Sunday, September 17th, 2023 2:00-4:00 PM Presentation at 2:30 PM
The Hispanic Gallery of the Ethnic Heritage Museum is showcasing one of Rockford's earliest Mexican Settlers and Families. Everyone's story is unique; driven by experiences, memories, people, traditions, and circumstances.
Join us as we share the stories of some of Rockford's earliest Hispanic settlers. From heartbreak and love to business and philanthropy, we are honored to share the stories of local families.
This year's presentation will feature the Padron Family.
A special presentation will begin at 2:30 PM. (Light refreshments to follow) Both, the Ethnic Heritage Museum and Graham-Ginestra House will be open for tours before and after the presentation. This is a free event, but donations are appreciated
The Padron Family written by Andrea [Padron]
"Over the last 80+ years the Padron family has grown in the Rockford area from 4 siblings who migrated North for a better life, to around 150 descendants. There are now five generations who have lived, contributed to the community and built families in the Rockford area. Padron’s can also be found in Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, New York and Wisconsin.
Around the turn of the 20th century, our Great Grandfather, Antonio Hernandez, who was born in 1886, immigrated to the United States from Mexico to Bridgeport Texas in 1902. While in Bridgeport, he met and married Basilia Pena (DOB is 1898) on June 23, 1913 and had their first son in 1914. Basilia and Antonio had 5 children while in Bridgeport, Eltevina (Tevie), Angel (Angelo), Juan (John), Victoria and Cruz. Antonia and Basilia were from neighboring cities in the San Luis Potosi area in Mexico, originally however we don’t believe they knew one another until they both came to Bridgeport. The 5 children spent most of their youth in Bridgeport, but as they become older and with the depression ending, industrialization and the expansion of the railroad system, it opened possibilities for a better life and they began to venture out into the United States. Victoria passed away sometime in the 30’s as a teen or young adult. Between the 1930’s and 1940’s, the Hernandez family took Antonio’s mother’s maiden name, which was Padron and from then forward we were Padron’s. The reasoning why is a mystery and there are several folktales. The 4 children headed north into Minnesota, where they worked on a farm and arrived in Rockford sometime between 1940-1943. Bacilia’s brother, Manuel Pena, had previously migrated to the Rockford area in the 1930’s and was working for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company at the time of WWII starting, in 1940. We assume that Manuel Pena encouraged his sister, Basilia to bring her family to the Rockford area, due to the opportunities for work.
The last 80+ years, the Padron family has multiplied in the Rockford area and has continued on with the legacy and values our grandfathers/grandmother instilled in our parents; traits include being hard working, industrious, creative, great cooks, family oriented and loving food. Some of the earlier Padron’s worked on farms, in factories, for the Railroad company, and manufacturing plants, which include Ebolay Foundry and George Spengler and Co. The earlier Padron’s women made additional money by sewing clothes, cooking for large events or making decorations, for parties, weddings and Quinceanera’s."