Rosales Family

Mrs. Marlene Perling has been a resident of Chandler for nearly 30 years.  She has come to appreciate the contributions the Hispanic community has made to our City.  In honor of the Rosales family, she wrote the following history as a recommendation for a public projects statue for A.J. Chandler Park.  The Chandler Arts Commission and the City of Chandler dedicated the Rosales Family Pioneering Artwork and Fountain to all of the founding Hispanic families of Chandler on September 19, 2003.

Agustin (Augustine) Rosales came to the United States in 1900 looking for work.  He was 16 years old and it cost him three cents to cross the border.  Born in Penjamo, Guanajuato, Mexico, in 1884, he was looking for a better life and found that the United States had opportunities that were not available in Mexico.

In 1911, he was part of a work party hired by Dr. A.J. Chandler to clear the land of mesquite where the San Marcos Hotel was to be built.  He married his first wife, Leonicia, in Phoenix, and they had a baby daughter named Augustina.  Augustine moved the family to Chandler, finding better wages and steady work in the growing city.  By 1914, rye grass was planted, giving the 18-hole golf course at the San Marcos the distinction of being the first turf golf course in the state.  One of Augustine Rosales’s jobs was to water the palm trees that still stand around the golf course today.

Another Mexican family, Trinidad and Synovia Centeno, settled in Chandler and began to raise cotton.  When Augustina was born, Synovia Centeno became the baby’s godmother. The Centeno’s had left their two daughters, Delphina and Trinidad, in Mexico with relatives. Due to family difficulties and the Mexican Revolution, in 1917 the Centeno’s went down to get their two daughters and brought them to live with them in Chandler.

Probably because Leonicia Rosales died of leukemia when their daughter was only 8 years old, Augustine Rosales would take his daughter Augustina, over to visit her godmother Synovia Centeno.  He and Trinidad Centeno were good friends also. Eventually, Augustine asked to marry the Centeno’s daughter, Trinidad, and the marriage took place on January 29, 1919 in Chandler.  He was 34 years old and she was 17.  They were married in the Catholic Church and had their reception at the Koch family home at Colorado Street and Chandler Boulevard.  Angel Navarrete and Ofelia Rios signed as witnesses.

In 1920, the Cotton Crash brought ruin to many cotton growers, but work went on in Chandler in other ways.  When the Southern Pacific Railroad began to build a main line through Chandler, Augustine started out as a water boy and worked his way up to foreman.

On June 1, 1935, a title deed is recorded for the purchase of Lot 5 from Dr. Chandler for $25.  The lot was located on Hidalgo Street in Chandler.  The family lived in a small shack on the lot until, after World War II, the government disbanded the Gila River Relocation Center for Japanese Americans south of Chandler.  The Rosales family was able to purchase one of the relocation camp houses, which was moved to their lot.  That same house is standing on Hidalgo Street property today.

The Rosales couple had 11 children over the years, nine of which are still living.  All the children were born right at their home except for Margaret, who was born in South Side Hospital in Mesa.  Their children graduated from St. Mary’s Parish School and Chandler High School. 

On September 17, 1958, Augustine Rosales died at his home on Hidalgo Street with his family at his side.  He was 74 years old.  Mrs. Trinidad Rosales is still living.  She is 97 years of age and lives with her daughter Susan here in Chandler.

Biography Research Submitted by Mrs. Marlene Perling