Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ramon 'Moncho' Fernandez Quinta (1900-1974)

This is my grandfather, Ramon Fernandez in a postcard photograph from the early 1920s.  I'm not sure who the seated gentleman is, who appears to be in his early 30s.  An indoor wooden chair was brought out to a shady patio where they were photographed together, and Ramon's arm, draped behind the man's left shoulder suggests more than a casual friendship, possibly a brother in law.

Ramon Fernandez Matos was born in 1900 in Puerta de Tierra, a neighborhood adjacent to Viejo San Juan in Puerto Rico, the fifth of ten children born to Juan Fernandez Quinta and Catalina Matos Maldonado.  His father was born in northern Spain, either in Ourense, Galicia or Santander, Spain, but so far, he is the only person with this surname in Puerto Rico since his arrival in 1887. By 1920, his family moved from  Calle San Agustin in Puerta de Tierra to Santurce; Juan was doing well at this point, since he had a servant living in the household, along with his, wife, six children, his brother in law Etanislaus Matos and Luis Gomez, another relative.

A decade later, Ramon's father Juan was a supplier, a commerciante de provisiones, and his wife Catalina worked the counter. There were three daughters at home, along with three grandchildren, two of them Ramon's daughters with Carmen Dorios Picon, Silvia and Carmen. For Ramon, the twenties proved a horrifically difficult period of time, that went from hope to loss and hope again once he returned to New York.

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