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Oral family history is hard to maintain

By Myra Lee Adams Goff

Doroteo Rodriguez and son Dagoberto have been doing research on their family that goes back to Mexico, where records are hard to find. To this point most of their history has been passed on byword of mouth, but as family members moved away from NB.it became harder and harder to keep up with them. Dago is computer wise and is working with several family search programs.

So far the search goes only to Teo’s grandparents, Senaido Lopez and Eusebia Quiroz. From San Luis Potosi, Mexico, their family came through Laredo in the late 1800s.They heard about the Walter Zipp farm in Schumannsville from friends and moved there in1906. Zipp’s primary crops were cotton and corn. The Lopez, Quiroz, Vasquez, Castillo, and Gonzales families who still have descendants in NB, all lived and worked on the Zipp property. They were sharecroppers and migrant workers. A sharecropper is one who plows the fields, plants the crops and then shares the profit with the owner. On the other hand, a migrant worker moves with the crops.

Benita, Teo’s mother, was born on the Zipp farm in 1906. In 1911, five year old Santos Rodriguez and his family arrived on the farm and Benita and Santos were destined to become man and wife. In 1922 they were married at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in a formal wedding ceremony. According to Teo, they probably had a large reception at their house and probably had a dance, since his dad’s brothers were musicians.

After grandfather Senaido Lopez died in 1927 (he is buried in the Zipp cemetery), Teo’s grandmother moved to Gruene with the four younger children. They lived in the little white house that is still standing across from Buck Pottery.

Meanwhile Teo’s parents left the Zipp farm and migrated all over South Texas according to crop availability. He was born in Centerpoint where there were fields of peanuts and tomatoes to be harvested. Migrating eventually led them back to the Walter Zipp farm. A large family of 10 children was a real asset to help with gathering crops.

When Teo’s dad died in 1945, his mother and all the children moved to NB and his mother kept the family afloat by doing laundry. The older brothers and sisters started working to put Teo through school. He started school at Lone Star, a country school, followed byNB Middle School and afterward graduated from NBHS in 1959. He was the first in his family to complete his education.

After graduation, Teo got a job in Gruene dusting, cleaning, and stacking wool and mohair in the present Adobe Verde building. Shortly thereafter, Teo and Antonia Alvarez were married and in 1960 he started working as a delivery man at City Pharmacy, Plaza, and Comal Drug for Fritz Scheffel and Herman Sabrsula. He was promoted to stock man and when Sabrsula began Herman’s Pharmacy on Landa Street and eventually Landa Pharmacy. He stayed there until 1973.

An opening at New Braunfels Hospital (McKenna) in the supply and purchasing department prompted him to get that job and eventually become the director of purchasing. When the hospital’s pharmacy was enlarged in 1976, he asked to transfer there. Thereafter he studied and passed the exam at Incarnate Word to become a certified pharmacy technician in 1998. He has now completed his 34th year at McKenna.

Teo Rodriguez’s philosophy will serve him well in the future. He began his search to get information on family because to him family is more important than anything else. He would like to get his whole family together for a reunion, but admits that it would take a pretty big place. Meanwhile, he has promised to give the Sophienburg a copy of his family history when it’s done.

Santos and Benita Rodriguez in 1922.