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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

RANCHO REYES - - Mexico - The Beginning

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Land Holdings
courtesy fotosearch

Several land owners in Mexico had been given large land grants by the king of Spain, but over time, things changed due to infighting, sicknesses, and government officials just taking the land for themselves.

The Estaban family had been able to survive all the forces that had taken many other families down and were prospering.  They enjoyed a large herd of the finest horses in the whole of Mexico and were the envy of many of the officials who controlled the government.

There was a son and a daughter born into the Estaban family.  The girl was six years old, spoiled, and disobedient to her mother which only endeared her to both parents.  

The son, Juan was thirteen and from the time he could walk was into guns and shooting.  As it so happened one of the ranch hands had been a gunsmith in the past and was what called a fast draw expert.  Juan followed him around and wanted to learn everything the gunsmith knew.

With the father’s permission he made a pistol that was small enough for Juan to handle and fit his hand.  Juan never let the gun not be with him.  He slept with it and pulled the trigger so much it had to be remade.  When he was allowed to use real ammunition he could already draw and pull the trigger faster than the eye could see.

Now the gunsmith taught him to shoot and hit what he aimed at.  By the time he was ten he had perfected his skills with a gun.  Then he wanted to learn how to shoot a rifle.  Most boys learned to shoot a rifle first but not Juan.

Courtesy free clip art
It took a year for him to perfect his skill with a rifle.  Learning to hit a target at a long distance with a heavy powder load was difficult but was finally mastered.

His mother was beside herself for he fought her all the way when she tried to educate him.  She would hide his pistols from him until he promised to do his studies.  

At last he had enough schooling to get by and was ready to go for formal studies at the equivalent of a prep school.  Then it happened!

Juan was out rounding up some horses that had strayed, when a small army of about two hundred men converged on the hacienda with guns blazing.

Juan realized it was an attack by the ruling magistrate.  It was over in a short moment. He had witnessed his parents and sister taken.  His father was shot first and then his mother.  From his vista he saw his sister slip away but they quickly caught her and that was the last he saw of her and didn’t know where she went.  

The peons quickly gave up or were killed.  Juan realized there was nothing he could do so he quietly stayed out of sight until the marauders had settled down.  Positioning himself where he could see several of the raiders camped down for the night, he then took his rifle and opened up on them.  He hit about a dozen of them; then it was time to get out of there.

They quickly mounted up and came after him but he wasn’t going to be caught.  That night he slipped back to the hacienda and the whole of them had opened the large wine cellar and were pretty well drunk.

Juan pulled out his knife and one by on he started slashing the drunken soldiers.  After a number of them were dead or dying, Juan slipped away into the darkness.  

It was little satisfaction for what he had lost but at least they didn’t get by without the reminder that the Estaban’s didn’t go down without a fight.
He didn’t count the ones he stabbed and had shot earlier but figured it was more than twenty.   Rounding up about twenty of his out lying horses, he drove them into a valley where they could feed and be safe thinking he would return at a later time.

To be Continued


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