Eva Longoria: The Roots of a Desperate Housewife

By James Pylant and Paula Lane Corregan

Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.
Do not post or publish without written permission.
Posted 22 April 2007

On the ABC Television’s hit series Desperate Housewives, Eva Longoria played the role of affluent Gabrielle Solis. In real life, the actress descends from land barons, and, coincidentally, Solis was the maiden name of her great-grandmother.

The youngest of four daughters, Eva Jacqueline Longoria was born in Corpus Christi,1 Nueces County, Texas, on 15 March 1975 to Enrique Longoria, Jr., and Ella Eva Mireles 2 who were married 12 February 1966 in Brooks County, Texas.3 Her paternal grandparents are Enrique Longoria, Sr. and Micaela De Luna4 Perez, who were married in La Mesa, Brooks County.5 Her maternal grandparents are Juan Mireles and Eva Salinas, also of Brooks County.6

Brooks County, Texas (southwest of Corpus Christi) was organized in 1911 from the counties of Starr and Hidalgo. The largest colony of Longorias in the state in 1910 was in Starr County. The federal census for that year reports nearly thirty households bearing this surname. By 1930, Texas had 342 households with the surname Longoria. Eva Longoria’s grandfather, Enrique, is recorded in the Brooks County household of his father, Mateo Longoria, who farmed on the Santa Rita Ranch. Mateo (35) and wife, Sabinca [Sabina] (33), had eight children living with them: 14-year-old Enrique, was a laborer on the farm; daughters Sara, 12; Rita, 10; Zulina [Sulema], eight; sons Erasmo, age six and-a-half; Octavio, age four-and-a-half; Narcisco, age three and-a-half; and seven-month-old daughter Amelia [Amalia]. Longoria had married at 20; his bride’s age is given as 18, though she was actually 19.7 The wife of Mateo Longoria was born Maria Sabina Solis on 19 February 1896. She died on 22 May 1982.8

Mateo Longoria had lived on the Santa Rita Ranch at least ten years earlier, as had others with his surname. In 1920, Mateo, 25, and wife Sabina S. de, 21, had two children: four-year-old Enrique and 15-month-old Sara. The enumeration shows that Mr. and Mrs. Longoria could read and write English.9 Mateo Longoria died in Brooks County on 22 March 1964.10

In 1900, Mateo Longoria was a six-year-old boy when his family was enumerated on the rolls of the federal census that year. Ponciano Longoria, age 46, owned the farm which he operated in Starr County, Texas.11 His birth is recorded as November of 1853 in Mexico, though he had lived in Texas since a small child, having arrived in 1859. According to family researcher Raul N. Longoria, November of 1853 was probably Ponciano’s baptismal date, not his birth date. “He was born in Camargo, Mexico, probably because Carmargo was the nearest ‘urban’ area, but he probably came home to La Grulla shortly afterward,” he adds.12 His wife, Rita, age thirty-five, had also lived in the Lone Star State most of her life. She was born in Mexico in June of 1864 and came to Texas two years later. The Longoria had been married 33 years, and the census during indicates that Rita Longoria had given birth to ten children, though this information is unverified. By 1900, however, four had died. Their children were named as daughter Juana, 18 (born in August 1881); son Eugenio, 16 (born in April 1884); daughters Maria, age 14 (born in March 1886) and Francisca, age 12 (born in April 1887), and sons Juan, born in 1892 (whose eighth birthday came in June) and Mateo, born in July of 1893,13 though his birth date is actually 21 September 1894.14

Ponciano Longoria died 25 June 1914 and his widow, Maria Rita, died 29 January 1929. Both were buried at the Santa Rita Cemetery, in Brooks County. Ponciano’s father, Juan Longoria, of La Grulla, Starr County, had purchased one league of land— about 4,428 acres—at “La Encantada” from Don Gregorio Villarreal in 1873. Three years later, son Ponciano married Maria Rita de Villarreal, daughter of Don Gregorio. More acreage was added to the Longoria land holdings when Juan purchased additional tracts from the heirs of Don Gregorio. Ponciano and Maria Rita each inherited substantial land holdings from their father’s respective estates and eventually, after acquiring other tracts, jointly held more than 5,000 acres. Ponciano named Santa Rita Ranch in honor of his wife.15

Research by Raul N. Longoria shows that an ancestor, Pedro Jose Longoria (Eva Longoria’s great-great-great-great-grandfather) ranched at Porcion 94, originally granted to his father, Pedro Longoria, in 1767 by the King of Spain.16 In later generations it became a part of Starr County, Texas. Family tradition says that La Grulla was founded by Juan Longoria (a grandson of the original grantee Pedro Longoria and the father of Ponciano Longoria) following Texas’s independence from Mexico in 1836. The townsite of La Grulla, located in Porcion 94, was granted to Pedro Longoria, while Pedro’s brother, Mathias Longoria, was granted Porcion 93. Raul Longoria traces this distinguished family’s descent from Lorenzo Suarez de Longoria. Coming to New Spain in 1603, Lorenzo was an eleven-year-old servant to his uncle, Pedro Suarez de Longoria, who had just been named an Oidor of the Real Aduencia (or judge in the royal court) in Mexico City.17


  1. Eva Longoria, online, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Longoria>, downloaded 5 November 2006.
  2. Eva Jacqueline Longoria entry, “Texas Birth Index, 1903-1977” (Austin: Texas Department of Health), 1975 Births, p. 2,176.
  3. Longoria-Mireles marriage, “Texas Marriage Collection, 1814-1909 and 1966-2002,” online <http://www.ancestry.com>, downloaded 20 January 2007.
  4. Enrique Longoria, Jr. entry, “Texas Birth Index, 1903-1977,” 1943 Births, p. 1,597.
  5. Raul N. Longoria’s Genealogy Database, online <http://www.raullongoria.net>, downloaded 5 November 2006, which shows Mrs. Longoria’s full maiden name as Micaela De Luna Perez.
  6. Ella Eva Mireles entry, “Texas Birth Index, 1903-1977,” 1944 Births, p. 1,853.
  7. Mateo Longoria household, 1930 U.S. census, Brooks County, Texas, Justice Precinct 3, Enumeration District [ED] 24-4, Supervisor’s District [SD] 39, p. 283, sheet 5A, household 76, family 93; National Archives [NA] microfilm T624-2301.
  8. Raul N. Longoria’s Genealogy Database, online http://www.raullongoria.net.
  9. Mateo Longoria household, 1920 U. S. Census of Brooks County, Texas, Falfurrias, ED 15, SD 15, p. 40, sheet 4A; dwelling 148, family 158; NA microfilm T625-1782.
  10. Mateo Longoria entry, “Texas Death Records,” online <http://vitals.rootsweb.com/tx/death/search.cgi>, downloaded 6 November 2006.
  11. Ponciano Longoria household, 1900 U.S. census, Starr County, Texas, 7th Precinct, ED 83, SD 18, p. 170, sheet 1B, dwelling 14, family 18; NARS microfilm T623-1670.
  12. Raul N. Longoria to James Pylant, 8 March 2007.
  13. 1900 U.S. census of Starr County, Texas, 7th Precinct, ED 83, SD 18, p. 170, sheet 1B, dwelling 14, family 18.
  14. Raul N. Longoria to James Pylant, 8 March 2007.
  15. Brooks County—Santa Rita Cemetery, online <http://www.rootsweb.com/~txbrooks/santritacem.html>, downloaded 5 November 2006.
  16. Raul N. Longoria to James Pylant, 8 March 2007.
  17. Ibid.