Piedra and Rodriguez Family Ancestry and Family Reunion
Thomas Piedra on his work horse at La Campana Ranch.
Thomas Piedra, aka 'Tom Rock' with his two younger sons, Eduardo and Jesus at La Campana Ranch. Photo taken from original newspaper article.
Entrance to The Campania Ranch where Thomas Piedra was last employed. (taken from the ranch's website)
Pierre becomes Piedra
Thomas Piedra or "Tom Rock" as he was known in the Southwest Texas area, was born around 1823 in Nacogdoches, Texas when the town was just beginning after being established in 1779. Nacogdoches is a sister city of Natchitoches, Louisiana. His French mother came from Louisiana to settle in the budding town. His father was already there. Tom mentions that his father's name was "Lauro Pierre." The exact French last name is still left to be clarified. It is said that Lauro served during the Civil War. When Thomas settled further south of Texas, Mexicans in the territory could not pronounce his last name but it sounded like "Piedra" so it stuck. Thomas was illiterate, but could speak both French and English. He was fair-complected and looked more like a Frenchman. In 1830 young Thomas and his family moved down south along the Cibolo Creek in Guadalupe County. In 1836 at the time of the Battle of the Alamo, during the Texas Revolution, the creek was the site of the temporary camps of the Alamo relief forces. On February 28, Juan Seguin and his reorganized relief forces, waiting on the Cibolo Creek, encountered Fannin's advance from Goliad led by Francis L. DeSauque and John Chenoweth, while near the Cibolo. On February 29, the relief forces from Gonzales traveling with the Gonzales Company of Mounted Volunters arrived at the Cibolo and entered the Alamo the next day. On March 7, Gonzales relief force and former Alamo commander, James Niell with Edward Burleson gathered 50 men and headed for the Alamo. They reached the Cibolo and were heading for the Alamo but were repulsed by Mexican cavalry. To these men young Thomas served milk and bread. He enjoyed their company because sometimes Frenchmen from Louisiana were in the group and he could speak his native language. He didn't know much of what was happening locally only by the travelers who stopped by the Creek for some rest and food since in those days traveling meant planning. Being around the Mexican people he was able to learn to speak some Spanish. In 1874 he moved further south to the Atascosa County area where in 1877 at the age of 54, he met and married his Mexican wife, Jesusa Hernandez aged 15. Thomas was working on a ranch when Jesusa and her family came to work the fields. After their marriage he and Jesusa moved to the Frio County area. In 1878, Eulogia, his first child, was born there. He worked for 16 years as a ranch hand rustling cattle for the famous Slaughter family of which John H. Slaughter had befriended Tom. He would ride with the local Indians as not to be killed or ambushed as he rustled cattle. Jesusa would bear him 16 children between the Frio and Atascosa Counties. In 1933, Tom, along with two of his sons, Eduardo and Jesus, were working in La Campana Ranch owned by Jeff F. Martin in George West, Texas. He as 110. During this time the San Antonio Light, the name of the newspaper at the time, did an article as the oldest man in Texas. His children settled in Charlotte. On the 12th of December 1935 he began with a cough that unfortunately turned into penumonia. Tom died several days later at the age of 112. Thomas Piedrais buried in a simple grave next to his wife in the Chilipitine Cemetery. This cemetery is 17 miles from Pearsall. It is on the right hand side going east on Hwy 140 going to Charlotte. Some of his sons and daughters surround them. His headstone is a homemade concrete cross, broken in half, with some writing barely legeable. I have been to the cemetery recently in October 2011 and found a new headstone was placed at the grave,
Homemade headstone broken and barely legeable.
Thomas and Jesusa Piedra's grave in the Chilipitine Cemetery.
A new headstone was placed on the grave. Unfortunately the dates are wrong.
The Chilipitine Cemetery where Thomas and Jesusa Piedra and other family are buried. This cemetery is 17 miles from Pearsall. It is on the right hand side going east on Hwy 140 going to Charlotte.