Monday, October 17, 2011

Miguel Angel Delis Babilonia (1933-2011)

I'm saddened by the recent passing of a cousin, Miguel Delis Babilonia. I was fortunate to meet him and other family members through his nephew, the photographer and videographer Robert Babilonia, late of Washington DC. Miguel had a career in education, serving as principal and administrator of schools. He was of medium height and slight build, with black hair that contrasted with his skin, and it was impossible to tell exactly how old Miguel was.

The first time we met was when my husband and I traveled to Hato Rey to meet his mother, Rosairis, a vivacious woman in her 80s, who graciously sustained a conversation full of genealogical questions. Miguel cared for her, and I learned more about the Babilonias who settled in Quebradillas in the 1880s.  Rosaris told me that the Estrella family came from Spain, then to Santo Domingo and on to Puerto Rico, where they established themselves in Camuy.  Her grandmother, Jacinta Amalia Estrella Ostache (b.1850) was the first generation born in Camuy, and she married Manuel Miguel Astolfo Babilonia Talavera (1854-1926). He was my greatgrandfather Alicides' brother.

Miguel and his sister Katri both answered a question I was long curious about, why did Rodofito (as Manuel Miguel Astolfo was known) move east, away from Moca? Katri explained that Jacinta's father, d. Jose Cayetano Estrella Pallan was against slavery.  Already a widower, he purchased slaves in order to secure their freedom, and was jailed along with them for it. Miguel told me that Rodolfito broke with his family over slavery, and moved east. There is a document in PARES that announces his appointment and transfer as a teacher to Trujillo Alto until that November, when he was relocated to Quebradillas. So it seems work and political beliefs blended in his leaving Moca for the east central area of the island.  Unfortunately, Alicides remained stuck between pride and racist beliefs, preferring to acknowledge to his granddaughter that 'he used to own that family', after returning a passerby's good morning.

QEPD Miguel. I'll miss you.

1 comment:

Ben said...

I had much fun while reading your story. Looking forward to your other posts. Thanks.

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