That famous Mexican inventor, Tomás Alva Edison… ¿QUÉ?
Birther conspiracies are nothing new. The gringos have been covering up… so it is claimed… the Mexican heritage of the inventor of the light bulb, the phonograph, the motion picture camera, the voting machine, the electric chair, etc. … since at least the 1870s.
Thomas Alva Edison we’re led to believe, the son of Nova Scotian Samuel Ogden Edison and his wife, the former Nancy Matthews Elliott of Chenango, New York, was born in Milan Ohio 11 February 1847. Or was he?
According to an article in the October 1956 “The Theosophist” by Alberto de la Peña Gil, the inventor was the son of not Samuel Edison, but of Samuel Alva Iztlixochitl. We do know that “Alva” is not a name one would expect Canadian or western New Yorkers with family names like Edison or Elliott (and middle names that also indicated Anglo-Saxon heritage) to give a child. However, English names aren’t uncommon in the mining regions of Mexico, and in the mid-nineteenth century there was an Alva Edison family in Sombrete, where there is (or was) a plaque on the house claiming to be the birthplace of “Tómas Alva Edison” on 18 February 1848.
A variation on the Edison birther story has Thomas Alva Edison having been born inLagos de Moreno, Jalisco and adopted by Samuel Ogden Edison. Who probably was never in Mexico, it more likely he just slipped into the United States after he fled Canada in 1837, following a failed uprising against the Crown .. . but then how much do we know about Samuel Ogden Edison? Maybe he was in Mexico, or maybe some of his relations were also involved in the McKenzie Revolt, and had fled to Mexico… and perhaps Tomas Alva was a nephew… or for that matter, was — as variations on the Edison birther story has it … born in Lagos de Morelos, Jalisco or even Pachuca, Hidalgo as Tomas Alva.
Why, if his parents were the Anglo-Saxons that have always been claimed, did Thomas Alva Edison claim his ancestry was Dutch? Why did Edison tell people he learned Spanish in preparation for a (never undertaken) trip to Portuguese-speaking Brazil , and who was Edison sending telegrams to in what was then a backwater town, San Martín de los Pyramides, receipts for which were among his papers? And why among Edison’s papers ar there no baptismal or school records and certainly no birth certificate … long-form or otherwise?
It would be irresponsible not to speculate, ¿verdad?
Tomás Alva Edison ¿Mexicano? (Mitófago.com.mx)
Thomas Alva Edison (The First Electronic Church of America)
Thomas Alva Edison (Eddie Martinez)
de la Peña Gil, Alberto: “Edison Was Born in Mexico” (The Theosophist, October 1956, reprinted by Eddie Martinez)