Riojas Family History, Laredo Texas

Standing: Matilda, Hilario Jr, Emanuel Juan, Elvira Alicia, Erasmo Elias Sitting: Hilario Martinez Riojas, Antonia Cardenas Riojas , Esperanza Riojas Note: Deceased, Esperanza Riojas in Dolores TX; Esperanza Riojas, Enoe Riojas (Twins) in Laredo TX.
Our twin sisters babies Esperanza and Enoe Riojas died in Laredo TX and are buried here at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery on 3600 McPherson, Laredo TX. 78040 Our TWO year old Esperanza lies in the Dolores, TX cemetery.

Riojas Name Meaning
Spanish: either a variant of a regional name from the province or region of La Rioja, or a habitational name from Rioja in Almeria province. The region is named for the river Oja, which flows through it; the Spanish word río ‘river’ has become fused with the river name, which is first recorded in the form Ol(i)a; it may possibly be derived from Latin folia ‘leaves’.

Another of the nicknames given to me while in the U. S. Navy was “Riverleaf.” It was Clarence Ashby Presley who started it.

We visited Barcelona, Spain in 2016 and the Bull Fighting Ring has been converted to a shopping Mall ! Bull Fighting is prohibited. Unbelievable. The Portuguese have bull fights but the bull is not killed. Below is a photo of it. Caroline Sierra Vasquez and Lourdes Tolentino on our Pilgrimage.
Descendants of Manujel Goriano Rojas
Photo taken in Dolores TX Top Row: Lt-Rt: Mrs. Gonzalez, mother of child in front of her, Eusebio Riojas, Eufemia Riojas Bottom Row: Lt-Rt: Josephina Gonzalez, Matilda Martinez Riojas, Hilario Riojas, Cresencia Riojas My grandfather: Juan Riojas used to say that his wife, Matilda, was a Kickapoo Indian. He claimed to be a Mexican and when a Mexican man married a Kickapoo woman she lost all tribal rights. An opposite marriage Kickapoo man to Mexican woman, all tribal rights were retained.

Real de Catorce (Spanish  [reˈal de kaˈtoɾse] ( help· info); meaning: Real of Fourteen), often shortened to Real, is a village in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí and the seat of the municipality of Catorce. It is located 160 miles (260 km) north of the city of San Luis Potosí, and currently has a full-time population of under 1,000 residents. This ‘ghost-town’ in the high and dry expanses of northern San Luis Potosí state was once a thriving silver mining settlement. Real de Catorce has long been a pilgrimage site for both local Catholics and Huichol shamanists, and is now being discovered by international tourists drawn by the desert ambience and reputed spiritual energy.    

Some of the richest silver mines in Mexico are located in northern San Luis Potosí. Gold, copper, and zinc are also mined. The state has good transportation networks; San Luis Potosí city is on a major highway and railroad that connect Piedras Negras (in Coahuila) and Mexico City via Monterrey (in Nuevo León).

In prehistoric times the region was home to HuastecChichimec, and Guachichile Indians. Their descendants make up a large segment of the state’s present population, and many of them speak an indigenous language.

NOTE: Our grandfather Riojas used to speak of the Chichimec Indians as being merciless savages and people feared them.

The Kickapoo Tribe of Texas
Latorre Collection on the Kickapoo Indians of Mexico
Map showing road from the Laredo-Columbia Bridge (Dolores TX) to Laredo Texas
Dolores, TX aka: Las Minas was privately owned property and after the coal mine flooded in the 1930's all but Jesus Lopez moved to Laredo TX. "Chuy" stayed as the land keeper for the owners. He retired in the 2000's year.
Jesus "Chuy" Lopez was born in Dolores and stayed there as the Ranch Foreman after the Coal Mine flooded and closed. Chuy now lives in Laredo TX, barrio "La Ladrillera" with his two daughters.

DOLORES, TEXAS.  aka:”Las Minas”

FM 1472 and River Road (Private)
On the Rio Grande
Population: Unknown

History in a Pecan Shell

Originally called San José, it existed as a sleepy Mexican village until the 1880s when a company started mining coal here. Chas. Wright, as president of the Cannal Coal Company, built a railroad (The Rio Grande and Eagle Pass) to haul the coal to market. The namesake for the renamed town was Wright’s daughter. A post office was granted in 1913 and a headcount of residents the following years was said to number 1,000.

The coal deposits played out in the early 1920s and by 1939 they had ceased operation. There were still enough residents to require a school and in the mid 1930s the population was given as 20 where it remained for decades. The post office closed in 1930. Today only two cemeteries and a few lonely houses remain.

Darwin Cemetery
Located approximately 15 miles northwest of Laredo, Texas on Old Mines Road at Dolores Ranch.

Darwin TX

Darwin[1] was a coal mining town near Laredo in west central Webb CountyTexasUnited States at the confluence of the Rio Grande and Santo Tomas creek near the present day Colombia-Solidarity International Bridge. I

t was founded in 1882 after coal was found near the area. It was named after David Darwin Davis, the Cannel Coal Company owner. In 1914, the town’s population grew to 800 and the Rio Grande and Eagle Pass Railroad was built to transport the coal extracted in nearby mines. 

By 1939 the mines were shut down and the population declined to 75. Today, Darwin is a ghost town where all that remains is a cemetery.


Santo Tomás was a coal-mining town near Laredo in west central Webb CountyTexasUnited States.

 The town was founded in 1801 by Antonio Gonzales and was named in honor of Saint Thomas. During the colonial era the land was used primarily for ranching. Pure quality cannel coal was found and extracted in 1873.

 In June 1882, the narrow-gauge Rio Grande and Pecos Railroad was built to transport the coal. By 1900, the town grew and had a population of approximately 1,000. By 1920, all the mines closed and the population of Santo Tomás decreased to 18. Today, Santo Tomás is a ghost town near the Colombia-Solidarity International Bridge.

Santo Tomás was a coal-mining town twenty-seven miles upstream from Laredo and about three-quarters of a mile from the banks of the Rio Grande in west central Webb County. The town was located on land originally granted about 1801 by Spain to Antonio Gonzales. During the colonial era and into the nineteenth century the land was used primarily for grazing. Although the presence of coal deposits had been known for decades, it was not until 1873 that Charles Callaghan, a prominent sheep rancher, and Refugio Benavides, mayor of Laredo, began mining a surface outcropping of coal.

 In 1880, David Darwin Davis, a Welsh immigrant, while on a reconnaissance of the coal region upriver from Laredo, exposed a rich seam of a superior quality cannel coal, free from sulfur and other impurities. It was pronounced by engineers and miners to be the best steaming coal west of the Mississippi. Alexander Cameron Hunt, the former governor of Colorado and the general manager of the Mexican National Construction Company, helped finance the building of the narrow-gauge Rio Grande and Pecos Railroad, which reached the mines in June 1882. In 1884 miners went on strike at Santo Tomás arguing that they had not been paid. Although several miners left, the mine eventually reopened and by 1900, the town had a population of approximately 1,000. As indicated by the 1900 and 1910 censuses, most miners were recent immigrants from northern Mexico. 

Ohio-born Will A. Roy was the mine superintendent. The community also included fruit peddlers, brick masons, mule drivers, water peddlers, carpenters, and small merchants. Besides a few stores, the town consisted of a hundred crudely built company shacks. Life in the mining village was dull. The men worked hard, salaries were low, working conditions dangerous, and living conditions bad. The poorly built houses provided little protection during the long and hot South Texas summers and bad weather in the winter. Water had to be brought from the Rio Grande and was sold at ten cents a barrel. 

The social life of the miners consisted of pastorelas during the Christmas holidays and again on the day of Santos Reyes (Epiphany), when the Christmas manger was taken down. They also celebrated the Fiesta de los Matachines on May 3. Weddings were also a celebrated occasion in Santo Tomás, as were dances held on Saturday night. By 1920 the mines had closed and only eighteen people lived in the village. Most of the houses had been moved. 

Today only a slag heap from Farm Road 1472 near the Laredo-Colombia Solidarity Bridge marks the spot where Santo Tomás once stood.


Josephine Worsham Garcia, The Coal Mines (MS, Laredo Public Library). Jerry Don Thompson, Laredo: A Pictorial History (Norfolk: Donning, 1986).

Violet Cearley
Hilario Riojas
Lt - Rt: Erasmo Elias Riojas, Emanuel Juan Riojas, Elvira Alicia Riojas We are standing you the church. Dolores TX
Erasmo Elias Riojas, Hilario M. Riojas and Elvira ALicia Riojas in Dolores TX aka: Las Minas
eronica Cardenas Salinas and Jesus "Chuy" Lopez who after everyone moved to Laredo he and his family stayed as the grounds keeper and maintenance crew. Chuy now lives in Laredo, Barrio La Ladrillera. Veronica's mother: Christina worked for the Dick's as "nanny" for their children
Veronica Salinas and Jesus "Chuy" Lopez
Dolores TX had no MD's, my sister Esperanza (number ONE) died of a sore throat. Our twin sisters died in Laredo TX as babies. Diagnosis Thrush of the mouth that probably got into their lungs and they died as babies.
This used to be Dolores TX. Lt - Rt: Eufemia Riojas and her brother Rosalio "Papa Chalio" Riojas. In the background two Slate hills and to top right corner of photo the Old Coal Mining Store and some modern structures.
Collage of my father Hilario M. Riojas and my mother Antonia Cardenas Riojas and bottom right is my grandfather Juan Riojas. NOTE our house on 1820 Camp Ave which still stands in this year 2016.
Lt-Rt: Hilario "Sonny" Riojas, Tio Rosalio Riojas, Tia Eufemia Riojas, Soledad Riojas-Alvarez, Esperanza Riojas, Sylvia Dolores Riojas-Alvarez
Dolores TX aka: Las Minas Coal Mine and the the Company Store
OTE: The miners were not paid in cash. Instead the company put their money in their Ledger at the store.
The Coal Company Store now being used for storage and Modern tanks to the left of it
The above building used to be the Mining Co. Store
Florencio "Mencho" Ortega son of Hemeregildo & Marianita Ortega, Dolores TX
Left: the Canel Coal Co. "Terrero" or Heap of waste from the harvested pure COAL.
RIght, The inside of the old Mining Co. Store
this "Loma/ Terrero" is flattened on top so that on the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe the "Matachines" would dance to the Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) which was about six feet tall and very decorated with flowers and such. It sat on a carrier so that four men could move it from it's home at the Pedro Vigil's home to the Terrero.
It's home was by the Pedro Vigil's home on Camp Ave. Barrio La Ladreillera
La Santa Cruz, La Ladrillera , Laredo TX
Matachines dancing to the Santa Cruz towards the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church on Main St , Laredo TX.
Erasmo Elias Riojas and his Commanding Officer: Lourdes Helen "LouLu" Tolentino
Los Matachines de Don Pedro Vigil en barrio La ladrillera. Don Pedro kept the "Santa Cruz (Holy Cross)" in his home. He is the man that broght the Matachines from Las Minas aka: Dolores, TX
This is not EXACTLY as we danced in barrio La Ladrillera, Laredo TX which was sponsored by Don Pedro Vigil of the same Barrio

Los Matachines de la Santa Cruz

Lt. to Rt: ?? , Maria Cardenas, ??, Christina Cardenas, and Francisca Garza Dolores TX

Lt.: Steel Tipple at Dolores TX coal mine
Rt: Erasmo Riojas having his first swimming lesson in Dolores TX, my grandfather Juan was standing by so I would not drown.

Railroad car used to transport the coal from the Santo Tomas mine, I think. Note the people climbing the "slate" hill AKA: "Terrero" in Spanish
Charles Barstow Wright Dick and his child Anne Dick in Las Minas Dolores Ranch. Our Aunt Christina Cardenas, Doc Riojas' mother's sister worked for Mr. Dick as his children's Nanny.
Dolores TX cemetery, our sister Esperanza Riojas, age 2 years old and our Grandfather Ildefonso Cardenas. My G
Rosalio Riojas, Juan Riojas, Eufemia Riojas, Matilda Riojas - Martinez , Laredo's Calvary Catholic Cemetery Address: 3600 McPherson Ave, Laredo, TX 78040 . Crecensia Riojas died in Dallas and Josephina Orozco - Gonzalez buried her in Dallas TX
1820 Camp Ave, barrio "La Ladrillera" Laredo TX picture by; to the right of photo where Sanchez St. ends is the top of the bank to the Rio Grande down to the river bottom. The Rio Grande is about 100 yards from the end of Sanchez Road.

Barrio “La Ladrillera” Ladrillo is spanish for Brick

It was named because at the corner of Sanchez St. and the Railroad tracks was a Brick manufacturing Factory. they dug dirt from both sides of Sanchez St. and there were two huge holes larger than the size of a city block. I cannot remember the year the Brick factory closed and way much into the 1960’s – 1970’s the large pits were filled up and home were built upon the fill. I am forgetting to mention also that it was about the 1960’s that the City built an overpass over the railroad tracks on Sanchez St.

1820 Camp Ave, Laredo, TX Home of Hilario M. Riojas. ~1940 my father bought the part of the house which shows the window(small window there in 1940. He added that part of the house that shows behind the yellow DEAD END sign ~ 1947. That part of the house at the extreme right was added ~ 1941-42 and is the kitchen. The little hootch that is next to the kitchen was our shower hootch. About where the right large tree was our out houses. Between 1940 and 1948 we had two outhouses. To the side of our shower hooch my Uncle Juan Cardenas, Father, and I dug a deep hole and filled it full of large/small rocks that we hauled in from around the “hood” towards the Laredo Water Plant for our Mexican Idea of a septic tank. September 1948 when i left home for the USNavy it was still functioning.

It is presently a Texas A&M University campus

The stone fence to the left of the picture was constructed by the WPA during WWII and on the other side is the Fort McIntosh U.S. Army Camp. In the backyard we planted two peach trees and father plowed a lil victory garden during WWII and grew tomatoes, onions, corn, squash, watermelons, and melons. We went fishing down to the Rio Grande and we ate everything we caught, Gar, Turtles, catfish. Father worked for the Missouri Pacific railroad and when they brought in train cars with fruit from Mexico like bananas, pineapples, etc. he would tell my brother and i to go see if anything was left worth bringing home to eat or for the chickens. Sometimes we found cars with animal grain feed and what remained on the car from spillage we would gather for our animals.

From our house we walked to grade school. There were about 10-12 sets of railroad tracks and very often the train was doing it work blocking Sanchez St which made us wait to cross. Aside that, during WWII, Sanchez St. was blocked all the way to Part St by a air strip the U.S. Army built there for lil piper cub airplanes. After the war, the Border Patrol used it for border surveilance and the Ft. McIntosh Camp was turned over to the city and they started a Junior College much after I joined the USNavy. Upon the Border Patrol removing the little air strip, City of Laredo opened up a city bus route to the “La Ladrillera” and later they started paving the streets.

All the streets from the railroad tracks to the end of Sanchez St (see red arrow to the right of photo) were dirt, rocks in very poor condition. We did not own a car. We rode bicycles everywhere.

The year that my Sister Elvira, one year younger than Erasmo, attended Katherine Tarver School she rode on the back of my bike and it was a good distance from La Ladrillera. Mother packed us one taco and gave us a nickel and we ate at the corner hamburger joint by the St. Agustine Plaza. A very large soda pop, NEHI, and that was great until one of our school friends told us that she was eating at this ladies house about two blocks from the school for $0.10 cents. She could only sit six kids. She made us wash our hands, sit in the parlor until called and then the boys had to pull the girls chair for them to sit down. We gave God thanks and then we ate. Always, a lil bowl of soup. Two corn tortillas. and whatever she cooked for the main course. It was a lot better than the usual taco of egg and potatoes or egg and frijoles and the Nehi soda.

We graduated from K.T. School to 8th and to L. J. Christen School on Park St. and Santa Maria. That was a much close ride on my bike. I usually let my sister get off the bike a block away because some of my friends were saying she was my girl friend. I did not like that ! Same after we finished L.J. Christen and attended Martin High School right next door. I was on the football and track team so my sister either had to walk home or wait until i finished practice.

History of La Posada Hotel is inseparable from the History of Laredo. The hotel, which has long been the cultural and social center of social life in the city, sits on the banks of the Rio Grande with spectacular views of Mexico. The historical, luxury boutique hotel is built around four historical buildings. The old Casa Consistorial, the municipal building that also housed a jail, used to stand where La Posada is now. In 1886 it was converted into the old Laredo High School until 1916 when it was torn down and a new school erected. It is there that Laredo’s youth attended classes until 1937 when Martin High School was opened. The old Laredo High School today is the main entrance to the hotel.
Katherine Tarver School 1000 Zaragoza St. Laredo TX, Erasmo, Elvira and Emanuel Attended school at K.Tarver
border of photo now a hotel, in our youth it was Katharine Tarver 6th grade school. Elvira, Emanuel, and Erasmo attended school there. We rode our bike. Erasmo had to carry Elvira on his bike. Rt photo St. Agustine Church where Doc Riojas made his First Communion.
Looking towards Texas from Nuevo Laredo Tamaulipas Mexico, on left Katherine Tarver School and San Augustine Church

Note: El Barrio La Ladrillera. This is Anna St back in the 1940’s after the USArmy folded at Camp Mac Intosh and the US Border Patrol quit using this Street as a runway for their piper cub airplanes. The runway was wire fenced starting from the Stone Wall all the way around to Park St. and back around to the brick wall. The dirt was made firm by oil so that it appeared black. Joe Flores running the football and “Jollo” Aramabula, the heaviest boy in La Ladrillera, at the top of this picture.

Modern Map of Barrio La Ladrillera in Laredo TX
Mary Helen Riojas Andreade on top of the crossover at the railraod tracks and Sanchez St. Barrio La Ladrillera
Looking at the railroad tracks from the top of the crossover bridge at the site where the Ladrillera Manufacturing plant used to be on Sanchez St, Barrio La Ladrillera. A lot of the railroad tracks have been removed since i left home in 1948
Laredo Texas History
Rocha & Riojas on Liberty
This is the home of Riojas grandparents on 2677 Park St. Laredo TX year 2016 taken by picturesl Corner of Camp Ave. and Part St, barrio La Ladrillera, Laredo TX.; another photo
Papa Chalio, Grandpa Juan, Tio Femia buried on top of him, and Grandma Matilda Laredo TX. the Calvary Catholic Cemetery on 3600 McPherson, Laredo TX. 78040
This is the end of Sanchez St at La Ladrillera. One would walk down to the river bottom and on to the river bank about 300 yards. The Rio Grande flooded in 1948 and the water rose up right to where that mesquite tree is below that red object on the middle right of this photo.
"Fast Ball Riojas" was my father, Laredo's softball league in the 1940's Laredo TX theatres
Zuñiga lived at the corner of Anna and Park St. He joined the US Army when i joined the USN in 1948. This was our favorite swimming hole on the Rio Grande straight down from Sanchez St. we constructed that diving board and lasted until the next river flood. Zuñiga and i went to join the USNavy. He did not pass the written test and did not want to return for a 2nd chance. I joined the USN and he went around the corner and joined the US Army. I wonder what happened to him?
Family standing by the bank of the Rio Grande down the bank where Sanchez St. ends at el barrio La Ladrillera, Laredo TX. Lt . - Rt: Grandma Luisa Avila Cardenas , Elvira Alicia Riojas, father: Hilario Martinez Riojas, Emanuel Juan Riojas, Erasmo Elias Riojas and mother: Antonia Cardenas Riojas and our aunt "Panchita Garza Cardenas, the baby it Diana Cardenas. Doc Riojas used to swim across to the Mexican side where the bank was much deeper and we could dive from the trees that overhanged over the water.
Los Vigiles and Elvira Alicia Riojas; “La Ladrillera” Laredo Texas Vigil Family moved from Dolores TX and settled here at the corner of Sanchez St and Camp Ave. Their mother was Doña Petra Vigil, her husband ?
Casa Blanca Internation State Park Why? international?
Korea War Memorial in Wash. D.C. Erasmo Elias Riojas joined the USN, became a Hospital Corpsman and when the Korean Police Action was declared, President Truman sent him to Camp Lejurne N.C., USMC training for Corpsmen at Montford Point. From there we were sent to Camp Pendleton CA. for more combat training and winter training and then directly to Korea via airplane as an Emergency Corpsmen Draft.
Laredo Texas Flood 1948
Erasmo Elias Riojas, our father Hilario Riojas, and Emanuel Juan Riojas
Lt: Erasmo E. Riojas t Rt: our first dog in our new home in Pearland TX. "Perra" she was a great guard dog.
Erasmo Elias Riojas is not smoking; it is a piece of chalk. He constructed that ash tray at High School Metal Shop. the guitar used to belong to Jose and Joaquin Cardenas his uncles. The date on the photo is TOTALLY wrong. It shows when the film was developed. Erasmo left Laredo TX for the U.S. Navy on the 28th of September 1948.
The Foreman of Las Minas, Dolores Ranch told me he paid two of his men a case of beer to tote that metal deer to the top of this "terrero"
My father: Hilario M. Riojas, Emanuel Riojas Jr., and Esperanza Riojas
Emanuel Juan Riojas and Matilda Riojas
Elvira Alicia Riojas, Erasmo Elias Riojas, Matilda Riojas
Hilario Riojas Jr. Emanuel Juan Riojas
Emanuel Juan Riojas Erasmo Elias Riojas
David, Sharon, Emanuel Riojas
Hilario Jr & wife Andy Riojas and Emanuel J. Riojas
ylvia Dolores Vaughn-Riojas Gloria Ann ??- Riojas
Lourdes Tolentino and Erasmo Riojas her husband