JAVIER FRANCISCO ELIGIO GONZALEZ Y SIOCO[1]

(1891 – 1929)

Javier and Josefa

Javier Francisco Eligio Gonzalez y Sioco was born on December 1, 1891.  He was the seventh child of Dr. Joaquin Gonzalez and Florencia Sioco.   He was born one year after Virgilio, and formed part of the couple’s middle children,  also known as the “atlung demonius” (three devils).  Javier was an extremely intelligent boy.  He was sent by his father to study Law at Yale University.  When he came back, he married Josefa Mercado y Espiritu, a girl from the same social circle as the Gonzalezes, in Apalit, Pampanga.  She  was related to his brother Dr. Jesus’ wife, Ysidora Espiritu, and to Augusto’s second wife Rosario Arnedo who was also an Espiritu on her mother’s side.   It was a good match approved by the family. They were married on October 18, 1914.  Javier was 22 years old, and Josefa was 20 years old.

They had nine children, one after another—five boys and three girls. The first children were  the four boys were Ardalion, Aristides, Benjamin,  Horacio,  followed by two girls, Javiera, and Josephine, then another boy, Vladimir, and then two other daughters, Florencia and Teresita.

It was a tough time for Josefa, having so many children so close to each other.  She always felt tired and exhausted at the end of each day. This exhaustion also caused her to have a weak health.

Javier and three of their children

Then tragedy struck.  Javier contracted a sickness due to his exposure to anthrax during one of his visit to  his brother Dr. Bienvenido Gonzalez in UP Los Baños. The anthrax was a disease of the cattle, and Dr. Bienvenido was an expert on cattle.  Javier died on June 17, 1929. Josefa died two years later, on April 7, 1931.    There was no one left to take over the running of their house, since the children were still small.

The painful decision had to be done.  The children would have to be divided among the eight living brothers.   Horatio and Vladimir were initially sent to San Luis, Pampanga to be with Dr. Fernando Gonzalez.  When Dr. Fernando died in 1937, the boys were moved to other brothers.  Vladimir went with Bienvenido who already had Benjamin.  Josephine, who was the godchild of  Doña Charing Valdez, wife of Emilio, went with Emilio’s family in Bacolor. Augusto took the four of the children because he had the means to support more of them. They stayed in Apalit.  However,  Augusto died unexpectedly. He was killed by a disgruntled laborer at the Pampanga Sugar Development, which he owned.  Teresita and Florencia went to St. Anthony’s Orphanage in Legarda.  Bienvenido’s wife would bring them out occasionally. Those that went with Dr. Bienvenido grew up in Los Baños. It was a scene straight from the movie, “All Mine To Give.”

Bienvenido became the Guardian of the children after Augusto died.  He managed their finances.  When the children reached eighteen years of age, they decided to get their part of their inheritance from their parents.  The money was not a lot to start with, and their lack of training on how to make the money grow resulted in the money being dissipated quickly.