Tag Archives: Spanish Texas

Today in Texas History – May 31

The Veramendi Palace doors are in the Alamo, along the east wall.  Express-News file photo

From the Annals of Spanish Texas – In 1783, Fernando Veramendi was killed by Mescalero Apaches near the presidio of San Juan Bautista in Coahuila while on a business trip to Mexico City.  Veramendi was born in Pamplona, Spain and moved to Texas in 1770 first settling in La Bahia.  While conducting business in San Antonio de Bexar he found a bride, Doña María Josefa Granados, and thus, married into one of the influential Canary Islands families who were the primary Spanish settlers of San Antonio.   Now well-connected, Vermandi opened a general store, lent money to other settlers, and acquired large tracts of ranch and farm land.  He built a large home on  Soledad Street that later came to be known as the Veramendi Palace. He was a civic leader and was elected as an aalderman in the ayuntamiento of 1779, and later as a senior alderman in 1783. He was killed while on a business trip to Mexico City. He had five children the most prominent of who was his son Juan Martín de Veramendi who served as governor of Coahuila and Texas in 1832-33.

Photo of the doors from the Veramendi Palace displayed at the Alamo.  The building was demolished in 1910.

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Today in Texas History – April 30

From the Annals of the Missionaries –   In 1675,  the Bosque-Larios Expedition party left the mission of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe near present-day Monclova, Coahuila on a mission to convert Native Americans in Coahuila. The expedition was led by Fernando del Bosque and Fray Juan Larios. Other members included Fray Dionisio de San Buenaventura, Captain Juan de la Cruz and ten Spanish soldiers, Lázaro Agustín, the governor of the Indian pueblo of San Miguel de Luna,  and twenty Bobole Indians. On May 11, the expedition reached the Rio Grande downriver from Eagle Pass. Bosque claimed the river for Spain renaming it the river the San Buenaventura del Norte. On May 15,  the expedition encountered several chiefs who had received reports and asked the missionaries to come to teach and baptize their followers.  Bosque administered an oath of allegiance to the king and celebrated a Mass. The Spaniards probably traveled more than 100 miles into Texas reaching a site in present-day Edwards County that they called San Pablo Hermitano.

Today in Texas History – April 13

Uncovered Texas Postcards | San Pedro Springs Park - 1912

From the Annals of the Missionaries –  In 1709, an expedition led by Franciscan fathers Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares and Isidro Félix de Espinosa reached the site of current day San Antonio.   Olivares and Espinosa were escorted by Capt. Pedro de Aguirre and fourteen soldiers.  The small expedition left San Juan Bautista on April 5 with the goal of contacting Tejas Indians living on the lower Colorado River.  The Fathers encamped at site near the springs that they christened as San Pedro Springs. The expedition continued on and reached the Colorado near Bastrop on May 19.  However, the Tejas were living further east and the Fathers did not have authorization to proceed farther than the Colorado. , They had also learned that the Tejas were likely hostile to the Spanish and the expedition returned to the Rio Grande.

Today in Texas History – March 20

From the Annals of New Spain –  In 1721, an expedition led by José de Azlor y Virto de Vera, the Marqués de San Miguel de Aguayo, crossed the Rio Grande near present day Eagle Pass in an attempt to re-establish Spanish control of East Texas.  The expedition was a response to the French incursion into Texas two years earlier.  Aguayo’s force consisted of about 500 men – called the Battalion of San Miguel de Aragón.  The expedition established a base in San Antonio de Bexar and a small force under command of Domingo Ramón occupied La Bahía del Espíritu Santo near present-day Goliad.  Upon arrival in East Texas, the expedition met no resistance from the French or Native Americans.  In fact, the French commander Louis Juchereau de St. Denis,  agreed to withdraw to Natchitoches.  With the essential mission accomplished, Aguayo left 219 of his force at various presidios in Texas, with the remainder returning to Coahuila.  Aguayo’s expedition increased the number of missions in Texas from two to ten, and established three new presidios.   Spain’s claim to Texas was never again seriously disputed by France.

Today in Texas History – March 29

From the Annals of Spanish Texas – In 1813, the Battle of Rosillo Creek was fought near present day  San Antonio. The fight was between the Republican Army of the North led by José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara and Samuel Kemper and a Spanish royalist force under Texas governor Manuel María de Salcedo and Nuevo León governor Simón de Herrera.  The battle was for control of the far northern province and the Republicans were seeking a break from New Spain and an independent republic in Texas.   The battle involved remarkably large numbers as the Republican army was comprised of between 600 to 900 men and the Royalist forces may have numbered as much as 1500 men.  The Republicans were advancing along the road from La Bahía to San Antonio when they were engaged by the Royalists.   The Republicans inflicted heavy losses on the Royalists in the one-hour battle.   The Royalists lost somewhere between 100 and 300 men as wells most of their arms and ammunition, six cannons, and 1,500 horses and mules. The republicans lost only six men. The battle of Rosillo resulted in the capture of San Antonio and the establishment of a first “Republic of Texas.”  The Republic was short-lived as the Republican forces were soundly defeated five months later at the Battle of Medina.

Today in Texas History – October 7

From the Annals of the Red River – In 1759, Spanish soldiers under the command of Diego Ortiz Parilla fought a losing battle near a fortified Taovaya village on the Red River.  Ortiz Parilla was leading an expedition to punish the Indians responsible for the embarrassing destruction of Santa Cruz de San Sabá Mission in March 1759.  The Spaniards faced a combined force of  Comanches, Yaceales, and Tawakonis who outsmarted the Spaniard.  Ortiz Parilla did not know exactly how close he was to Indian village.  When his forces were  charged from woods by sixty or seventy warriors who quickly withdrew, he ordered a pursuit not realizing that the purpose of the attack was to lead the Spaniards into a well-laid trap. Pursuing their attackers, the troop found itself sinking in a sandbank at the edge of the Red River, before the Indian fortifications. As darkness fell, Ortiz Parilla led an orderly withdrawal from his difficult position.  However, he was forced to leave a pair of cannons behind  on the river sandbank where the Spaniards had found themselves pinned down.  And more critically lost nineteen men killed, fourteen wounded, and nineteen by desertion.  The humiliating defeat led to his replacement as commandant of San Luis de las Amarillas Presidio by Felipe de Rábago y Terán.  The Spaniards held onto the fort near present-day San Saba for another decade but failed to make any significant inroads into north central Texas for almost 50 years.

Painting of the destruction of the San Saba Mission.

Today in Texas History – September 26

From the Annals of New Spain – In 1736, Carlos Benites Franquis de Lugo arrived in San Antonio to serve as ad interim governor of Spanish Texas.   Franquis was extraordinarily unpopular due to his high-handed approach to administration.  One of his first acts was file criminal charges against Manuel de Sandoval who had been in charge of Texas.  He arbitrarily cut the number of guards at the missions leaving them vulnerable to attack.  He failed at almost every aspect of administration such that the province was near bankruptcy under his rule.  Ultimately he was arrested and accused of “arrogant behavior” a charge that has sadly fallen from favor in the world of criminal jurisprudence.  He stepped down as governor in September 1737,  but was found not guilty of the charges against him.