Thursday, March 29, 2012

It Takes a Woman to Stop an Army

My family's history proves rather an exciting one.  One of my favorite stories belongs to my great great grandmother Rafaela LaMadrid.  Anyone who knows more than one female in my bloodline knows that a matriarchal order prevails.  Strong women are par for the course in the Duarte family.  No one wrote this story before it fell into my hands so a couple of details are a bit sketchy but you get the idea.

Firstly I ought to introduce you to Rafaela.  She was beautiful, healthy, tough and confident.  She could ride horses like a man, smoke, drink and as you will see, outsmart an army. 

She lived during the Mexican Revolution and bore 14 children.  When she was about to give birth to her last child she locked herself in her room and delivered the baby herself.  Tough cookie. 

Well, as the story goes, one day a large group of soldiers turned their gaze toward her small town. I do not know exactly how many as some details prove muddled, but apparently a very large group.  Knowing they were coming and that they would likely rape her daughters and force her sons into the military as they had done in other areas she employed that brilliant mind of hers and thought quickly.  She told her daughters to hide and her neighbors to start cooking.  Then mounting her horse she flew like the wind to meet the approaching soldiers.  Greeting them with her winning smile she invited them all to her house for a good home cooked meal.  The soldiers accepted gratefully and while they ate and smoked she smoked with them and chatted.  At the close of the meal they asked if there were any men in the town that they could coerce into the army.  She scoffed, saying that the men in that town were pathetic and would prove a hinderence to them.  The soldiers left praising her to the skies and bestowing benedictions upon her head.   


  1. Your grandmother was wise and wonderful. Delivering a baby herself! Wow, that is amazing. Thank you for this inspiring story.

  2. After reading so many of Crystal's blogs and now your's I have no doubt about the courage and abilities of the women in your family's history. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I'm glad you're writing these down. I'd like to print them for posterity. My kids don't know the stories because I get them all mixed up in my head. This is very cool. Well done!