Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rafael Cardenas Zepeda

Rafael Cardenas Zepeda was born 24 October 1890 in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico. His parents were Macedonio Cardenas y Cardenas and Agustina Zepeda Rodriguez.

He married at least three times. His known wives were Amalia Ortega Blanca, Herlinda (last name unknown), and Adelina Cardenas. Between all of his spouses, Rafael had at least the following children:
  • Gilberto Cardenas Ortega
  • Esperanza Cardenas Ortega
  • Raul Cardenas
  • Roberto Cardenas
  • Rafael Cardenas
For this post, however, rather than focusing on his family life, I want to highlight Rafael's military service. Unlike my previously mentioned military relatives who served in the American Revolutionary War or the U. S. Civil War, Rafael, being Mexican, served in the Mexican Revolutionary War, sometimes referred to as the Mexican Civil War.

Rafael joined the Constitutionalist Army during the Mexican Revolutionary movement in 1913. He served under the command of General Antonio Medina. I know he was against the Huerta movement, but it seems from what I've gathered that even when some groups would be allies on one front, they were enemies on another, so other than knowing he was "anti-Huerta," I know little else about his side of the War.

Most of the reason I don't know much about his time in the Revolution is because my knowledge of Spanish is limited to what I learned before age 10 and what I can glean based on a working knowledge of French and some Latin. But I do know that during Rafael's time in the military, he worked his way up to Brigadier General.
One of the many medals that was given to Rafael.
They are all in the possession of his granddaughter, Amalia Cardenas Tristan
Photo taken by Thomas Cardenas
Certificate in the possession of Amalia Cardenas Tristan
Photo taken by Thomas Cardenas
By 1918, he was the first head of the Department of Factories and Military Supplies under Venustiano Carranza de la Garza's presidency. (This leads me to believe Rafael and Venustiano Carranza were allies (more frequently than enemies, at least) in the War.)

While Rafael appears in few books and records, it seems he was rather successful in his professional life. He was a member of Congress, a federal deputy, and he also served as provisional governor of Tamaulipas. He was the governor-elect for the 1920-1924 term, but he only served four days until 8 May 1920 when he retired.
Photo of Rafael found in a book at Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA
(I forgot to write down the name of the book)
Rafael died in 1956 at the age of 66 of a myocardial infarction.
Taken from death certificate
I hope to find out more about the Mexican Revolution as soon as I learn a little more Spanish, but until then, I have to rely on the certificates, medals, and fantastic photos from my great-aunt Amalia. Hopefully, more information will be revealed to me soon.
Photo provided by Thomas Cardenas
Original in the possession of Amalia Cardenas Tristan

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