was born in Seville, Spain into a wealthy family. She
was well educated and received the title of "professor"
from the Academy of Music in Seville certifying her
to be a music teacher. She came to America at the age
of 29 with four small children to join her husband,
Ramon who had become employed in the U.S.
never returned to Spain and gave birth to seven more
children. She worked all her life, cooking, sewing,
washing, mending, devoted to the tasks that make a home
and raising children with very little resources.
asked, "What was your mother like?" Maria's
eldest daughter Connie once stated ...
was a slave and Saint."
of Maria Concepcion Rey Capdevila
written by her grandson, Luis Leon Granados, Jr. 3-14-04
Concepcion Rey-Capdevila was born on July 31, 1881 in
Seville, Spain. Her father, Antonio Rey-Pozo was a prominent
architect and builder, and the family of 7 girls and
one boy lived quite comfortably. According to her son,
Luis, during her pre-nuptial days, Concepcion entered
the family kitchen only twice once to play with
the cooks daughter; the other to attend a Christmas
party. She learned sewing and music, and became a teacher
of piano and voice. In 1901, she was proclaimed a Professor
of Sight-reading by the Academy of Music in Seville.
In 1902, her father, Antonio Rey-Pozo, contracted pneumonia,
which developed into tuberculosis, and died on July
27of that year. Her brother, Viriato, also an architect
and builder, supported his mother and seven sisters
for a while, but he eventually succumbed to tuberculosis
The girls sought ways to survive, since no such thing
as Social Security existed at the time. Concepcions
oldest sister Luisa, never married, and spent the rest
of her life as a companion to a wealthy family. Emigda,
the second oldest, married a young lawyer, German Repetto,
who eventually became both a Supreme Court Justice and
a dentist. Flora married the painter, Nicolas Alperiz,
whose painting El Cuento de Brujas includes Concepcions
mother and son Luis, as models.
Since Concepcion and Ramon Granados were expected to
marry some day, Ramons mother Maria del Rosario,
suggested they do so immediately. However, Ramon was
a grade school teacher in Cuba at the time, and it was
considered improper for a single woman to travel alone.
The problem was solved by the pair being married by
proxy. Her brother Viriato stood in for Ramon; and once
she landed in Cuba, they were re-married in the church.
Cuba, in 1901 was not a pleasant place for Spanish citizens
to live. Luis compared their residence there to people
from Boston moving to the deep South right after the
Civil War. Their accent was very distinct from the Spanish
spoken by the Cubans. Although Concepcion soon became
pregnant, she did not like it at all, and decided to
return to Spain as soon after the baby was born as possible.
In 1905, Concepcion and Luis returned to Spain, where
they were generously supported by Ramons mother
in Seville. On January 14, 1906, a daughter, Concepcion
(Connie) was born in Seville. On June 14, 1906, Ramon
received approval from the Cuban Superintendent of Schools
to return to Spain during the vacation period to learn
how to teach deaf and dumb students. He never returned.
While in Cuba, Ramon had become friends with General
Leonard Wood, the U.S. Commissioner there. The General
urged him to move to America, and helped him get a position
as a teacher at the Berlitz School in Washington, D.C.
On July 30, 1910, Ramon left Cadiz for New York on the
S.S. Montevideo, arriving on August 10. He worked in
New York as a salesman before going to Washington. In
1911, he sent for his wife and children, ages 7, 5,
3 and 2, and on June 30, 1911, Concepcion, who stood
4 ft. 9 inches, and her four children, with total cash
assets of $10, departed on the S. S. Manual Calvo, arriving
on July 11.
Concepcion soon discovered the house had rats and refused
to stay there, so they moved to a large house at 14th
and K St., N.W. Since neither the children nor their
mother could speak English, a neighbor took them to
a store for food. Concepcion would cut the labels off
the food cans, and the children took these to the store
for more. Luis was sent to St. Johns College High
School (they had a program for young children then)
but he said, all they did was beat hell out of
me. He then went to Franklin School, where he
learned English. Connie went to the Thompson School
In 1913, when Ramon, Jr. became ill, the family moved
to Mt. Rainier, Md. for the summer. His condition improved,
so they moved there permanently. On January 12, 1917,
a daughter, Angelina, was born, but only lived 27 days.
She was baptized at St. Francis de Sales Church in Mt.
Rainier and died on February 7. Her death was a severe
blow to Concepcion, who described her feelings to her
sister in Spain.
I have suffered greatly,
alone with my daughter in my arms. At night, while the
others were sleeping, her father would hold her while
I did the chores. Then again, I would pick up my little
burden and sit by the fire while we both slept. This
went on for 27 days. How could you understand that I
would have the strength for all that. I myself closed
her little casket.
After giving birth to 11 children, Maria Concepcion
Granados-Rey died on June 23, 1930 at age 49. For the
last year of her life, she wore only black, in memory
of her mother, who had died a year earlier. In addition
to raising a large family under trying conditions, she
found time for sewing and music.
The baptismal gown she made for Luis, Jr. was worn by
more than 30 babies in Luiss family, and ultimately
retired when the material became so thin it wouldnt
take another wearing. In an interview with Tony, some
50 years after her death, Luis said he still missed
her. She is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Washington,
D.C. along with her husband, in Section 58, Site 494.