Monday, June 19, 2017

A Simple Man Who Left a Legacy

Hilario Hinojosa was a lifelong resident of Texas. He was born in San Diego, Texas in 1884 to Pedro and Dolores Hinojosa. San Diego is a small community in Duval and Jim Wells counties. His roots could be traced back to Spain.

Hilario was a ranch hand and farmer. He worked at various ranches in South Texas. He married Helena De Leon and they had seven children. Only three of their children lived to adulthood. Helena died at an early age in 1934. Hilario did not remarry but instead focused on raising his children in and around the La Vernia and St Hedwig area.

After his wife’s death, Hilario continued to work the farmland in the La Vernia region. On weekends he would travel to San Antonio to buy bread and pastry at the old Colonial Bakery for resale in St. Hedwig and Martinez. This was over a four hour trip by horse drawn wagon. Hilario would start his trip before daylight in order to return to sell his goods.

Hilario and Helena are the couple in the middle.

Hilario was well known in the La Vernia area. He was a friend to many of the Polish citizens in the area and was acknowledged for his generosity. Hilario never turned down a request if he could help. His Spanish accent fit in well with the Polish folks who worked and owned farms and businesses in La Vernia and St. Hedwig.

Hilario moved to San Antonio to live with his daughter in the 1960’s. His healthy living style kept him busy as he walked to see his son and daughter-in-law almost daily. Hilario enjoyed listening to music whenever he visited with his daughter-in-law. The house was always full of music and chatter! He would also walk to the local stores to buy groceries and just talk to his many friends. He became a living fixture in the neighborhood. He often went on vacation with his son’s family traveling into Mexico.

In the 1970’s Hilario lost his vision due to eye surgery. Even while living in the dark, Hilario tried to live a normal life. He would wake up early in the morning, say his prayers (his faith in God never left him), had a small shot of mescal to warm his aging bones, and then ate breakfast.

Hilario Hinojosa died at the age of ninety-nine in 1983 after a short illness. He is buried next to his wife at the Annunciation Cemetery in St. Hedwig Texas. At the time of his death he left behind two living children and numerous grandchildren. He was a humble, yet unique Texan and truly a part of Texas farm and ranching history.

EXCERPT - Peter Schweizer’s book Secret Empires: How Our Politicians Hide Corruption and Enrich Their Families and Friends.

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