The story of Don Tello Franco, a True Cowboy and the Father of Artist, Manuel Socorro Franco
Don Tello's father, Don Eleuterio Franco Sr. was a judge in the village of Coyame, Chihuahua, Mexico. In his early 30's he joined the forces of President Madero in 1910, when the Mexican Revolution started.
In 1914, when Don Tello was 6 yrs old. He and many children in Coyame watched as Pancho Villa's troops stopped in the plaza to rest and feed the troops and horses. This was quite a sight for this small village. Coyame is in the Chihuahuan desert, the oasis of Coyame. That is why Villa and his troops stopped there to rest and get water. The whole town depends on this fresh spring water. General Villa was very happy to see the faces of the children. His love for children was his weakness. Out of all of the children, General Pancho Villa looked at young Don Tello and patted him on the head and said "These are the ones that someday will see the triumph of our Revolution!" Don Tello told that story many times throughout his life because it was such a highlight for him. General Villa was also giving out "Alazanas" (gold coins) and that was a keepsake for Don Tello.
Manuel's grandfather along with his brothers joined the troops of President Madero. The purpose of the Revolution was to end the rule of General Porfirio Diaz who had been in power for 36 years. While Manuel's grandfather was in the Revolution, Don Tello stayed home to take care of his mother and siblings. He had to work the land, the very land that his father was fighting for. He plowed the fields with his team of mules and took care of the livestock along with goats, chickens and many other animals This is how Don Tello spent his childhood and his adult life.
Manuel's family includes his father Don Tello, mother Soledad, two brothers, Juan and Efrain and one sister, Hilda.
Manuel's family would wait for Don Tello to come home after hunting in the mountains where he found the meat and prepared it before coming home with a load of jerky. From the distance, Don Tello could see the smoke coming from the woodstove and he knew that Soledad would have beans and fresh tortillas waiting for him. The dogs would detect the sound of Don Tello's horses hooves and the kids would run to meet with their father. Manuel remembers the smell of the leather chaps, saddle and the sweat of the horse.
In the spring, they would plow with a team of Don Tello's favorite mules, La Norma and El Indio. They planted corn, beans, pumkins, milo, hay, and even cotton a couple of times.
In those days, there was no way to have a vehicle. Even if you had the money to buy a car, there were no local gas stations. There was one car owner and he was Don Manuel Herrera. On the night of February 19, 1946, Manuel was born in Don Manuel's car in the hills of Coyame on the way to the hospital in the city of Chihuahua. Manuel was named after Don Manuel and he also was Manuel's godfather.
There was no electricity in the whole county. Their house was made of stone. Don Tello, Soledad, and older brother, Juan built the house from stone that was brought by wagon from the hills. This was the pure country life that Don Tello knew and loved. Manuel states "We were lucky to live in that paradise. What you don't have you don't miss."
Don Tello didn't care to have a vehicle and only drove a truck once. He was in his 60's by then. He preferred riding his horses.
Don Tello was dedicated to his family 100%. He never drank or smoked. He was honest to the bone.
Don Tello lived the life of a true cowboy, loving his family, his horses and the outdoors until the day he died.
He was born October 18,1906 and died October 17, 1990.