English Version of June 23, 1990 Newspaper article.

   
El Sol del Bajío
Sábado 23 de junio de 1990, Celaya, Gto
Celaya Antigua a la Vista del Pintor León Trousset
 
A free translation[1] and annotation by R. B. Brown
25 January, 2010
 
 
 
 
El Sol del Bajío
Saturday 23 June, 1990 Celaya , Guanajuato
 
A View of Old Time Celaya by the Painter León Trousset
 
By Eduardo Rivadeneyra Pérez
 
A transient French painter, Léon Trousset by name, in his pilgrimage across the Mexican Republic , visited our beloved Celaya en 1882, leaving in his trail, as was his custom, a painting that illustrated our city in as it was then.
 
In 1967, my father[2] – Rafael Rivadeneyra Villegas - gave me[3] this painting in 1967.  He obtained[4] it from Don Román Pérez[5] who received it in turn from Eusebio González, a nephew by marriage (sobrino político) of Doña Emetería Valencia[6], wife of an earlier Don Eusebio González[7], who was owner of a store known as “Casa González”.  Up until that time it hung on a wall in the store known as “Casa González[8]”.
 
Don Eusebio González was also owned the “Zempoala”, a factory founded by Don Lucas Alemán[9].  Subsequently my father built a textile factory known as “La Concepción” on the same site.    
 
This “costumbrista”[10] painting depicted a common scene in the Plaza de la Constitución, named after the famous Pepa, the Cádiz Constitution of 1812[11], which was commonly referred to as La Pepa[12].  From the left to the right, [the viewer can see] the two story Santa Monica Arcade[13] which housed the “Casa González”; the Arcade Requeña; Saint Elias Street ; the Church of Carmen[14] at the bottom and the Arcade of Flowers[15].
 
The trees are locally known as “trueños”[16] were planted earlier when Don José Maria Marañón[17], the Political Chief, ordered the removal of the open air stands that had existed since time immemorial.  The street sellers were moved to part of the Convento del Carmen[18], (which had become exposed) as a result of the opening of Tresguerras Street .
 
The street lamps were made of tin and glass and were illuminated by kerosene lamps.  The “swells” sat on the masonry benches admiring the “dollies” in the square, and the “chinacos[19] paraded (up and down) on their horses.
 
The cleaning crew[20], under the watchful eye of the “gendarme”[21] begins to sweep the cobble stones giving special attention to the rain gutter.  The cab returns from a fare.  The baker offers the fruit of his oven.  The stalls offer calico and chambray.[22]
 
The tramp wishing to make a purchase has to put his hand in this shoulder bag to find a con be it a “Pilón, Tlaco, Cuartilla, Medio, Real, Peseta, Tostón, [or] Ocho reales (un peso)”[23].  Or if he wished to buy something of greater value, there are gold coins such as “Medio, Uno (equivalente a 16 Reales de Plata), Dos, Cuatro y Ocho Escudos.”  Or if he has recently arrived from Mexico City , he could have a “Veinte Pesos Oro” gold piece, or modern one, two or five centavo copper - nickel coins.
 
In the year of 1882, General Manuel González[24] was president of the Republic and Lic. Manuel Muñoz Ledo[25] was state governor, and Col. Dionisio Catalán[26] was the local Political Chief.  At the same time, Professor José María Pérez Campos[27] established his school (colegio).  Valentín Mancera[28], an unfortunate bandit, was machine gunned[29] because; “Valentín was born in San Juan [de la San Juan de Dios, and Sanjuana was the name of the woman who turned him in.”  Some days later, the first train arrived in Celaya on the Ferrocarril Central Mexicano[30] (México – Ciudad Juárez, and México – Guadalajara) beating out the first train into Sullivan Station[31] of the Ferrocarril Nacional  (México – Laredo).  As a result, in order to travel between the two stations “ Celaya ” and “Sullivan”, it was necessary to build an urban railroad (mule powered tram way)[32].  With the arrival of the railroad system came greater security in the transport of valuables and as a result, older monies were displaced by decimal coins, introduced in 1865 by the Emperor Maximilian.  Beautiful silver coins that re – captured the international money market and were substituted by the so called Mexican Republic monies.  In the reduced Carmelite Convent, the “Colegio de San Alberto” was opened. The Minor Friars scheduled the renovation of the Marian Board [and] in San Francisco church, don Longinos Núñez[33], president of the Christmas Board, updated the Christmas eve displays.
 
While looking at the Independence Monument[34], it brings to mind that the celebration of the swearing in of Carlos IV  took place towards the end of 1791.  Locally, don José Belloín y Fresneda, sub – Delegate, along with the City Council, commissioned don Francisco Eduardo Tresguerras[35] to build a Royal Dais[36], Arch of Triumph and a Pyramid which was composed of a pediment, pedestal, column and statue.  After the ceremonies and rituals of the swearing in of the Spanish sovereign, a fountain was built around the column in order to provide water to the merchants around the Main Square .  Between 1822 and 1823, the statue of Carlos IV was exchanged for the eagle associated with Agustín Iturbide, not very imperial since it lacked the crown but comparing the animal in the picture with that found on the coins from the First empire one concludes that they are similar.  Underneath the eagle two “Trigarantes”[37] flags can be seen.  Do not forget that don Agustín de Iturbide was Coronel of the Celaya Infantry Regiment.
 
It is not generally known what the word Celaya[38] means in Hebrew – the following information comes from an article in the Gaceta de México, Number 63, 23 May, 1820 – “Descripción que hizo el Ayuntamiento de Celaya, al Virrey Don Juan Ruiz de Apodaca, conde del Venadito, de la Solemne Función de Gracias tributada a la Purísima Concepción, Patrona de la Ciudad, por la Pacificación alcanzada el año de 1820[39]”.  Quoting the third paragraph: messrs. Juan José Gayón and Francisco Eduardo Tresguerras roundly fulfilled their responsibilities in the religious enthusiasm in all classes, businesses and institutions, sexes and individuals of their compatriots”, and there by verifying the Hebrew meaning for Celaya, which according to the Venerable Bede[40] is: THE VOCIE THAT RISES UP AND ELEVATES GOD. (The Venerable Bede was an English Benedictine monk, saint and doctor of the Church, Master of the Monasteries at Wearmouth and Jarrow.  Expert in Hebrew and the Holy Scriptures.  Born in 673 and died in 735).


[1] While trying to maintain the sense and style of the original article, I have freely changed the grammar, and even the sentence structure, in order to facilitate the flow and readability for an English speaking audience.  The translator would like to thank Fernando E. Rivadeneyra Nuñez, son of the author Eduardo Rivadeneyra Pérez for his comments and for kindly providing a photocopy of the original article.  It is evident that Eduardo Rivadeneyra was well read and very knowledgeable about Celaya ’s local history.  He probably read history as a hobby and probably quite familiar with: Pedro González (1904) Geografía Local del Estado de Guanajuato, Tip. de la Escuela  Militar, “J.O.G.”, Guanajuato, Gto and other such compilations.  The translator would also like to thank Frederick Kluck and J. Samuel Moore for their support.
[2] And grandfather of the present owner
[3] Eduardo Rivadeneyra Pérez
[4] Probably in the 1940’s.
[5] An employee of Casa González.
[6] Doña Emeteria Valencia , daughter of Patricio Valencia , a rich capitalist from Salamanca , Gto., was famous for her philanthropy and generosity in building schools for both boys and girls through out the region.  She supported secular education based on the Lancastrian system.(González, 1904; pp. 140, 146 and 273)
[7] Although of Spanish origin, Eusebio González was a politically powerful and well connected terrateniente, or large land holder and businessman.   (González 1904, pp. 142 and 143)  He was powerful enough to get legislation that was specifically favorable to his business interests (viz: Decreto # 79, 17 December, 1995). When Francisco I. Madero visited Celaya on his way from Ciudad Juárez to Mexico City in 1911, Eusebio González threw an enormous celebratory feast (NY Times, 18 June, 1911).
[8] Casa González is thought to face the central plaza in Celaya .
[9] In 1825, Don Lucas Alemán, founded a textile factory that employed “thousands of hands together with a mill for making flour and a workshop to bleach the calicos produced in the textile mills at Soria.  (González, 1904. p. 141)
[10] The costumbrista tradition tends to focus on day - to - day activities and local details.  Trousset tends to paint town centers or urban scenes.   Certain elements tend to be emphasized and / or repeated: i.e.  Troussets’ clouds are distinctive as is his use of perspective.  His human figures tend to be cardboard – like and stilted.  He tends to include a single horsemen or groups of two or three horsemen.  Flags are common to his urban scenes. The quality of the painting can range from naive to quite sophisticated. 
[11] After the Madrid uprising of 1808, first King Charles IV abdicated in favor of his son, and then his son abdicated in favor of Napoleon Bonaparte who in turn ceded the Spanish throne to his brother Joseph I.  Such instability created political and social chaos.  The Spanish nationalists struggled to present a common front in the form of a cortes or parliament.   The parliament finally settled in Cádiz, under the protection of the English fleet.  The Cortes was dominated by liberal ideas such as limits on the power of the Church, Crown and nobility.  Some overseas representatives arrived in time to participate while others arrived too late.
[12] The Cádiz Constitution was promulgated on 19 March, 1812, the day dedicated to Saint Joseph , or San José whose nickname is Pepa.
[13] “A range of arches with their supports or a passageway, one side of which is a range of arches supporting a roof.”  Sayles, Henry, Dictionary of Architecture, p.10  Science Editions, John Wiley & Sons, NYC, NY.
[14] Nuestra Señora del Carmen was originally built in 1597 and burnt on 16 July, 1802.  It was subsequently rebuilt by one of Celaya ’s’ favorite sons’,  Francisco Eduardo Tresguerras (13 October, 1759 – 4 August, 1833) in a Neo – Classic style.  As well as redesigning the church itself, Tresguerras was responsible for much of the decoration including sculptures, murals and paintings.   The job was finished on 13 October, 1807. (González, 1904, p. 145)
[15] I am still looking for photos and information related to these buildings.
[16] I would suggest that the term Treno (without the “ñ”) is used to refer to privet or Ligustrum spp.
[17]  The post was equivalent to the French Department Head.   I have not been able to find any information about Don José Maráñon.  See following note. .
[18]  According to González (1904, p. 146): in the name of progress, in 1868 Col. Florencio Soria, then the  political chief of Celaya , redesigned the Plaza de Armas and planted the aforementioned trees.  In the same year he demolished parts of the Convento del Carmen and in the following year extended Chavarría Street , dividing the convents’ orchard in two.   In 1869 he built the semi – circular market and associated plaza that still existed in 1904.
[19]  Mestizo horsemen, proud of his freedom, independence and rural roots.  They were identified by their garb which included a head - scarf, wide brimmed hat, serape and short jacket.   Today many people confuse them with charros.
[20]  Probably composed of habitual drunks and petty criminals.
[21]  French for policeman.
[22]  Many of Troussets’ paintings include vignettes of daily activities. (Viz: Plaza de San Marco, Aguascalientes, Chihuahua Diciembre ,1884  and  Albuquerque, 1885).
[23] These are coins of different values.  The author is showing off his numismatic knowledge.  Due to the shortage of the coin of the realm, “script” or fichas were often put into circulation by different local businesses or haciendas.  Although they were often devalued and mistreated, Tlacos were nominally worth an 1/8 of a Real, and Pilones were worth a 1/16 of a Real.  A cuartilla” and a medio” were formally minted coins that were worth a 1/4 and a ½ of a Real, respectively.  The term“tostón” dates back to the sixteen century when it referred to a coin with the head (Testone [Italian] = head).  Today it generally means a fifty cent coin.  In the late 1860s’ the peseta replaced the duro as the official monetary unit of in Spain .  Today in Mexico it is a slang term for a peso while in the United States it is a slang term of a quarter.  Traditionally, a peso was composed of eight reales.
[24] President of Mexico from 1881 to 1884 and subsequently governor of the State of Guanajuato . His administration was noted for financial problems.  The politicians and people turned to Porfirio Díaz to restore stability.  Porfirio Díaz restored stability and established a dictatorship until 1911 when he was over thrown after the Battle of Juárez, May 1911.
[25] Governor from 1880 to 1885.  Muñoz Ledo facilitated the introduction of the RR (connecting to Mexico City , Guadalajara and Ciudad Juárez , Chihuahua ) and banking to Guanajuato.  He promoted education and the construction of a number of schools. (González, 1904.  numerous references)
[26] Col. Dionisio Catalán, Spanish by origin, led the squad of soldier that killed Valentín Mancera.  There is some question as to his rank.
[27] José María Pérez Campos was born in Celaya on 27 July, 1846 and died in Santa Cruz on 10 October, 1910.  Santa Cruz, today know as Juventino Rosas, is a town just north west of Celaya on the road to Guanajuato, the state capital.  A multi - faceted and charismatic person.  Pérez Campos was best known as a draughtsman, reporter and progressive teacher who wrote a number innovative of texts.
[28] In various movies and corridas, Valentín Mancera (1840 – 1882) is portrayed as a “Robin Hood” – like figure who fought against the dictadura only to be finally betrayed by his lover. He probably work on one of Eusebio González’ haciendas before going on the lam in the late 1879s’. (www.correo-gto.com.mx/inlcudes/pop/nota_zx49934)
[29] He was probably shot many times but due to the date, it is unlikely that he was machine – gunned.
[30] The Mexican Central Railroad come north from Mexico City through San Juan del Río, Querétaro, to Celaya and they went on to León and up to Ciudad Juárez.  For further information on the Central Mexicano you may wish to consult: Bryan, Keith L. (1974) History of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE or, if you want to try something in Spanish,  Brown, R. B. (2009) Introducción e Impacto del Ferrocarril en el Norte de México, Universidad de Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. 
[31] Probably refers to James Sullivan, one of the founders, along with General William Jackson Palmer, of the Mexican National Railroad in 1877.  This line first went from Mexico City to Toluca and then in 1883 on Acámbaro, Celaya and San Miguel Allende.  In the north, construction went from Laredo to Monterey in 1882 and on to Saltillo in 1883.  The section between Saltillo and San Miguel was completed on 28 September, 1888.  Fred Wilbur Powell (1921) Railroads of Mexico , p. 133.  The Stratford Co., Boston . MA.
[32] These urban trams can be seen in a number of Trousset’ paintings such as the: Plaza de San Marcos , Aguascalientes and the Plaza de Armas de Chihuahua .
[33] Tresguerras designed and built the first theater for Don Longinos Núñez who passed it on to Don Francisco Vaca.   It was then sold to don Luis Muñoz Ledo and don Eusebio González, in turn.  It was called the Cortazar Theater.  According to González, it was past its prime in 1904. (González, 1904, p. 145)
[34] The top of the monument can be seen over the top of the trees surrounding the plaza.  It was designed and built by Francisco E. Tresguerras in 1822.
[35] Eduardo Tresguerras was a prominent painter, sculptor, and architect born and breed in Celaya . He went to Mexico City to study for the church but returned to Celaya to raise a family  he designed and built a  number of public works in Irapuarto, Salamanca , Salvatierra,  San Luis Potosi , San Miguel el Grande, as well as Celaya .
[36] Reviewing stand
[37] Trigantes = Three guarantees or goals: (1) Mexico ’s Independence from Spain ; (2) Catholicism as the official and only religion, and (3) unity and a common front among the different bands fighting for Independence .   After Morelos’ execution in 1816, the rebel armies scattered and fought their own battles.  At the beginning of 1821, Col Agustín Iturbide a royalist soldier turned rebel, invited Vicente Guerrero, one of the major rebel leaders to unite with his forces under the Plan de Iguala, which proposed the three aforementioned principals as the basis of cooperation.  The Trigantes flag was divided diagonally in three parts.  White  for … on top sinister : green for …. In the middle and red for  … on the bottom dexter.  Three golden stars, one in each field,  formed a diagonal line from top left to bottom right.
[38] According to González (1904, p. 146) , Celaya is a Basque word meaning “flat land”.
[39] “Description undertaken by the City Hall of Celaya (and sent) to The Viceroy Juan Ruiz de Apodaca, Count of Venadito, of the Celebration in honor of the Pure Concepción, Patron of the City, of the Pacification obtained in 1820”.  In other words, a report send to Mexico City , to inform the viceroy about the City of Celaya ’s’ celebrations for the peace achieved in 1820.
[40] The Venerable Bede was an important figure in English history and this quote demonstrates the breadth and depth of don Eduardo Rivadeneyra’ knowledge.