HON. MAXIMO ARANDA was born in San Elizario in the home where he is still living, in 1845, and is today one of the historic characters of the county and his name is inseparably interwoven with the annals of this section of the state. He is a representative of a prominent Mexican family, his father, Ygnacio Aranda, having been born in the state of Chihuahua, but at a very early day he located at San Elizario, in what is now El Paso county, Texas.
In 1855 Maximo Aranda, although but a young child, was sent to San Antonio to attend St. Mary’s College, where he remained until 1857. He then returned home and soon afterward went to El Paso, where he was engaged in clerking in the story of Henry and John Gillett from 1857 until 1862. That was the first mercantile establishment in what is now the city of El Paso, which was then merely a stopping place for the stage and freight lines, there being no town and few settlers outside of the small Mexican towns, for hundreds of miles. Merchandise for the store was hauled at enormous expense by “bull freight” formSt. Louis, and as an example of the prices of goods in those days Mr. Aranda recalls selling coffee for a dollar and a half per pound, calico at seventy-five cents per yard, thread at thirty cents a spool and other things in proportion. It should also be remembered in connection with this period of his life that it was he who hauled the ten million dollars in Confederate money from Eagle Pass to San Antonio in the year 1864.
In 1862 Mr. Aranda returned to San Antonio and carried on business there and in Mexico. At the time that the Emperor Maximilian was laying his plans in Mexico Mr. Aranda was hauling cotton from San Antonio to Mexico. In 1865 he returned to San Elizario and became the candidate for representative to the state legislature from El Paso county, but could not take his seat in that body from the somewhat remarkable fact that he could not get to Austin on account of the Indians, who were very troublesome through Western Texas in those days, constantly menacing life and property. It was also in 1866 that Mr. Aranda was appointed deputy collector of customs for the Paso del Norte district by Collector W. W. Mills, a brother of General Anson Mills, both of whom were prominent in the early history of El Paso. Mr. Aranda also served in that capacity under Collectors Tibbetts and Colwell and was connected with the customs department in connection with the public office for seventeen years. In various positions of political preferment he has displayed excellent ability, discharging his duties with promptness and fidelity that have won him high commendation. He was county judge of El Paso county at the time Judge Clark was killed in El Paso, December 7, 1870.he also took a prominent part in the events which are famous under the name of the Salt Lake war in this county in 1877, in which several persons were killed. As justice of the peace at San Elizario, in which capacity he has served for many years, it was his necessary custom to preside with two six-shooters on the bench, one at each hand. Mr. Aranda has also acted as school trustee for many years and in numerous ways has been a leading figure in public life through almost a half century. He has always been found to conduct successfully prosperous business enterprises as a farmer and merchant, being connected with interests of that character in San Elizario.
On the 10th of January, 1867, Mr. Aranda was married to Miss Alejandra Alvillar, and they became the parents of thirteen children, to all of whom he has given a good English education. His eldest son, C. Aranda, is now serving as deputy grand clerk of El Paso county. Mr. Aranda has always been a staunch Republican and his influence in political circles has been far- reaching and beneficial. As the years passed by he carefully controlled his interests, winning therefrom a gratifying competence, and some years ago he retired form active farming and merchandising and now attends to no active duties except those of his public offices of justice of the peace and school trustee.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 441-442.