Rose Marie Peralta Blanco was born 1943 in San Diego. She grew up in west Chula Vista on Anita Street and Broadway. She has six children and ten grandchildren.
She married René Salido Blanco (b. 1936 in Sonora, Mexico). They met when René began working on the Gonzales Ranch owned by Rose Marie’s grandfather Claudio. His hometown Batuc was an old colonial Mission site that flooded due to the construction of a hydro electric dam. This left René and the residents of his pueblo scattered around northern Mexico and Southern California. His father, Jesus Blanco, was the Municipal President of the town during the construction of the dam and the demise of the pueblo. As a young man, René was an adventurer and came to the United States around 1956. He also descended from the old pioneer families of Sonora dating back to the 1600s.
Pioneer Families of Alta and Baja California
Rose Marie’s parents were Sara Gonzales Peralta (b. 1915 in Otay) and Frank Peralta (b. 1903 Los Álamos, Ensenada, Mexico). They married about 1937 and they had three children, including Rose Marie. Frank was a skilled furniture upholster. At some point, Sara lived in the cottage next to her father’s large house and kept the accounting books for his farm.
Frank Peralta’s Ancestry (Rose Marie’s father)
Frank Peralta’s family was originally from San José del Cabo, Baja California. However, his family moved to Los Álamos for work when it became a booming mining town.
Frank traced his ancestors to Cristosomo de Castro who served in Baja California for thirteen years, first at the mission of Santiago and then at the mission Todos Santos. Crisostomo likely supervised the sale of mission cattle, kept the books and collected the debts owed by men in the nearby mining communities of Santa Ana and San Antonio. He may also have been responsible for delivering silver to church headquarters in Loreto, the total sums running into thousands of pesos. In 1768 he received a large land grant at Todos Santos.
Sara Gonzales’ Ancestry (Rose Marie’s mother)
Sara Gonzales grew up in the Otay region of today’s Chula Vista. Her parents were Claudio Gonzales (b. October 28, 1880 in Santiago, Baja California) and Angela Castro (b. 1893 in Rancho Boca de la Trinidad, Santiago, Baja California).
Claudio had been part of the federal police force in Baja California in Mexico before the Pancho Villa era when the winds of war were circulating. His family owned several ranches in Baja, but they had to sell everything before coming to Otay. Claudio came to the United States by ship (The Victoria) from Ensenada, Mexico in 1909. At first, he worked as a foreman for the Western Salt Works.
In 1911 Claudio returned to San Jose de Cabo, Baja California and married Angela Beltrán Castro. Together, they returned to the Otay Valley and raised 12 children, 10 of whom survived. Thanks to the money they saved, in particular from the land sales in Baja, by 1920 Claudio and his brother Rosendo owned their homes in Otay. Claudio boasted having eight rooms, a housekeeper and an adjacent cottage. The house was known as “The Ranch” and they were one of the first families to have refrigeration and a telephone.
Claudio worked hard and at a certain point employed 129 laborers. They were mostly seasonal workers who came at 7am and then would leave at 3pm and catch the bus back to Tijuana. Notably, he would not let his wife or daughters farm. Granddaughter Rose Marie Blanco remembers there was a large packing shed where the semis came to pick up the produce. She also recalls that border patrol would come by and poke the haystacks with pitchforks, looking for undocumented immigrants.
By the 1940s, Claudio owned about 50 acres of land and became well known as the tomato, celery and bean “king” of the Otay valley. He also owned a restaurant called “The Hayloft” around where Main Street exists today. The family would go to Ensenada every summer and Claudio’s children would also enjoy the Foreign Club in Tijuana on weekends. Claudio held onto the farm until he died in 1966. His wife, Angela, died the very next year, in 1967.
Claudio’s ancestor was Francisco Javier Aguilar (1743 – 1821), a mestizo. Aguilar accompanied Rivera to San Diego. He then continued his expeditions, going on the successful search for Monterey with Portolá in 1770.
Angela Castro Gonzales brought her mother from Eureka, Mexico in 1916 to help with the children. Her name was Jesus (Jesusita) Castro (b. 1854) and she is buried in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery alongside Claudio’s brother, Rosendo.
Angela’s ancestor was the soldado de cuera Jose Gabriel de Arce. It is suspected that he accompanied Portolá on the Sacred Expedition, and Arce was also involved in several of the early round trips made from San Diego to San Fernando to obtain supplies.
The soldiers and priests of the time were constantly on the move, stationed up and down Alta and Baja California. Arce was no exception. He enlisted as a soldier for the presidio of Loreto in 1749 and served two years as a mission sirviente, or the man assigned as a missionary’s helper. In 1751, he helped found the Mission Santa Gertrudis where he served for four years until he became head of Mission Guadalupe where he served for ten more years. After the Sacred Expedition, in 1771 he returned to mission Santa Gertridis where he became a corporal and then a sergeant. In 1784 he ran the Mission San Fernando de Velicata
In addition, Angela and Jesusita were the descendants of the pioneer soldier Juan Carrillo, founder of the Carrillo families of lower and upper California and one of the founding families of San Diego. Hilario Carrillo was also an ancestor who received the very first land grant in 1768 from Visitor General José de Galvez.
(Interview: 2/19/2016 with Rose Marie Blanco and her son, Joaquin Blanco.)
Information about their ancestors was taken from Harry W. Crosby’s book Gateway To Alta California: The Expedition to San Diego, 1769