This paper will discuss the Dalton-Zamoranos from early southern California, to illustrate the physical and cultural mobility that family members experienced during California’s political transition from Mexican to U.S. rule. Unfortunately, the transition from a borderland to a land with a fixed national border ushered in economic setbacks for numerous California families, including the English and Spanish-Mexican Dalton-Zamoranos by the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, an examination of this particular family shows that children who faced rapidly changing conditions in the land of their birth due to conquest responded by forging bicultural identities that included bilingualism, some formal education, and maintaining the Catholic faith of their birth, but also challenging parental authority as they asserted their independence in matters such as marriage, divorce, and occupation. By evaluating the experiences, not only of this family as a unit, but of particular siblings, this presentation demonstrates how gender shaped the options that were available to mixed-ancestry individuals and explains why some Dalton children lived their lives in California while others sought opportunities in southern Arizona and Mexico, making this family a true border story.
Violence was a constant in the Texas-Mexico border region throughout most of the nineteenth century. It is commonly believed that much of this violence pitted Anglo-Americans against Mexicans or either of these groups against Indian predators. Less known are the many instances when members of these groups joined together to fight against a common enemy or in favor of a common cause. For the sake of brevity this will be referred to as cooperative violence. There are many examples of cooperative violence; this paper will focus on two: The Federalist War (1839-1840) in northern Mexico and the Cortina War (1859) in South Texas. In these events Anglos and Mexicans, motivated by diverse interests, joined together to fight against the Mexican government in the first episode and against Juan Cortina in the second. An analysis of these events provides insight into the role of the border and the nature of violence in the Texas-Mexico border region.