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HINOJOSA, SALVADOR MARCOS

HINOJOSA, SALVADOR MARCOS (1901–1976). Salvador Marcos Hinojosa, businessman, the oldest son of the five children of Liborio and Margarita (Morales) Hinojosa, was born in Reynosa Días, Tamaulipas, Mexico, on July 29, 1901. He was eight years old when he started selling meat in the mornings for his father's meat market. In those years in Mexico it was common for merchants to sell door to door. When a goat or beef was killed, it was cut into pieces, priced, and placed in containers at each end of a pole that was then carried by a child-peddler. In the afternoons Salvador sold candy and bread, for which he earned a small commission. His father died in 1910. The children's grandfather, a professor, taught the youngsters, but he died when Salvador was only ten, and three years in Mexican schools completed the child's formal education. With the help of an uncle in nearby Río Bravo, the family stayed together in Mexico until 1913, when the Mexican Revolution came to the frontier. Then his mother, brother, sisters, and grandmother crossed the river to the United States for security. Hinojosa's mother remarried and took her five children to join her new husband's three children on a farm at La Joya. The couple had three more children.

Salvador learned about farming and domesticated animals from his stepfather and worked at various jobs on and off the farm. He learned English by reading and from other people. His business work and cotton-farming ventures took him as far away as Kingsville, where he met Marina Medina from Chihuahua, Mexico; they were married in 1926 and had ten children. In 1929 Hinojosa started his first retail business at Donna; subsequently he opened a store in Edcouch. He stayed in the general-merchandise business until World War II, during which he raised several hundred acres of vegetables. In 1947 he and a cousin founded the H and H Meat Products Company in Edcouch. It was a small killing floor with a few lockers. In 1949 he bought his cousin out and moved the business to Mercedes. In 1954 he expanded by buying a locker plant. The next year his eldest son, Salvador Héctor, was accidentally asphyxiated at the plant. In 1967 Hinojosa moved into a large new plant. Several major expansions, including the addition of a frozen-foods division, occurred later. In 1983 H and H was named the top minority-owned business in the United States. By 1990 the firm had national distribution and more than 600 employees. It was operated by four of Hinojosa's sons and several of his grandchildren and had become one of the Rio Grande valley's largest businesses.

Hinojosa was a devout Catholic and active in community life. During World War II he held court every Saturday at his grocery, sharing with those who came into town all of the week's news in Spanish, since most did not read or understand English. He encouraged other Hispanics to become active in the community, to vote, and to improve their opportunities and those of their children through education. He also fought against segregation for his own children and those of others. After several strokes Hinojosa died at a Harlingen hospital on July 17, 1976.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Marion B. Arpee, The Hinojosa Family of Northeastern Mexico and the Lower Rio Grande Valley: Its Background and History (Harlingen, Texas, 1986).

Marjorie Johnson

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Marjorie Johnson, "HINOJOSA, SALVADOR MARCOS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhi60), accessed April 20, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.