The Volpes
The Kidnapping
of Adelia

Rafael Muxó

The following account of grandmother Adelia, was taken from a letter my cousin María Teresa (Tessie) wrote to her daughter Carmen Teresa, part of which I will quote:

Francisco Lopez - born in Cataluña, Spain, merchant, came to America with an uncle, José Tolosa. They were very close - like brothers. Both were adventurers and while quite young, decided to try their future in the new world.

Francisco established himself in New Orleans and traveled frequently between Spain and America. In New Orleans he met and married Helen York, daughter of an English settler. Out of that marriage Adelia López, your great grandmother was born. The marriage was not a happy one, perhaps because Helen was an Englishh Protestant and Francisco was a Catholic. Eventually they separated. One day Francisco kidnapped Adelia, who was then 5 years old. He brought her to Puerto Rico and left her with his uncle and friend José Tolosa, who had preferred to try his luck in the West Indies intead of New Orleans. He had prospered so well that he had made his home in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. (He made a great fortune).

Adelia was raised by the Tolosa family. She received an excellent education and later made use of it by becoming a teacher. However, she never knew what became of her mother in New Orleans, Helen York. Aunt Helen tells me that when her mother was quite grown up she received a letter from the authorities in New Orleans telling her that her mother, Helen York, had died. They sent her a small miniature picture of her. To this day, Aunt Helen tells me that nobody knows how they got Adelia's address. I wonder who got that picture! (wish I had it).

Aunt Helen and mother once told me that Adelia, their mother, used to tell them how she remembered the day her father kidnapped her. It was a Sunday morning and he, Francisco, came to her house to visit her. He took her for a Sunday morning walk. She remembered too that he gave her a bag of candy. She even remembered that she wore pantaloons, you know, the long pants little girls wore under their dresses. She remembered she was taken to a waiting boat (sail or mast boat) and was at sea a long time. The father left her at Tolosa's house and sailed back to Spain. He visited the island once in a while and kept in touch. But poor Adelia was raised in a home where no mother love was evident. Perhaps that is why she was such a serious person.

Mother and Aunt Helen once told me a sad story about Adelia, their mother. While she lived with the Tolosas, she gew to be a very lovely, refined young lady and fell in love with a very wonderful person. However, when the father came from Spain on one of his rare visits, he surprised her with the bad news that he had chosen a husband for her, Manuel Muxó, son of a very close friend of his in Spain. Adelia refused to marry a man she didn't love, and told her father she already was planning to marry a Puerto Rican fellow. (Aunt Helen told me his name was August Carlo). The old "Buzzard" told her that she would marry Manuel or he would curse her and her generation. Imagine what that meant to a moral Catholic girl. So she obeyed and married Manuel, a man much older than herself. Mother and Aunt Helen told me once that when their mother Adelia died they had opened up an old trunk that she kept and found a photo of her old boy friend there. Imagine!

However, mother always said that her father, Manuel Muxó, was a very quiet and meek person...she (Adelia) became a school teacher and did O.K. When she died she left 3 houses, one for Tío Pancho, one for Aunt Helen and one for mother.

In this story the narrator is María Teresa Agostini, granddaughter of Adelia. "Mother" is Catalina Tomasa Muxó and "Aunt Helen" is Elena Muxó, both daughters of Adelia and aunts to Rafael.