Westchester County in New York is one of the state's most envied addresses.
While every economic class of people live in the county, it has the second highest median income in the state and the highest property taxes as well. The county has a lot of woods and lakes yet it is close enough to New York City for wealthy doctors and lawyers to reside there and still practice in Manhattan.
In the 1930s, a young man from Sumay lived there, in one of the prestigious parts of Westchester County - the town of Croton-on-Hudson.
CROTON-ON-HUDSON, NEW YORK
In 1930, a big shot lawyer named Robert H. Elder, and his wife Bertha, lived in Croton-on-Hudson and hired a man from Sumay as their cook.
His name was José Concepción Baleto. Baleto was born in either 1896 (death certificate) or 1897 (draft card), the son of Vicente Dueñas Baleto and María Santos Concepción.
Baleto was still on Guam for the 1920 Census but in 1930 he appeared in both the Guam and the New York censuses! He couldn't very well be in both places at the same time, so it seems his family in Sumay told the census taker in 1930 that he was still considered part of their household.
But, in fact, Baleto was in New York, working as cook for Mr. and Mrs. Elder, who had no children. Elder had a penchant for hiring cooks from overseas. Before Baleto, Elder had a Japanese cook who had just come to the US.
How did Baleto leave Guam in the 1920s? If he joined the US Navy, I have found no records to indicate that. Few Chamorros from Guam joined the US Navy that early; the big recruitments came later in the last half of the 1930s. Still, people are resourceful, and a Chamorro man here and there managed to find a way to leave island even when it was difficult to do so for most. Perhaps someone in the family knows.
In any event, Baleto ended up in New York of all places, while most other Chamorros ended up in tropical Hawaii or the West Coast. Instead, this Sumay native became cook to a high-powered East Coast lawyer.
ROBERT H. ELDER
In 1939, Mrs. Elder passed away and in the 1940 Census, Baleto was no longer working for Elder. Instead, he had taken up residence with a family in the Bronx and worked for J. Durst, a real estate development company, with offices on 5th Avenue in Manhattan.
Baleto died in 1947 at Fordham Hospital, in the Bronx, due to bronchial complications. He was buried at Ferncliff Cemetery in Westchester County. As far as I know, he never had any children.
I wonder if Baleto ever made chicken kelaguen for Mr. Elder?