From the Annals of the Secessionists – In 1850, Carlos Esparza and others first attempted to establish a territorial government and separate the Territory of the Rio Grande from the rest of Texas. The secession movement was intended to protect the interests of Hispanics who were widely discriminated against despite their role in securing Texas independence. The movement never went anywhere and was eventually dropped. Esparza was a Mexican-born follower of Juan Cortina and wealthy rancher. He seemed an unlikely proponent of the Hispanic cause, but Esparza worked mostly behind the scenes in advance of Cortina’s goals.
During the Civil War he worked with both Union and Confederate forces while promoting the Cortinista cause. In 1873 Esparza was appointed as an inspector of hides and animals for Cameron County and apparently used that position to aid Cortina in avoiding capture. After Cortina was arrested in 1875, however, Esparza retreated to his ranch, avoided further political causes and was seldom seen thereafter.