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Agreda, Maria de
Who? Maria de Agreda (Maria de Jess) was a Franciscan nun in Agreda, Spain.
What? In 1629, the abbot and the priests of the Convent of Saint Anthony, in Isleta, New Mexico were stunned! A group of Jumano Indians in West Texas had just arrived unexpectedly at their doorstep. After walking many miles from what is now Texas, they asked for a priest to come and build a mission in their village. When asked why, the Indians replied that The Lady in Blue had sent them. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Spain, a nun by the name of Maria de Jesus, reported to her religious superiors that she had often visited the indigenous tribes of Texas and prayed with them. What makes the story so intriguing is that Maria never left her convent in Spain. Maria was devoted to prayer. From all indications, she was a deeply religious person with special powers. While in prayer, she put herself in a deep trance. It appears that in that state, her spirit left her body and traveled many miles to America. While there, she preached to the Native Americans who welcomed her apparition as a miraculous sign. She is credited with saving many Native American lives in the New World. The reference by the natives to the color blue is that Maria and members of her order wore blue cloaks over their clothing. She is the inspiration behind the first Texas Bluebonnets. An Indian legend in Texas tells the story of her last appearance. She preached with the Indians and then her spirit disappeared into the nearby hills. The next morning, the Indians awoke to a cloak of small blue flowers covering the spot where she last appeared. The legend says that this is when the first Bluebonnets began to grow in Texas. Because of her many miraculous powers, she is under consideration for sainthood by the Vatican.
Recommended Source: Book by Chipman, Donald, Spanish Texas, 1519-1821
Aguayo, Marques de San Miguel de
Who? Marques de Aguayo was the second governor of Texas. He was a Spanish nobleman by the name of Jos Ramn Azlor y Vitro de Vera.
What? He married one of the richest women in Mexico. Her name was Ignacia, Marquesa de San Miguel de de Aguayo. So, Jos Ramn assumed her title when they got married. The Marques offered his services to the Crown in the defense of Spanish Texas against French intruders in East Texas. He used his wifes money to build a private army. He is the first person to lead a cattle drive in Texas when he herded several thousand head of cattle, horses, sheep, and goats to what is now San Antonio. He was very active in assuring that the Spanish presidios were adequately manned to fight any attacks from the French. Unfortunately, all of his efforts were for naught. The French threat subsided. As such, his fortifications were undone later by the government because the Presidios were too costly to maintain. He died in 1734.
Recommended Source: Book by Chipman, Donald, Spanish Texas, 1519-1821
Alarcn, Martin de (See Olivares, Father Antonio)
Who? Martin de Alarcn was the Governor of Coahuila y Tejas.
What? Alarcn was a knight of the Order of Santiago. He was an early explorer in New Spain and was involved in the first entries into Texas. He led the entrada into Texas that established Mission San Antonio de Valero in 1718, now known as The Alamo. The Presidio was begun immediately thereafter. He recruited ten families from Coahuila and Nuevo Leon that provided settlers for the venture. This is the beginning of the Bexarenos in San Antonio.
Aldrete, Jose Miguel
Who? Jose Miguel was the son-in-law of Martin and Patricia de Len.
What? The Aldrete Family was one of the first families to settle in the La Bahia Presidio area. It was at their suggestion that Martin and Patricia de Len eventually settled along the Aransas River. The families, who were already close, got even closer when Jose Miguel married Candelaria, the second child of the de Lens. Jose Miguel and Candelaria had four sons, Jose Maria, Jose de Jesus Maria, Trinidad, and Rafael.
Jose Miguel served as alcaldeof San Patricioand was considered a leader inhis community. Along with Raphael Manchola and other local ranchers, Jose Miguel appealed the settlement of new arrivals from the U.S., mostly Irish immigrants, onto lands they thought had been promised to them by the government. After considerable troubles, the Tejanos accepted and welcomed the sickly, frightened and starving Irish into Texas.
Jose Miguelstayed active in themany effortsto establish a Republic. He was secretary to the Councilat Monclova in it's loyalty to the Republic of the Rio Grande. This short-lived republic was another attempt to separate Texas from Mexico, together with other surrounding Mexican states. After the Texas revolution, Jose Miguel and Candelaria were able to retain their land. After additional acquisitions, Jose Miguel became a very successful rancher and community leader in the Goliad area.
Source: Book by Ana Carolina Crimm, De Leon (A Tejano Family History)
Who? Francisca Alvarez lived in Goliadand is said to have been a household member of a Mexican Army officer stationed there. A Pocahantas-typelegend has been developed around her involvement in the 1836 Texas war of independence. She is given credit in mainstream Texas history books forbeing the only Mexican personin Goliad to savethe lives of many Anglos who had been been defeated in battle by the Mexican Army. Just like the Pocahantas story in the East Coast has now been totally discounted, the "Angel of Goliad" storymay also be described as an overly exagerated tale. Indeed, the 1836 Texas Revolution had many Mexican citizen supporters and Francisca may have been one of them.It is important to note that it was Tejano Mexican citizens who legitimized the word "Revolution" for Sam Houston, since he was not a native-born Texan,nor wereany of his Anglo companions. In reality, Franciscaearns her role in Texas history byrepresenting and personifyingthe many Tejanas and Tejanos who supportedSam Houston and his army, butwhose courageous acts havebeen virtually left out of the Texas history books.
American G.I. Forum (See Garcia, Hector P.)
What? Established in 1948, the American G.I. Forum (AGIF) became a recognized voice for Mexican Americans in the post-World War II era. Founded by Dr. Hector P. Garcia, it quickly became the voice for fighting discrimination by the majority Anglo community against returning Spanish-surnamed veterans who were denied the respect and dignity they had earned in the battlefield. Like many of his fellow Mexican American friends growing up proud but poor in South Texas in the 1930s and 40s, Felix Longoria joined our military forces and was sent overseas to defend our nations principles of equality, freedom, liberty, and justice for all in World War II. He was killed in the Philippines in 1945. In 1948, when his body was delivered to his widow and family in Three Rivers, Texas, the local Anglo-owned funeral home denied the hero burial services because he was Mexican American. Dr. Hector P. Garcia, himself a war veteran, decided to draw his own line in the sand. Dr. Garcia enlisted the help of then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson who arranged the burial of Felix in Arlington Cemetery with full military honors. The incident stirred the souls of Hispanics and supporting Anglos throughout the world. It was also then that Dr. Garcia established the American G.I. Forum to ensure that Hispanic veterans would never again suffer the disrespect and indignity that Felix and his family had endured. The organization has remained actively involved in the civil rights issues that affect Hispanic veterans to the present day.
Who? Dan Arellano is a well-known Tejano historian from Austin, Texas. He is the author of the book, Tejano Roots.
What? Mr. Arellano has made it his lifes mission to Remember the Battle of Medina where over 800 Spanish-surnamed Texas patriots died for Texas Independence on August 18, 1813. Mr. Arellano organizes annual events in the San Antonio area to spread the word of his ancestors and the early history of Texas. He is a member of the Tejano Genealogy Society of Austin and other professional organizations. He is very active in his community.
Recommended Source: Book by Arellano, Dan, Tejano Roots
Arredondo, Joaquin de
Who? Joaquin de Arredondo was the Commandant of the Eastern Provinces
What? General Arredondo was the Commandant of the Four Eastern Provinces in New Spain (Tejas, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Nuevo Santander). After Don Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara took over the Spanish Regional Capital of Texas of San Fernando (San Antonio), General Arredondo organized an army in Laredo. He then marched toward San Antonio and met the Army of the North (Texas Army) at the Battle of Medina. He defeated the Tejano Army, bringing an end to the First Republic of Texas. To teach the rebels a lesson they would never forget, General Arredondo marched into the regional capital of San Fernando (San Antonio). There, he unleashed a vicious attack, killing the adult male relatives and supporters of the revolutionaries and confiscating their homes and property. He then enslaved the women and children where he forced them to work for the Spanish royalist soldiers.
Recommended Source: Book by Chipman, Donald, and Joseph, Harriett, Explorers and Settlers of Spanish Texas
Balli, Rosa Maria Hinojosa de
Who? Rosa Maria was a pioneer rancher.
What? At one time, her land holdings covered over one-third of the present-day Lower Rio Grande Valley. She represents a fact that is not well known in history. That is, that much of the early success of the ranching and agriculture industries was due to the hard work and dedication of a significant number of pioneer women who either worked side-by-side their husbands or took on the responsibility to manage large ranchos on their own.
Barkley, David B. Cantu (Also spelled as Barkeley)
Who? David B. Cantu Barkley was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in WWI in France.
What? David was born in 1899 in Laredo, Texas. He was raised by his mother, Antonia Cantu de Barkley, who raised him as a single mother. When he enlisted in the U.S. Army, he used his fathers Anglo name so that he would not be given a non-combat assignment. When his unit was sent to France, David volunteered to perform a scouting mission in enemy territory. He completed his mission, but drowned in 1918 when he tried to swim across the Meuse River. He was only 19 years old. The citation to the Medal of Honor Award reads: When information was desired as to the enemy's position on the opposite side of the Meuse River, Pvt. Barkeley, with another soldier, volunteered without hesitation and swam the river to reconnoiter the exact location. He succeeded in reaching the opposite bank, despite the evident determination of the enemy to prevent a crossing. Having obtained his information, he again entered the water for his return, but before his goal was reached, he was seized with cramps and drowned. Today, a military monument in Laredo is named the David B. Barkley Plaza. It also honors the 41 Hispanic military members who have been awarded the Medal of Honor in our countrys history.
(Note: Hollywood movies and paperback novels continue to do great harm to the memory of our early Texas ancestors. Too often, the entertainment media diminishes the key roles played by Spanish Mexican frontiersmen and women in building this great place we call Texas. Said another way, there was already a Texas before 1836. Colonel Santos Benavides is one such hero. His integrity, resourcefulness, courage, horsemanship, survival skills, and love of community are the stuff of legend. However, it is all true. The Tejano Learning Center would like to encourage todays students, teachers, and history aficionados to get to know and be proud of these long-ignored heroes of our Texas past.)
Santos Benavides was born in Laredo, Tamaulipas (now Laredo, Texas) in 1823. His family was one of the original members of Don Jos De Escandns Villas del Norte. As one of a very few select young men born with innate leadership qualities, Santos assumed leadership positions as soon as he reached manhood. As part of his communitys security detail, he was often put in charge of defending Laredo and the surrounding area ranchos from renegades and bandits.
An ardent defender of freedom, he joined the forces of Colonel Jos Antonio Zapata in establishing the Republic of the Rio Grande. Although the revolt wasnot successful, the experience increased Santos reputation as a bright and resourceful military leader. In 1856, he became Mayor of Laredo. However, life was still insecure for the residents of Laredo. He continued to lead attacks against the organized bands of desperados so common in the area.
The Benavides family supported Texas secession from the Union. As such, Santos and his two brothers organized a regiment that became indispensable in protecting Confederate cotton assets along the Rio Grande. Because the confederate states did not have any manufacturing facilities, most of their military supplies, weapons, and ammunition were traded for cotton. As such, the cotton commodity in South Texas was crucial to the South. Although Santos and his Laredo regiment proved their valor against Union forces time and again, the Confederacy came to an end in 1865. Because of his military prowess, Santos was accepted into the Union Army where he continued to serve with distinction. His constant pursuit of law breakers finally brought long-term peace to Laredo and surrounding area ranches. He returned to civilian life and filled numerous political positions, including two terms as a state legislator representing Laredo. He and his brothers served their entire lives in the service of their community. Santos Benavides died in Laredo in 1891.
Source: Tejano Learning Center, LLC
Who? Roy Benavides was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism in the Vietnam War.
What? Roy Benavides was born near Cuero, Texas. His parents both died when he was only a child. He and his brother were raised as extended family with their grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins. He worked as a field worker just like his people living in the area. In an effort to improve himself, he joined the U.S. Army. In 1965 he was sent to Vietnam. While serving with the Vietnamese troops, Benavidez stepped on a land mine and was evacuated back to the U.S. The military doctors at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) told Roy that he would never walk again. Despite his severe spinal injury, Benavidez fully recovered in July 1966, with the never-ending support of his loving wife, who never left his side. Returning to Vietnam, he "distinguished himself by a series of daring and extremely glorious actions ... and because of his gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men." He was recommended for the Medal of Honor, but it was disapproved because he needed an eyewitness to his bravery. Proving that miracles do happen, Brian OConnor, one of his war buddies and an eyewitness, read accounts in an Australian newspaper about Roys medal recommendation being turned down. He provided a 10-page report about Roys valiant actions. (Each man thought that the other had died from his wounds.) Soon thereafter, Roy Benavidez received his Medal of Honor, presented by President Ronald Reagan on February 24, 1981. As he awarded the medal to Benavidez, Reagan reportedly turned to the gathered press and said: "If the story of his heroism was a movie script, you would not believe it", whereupon he read the official citation. (See Garcia, Macario, Longoria, Felix, and Lopez, Jose M.).
When? 1968; award of Medal of Honor, 1981
Who? Plcido Benavides is one of the first settlers in the Martin de Len colony.
What? Plcido and his three brothers (Ysidro, Nicols, and Eugenio) came to Texas in 1828 from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, on the Rio Grande border. He was 22 and still single, while all his brothers were married. They sought and received their portions of land south of the town of Victoria toward the coast. Plcido immediately began to build what came to be known as Plcidos Round House. The Spanish-Moorish style structure was a circular, tower-like, defensive home with turrets troneras that served to protect the inhabitants from hostile Indians. The round house instantly became the gathering place for community families during such attacks. He proved to be a very intelligent, hardworking, and resourceful man. As such, Don Martin hired him to carry on the colonys correspondence, becoming in essence his colony administrator and alcalde. Plus, Plcido could read and write, so he assumed the duties of school teacher. One of his pupils was Agustina de Len , the daughter of Martin and Patricia de Len. He courted the fourteen year old until she was 18. Very-well liked by his in-laws, especially Doa Patricia, Plcido and Agustina were married in 1832 during a double-wedding ceremony in which Agustinas sister, Refugia, married Jose Maria Jess Carbajal, another enterprising member of the de Leon colony and very close friend of Plcidos.
While it would appear that Plcido and Agustina would begin life in de Lens colony in peaceful surroundings, it was not to be. Living during the tumultuous mid-1830s period, there were a number of events not of their own making that would test their happiness and well being. Among these were (l) the developing political turmoil in Mexico City and its slow approach into Texas; (2) a widening rift between centralist and federalist supporters in Texas; (3) a strong movement seeking Mexican statehood for Texas and its separation from Coahuila; (4) and the ever-increasing number of Anglo settlers from the U.S., many of whom had their own thoughts about seeking total Texas independence from Mexico. This last troublesome dilemma put the de Leon clan in a very awkward position and heavily tested their family ties.
Encouraged by his enterprising nature, Plcido organized his own militia force and joined forces with those of Stephen F. Austin to fight centralist Mexican troops in San Antonio and the surrounding area. While they supported the federalist movement, the Tejanos did not support separation from Mexico and valiantly fought for the restoration of the 1824 Mexican Constitution that favored federalist ideals. An unsung hero of the 1836 Texas Revolution, Plcido and his Tejanos fought bravely and gallantly throughout the revolt, including the siege of Bexar. His foraging skills in the open field were legendary. More than once, he was able to locate game and cattle in the scrub brush countryside, thus saving the Tejanos and Anglo insurgents from starvation. However, his hard work in securing independence for the new Texas republic has been forgotten in the pages of history.
There were few Tejano groups that supported the Anglo Texan revolt more than the de Len colony. However, their loyalty was not matched with justice after the war. For example,while the Anglos at first valued Plcidos aggressive resourcefulness, especially his ability to communicate with the civilian population, he was accusedof disloyalty by suspicious Anglos. In short, Plcido and other Tejanos looked like the enemy, spoke Spanish like the enemy, and worshipped as Roman Catholics like the enemy. Thus, they were treated like the enemy. The instantaneous betrayal was the cruel fate that befell most Tejanos and their families, with most of them losing their family ranchos, herds, and possessions. Those who resisted paid with their lives at the hands of vengeful Anglos. Facing accusations as an enemy collaborator, Plcido, Agustina, and the rest of the de Len and extended family, including Doa Patricia, were forced into exile in Louisiana. Plcido died of yellow fever in 1838 in Opelousas, Louisiana.
Source: Book by Ana Carolina Crimm, De Leon (A Tejano Family History)
Bergara, Jose Ancelmo (Also Vergara)
Who? Jose Ancelmo Bergara (Vergara) is the man who would not die. Jose Ancelmo was born at the Villa de San Fernando de Bexar (now San Antonio) in 1778. He appears in the 1790 census as a son of Juan Jose Bergara and Maria Bernarda de Carabajal. He had three brothers: Antono, Francisco, and Jose Manuel. It is believed that their father was a cavalryman in the Segunda Compania de San Carlos de Parras del Alamo. Stationed at the abandoned Mission San Antonio de Valero, the garrison thus becomes known as The Alamo forevermore. Ancelmos mother was a descendant of Tlaxcaltecan Native Americans who founded San Esteban de Tlaxcala across the river from Saltillo, Coahuila in 1598 and ninety years later (1688), Monclova, Coahuila.
No longer considered Native Americans, the Carabajal family was among the 1716-1718 founders of the Villa de Bexar before the arrival of the Canary Island families in 1731. It must be noted that the Tlaxcaltecan Carabajals were not related to the family of the founder of Nuevo Leon, Portuguese Sephardic Jewish conquistador, Don Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva.
Ancelmos participation in the drive for Texas freedom began in 1811 when Militia Captain Juan Bautista de las Casas succeeded in taking power from the Governor of Spanish Texas. Although not successful and las Casas was later executed for treason, the movement for independence continued. In 1813, Ancelmo served as a courier for Lt. Colonel Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara and informed the people of Bexar that the Republican Army of the North under de Laras command had invaded Texas to overthrow the Spanish Government of Texas.
The rebel army took Nacogdoches and Goliad before advancing on Bexar. They defeated the Spanish forces at Battle at the Rosillo in March 1813 and entered Bexar on April 1st. They freed the prisoners form the Alamo jail and temporarily kept the Governor and his staff at the same jail. Five days later the rebel leader Gutierrez de Lara, as the President of Texas, issued the first written, formal Declaration of Independence against Spain. On or about the same day, the Spanish Governor and his senior staff were told they were being taken to Nacogdoches. Instead, they were executed at the Rosillo battlefield by rebels avenging the death of their families at the hands of the Spanish Governor.
Taking responsibility for the atrocities and due to U.S. interference, Gutierrez de Lara was replaced as commander of the Republican Army by Jose Alvarez de Toledo. The Tejano volunteers under the leadership of Miguel Menchaca voiced their distrust and disapproval of Alvarez de Toledo. Nonetheless, the rebel army met a better armed Spanish force under General Joaquin de Arredondo on August 18, 1813. The rebels were defeated at the Battle at the Encinos del Rio Medina along the Camino Real directly north of the present-day Pleasanton-Poteet area.
A report of Ancelmos death at the battle was premature and, as with Marc Twain, greatly exaggerated. He appears to have survived the Battle at the Medina and was part of the stream of Tejanos who fled to Louisiana. The exiled Tejanos did not return until after 1821 when Mexico gained its independence from Spain. Like other Tejano rebels in Louisiana at the time, he might have also served with Lt. Colonel Gutierrez de Lara helping Andrew Jackson defeat the British at the battle at New Orleans, the last battle of the War of 1812. Although references are made to the Tejano rebels as part of Gen. Jacksons army, no muster roll listing the men has as yet been found.
For the record, Ancelmo Bergara reappears in 1836 as a member of Juan N. Seguins company during the Texas Revolution. He was probably one of the secret agents sent by Seguin and Bowie to check the advance of Santa Annas Centralist Army. It is very possible that Ancelmo was on scouting duty when the battle at the Alamo started or was part of Juan N. Seguins force that had departed from the Alamo seeking support for the rebellion. Immediately after the battle, Ancelmo Bergara informed Sam Houston reporting the Alamo had fallen. Not wanting to alarm the volunteers from the U.S. or residents of Texas, Houston jailed Ancelmo until his report was verified.
Ancelmo Bergara returned to duty under the command of Colonel Juan N. Seguin and Captain Antonio Menchaca. Ancelmos name again appears when he is discharged from military duty on April 2, 1837. On that date, both Menchaca and Seguin verified that Ancelmo Bergara was a Sergeant in the Second Regiment of Cavalry in the army of the Republic of Texas. In short, Ancelmo Bergara, claimed to have been killed in 1811 and in 1813 by two writers, served in the 1835-36 Texas Revolution and was honorably discharged in 1837. While in Houston, Texas on June 26, 1837, Ancelmo sold the title and all rights to the land given him as a Texas Revolution Veteran to William Fairfox. He signed with an X as he did not know how to write.
The man who would not die reappeared in November 1838. At 60 years of age, Ancelmo was a witness in the historic lawsuit between the Bexar Land District and San Patricio Land District. Ancelmo and three other Sanantonianos testified as to the exact route of the old Presidio Road also known as Camino Real del Medio that divided the two land districts. In so doing, the men identified all water crossings and campsites from Bexar, via present Poteet, Charlotte, Cotulla, Catarina, and finally the Presidio del Rio Grande (present Guerrero, Coahuila). They also testified that the Upper Camino Real via Frio Town was not established until 1806.
The land district dispute seems to be the last time that this Texas patriots name appears in the history record. Jose Ancelmos death and place of burial is unknown. Interestingly, the Bergara family of Dilley, Texas may be among his descendants.
Like his mentor and commander Juan N. Seguin, Ancelmo was also a Tejano rebel in search of a battlefield. Alas, the rebel who would not die faded into the hidden pages of Texas history. Until more is known, Ancelmo Bergara will remain one of the many unsung, un-recognized Tejano heroes who were integral players in Spanish, Mexican, both Republics of Texas, and early U.S. statehood history. Ancelmos story of rare bravery and determination is but one of many whose stories have yet to be told in mainstream Texas history books.
Source: Santos, Richard G., Zavala County Sentinel, Nov 17-18, 2010
Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Nunez
Who? Cabeza de Vaca was the first European person to write about Texas. He survived eight long years in Texas during the period 1528-1536, much of the time as a captive of Texas tribes.
What? He was a crew member (Royal Treasurer) of the Panfilo de Narvaez Expedition. After taking off from Cuba and landing by mistake in Florida, the expedition suffered greatly trying to find their way to Mexico, their original destination. Alvar and three of his fellow crew members were ship-wrecked on the Texas Coast. Their adventures are now known as the travels of the Four Castaways. While all four used their wits to survive, it seems that Alvar proved to be the clear leader of the group. He led them from the Texas Coast across in a western direction through the area now known as South Texas. Based on his written accounts, they crossed the Rio Grande through modern-day Zapata County. They then headed west until the reached the Pacific Ocean. Turning in a southerly direction, they finally met a Spanish patrol. Totally naked and with their hair and beards reaching their waist, they seemed like wild beasts to the members of the patrol. They would have easily been killed had it not been that they blurted out Spanish phrases to prove that they were indeed Spanish. They were received as heroes in Mexico City. Because of his experiences, the Spanish government encouraged the further exploration of this northern part of New Spain. Cabeza de Vaca is the father of firsts in Texas and U.S. history. Although he was treated harshly by many of his captors during his eight-year ordeal, Cabeza de Vaca was the first European to see them as fellow human beings. He was the first to speak on behalf of humane treatment of all Native Americans. His is a most interesting story.
When? 1528 - 1536
Recommended Source: Book by Resendez, Andres, A Land so Strange
Cadena, Carlos (See Hernndez vs Texas)
Who? Carlos Cadena was a renowned attorney and judge. The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in 2008 aired a documentary called A Class Apart. A Federal Court in San Antonio is named after him.
What? Funded by LULAC and the American G.I. Forum, and working together with Gus Garcia and a team of other young, Hispanic attorneys, Carlos Cadena defended a Mexican American accused of murder in Jackson County, Texas. The case became famous and is now known as Hernandez vs. Texas. Although Mexican Americans made up 14% of the countys population, no Spanish-surnamed jurors were on the jury, nor did anyone ever recall a Spanish-surnamed citizen being called to serve as a juror. Over 70 counties had similar records of excluding Mexican Americans from serving on juries. As expected, the all-Anglo jury found Mr. Hernandez guilty. On appeal, the defense team argued that the jury system was unfair to minorities, especially Mexican Americans in Texas. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the verdict. The defense team appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was the first time that Spanish-surnamed attorneys had ever argued a case at that level. The State of Texas argued that since Mexican Americans were classified as white people, it was just coincidence that none of them had ever served on juries, at least for the last 25 years. They added that since they were white, Mexican Americans shouldnt complain because they were actually being represented by the Anglo juries. The Supreme Court rejected the states argument and declared that the State of Texas had singled out a group of its citizens as a class apart and that the official system of jury selection was therefore unfair. Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the courts unanimous decision on May 3, 1954, in favor of Hernandez and ordered his conviction reversed. A jury of his peers then convicted Hernandez of the crime.
Recommended Source: Book by Valencia, R., Garcia, S., Flores, H., and Juarez, J., Jr., Mexican Americans and the Law
Who? Isleos are Spanish citizens from the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa who relocated to San Antonio in the 1730s.
What? Isleos joined the Bexarenos in San Antonio in an attempt by Spain to encourage its citizens throughout the empire to move to Texas. As natives of the Canary Islands, the group was composed of fishermen and farmers. Their arrival did not begin on a good note. The Bexarenos, the original settlers, didnt welcome the newcomers with open arms. Regardless, the two groups eventually learned to co-exist and both contributed to the development of the area. Today, Isleo descendants comprise one of the most ardent groups of supporters of the early history of San Antonio.
Carbajal, Jose Maria de Jesus (Pending)
What? Within 20 years after the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, Spanish Mexicans suffered greatly in all respects. They were treated by the Anglo majority as foreigners in their own homeland. However, the transportation industry offered a glimmer of hope for the Spanish Mexicans. Carting freight up to the 1850s was solidly a Tejano realm. The carretas (carts) traveled from Monclova, Coahuila to the Rio Grande area (Dolores and Laredo). From there, the Camino Real took them north to Bexar and east to La Bahia. From those points, the route continued easterly to the Nacogdoches area near the Louisiana border and to Indianola on the Texas coast. Traffic went in both directions in this enormous loop of Spanish territory. The Tejano freighters were more efficient and effective in delivering goods than their Anglo counterparts from the coast (Indianola)to San Antonio and other parts in Texas. Because the Anglo freighters could not keep up with the competition, the situation became very unsafe for the more experienced Spanish Mexican cart men. For example, the Anglo freighters began to viciously attack the Hispanic drivers and destroyed their carretas. Their merchandise was then confiscated by their Anglo attackers and sold to other customers. Many of the drivers were killed. An assault on Tejano freighters near Seguin, Texas, was especially brutal. That attack and other acts of violence became so prevalent that the Mexican government issued a plea to the U.S. government. By the time the violence ended in 1857, the 150-year-old Tejano cart industry was in ruins. It never recovered. The time-tested and effective system of delivering goods from one point to another in early Spanish Mexican Texas is lost forever in the pages of history.
Casas, Juan Bautista de las
Who? Juan Bautista de las Casas was a retired government official from Nuevo Santander.
What? Taking his cue from Father Miguel Hidalgos call (Grito) on September 16, 1810, the captain led the Las Casas Revolt to declare independence from Spain in San Antonio. He imprisoned the Spanish Governor and his staff. With the help of several supporters, they took possession of the Presidio in Nacogdoches. However, he was betrayed by his accomplices and was arrested by the Spanish colonial authorities. He was tried and executed. His head was then displayed in the Plaza de Armas as a warning to other revolutionaries.
Recommended Source: Book by Chipman, Donald, Spanish Texas, 1519-1821
Castaño de Sosa, Gaspar
Gaspar Castaño de Sosa was born in Portugal, probably around the middle of the sixteenth century. By the late 1580s, he was a longtime associate of Luis de Carvajal y de La Cueva on the northeastern frontier of New Spain. Carvajal named Castaño as alcalde mayor of Villa San Luis (later Monterrey), and with the arrest of Carvajal on orders of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, Don Gaspar assumed leadership at Villa de Almadén (now Monclova). On July 27, 1590, Castaño, who had become disillusioned with the unproductive mines of Almadén, packed up most of the colony and set out on an arduous march to northern New Mexico. Under the guidance of a young Indian named Miguel, the expedition comprised 170 persons, as well as heavily laden carts, yokes of oxen, tools, and provisions. Castaño marched north to the Rio Grande, and thence along the course of the Pecos River to Pecos Pueblo. He later established his headquarters at Santo Domingo, north of the site of present-day Albuquerque. Meanwhile, Carvajal, as a suspected Jewish apostate, had been brought to trial in New Spain. The case disclosed many Judaists in Carvajal's extended family, and it also cast suspicion on the orthodoxy of his colonists at Almadén- especially Castaño, who become the victim of guilt by association. Upon discovering that Castaño was not present at Almadén, Capt. Juan Morlete, a viceregal agent, received authorization to pursue him into New Mexico with a force of twenty men. Charged with leading an unauthorized entrada into New Mexico, Castaño was returned in chains to New Spain. There he was tried, convicted, and exiled to the Philippines. His sentence was appealed to the Council of the Indies, where it was eventually reversed, but the reversal benefited only the man's reputation. The unfortunate Castaño had already been slain aboard a ship in the South China Sea-the victim of a slave insurrection.
Source: Vito Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas en la época colonial (Mexico City: Editorial Cultura, 1938; 2d ed., Mexico City: Editorial Porrúa, 1978). Donald E. Chipman, Spanish Texas, 1519–1821 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992). Robert S. Weddle, Spanish Sea: The Gulf of Mexico in North American Discovery, 1500–1685 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1985).
Chapa, Juan Bautista
Who? Juan Bautista Schiapapria (Chapa), 1631-1695
What? Juan Bautista Schiapapra (Chapa) was born in the Villa de Albisola, on the banks of Genoa, Italy the son of Bartolom Schiapapra and Bastetina Badi. He arrived in Monterrey, Nuevo Len during the last weeks in 1650 where he became involved in politics, making friends in high places. He married Doa Beatriz Trevio de Olivares, a wealthy and beautiful lady of distinction.
In 1686 he accompanied Captain Alonso de Len in several excursions into Texas territory, becoming one of the earliest explorer, historian, and conqueror of Texas. He wrote a book, along with Captain de Len and Fernando Snchez: Historia de Nuevo Len Con Noticias Sobre Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Texas y Nuevo Mxico that details the adventures, the fauna, and flora of Texas.
Decades later his great granddaughter Maria Clara Chapa married Captain Diego Longoria Valds de Zaldvar, a descendant of Diego de Montemayor, founder of Monterrey, Nuevo Len. This union produced several sons and daughters: don Jos Matas Longoria Chapa, Pedro and Vicente. All three received Porciones 93, 94, and 95 in 1767 from King Carlos III of Spain. Descendants of the Longoria Chapa families that arrived in Texas in 1767, and of Juan Bautista Schiapapra (Chapa) who arrived in Texas in 1686 are: Marcelino, Ramn, Santiago Longoria who formed part of the 13 original families that established 113 ranching sites in what later became Matamoros in 1774 and whose descendants include: Dr. Lino Garca, Professor Emeritus-UTPA; Former State Senator Ral Longoria, Eva Longoria, Mimi Lozano, and many other South Texas and Northern Mexico prominent citizens.
Who? Henry Cisneros has been involved in San Antonio politics for many years.
What? He was elected a city councilman and then mayor of the city. His brilliant can-do attitude brought San Antonio into the lead as a thriving Texas major city. The downtown area, especially, saw a vibrant renaissance whose effect is still embraced today by modern-day city officials. He was considered as a possible Vice President candidate by Walter Mondale. He has an impressive list of accomplishments and is still involved in his community.
Coahuila y Tejas
What? Texas was at one time united with Coahuila under a single governor. After Mexican independence from Spain, the states were once more combined.
When? 1694-1715; 1824-1836
What: Safety and security for the many families in early Texas was developed from the military. Such an effective force was known as Companias Volante or Flying Squadrons. The name was aptly given due to their excellence in rapidly tracking down renegades and bandits threatening the settlers. The structure was organized in 1713 by the Viceroy Duque de Linares who did not have enough regular troops to providethe needed security. Thus, heordered landowners to organize themselves to protect their families and property. The typical unit consisted of over 50 mounted citizen soldiers.The unitwas highly mobile due to their masterful handling of the horse. It is this aspect that truly makes theCompaia Volante volunteers the Cossacks of Texas. TlaxcalanNative Americans comprised a largenumber of its members. The compaia volante structure responsible for providing security in Texas pre-dates the Texas Rangers, who adopted most of their methods.
When?Early 1700s -1836.
Recommended Source: Book by Dr. Andres Tijerina, "Tejanos and Texas under theMexican Flag, 1821-1836.
Coronado, Francisco Vazquez de
Who? Coronado was one of the more famous early Spanish explorers. After Cabeza de Vaca and his companions made it to safety in Mexico City, their stories about possible gold mines and other riches in the Northern Territories created a sensation. The Spanish Viceroy appointed Coronado to lead an expedition to determine the location of these great riches.
What? Coronado and his men were the first to explore the area that now comprises the U.S. states of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. They are the first Europeans to meet the Plains Indians. He was the first to determine that there was a large land mass between Florida and California. Most experts of the day believed that Florida and California were actually very close. Thus, his exploration more clearly determined the correct geography of this part of North America.
When? 1540 1542
Recommended Source: Handbook of Texas Online
Cortina, Juan Nepomuceno (1824 -1894)
Who? Juan Cortina is an important figure in the history of South Texas and Northern Mexico.
What? Juan Cortina was born in Camargo, Tamaulipas, in 1824. His father was alcalde of the town.Cortina was also very proud of his genealogy, having descended from Blas Maria de la Garza Falcon. Blas Maria was the founder of Camargo, one of the originalSpanish Mexicansettlements of Don Jose de Escandon on the lower Rio Grande. He grew up in the tumultuous era of thelate 1830s inthe Texas-Mexico border. He was swept into the fray and wasan active participant inboth the Mexican centralist and federalist sides. Of specialconcern wasthe bigotry and racial prejudice directed at Spanish Mexican people by the Texas Rangers. In fact, it wassuch an incident that propelledJuan Cortina intohistory.When hesaw the sheriff of Brownsville, Texas, pistol-whipping an elderlyMexican cowboy, he became enraged. Wordsled toweapons being drawnand Cortina shot the lawman. His life and the lives ofthose livingon the Texas-Mexico borderchanged forever. As with many heroes throughout history, he had both admirers and detractors. To thedown-trodden poor Mexican people he was a hero. To the Anglos, he was a bandit. His lifeis a very fascinating story ofdetermination in trying to improve the living conditions of his people.
When? Mid to late 1800s.
Recommended Source: Book by Dr. Jerry Thompson, "Cortina, Defending the Mexican Name in Texas".
Courbiere, Andre Benoit de
Who? Andres Benito Courbiere (Other spellings: Coubiere, Courvier, Couvier, Curbir, Curbiel)
What? Andres Benito Courbiere was born in Leon, France. His parents were Juan Bautista Courbiere and Juana Francisca Martinez de Courbiere. As a young man, Andres spent four or five years sailing on French ships to the island of Guarico and New London of the Americas. From Guarico he sailed on a ship arriving in New Orleans. There he remained about three years working as jornalero (day-laborer) on merchant boats to and from Nachitos (Natchitoches), Louisiana.
He eventually settled in Nachitos, where he established good relations, thanks to a letter from Matheo de Bos to Gaspar Fiol, a local merchant. Fiol was a member of a trading company, along with Juan Bosquet and Agustin Duchesne. They traded with the Tahuacanes and Tancahues Indians. Courbiere learned this business well. He remained with the company for five years working for Juan Bosquet, keeping his accounts and detailed records of Bosquets commercial affairs. Their trade with the Indians consisted principally of guns, powder, musket balls, textiles, frazadas (blankets), and other effects. On one trip returning to Nachitos, Athanasio de Mecieres, requested Courbiere to accompany him to New Orleans. Courbiere accepted the offer. They remained only a short time in New Orleans, returning to Nachitos, where Courbiere was engaged by Mr. Metelle. They then accompanied the picket (troop patrol) which was conducted by De Mecieres. Courbiere was an excellent interpreter of Indian languages. As part of the De Mecieres group, which was well supplied with arms and horses, Courbiere arrived at San Antonio de Bexar (1779), capital of the Province of Texas. Because of the death of De Mecieres and the fact that most of the others in the company returned to Nachitos, Courbiere decided to settle in San Antonio. He married Maria Feliciana Duran (daughter of Pedro and Antonia Cortinas); they had nine children. In San Antonio, Courbiere quickly found employment, acting as interpreter with the Indians who came to the Cuartel (The Alamo Presidio), during the entire year of 1780. In 1781, he accompanied Nicolas Lamathe, commissioned by Governor Domingo Cabello. In November 1781, he enlisted as a soldier interpreter in the Alamo de Parras company of San Antonio. He became a distinguished soldier, along with Francisco Xavier Chaves, who was considered one of the most reliable interpreters and best informed regarding Indian affairs in the Spanish service. Likewise, Courbiere was especially well informed as to the relations with the Nations of the North, who frequented the Presidio of San Antonio in times of peace.
In 1804, Andres Benites Courbiere was appointed by the Spanish Crown as Cadet Sergeant at Bexar, having beenrecalled into active duty. Throughout his military career, Courbiere served with distinction in all three major areas of activity of New Spain, including the Presidios of Nacogdoches, La Bahia, and San Antonio. Many of Courbieres descendants still live in the San Antonio area.
Recommended Source: John Ogden Leal, Bexar County Archives, and Trevia Wooster Beverly, in the Texas State Genealogical Society Quarterly, STIRPES Vol. XXIV, #2 June 1984.
Defend the Honor
What? Defend the Honor was created in the spring of 2007 in response to the initial exclusion of Latinos in a fourteen and one half-hour federally-funded television documentary on WWII. Although Ken Burns, who put the documentary together, added two Mexican Americans and one Native American, the exclusion from the original documentary represented the long-standing, willful ignorance about the Latino communitys contributions to our own country. The organization is dedicated to supporting efforts of individuals and organizations to ensure that Latinos and Latinas are included in today's general historical narratives. Defend the Honor will continue to work steadily to ensure that the general public is aware that the honor of our country is incomplete without including the stories of Latino contributions. Visit Defend the Honor at www.DefendtheHonor.org
De la Garza Falcon, Blas Maria Villarreal
Capt. Blas Mara Villarreal de la Garza Falcn, colonizer of South Texas and Tamaulipas and the first settler of Nueces County, Texas, was born in Real de las Salinas, Nuevo Len, Mexico, in 1712 to Gen. Blas de la Garza Falcn, twice governor of Coahuila, and Beatriz de Villarreal.
His five brothers and six sisters spent their childhood at the hacienda Pesquera Chica near Monterrey. He probably received his education in Monterrey. By 1734 he was a captain at Presidio de San Gregorio de Cerralvo in Nuevo Len. On January 4, 1731, Garza Falcn married Catarina Gmez de Castro, daughter of Capt. Antonio Gmez de Castro and Nicolasa Baes de Trevio, at the mining town of Boca de Leones, present-day Villaldama, Nuevo Len. One daughter, Mara Gertrudis de la Garza Falcn, and two sons, Juan Jos and Jos Antonio de la Garza Falcn, were born to this marriage. After the death of Catarina, Garza Falcn married Josefa de los Santos Coy, daughter of Nicols de los Santos Coy, alcalde of Cerralvo, and Ana Mara Guerra. They had no children.
In 1747 Jos de Escandn, colonizer of Nuevo Santander, chose Garza Falcn to explore the south bank of the Rio Grande. Garza Falcn led a contingent of fifty men from the presidio of Cerralvo to the mouth of the river. Escandn's plan, as implemented by Garza Falcn, was to establish seven settlements along the river-Revilla, Camargo, Mier, Dolores, Reynosa, Laredo, and Vedoya.
On March 5, 1749, Garza Falcn arranged for forty families from Nuevo Len to settle at Camargo on the banks of the Rio Grande. He founded the villa of Camargo, a presidio for the military squadron, and a mission, San Agustn de Laredo, for the Indians.
Escandn named him captain and chief justice of Camargo, the first settlement founded on the Rio Grande. In 1752 Garza Falcn established a ranch, Carnestolendas, now the site of Rio Grande City, Texas, on the north side of the river.
After two unsuccessful attempts to settle and colonize land near the Nueces River, Escandn gave the assignment to Garza Falcn. By 1766 Garza Falcn had established a ranching outpost named Santa Petronila five leagues from the Nueces River in what is now Nueces County, Texas. He took his family and employees there and started a ranching enterprise that served as a camp for the Spanish soldiers from Presidio Nuestra Seora de Loreto who explored the vicinity while patrolling in 1767. The ranch, eight miles east of the Nueces River, served as an outpost and way station.
In 1767 Garza Falcn returned to Camargo, where he died and was buried in his private chapel, Nuestra Seora de Guadalupe. After his death the land grants were distributed to the settlers; his family received land extending from the Rio Grande to the Nueces River in South Texas.
De Leon, Alonso (Also, Alonso, Jr)
Who? Alonso de Leon is one of Texas foremost explorers.
What? De Len traveled extensively in what is now Texas in the late 1600s. He is credited with a key role in establishing what later became known as the Camino Real (Kings Road). This road started in Monclova, Coahuila and stretched through the Texas brush country reaching the tall pines region of East Texas. It was in East Texas that De Len helped establish the first Spanish mission, San Francisco de los Tejas. He became the governor of Nuevo Len and Coahuila and enjoyed great respect from the King of Spain. It was De Len who led the Spanish to the East Texas area to stop French incursions into Spanish land. Specifically, he made it his mission to find the reported LaSalle Colony. Sadly, De Len s expedition found the colony in ruins, the result of a vicious Karankawa Indian attack. De Len is also credited with naming most of the Texas rivers. His son, Alonso, Jr., is also a famous explorer of early Texas.
When? Late 1600s.
Source: Book by Chipman and Joseph, Explorers and Settlers of Spanish Texas
De Leon , Martin and Patricia de la Garza
Who? Martin and Patricia de la Garza de Leon are true pioneers of Texas.
What? The de Leon family settled the Victoria area in the 1820s. They were the best of the Mexican citizens who ventured out to the despoblado part of the far reaches of eastern New Spain. They were resilient people, strong of faith, hope, and determination to make it. They established large ranchos in the area and along the Guadalupe River. Although they proved to be successful in effectively settling families in Texas, most of the credit has gone to another impresario, Stephen F. Austin. Martin and Patricia survived and thrived under four different governments (Spanish, Mexican, Texas Republic, and the U.S.) After Martin's death, Dona Patricia became the matriarch of the family and continued operating their ranchos. Under violent political pressure after the Texas Revolution, Dona Patricia was forced into exile in New Orleans andMexico. Returning to Texas, she fought for her confiscated property and won a partial victory. Unfortunately, the story of lost land and property is familiar to many Spanish Mexican families who endured the often violent discrimination after 1836. Doa Patricias somewhat good fortune was rare. Many other Tejano families who also lost everything by the same manipulation of the new laws never recuperated their losses. It should be noted that Martin and Patricia de Leon radiated honor in their personal and public lives. However, their treatment under the new laws of Texas and the U.S. took its toll. The damage to their dignity and that of other Tejano families may have been much greater than the loss of property. In many ways, that loss is felt even today by their descendants.
When? 1820s 1880s
Recommended Source: Book by Crimm, Dr. Ana Carolina Castillo, De Leon (A Tejano Family History)
Who? Antonio Delgado was a captain in Lt. Colonel Gutierrez de Laras Army of the North.
What? During the 1811-1813 war for Texas independence, the brutality in the fog of war was at times unspeakable. Both the Spanish colonial forces and the Army of the North forces were guilty of horrible crimes. On the Spanish side for example, it was customary for an insurgent to be executed for treason. Depending on the importance of certain rebel leaders, their heads were often displayed in public places as a warning that armed insurrection would not be tolerated. Captain Delgado had the misfortune to look at his fathers head displayed in such a grotesque manner as the Army of the North marched into San Fernando (San Antonio). He became enraged and planned his vengeance. When Don Bernardo and his army took over the capital, the Spanish Governor (Manuel de Salcedo) and his staff were put under arrest. The group was ordered to be held outside San Antonio to prepare for their trial. Unfortunately for the Spanish Governor, Captain Delgado was the officer in command of the military escort. As soon as they left the city, the captive Spanish officials were brutally murdered. Captain Delgado had his vengeance. Taking responsibility for the atrocity, as well being unable to quell a plot against him, Don Bernardo was forced to resign his position and go into exile in Louisiana.
Recommended Source: Book by Chipman, Donald, Spanish Texas, 1519-1821
DeZavala, Lorenzo (Grandfather of Adina de Zavala)
Who? Lorenzo de Zavala is a genuine Texas hero.
What? His full name was Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano de Zavala y Senz. He was born on October 3, 1788, in Yucatn, Mexico. He graduated from the seminary at Mrida in 1807 and founded several newspapers. However, his liberal political views led to his imprisonment in Veracruz in 1814. Fluent in Spanish, French, English and Latin, he studied medical textbooks while in prison, and was ready to practice medicine upon his release in 1817. In 1820, he was elected to public office, and in 1821 was appointed Deputy to the Spanish Cortes in Madrid. When he traveled to New York, Zavala sought to interest Americans in the impresario grants he had received in 1829. These grants authorized him to settle 500 families on a tract of land in what is now southeastern Texas. In October 1830, he transferred his interest in the grants to the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company. From December 1832 until October 1833 he again served as governor of the state of Mxico, and in Congress as a deputy for his native state of Yucatn. In October 1833 President Antonio Lpez de Santa Anna named Zavala to serve as the first Mexican minister to Paris. Zavala denounced Santa Anna for assuming dictatorial powers and resigned his commission. Zavala was naturally drawn into the politics of Texas and re-connected with his friend Stephen F. Austin. He at first advocated the cause of Mexican Federalism, but later became a supporter of the independence movement. His legislative, executive, and diplomatic experience uniquely qualified him to help draft the constitution of the Republic of Texas. His became ad interim vice president of the new republic. After the Battle of San Jacinto, in accordance with the Treaties of Velasco, Zavala was appointed one of the peace commissioners to accompany Santa Anna to Mexico City, where the general was to persuade the central authorities to recognize the independence of Texas. Shortly thereafter, Zavala returned to his home in failing health and gave up his part in the affairs of government. While out boating, his rowboat overturned in Buffalo Bayou. Zavala contracted pneumonia and died at his home on 15 November 1836. He preceded Austin in death by only four weeks.
When? 1820s 1830s
Recommended Source: Handbook of Texas History Online
DeZavala, Adina (Granddaughter of Lorenzo de Zavala, and the Real Savior of the Alamo)
Who? Adina de Zavala is as much a heroine in Texas history as her famous grandfather.
What? When city officials approved the demolition of the Alamo compound for commercial development, Adina locked herself in the convento (long barracks) and wouldnt allow the start of the demolition. City officials gave in to her demands and stopped the destruction of the buildings. Adina was opposed by Clara Driscoll who differed with Adina on how to preserve the historical property. Allying herself with other influential Anglo women (Daughters of the Republic of Texas), Driscoll was able to get credit for saving the historic mission.
DOMNGUEZ, SIMN G. (See Idar Family)
Who? Simn G. Domnguez, school proprietor, salesman, and promoter of political unity of Texas Mexicans, lived in Laredo in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
What? Simon and his wife Mara had four children. Domnguez was able to read and write in Spanish and English, and in 1908 he bought a typewriter. He founded and taught a private school or escuelita called Instituto Domnguez that operated from 1890 to at least 1913. Mara may have been a cofounder and teacher as well. Ninety-five students were enrolled in July 1911 and 150 in January 1912. The Instituto specialized in English and Spanish. It operated as both a day school for children and a night school for adults. The school had a telephone and may also have had a library with an encyclopedia. Domnguez also sold medicines, plants and seeds, and books that he obtained from companies across the United States. In 1904 he earned twenty-five dollars a month, with which he maintained his family.
He belonged to numerous sociedades mutualistas over several decades. In 1903 he belonged to the Sociedad Mutualista Hijos de Jurez, and in 1907 he was president. In 1912 he was a member of the Mexican Masonic lodge, the Knights of Pythias, the Woodmen of the World Lodge, and other minor lodges in Laredo. Around 1920 he was active in at least ten societies in Laredo. He corresponded with mutualistas in Mxico, such as the Sociedad Mutualista Amigos del Trabajo and the Sociedad Unin de Jornaleros (Mutual-Aid Society of the Friends of Labor and Society of the Union of Day-Laborers).
As a delegate of the Hijos de Jurez, Domnguez addressed the first Congreso Mexicanista, the first known statewide political conference by la Raza (a precursor to La Raza Unida Party). In his speech on women's education, for which he was probably chosen because the Instituto permitted girls and women to enroll, he argued that education of women was indispensable not only for social position but also to serve as a role model to children.
Domnguez called for the merger of the six mutual-aid societies in Laredo, the merger of all sociedades mutualistas in the state, and the formation of a Congreso Masonico in each Texas town. He also proposed a night and day school of English and Spanish in each community, as he believed that both languages were needed for communication between Mexico and the United States. Domnguez also organized fiestas patrias. In 1910 he headed a commission to set up a Mexican Independence Centennial Celebration in Laredo and in 1914 helped initiate Cinco de Mayo. He was an acquaintance of the Idar family and may have written for La Crnica.
Source: Simn G. Domnguez Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Jos E. Limn, "El Primer Congreso Mexicanista de 1911," Aztln 5 (Spring, Fall 1974). Primer Congreso Mexicanista Verificado en Laredo, Texas (Laredo: Idar, 1912). (Handbook of Texas History Online.)