March 7, 2016 | REBEL | Long Branch, NJ
I arrived on a beautiful afternoon on the New Jersey seashore and took a stroll on the beach before heading into Monmouth College for the evening screening of REBEL today.
Monmouth University has a brand new theater and was ready to play REBEL.
They screened the whole film with the Spanish language captions in case there were Spanish speaking audience members.
While I didn’t get questions in Spanish, many of the audience members wanted to know if Loreta had living relatives. I told them about Andrene Messer, the Scottish descendant of Loreta’s last husband, a famous Scottish geologist who came to America and swept Loreta off her feet after the Civil War. Andrene contacted me while I was in post production for REBEL and sent me numerous articles about William Beard and Loreta, his last wife. According to newspaper clippings, they had a son named Valdemar Beard .
Someone asked me during the screening if I had tried to find where Loreta was buried. Sadly, research about women of the time often involved knowing who they had married and whose name they had taken because they dropped their maiden names and one usually found them through their husband’s name. In addition, since she had a Spanish name, Loreta switched the way she wrote or referred to herself between Anglicized and Spanish-language versions of her name, and she married multiple times, so she needs to be researched under multiple variations of her first name, such as Lara, Laura, Laurita, Loreta, etc. and then under her husband’s last name – and she had several.
Neither I nor any of her researchers have found an obituary or know where she was buried or died. Perhaps as genealogical research has become more ubiquitous more people will seek her out and eventually we will find a tombstone or an obituary. The last I know of her was that she was speaking out in favor of Cuban independence and gave a speech to Congress urging them to intervene to “free Cuba from the Spanish yoke,” as they were still a Cuban colony at the turn of the twenty first century. Her printed speech delivered to Congress is available the the N.Y. public library under her name “Madame L. J. Velazque”
Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Maria Agui Carter.