Zoilo Enrique Marrero

Zoilo Enrique was the first-born son of Santiago Marrero, born in 1882. It is said that the name "Zoilo" is a Spanish version of the Greek name Zoilus, which means alive, living. It was also a name for a harsh critic in ancient Greece and a Spanish martyr from Roman times.

Zoilo's grandfather was named Saturnino, and Santiago's second son was named Trifón, so it seems there was a fascination with classical and Greek themes in naming children.

Nothing is known of the childhoods of Zoilo and his siblings (Isabel and Trifón). They grew up in Humacao and Naguabo. The entire family moved to Vieques sometime after 1899 - perhaps in response to the San Ciriaco hurricane that struck the island at that time. The 1910 Census shows Zoilo and his new wife in Vieques, as well as Trifón living there with his inlaws, and Santiago with his new family (Gregoria, James and Boriquen). Curiously, Zolio married a woman from Naguabo - but whose parents were from Vieques.

Oral history says that Zoilo (commonly called Henry) started or ran a store or liquor store on Vieques. There is nothing to document that, however.

Based on the 1910 Census, Henry and Elisa were married in 1905. It is known that he and his family (Elisa and Henry Jr.) travelled to the U.S. in early 1918, bound for Philadelphia. This was before Santiago died in November of that year. Henry's step-brother James joined him soon after, registering for the draft in Philadelphia in June, 1918, and giving Henry as a reference at an address in New York City.

Henry and Elisa had two more children in the 1920's, Isabel in 1921 and Ruth in 1925. In 1929, however, Elisa died in childbirth.

This is where Henry's story takes a dark turn, and it is difficult to relate without knowing the full details. What is known, is that Henry's daughters were placed in a children's home sometime in 1929. Henry remarried in 1930 (to Sarah Collozo), but his daughters did not rejoin him.

The 1940 census shows Henry living in the Bronx with Sarah, John (23), James (10) and Antulio (9). John is listed as a case maker for watches in a wholesale jewelry operation. Henry is an exterminator for a wholesale bakery (Nabisco). The family is also hosting two lodgers.

Henry died in Ponce, PR on July 23, 1971. There is no death information for Sarah, although she would have passed by now (2020).