The ranch goes back to the Machados in the 1840s and Octavio still works the ranch to this day. He seeds oats and wheat, which prospers when there isn’t a drought. He also owns sheep.

Octavio’s father was Octavio Castro Tirre (b. 1926 in Los Angeles). He married Guadalupe Garcia Macias (b. 1936 in Tijuana). She was a Mexican citizen who only later became a naturalized U.S. Citizen. They married in 1952. Octavio was the third of their four children.

Octavio’s Paternal Side: Octavio Castro Tirre & Family

Octavio Castro Tirre’s father was Joaquin Castro Valenzuela (b. 1898 in Chihuahua, Mexico). His wife was Belen Tirre Ortiz (b. 1900 in Chihuahua, Mexico). They had three children and came to the United States sometime in the 1930s. Joaquin worked as a laborer in several places, including in the mines of Chihuahua and in Illinois. Eventually, he and Belen settled in Los Angeles. Joaquin may have become a salesman of some sort in Los Angeles and did fairly well for himself and his family, in particular because both he and Belen were bilingual.

In the early 1940’s he returned to Mexico because President Cardenás was deeding large parcels of land in La Mesa, outside Tijuana. Joaquin acquired two large plots with the understanding that he would work that land. He owned a bit of cattle and for twenty years he and his sons lived on the ranch. However, tragedy struck in the early sixties. Joaquin died and six months later, at only 36 years old, Octavio Tirre died very suddenly of a heart attack. Left alone, Guadalupe crossed the border into the U.S. At the time, she had four children, including a one year old. She decided to raise her children in Chula Vista.

Octavio’s Maternal Side: Guadalupe Garcia Macias’ Family

Octavio’s mother through the Garcia line dates back several generations to some of the first pioneers of San Diego.

Guadalupe’s father was also named Guadalupe — Guadalupe Garcia Felix. He was born in Tijuana in 1908.

Guadalupe’s mother was Lucia Macias Gilbert. She was born in Anaheim in 1910. “Gilbert” was a well-known English name in Baja California.

Together, Guadalupe and Lucia had seven children. Octavio’s mother was their eldest child.

Guadalupe Garcia Felix was a landowner in Cerro Colorado, an area east of La Mesa and Tijuana. At one time, Cerro Colorado was the only ranch in Tijuana to have legal title. Their ranch was a primarily a horse ranch, which averaged 500-600 horses and approximately 100 head of cattle. The main road from the border to the Rodriguez dam, which is now a huge boulevard, was cut with their horses and their graders back in the late 1800s. The Garcia ranch also supplied the U.S. Army with horses in time of war. Then, when the Rodriguez Dam was built, Guadalupe deeded the property when the government took it by eminent domain. Originally, it was thought that the dam would actually be named the ‘Garcia’ dam. In 1990 Tijuana celebrated its history and they acknowledged Guadalupe (Octavio’s grandfather) as the oldest living person originally from Tijuana.

Guadalupe Garcia Felix’s father was Guadalupe Garcia Warner, born 1863 in Santa Ana, California.

Warner’s father was Santiago Garcia Uribe, born in San Diego in 1827. At the time of the war, 1850, is when the family went to Cerro Colorado. Santiago and his sons worked the Cerro Colorado ranch for most of their lives. They had horses, cattle and grew wheat. Santiago’s maternal great grandmother was Bernarda “Chiquila” (1764-1821), one of the first Native American women identified at San Juan Capistrano, Rancheria de Puituide. 

Santiago’s father was Jose Antonio Garcia —

and his father was Felipe Garcia y Romero, a pioneer Alta California settler.

Here is the chart:

According to Biographical Outlines of California Artisans (Schutz-Miller Meredith Building & Builders in Hispanic CA 1769-1850) (pg. 70) Felipe Garcia y Romero was a mulatto born about 1746 in Guadalajara, Jalisco. The book gives the following chronology:

1768-1771. Master Blacksmith Felipe Garcia y Romero was in Baja California. On Nov. 5, 1771 he testified in the investigation of two majordomos as the Mission of Todos Santos who were accused of abusing Indians. His statement revealed that he had been resident in the peninsula for three years and had worked as blacksmith at the mission for one and a half years. He was described as being 25 years old, more or less, a mulatto (pardon), and a bachelor. Being illiterate at the time, his statement was signed for him. He was probably resident in Baja California until shortly before his arrival in Alta California in 1774.

March 13, 1774. Garcia y Romero was one of the three blacksmiths who, along with their families, arrived aboard the Santiago with Fr. Serra on this date. He was accompanied by his mother.

1774-1790. Felipe Garcia y Romero was assigned to the Presidio de San Diego as a master blacksmith and armorer, according to various censuses: March 28, 1775, Jan 10, 1778, December 31, 1781, Jan. 10, 1788 (identified as blacksmith since 1774), and 1790. The latter census identified him as the armorer, a 36-year-old mulatto from Guadalajara, married to Rosalia Marquez, a 25-ear-old mulatto from Loreto [Baja California], with unnamed children aged 12, 10, and 3 in the household.

Nov. 4, 1775. Garcia y Romero was the smith assigned to Mission San Diego who escaped the Indian attack on this date.

The Machado Family: Land grant owners who secured most of Rosarito, Mexico

According to Octavio’s research, his grandmother Lucia Macias Gilbert’s line dates back to the Machados. In this chart, you can see Octavio’s male ancestors, including: Juan Machado Valdez (born at Mission San Luis Rey — a vaquero), Manuel Machado (born at Mission San Gabriel in 1781 — a soldado de cuera) and Jose Manuel Machado (born 1757 in Sinaloa, New Spain — a soldado de cuera who died 1810 in Los Angeles).

Octavio Castro Garcia

According to Octavio, one of the Machados actually ended up owning all of what today is known as Rosarito, Mexico. Richard F. Pourade in volume 3 of The History of San Diego: The Silver Dons (pg. 65) confirms: “The Machado family of San Diego also came into possession of lands below the Argüello Ranch in Lower California.”

The book also says the first San Diego settlement was founded by several men, including Manuel Machado: “With the growth of a little settlement outside of the mud walls of the Presidio, the residents of San Diego petitioned to end the long military control of San Diego by formation of an official pueblo, or town, and election of an Ayuntamiento, or town council. The petition to Gov. Jose Figueroa was signed on February 22, 1833, by Jose Antonio Estudillo, Juan Maria Osuna, Francisco Maria de Alvarado, Manuel Machado, Ysidro Guile and Jesus Moreno “in the name of all the residents of the port of San Diego.” (pg. 14)

Jose Manuel Machado is buried in Old Town at the El Santo Cemetery:

Old Town Cemetery machadogravesite

(Interview September 11, 2016)