San Antonio History Matrix

A searchable bibliography of sources on the history of San Antonio from the early eighteenth century to the late twentieth century.

Mexican Province

 

Castañeda, Carlos E. A Report on the Spanish Archives in San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio: 1937.
Castaneda organized the roughly 175,000 documents that constitute the Bexar Archives after they were transferred to the University of Texas. The report organizes the records into their constituent parts as wills, deeds, land records, protocols and miscellaneous items. Castañeda prepared a U. of Texas Master’s Thesis on this subject in 1923.

 

De La Teja, Jesús and John Wheat. “Bexar: Profile of a Tejano Community, 1820 – 1832.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 89 (July 1985): 7 – 34.
The essay provides a demographic profile of the isolated city and its efforts to combat epidemics and Indian raids. The authors also describe the educational system and local customs in the way of festivals and gambling. They draws on neglected Spanish language documents to examine the accumulating grievances of the Tejano population with Mexican rule on the eve of the movement for independence. Maps and illustrations. [Reprinted in Gerald E. Poyo and Gilberto M. Hinojosa’s Tejano Origins in Eighteenth Century San Antonio. San Antonio, 1991.]

 

De la Teja, Jesus. “Discovering the Early Tejano Community in 'Early' Texas.” Journal of the Early Republic 18 (Spring 1998): 73 – 98.
The essay presents a rich social history of San Antonio’s Hispanic community during the era of Mexican rule and the Republic. Corn was a staple, and bathing and siestas daily rituals. Economic activity revolved around ranching rather than agriculture. Tejanos closely followed the fashions of Louisiana rather than Mexico. Although the “bullying” and often violent Anglo community looked down on the local “Mexicans,” they shared many customs and traits.

 

Lanier, Sidney, “San Antonio de Bexar,” in Sidney Lanier: Florida and Miscellaneous Prose. Baltimore: 1945.
The writer arrived in San Antonio in 1872, one of many transplants drawn by its reputation for combating tuberculosis. He immersed himself in the Spanish Archives and produced this short, entertaining and illustrated narrative. The history devotes much of its attention to the city’s many violent episodes and ends abruptly around 1850. Lanier concludes with a walking tour of San Antonio’s more arresting tourist sites and with portraits of its diverse inhabitants.

 

Oliphint, Julia Owens. “A Short History of Early San Antonio.” M. A. Thesis, U. of Oklahoma, 1925.
A very short (69 page) synopsis of the city’s history that concludes with the battle of the Alamo.

 

Poyo, Gerald E. and Gilberto M. Hinojosa. “Spanish Texas and Borderlands Historiography in Transition: Implications for United States History.” Journal of American History 75 (Sept. 1988): 393-416.
The story of the early Hispanic communities in the Southwest has often been treated as a record of failure residing outside of American history. While some historians, like Herbert Bolton, criticized the Northeastern orientation of American historians and offered a more favorable assessment of the Spanish settlements, their work did not integrate Hispanic communities into the national narrative. More recent scholarship has tied Texas history of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries with Northern Mexico. Newer research takes a more socio-economic (rather than institutional) approach to analyzing these frontier communities. They suggest Texas and its Spanish settlements enjoyed a period of expansion up to 1800, owing partly to expanded trade with Louisiana. This was followed by a period of decline (1800 – 1820) that may be attributed to the “Bourbon Reforms” and the depletion of the local cattle herds.

 

Tijerina, Andres. Tejanos and Texas Under the Mexican Flag, 1821-1836. College Station, Texas: 1994.
The early settlement of San Antonio and its surrounding communities led to the development of a Tejano identity increasingly at odds with its Mexican counterpart. The book offers especially good coverage of local area ranches – where the more wealthy kept to themselves – and the municipal governing apparatus under the ayuntamientos. The “flying companies” of Mexican horsemen protecting the settlements were the prototype of the Texas Rangers. Tijerina also dwells on local customs and holidays.

 

Brown, John Duff. “Reminiscences.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 12 (April, 1909): 296-311.
Two pages of Brown’s recollections discuss his family’s stay in San Antonio in the mid 1830's. They encountered Indians, smallpox, and mingled with its mixed blood population.

 

De la Teja, Jesus. “Discovering the Early Tejano Community in 'Early' Texas.” Journal of the Early Republic 18 (Spring 1998): 73 – 98.
The essay presents a rich social history of San Antonio’s Hispanic community during the era of Mexican rule and the Republic. Corn was a staple, and bathing and siestas daily rituals. Economic activity revolved around ranching rather than agriculture. Tejanos closely followed the fashions of Louisiana rather than Mexico. Although the “bullying” and often violent Anglo community looked down on the local “Mexicans,” they shared many customs and traits.

 

De la Teja, Jesús F. “’Buena gana tenía de ir a jugar’: The Recreational World of Early San Antonio, Texas, 1718 – 1845.” International Journal of the History of Sport 26 (June 2009): 889 – 905.
Bexarños participated in many of the popular forms of entertainment of other Spanish communities in the new world. Bull fights were scheduled generally during the Christmas season. Many competitions involved equestrian skill, such as the watermelon race, and the town’s streets frequently served as dangerous race courses. The Tejano population was also responsible for introducing the rodeo. Dancing at fandangos was also popular, and government efforts to curb gambling at cards proved entirely unsuccessful.

 

Dysart, Jane. “Mexican Women in San Antonio, 1830 – 1860: The Assimilation Process.” The Western Historical Quarterly 7 (Oct. 1976): 365 – 75.
Owing to the uneven sex ratios, Anglo men in early nineteenth century San Antonio sometimes married Tejano women . These often affluent women inherited property on an equal basis with their brothers. They faced the challenge of assimilating to Anglo culture, or at least watching their children do so. Concubinage – barragania – was also commonplace since Mexican women, especially the dark skinned ones, were viewed by Anglos as promiscuous.

 

Faulk, Odie. “A Description of Texas in 1803.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly (April 1963): 513 – 515.
Lt. Col. Don Juan Bautista Elguézabal report to the commandant general describes the population and economic activity in San Antonio and its missions.

 

Haggard, J. Villasana. “Epidemic Cholera in Texas.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 40 (Jan. 1937): 216-230.
The cholera outbreak of 1833 temporarily put a quietus on political agitation in Texas. San Antonio was largely spared because of the initiative exercised by Mexican authorities, while many Anglo settlements suffered heavy casualties. San Antonio, which still lacked a doctor, formed a Board of Health to distribute dubious medicines. The epidemic finally hit in August of 1834, causing many to flee the city.

 

Janert, Edwinna Kirkpatrick. “San Pedro Springs.” M. A. Thesis, Trinity University, 1968.
Irrigation ditches attached to the springs serviced the fields of Mission San Antonio de Valero. Janert relates the many public purposes of the surrounding park area from prehistoric times to the present. Spanish authorities designated the site a public space in 1729. The park catered to various forms of popular entertainment, which in the nineteenth century included cockfights, bullfights, picnics, rodeos and zoo. After restoration in the early twentieth century it sported a library and various sports facilities for swimming, tennis and even ice skating. (111 pages.)

 

Kallison, Frances B. “100 years of Jewry in San Antonio.” M. A. Thesis, Trinity University, 1977.
This survey of religious and civic leaders and institutions begins with the arrival of the first adventurers during the Spanish era to the early part of the twentieth century. After 1880 many Jews originated in Eastern Europe and were more “tradition oriented.” Jews were well integrated into the San Antonio community and enjoyed a prosperous existence while they carried on their traditions. Based on oral interviews, city directories, and organization records. (136 pp.)

 

Lipscomb, Carol A. “Burying the War Hatchet: Spanish-Comanche Relations in Colonial Texas, 1743 – 1821.” Ph. D. diss.: U. of North Texas, 2002.
The dissertation offers a balanced account of European-Indian encounters in Texas. After years of trying to convert and conquer the Comanche, the Spanish negotiated a peace treaty in 1785. Keeping the peace proved a major challenge for both sides, but it largely held in place until the end of Spanish rule. The garrison was too small to adequately patrol the frontier and Spain could not furnish enough trade or gifts to satisfy the Indian’s demand for western material goods. The highly decentralized and nomadic character of Comanche society made it difficult to enforce the terms of the treaty.

 

Menchaca, Antonio. Memoirs. San Antonio: 1937.
The author was born in San Antonio in 1800 and later dictated these reminisces, mostly covering the era just prior to and during the era of the Republic. He discusses the battle of Medina in 1813, the battles of the Texas Revolution, and recurring Indian incursions. Menchaca also recalls local customs and businesses.

 

Meschke, Amy. “Women’s Lives Through Women’s Wills in the Spanish and Mexican Borderlands, 1750 – 1846.” Ph. D. diss.: Southern Methodist U., 2005.
Based in part on an analysis of 79 wills of men and women filed in San Antonio between 1764 and 1836. Other cities surveyed include El Paso, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Saltillo and San Esteban de Nueva Tlaxcala in Coahuila, Mexico. All the women were or had been widowed, and were relatively well off. Their wills reveal their fervent religious beliefs, their meager material possessions, their relationships with their children and other family dynamics, and the active role they played in the local economy. Frontier conditions enhanced the likelihood that women would become widows and therefore offered them more opportunities to step out of the often limited roles prescribed for them in Spanish culture.

 

Nixon, Pat Ireland. A Century of Medicine in San Antonio. San Antonio 1936.
The time frame covered by the book really exceeds a century since it reviews the history of medicine and more particularly the medical profession and its practitioners from Spanish times to the New Deal. Prior to late nineteenth century San Antonio suffered a dearth of doctors but there was no shortage of medical quacks. The book covers epidemics, medicines and forms of treatment, medical facilities and the Board of Health. Nixon documents the appalling living conditions of the Hispanic population after 1910 and their consequently high mortality rate.

 

Porter, Amy M. Their Lives, Women in the Borderlands, 1750 – 1846. Lubbock: TX: 2015.
The author focuses on the wills the women of property left behind in San Antonio as well as El Paso and Santa Fe, and includes Saltillo and San Esteban in Mexico. Her subjects are widows, a status most women would age into eventually. She uses these documents to explore women’s material possessions, religious attitudes, and role in the household and the overall economy.  Women in San Antonio and on the frontier enjoyed somewhat more freedom in their patriarchal societies. They donated to various charities, loaned money and supervised ranches.

 

Ramos, Raúl. Beyond the Alamo: Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio, 1821 – 61. Chapel Hill, NC: 2008.
San Antonio’s early Hispanic settlers were on the margins of Mexican society and never developed a strong national identity as “Mexicans” or “Americans.” Social status among the Bexareños was mostly determined by land ownership and family connections. Over time, the landed Hispanic elite saw their socio-economic and political status erode as San Antonio’s economy become more commercial and industrial. The Bexareños struggled to maintain their social status and identify in the face of discrimination and violence perpetrated by the Anglo community. [See also his Ph. D. dissertation, “From Norteno to Tejano: The Roots of Borderlands Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Political Identity in Bexar, 1811 – 1861.” Yale U., 1999.]

 

Sánchez, José María. “A Trip to Texas in 1828.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 29 (Apr. 1926): 249-88.
Sánchez’s 2 page description of a visit to San Antonio notes the threat posed by the Indians, the deplorable state of the local military, and the neglected farms.

 

Tijerina, Andres. Tejanos and Texas Under the Mexican Flag, 1821-1836. College Station, Texas: 1994.
The early settlement of San Antonio and its surrounding communities led to the development of a Tejano identity increasingly at odds with its Mexican counterpart. The book offers especially good coverage of local area ranches – where the more wealthy kept to themselves – and the municipal governing apparatus under the ayuntamientos. The “flying companies” of Mexican horsemen protecting the settlements were the prototype of the Texas Rangers. Tijerina also dwells on local customs and holidays.

 

Walraven, Edward Lee. “Ambivalent Americans: Selected Spanish-language Newspapers’ Response to Anglo Domination in Texas, 1830 – 1910.” Ph. D. diss.: Texas A & M U., 1999.
Spanish language newspapers reflected the ambivalence of the Tejano/Mexicano population with their status as American citizens. While many newspapers were established for purely political reasons, those that survived were run by business minded editors who relied on advertising and printing jobs to stay in business. The papers pressed an accommodationist approach to defend the civil rights of la raza, but they also exhibited the same racist, stereotypical thinking about Afro-Americans as the Anglo press. Among the San Antonio editors and newspapers discussed are Francisco A. Chapa of El Imparcial de Texas and Pablo Cruz of El Regidor.

 

Campbell, Suzanne. “John W. Twohig, Irishman, Banker, and Texas Patriot.” West Texas Historical Association Yearbook 81 (2005):131-43.
Twohig emigrated to San Antonio in 1830 and was active in many of the major episodes leading to Texas Independence, including the siege of Bexar. He started off as a merchant and later moved into banking, eventually becoming one of the wealthiest men in the state. He also funded a breadline for the city’s malnourished population that continued after his death in 1891.

 

Castaneda, Carlos E. “The First Chartered Bank West of the Mississippi: Banco Nacional de Texas.” Bulletin of the Business Historical Society 25 (Dec. 1951): 242-56.
Governor José Felix Trespalacios established the bank in San Antonio in 1822 to help the Mexican government meet its payroll with the troops of the presidio. The latter had been paid in gold and silver shipped irregularly and under heavy guard from San Luis Potosi. The new bank would issue hand drawn peso notes that soldiers could use to purchase items from local merchants. The introduction of a paper currency was well received locally, but within a few months the notes were superceded by a national currency issued from Mexico City.

 

De la Teja, Jesús F.”The Saltillo Fair and Its San Antonio Connections.” In Tejano Epic: Essays in Honor of Félix D. Almaréz, Jr. Ed. Arnaldo de Leon. Austin: 2005.
The annual commercial exchange in the northern Mexico City took place at end of September during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. San Antonio merchants and ranchers started on their journey in August, bringing cattle, cattle byproducts and hides and returning with flour, fashions, salt, utensils and other items. The fair served as the major economic and social destination for Bexarños; it reflected the close ties between the local economy and northern Mexico in the absence of a Texas port on the Gulf of Mexico.

 

De la Teja, Jesus F. “’A Fine Country with Broad Plains – The Most Beautiful in New Spain’: Colonial Views of Land and Nature,” in On the Border, An Environmental History of San Antonio. Ed. by Char Miller. 41 – 55. Pittsburgh, Penn.: 2001.
The accounts of early explorers and travelers to San Antonio detail an abundant local fauna and wildlife in the early Spanish era. The establishment of the city and its surrounding ranches had a profound impact on the area’s buffalo herds and timber resources. The Spanish attempted to protect the environment with regulations on the horse and cattle industries.

 

Faulk, Odie. “Ranching in Spanish Texas.” Hispanic American Historical Review 45 (May 1965): 257 – 66.
Much of the ranching industry in Spanish Texas was based in San Antonio. Cattle in the area were driven to markets in Louisiana and Coahuila – often illegally. The mission friars and local ranchers disputed imperial authorities on the status of unbranded cattle. The crown claimed the loose cattle and wanted to charge ranchers for any they herded up. The locals insisted that the animals belonged to them, and complained that they had not been able to properly brand them in rodeos because of the presence of hostile Indians.

 

Faulk, Odie. “A Description of Texas in 1803.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly (April 1963): 513 – 515.
Lt. Col. Don Juan Bautista Elguézabal report to the commandant general describes the population and economic activity in San Antonio and its missions.

 

Fisher, Lewis F. River Walk: The Epic Story of San Antonio’s River. San Antonio: 2006.
The San Antonio River has played a vital role in the community’s past – both good and bad. It has been the source of irrigation, floods and tourist dollars. Fisher especially looks at various technological innovations to control or exploit the river with dams, channels, businesses and beautified walkways.

 

Holmes, William Henry. “The Acequias of San Antonio.” M. A. Thesis: St. Mary’s U., 1962.
A historical study of how irrigating canals functioned during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Describes the construction of the acequias to service the missions. The water network was expanded to meet the needs of the Canary Islanders. The turmoil of the Texas Revolution allowed the system to fall into decay. Holmes reviews the city’s efforts to police the ditches during the nineteenth century when they were a source of drinking water. The need for the acequias diminished as residents drilled artesian wells and the San Antonio Water company was formed in 1877. They dried up and faded away rapidly after 1900 except on old mission properties south of the city. Numerous maps and poorly reproduced illustrations. (135 pp.)

 

Jackson, Jack. Los Mestenos: Spanish Ranching in Texas, 1721 – 1821. College Station: 1986.
Jackson covers the early cattle industry of Texas noting the pioneering role of Mexican ranchers and cowboys in laying the groundwork for a ranching economy. While the work covers all of Texas, the bulk of the material concerns events in San Antonio. The early ranchers battled with the Comanches and eked out a living on a poor and isolated outpost. They were frequently at odds with Spanish authorities who sought to crack down on smuggling cattle and tobacco through Louisiana. The royalist regime also claimed unbranded cattle roaming the area for the crown, a usurpation that ranchers and the mission fathers vehemently disputed.

 

Meschke, Amy. “Women’s Lives Through Women’s Wills in the Spanish and Mexican Borderlands, 1750 – 1846.” Ph. D. diss.: Southern Methodist U., 2005.
Based in part on an analysis of 79 wills of men and women filed in San Antonio between 1764 and 1836. Other cities surveyed include El Paso, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Saltillo and San Esteban de Nueva Tlaxcala in Coahuila, Mexico. All the women were or had been widowed, and were relatively well off. Their wills reveal their fervent religious beliefs, their meager material possessions, their relationships with their children and other family dynamics, and the active role they played in the local economy. Frontier conditions enhanced the likelihood that women would become widows and therefore offered them more opportunities to step out of the often limited roles prescribed for them in Spanish culture.

 

Porter, Amy M. Their Lives, Women in the Borderlands, 1750 – 1846. Lubbock: TX: 2015.
The author focuses on the wills the women of property left behind in San Antonio as well as El Paso and Santa Fe, and includes Saltillo and San Esteban in Mexico. Her subjects are widows, a status most women would age into eventually. She uses these documents to explore women’s material possessions, religious attitudes, and role in the household and the overall economy.  Women in San Antonio and on the frontier enjoyed somewhat more freedom in their patriarchal societies. They donated to various charities, loaned money and supervised ranches.

 

Stuntz, Jean. “Spanish Laws for Texas Women: The Development of Marital Property Law to 1850.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 104 (Apr. 2001): 542 – 559.
Stuntz examines the roots of the Texas legal system’s concept of “community property” through the evolution of Spanish laws regarding married women. Spanish law assigned women “a distinct legal status with defined rights and responsibilities” out of concern for “feminine weaknesses.” The essay draws on deeds and wills in San Antonio to document the full range of women’s rights. Spanish law proved more appropriate for frontier conditions, and for this reason much of it was retained after Texas achieved independence and was joined to the United States.

 

Swaney, Eugene L. “The Cattle Industry in San Antonio, Texas, 1718 – 1961.” M. A. Thesis: St. Mary’s U., 1961.
This extensive survey covers the introduction of cattle under the Spanish, local ranches and dairies, the nineteenth century trail drives, the impact of the railroad, the opening of the Union stockyards in 1889, and, in the twentieth century, the establishment of the Stock Show and rodeo and the consolidation of the cattle industry. Numerous profiles of prominent cattlemen and cowboys. Sources mostly published records and accounts. (287 pp.)

 

Wills, Frederick H. “San Antonio’s Acequias: A Brief Review.” Journal of South Texas History 17 (Fall 2004): 39-50.
A system of seven irrigation ditches (acequia) were built by Native Americans under supervision of the Spanish between 1718 and 1778. Two are functioning still. The irrigation made farming possible in a drought prone environment. Their utility declined in the late nineteenth century as residents drilled artesian and irrigation wells and the city dug channels in the river. The ditches became a health hazard as the populace dumped garbage into them. A table records when each acequia was started, finished and abandoned – as well as its length and the number of acres it irrigated.

 

Almaraz, Felix D. Tragic Cavalier: Governor Manuel Salcedo of Texas, 1808-1813. Austin, Texas: 1971.
Salcedo confronted by many daunting problems during his tenure including the movement for Mexican independence, an invasion from the United States, along with the depredations of the Apache and Comanche Indians. He had a better understanding of the situation in Texas than did his superiors. After Mexico rose in revolt against Spanish rule Salcedo would be temporarily ousted from power in a local coup. He nonetheless helped temporarily restore royalist rule before he was murdered following the capture of San Antonio by the Magee – Gutierrez Expedition.

 

Almaráz, Félix, D. Jr. “Governor Manuel Salcedo of Hispanic Texas, 1808 – 1813. A Reappraisal.” Texana 6 (1) (1968): 12 – 31.
Salcedo has been viewed by many historians as weak and unsuccessful, but Almaraz seeks to redeem his reputation. He served during a tumultuous period in Texas History. A rebellion against Spanish rule broke out in the south and American filibusters invaded Texas from the east. Salcedo also confronted a series of issues involving the United States including runaway slaves, Anglo immigrants, and a lawless no man’s land. The governor had a full understanding of the problems, but his ability to respond was hindered by a confusing chain of command and a lack of resources. Although briefly overthrown by Juan Bautista Las Casas, Salcedo remained loyal to the royalist cause and helped it temporarily regain the upper hand.

 

Barker, Eugene C. “Native Latin American Contribution to the Colonization and Independence of Texas.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 46 (April, 1943): 317 – 335.
One of the early studies highlighting the role Hispanics played in promoting Anglo settlement and in leading opposition to the Mexican rule in the 1830s. Long letters from Stephen F. Austin describe his efforts to get the San Antonio ayuntamiento to issue its “Remonstrance” in 1832.

 

Bueno, Anastacio, Jr. “In Storms of Fortune: José Antonio Navarro of Texas, 1821 – 1846.” M. A. Thesis, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1978.
Navarro (1795-1871) played a prominent role in the movement for Texas independence. He served as Bexar’s representative in congresses under both Mexican and Texan rule, signed the Declaration of Independence in 1836, attended the state Constitutional Convention of 1845 and sat in the first state legislature. He supported the cause for independence from Mexico in defense of liberty. A champion of the rights of Spanish speaking citizens, he successfully fought for the exclusion of the word “white” in the state’s first constitution. (150 pp.)

 

Chabot, Frederick C. Texas in 1811: The Las Casas and Sambrano Revolutions. San Antonio: 1941.
When news reached San Antonio that portions of Mexico had risen in revolt against Spanish rule, local San Antonio officials encouraged retired military captain Juan Bautista de las Casas to depose Governor Manuel Maria de Salcedo. Las Casas served as an interim governor of Texas for a few weeks before local citizens turned against him and allowed the royalists – under Juan Manuel Zambrano -- back into power in March of 1811. The book is mostly a set of translated documents dealing with the brief episode opening a decade of turmoil.

 

Cruz, Gilbert Ralph. (ed.) “The City Ordinances For the Internal Management and Administration of the Municipal Government of San Antonio de Bejar, 1829.” Texana 7 (2) (1969): 95 – 116.
This translated version of San Antonio’s city ordinances was compiled soon after Independence. The document detailed the functions of the “corporación” and its major officers: the secretary, alcalde, treasurer, city attorney, chief of police and committees set up to oversee the public health, city finances and public welfare. It also described the city’s revenue sources of fees and fines leveled on persons holding fandangos or drinking to excess.

 

Lipscomb, Carol A. “Burying the War Hatchet: Spanish-Comanche Relations in Colonial Texas, 1743 – 1821.” Ph. D. diss.: U. of North Texas, 2002.
The dissertation promises a balanced account of European-Indian encounters in Texas. After years of trying to convert and conquer the Comanche, the Spanish negotiated a peace treaty in 1785. Keeping the peace proved a major challenge for both sides, but it largely held in place until the end of Spanish rule. The garrison was too small to adequately patrol the frontier and Spain could not furnish enough trade or gifts to satisfy the Indian’s demand for western material goods. The highly decentralized and nomadic character of Comanche society made it difficult to enforce the terms of the treaty.

 

Miller, Margaret. “A Survey of the Civil Government of San Antonio, Texas, 1731 – 1948.” M. A. Thesis, St. Mary’s University, 1948.
There is no historical analysis here, only outlines of the structure of the government under different regimes based on government documents. It begins with a description of the local political establishment under Spanish rule. Little changed locally when Mexico achieved its independence. The governor appointed a “political chief” to run the city. Miller devotes a mere 8 pages to the aldermanic form of government in place between 1837 and 1915, mostly listing the city’s major offices and their duties. Most of the analysis is given over to an outline of the commission form of government established in 1915. Includes several diagrams outlining the structure of government under the commission format. (91 pp.)

 

Hatcher, Mattie Austin. “Letters of Antonio Martinez, the Last Spanish Governor of Texas, 1817 – 22.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 39 (July, 1935): 66 – 72; (Oct. 1935): 139-47; (Jan. 1936): 228-238: (Apr. 1936): 327-332.
The Governor’s translated letters to his superiors report on the challenges he faced in confronting marauding Indians and revolutionists intent on independence during his term. Martinez was also responsible for negotiating the initial land grant to Moses Austin.

 

Stuntz, Jean. “Spanish Laws for Texas Women: The Development of Marital Property Law to 1850.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 104 (Apr. 2001): 542 – 559.
Stuntz examines the roots of the Texas legal system’s concept of “community property” through the evolution of Spanish laws regarding married women. Spanish law assigned women “a distinct legal status with defined rights and responsibilities” out of concern for “feminine weaknesses.” The essay draws on deeds and wills in San Antonio to document the full range of women’s rights. Spanish law proved more appropriate for frontier conditions, and for this reason much of it was retained after Texas achieved independence and was joined to the United States.

 

Taylor, Virginia H. (ed.) “Calendar of the Letters of Antonio Martinez, Last Spanish Governor of Texas, 1817 – 1822.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 59 (Jan. 1956): 372-81: (April, 1956): 473 – 486: 60 (July 1956): 80 – 99: (Oct. 1956): 292 – 305: (April 1957): 533 – 47: 61 (July 1957): 125-144: (Oct. 1957): 288 – 304.
The governor, stationed in San Antonio, reports to the Viceroy detailing his frustrations in trying to maintain order on the frontier in the last years of Spanish rule. His recurrent requests for aid mainly go unanswered. Martinez reports on military actions taken against Indians, pirates and American filibusters.

 

Tijerina, Andres. Tejanos and Texas Under the Mexican Flag, 1821-1836. College Station, Texas: 1994.
The early settlement of San Antonio and its surrounding communities led to the development of a Tejano identity increasingly at odds with its Mexican counterpart. The book offers especially good coverage of local area ranches – where the more wealthy kept to themselves – and the municipal governing apparatus under the ayuntamientos. The “flying companies” of Mexican horsemen protecting the settlements were the prototype of the Texas Rangers. Tijerina also dwells on local customs and holidays.

 

Walraven, Edward Lee. “Ambivalent Americans: Selected Spanish-language Newspapers’ Response to Anglo Domination in Texas, 1830 – 1910.” Ph. D. diss.: Texas A & M U., 1999.
Spanish language newspapers reflected the ambivalence of the Tejano/Mexicano population with their status as American citizens. While many newspapers were established for purely political reasons, those that survived were run by business minded editors who relied on advertising and printing jobs to stay in business. The papers pressed an accommodationist approach to defend the civil rights of la raza, but they also exhibited the same racist, stereotypical thinking about Afro-Americans as the Anglo press. Among the San Antonio editors and newspapers discussed are Francisco A. Chapa of El Imparcial de Texas and Pablo Cruz of El Regidor.

 

Weber, David J. Troubles in Texas: A Tejano Viewpoint from San Antonio with a Translation and Facsimile. Dallas: 1983.
The “Representacion” published by Tejano leaders in San Antonio in 1833 echoed many complaints of Mexican misgovernment issued by Anglo settlers at San Felipe a year earlier. Both groups complained of a lack of protection from the Indians, restrictions on immigration, inadequate schools, and a judicial system that could not deliver justice. While Anglos lobbied for Texas to be granted statehood in the Mexican system, the Tejanos only asked that its residents be granted more representation in the Coahuila y Texas legislature.

 

Wright, Robert E. “Father Refugio de la Garza: Controverted Religious Leader,” in Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas. Ed. Jesús F. de la Teja. 77 – 95. College Station, TX: 2010.
As the pastor of San Fernando church between 1820 and 1840, Refugio de la Garza played a key role in the community’s transition from Spanish to Mexican to Anglo rule. He was the first representative from Texas to the Mexican national constitutional congress in 1822, where he helped form the colonization law that resulted in Austin’s colony. His continued ties with Mexico resulted in his being dismissed from his clerical post when American clergy arrived, and he departed for Mexico soon thereafter. The author challenges the conventional portrait of the priest as corrupt and indifferent to the spiritual needs of his people.

 

Barker, Eugene C. “Notes on Early Texas Newspapers.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 21 (Oct. 1917): 127-28.
An American named Ashbridge proposed to turn out San Antonio’s first newspaper, The Texas Courier, in 1823. It is not clear he ever did.

 

Berger, Max. “Education in Texas During the Spanish and Mexican Periods.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 51 (July 1947): 41-53.
Berger devotes a few pages to the semi-public school established in San Antonio. The city’s schools during the Mexican era were inadequately funded and reached only a minority of young people, and yet they were the best in the state.

 

Carter, James D. “The First Free Public School in Texas, 1828.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 58 (Oct. 1954): 289-90.
Jose Anto. Gama Fonseca reports on the progress of the 147 students in reading, writing and math during the first year of the city’s newly implemented public school system.

 

Clopper, J. C. “J. C. Clopper’s Journal and Book of Memoranda for 1828.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 13 (July 1909): 44 – 83.
Clopper devotes several pages to his stay in San Antonio.

 

Cox, I. J. “Educational Efforts in San Fernando de Bexar.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 6 (July, 1902): 27 – 63.
The essay covers the earliest efforts of the ayuntamiento (or city council) to provide for education under Spanish and later Mexican rule. Documents in the appendix describe the operation of the schools.

 

Harding, Jacobina Burch. “A History of Early Newspapers of San Antonio, 1823 – 74.” M. A. Thesis, University of Texas, 1951.
A list of the numerous newspapers published in San Antonio in Spanish, German and English.

 

Matovina, Timothy M. Tejano Religion and Ethnicity: San Antonio, 1821-1860. Austin, Texas: 1995.
The Catholic religion was a vital force in the in the development of a Tejano identity in nineteenth century San Antonio. Various aspects of Tejano culture and community are examined through the records of the Catholic Church, newspapers and reminiscences. Tejanos and their church defended their culture as it came under attack from an increasingly Anglo dominated state and local government. [See also Timothy Matthew Matovina, “San Antonio Tejanos, 1821 – 1860, A Study of Religion and Ethnicity.” Ph. D. diss.: The Catholic University of America, 1993.]

 

Matovina, Timothy M. “Sacred Place and Collective Memory: San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio, Texas,” U. S. Catholic Historian 13 (Winter 1997): 33 – 50.
Based on interviews with laity at the Church, the study seeks to understand this sacred site’s role in fostering a collective memory binding a religious community. It covers the eighteenth century to the present. As the size and influence of the Tejano population shrank, the church became the repository for Mexican culture. It lost some of its Mexican character when the church was elevated to a cathedral in 1874, but parishioners carry on many public rituals to preserve its Mexican heritage. The congregation’s biggest religious festival is still Our Lady of Guadalupe, as it was in colonial times.

 

Porter, Amy M. Their Lives, Women in the Borderlands, 1750 – 1846. Lubbock: TX: 2015.
The author focuses on the wills the women of property left behind in San Antonio as well as El Paso and Santa Fe, and includes Saltillo and San Esteban in Mexico. Her subjects are widows, a status most women would age into eventually. She uses these documents to explore women’s material possessions, religious attitudes, and role in the household and the overall economy.  Women in San Antonio and on the frontier enjoyed somewhat more freedom in their patriarchal societies. They donated to various charities, loaned money and supervised ranches.

 

Smith, Blanche Baker. “Legends and Old Tales of San Antonio and Vicinity.” M. A. Thesis, Southwest Texas State Teacher’s College, 1943.
Smith recites the various legends associated with the local flora and wildlife. She also considers stories passed down by various ethnic groups.

 

Speiser, Adel. “The Story of the Theater in San Antonio.” M. A. Thesis: St. Mary’s U., 1948.
An overview of a wide range of theatrical entertainment beginning with Los Pastores in Spanish times. Speiser describes fandangos, medicine shows in Military Plaza, the dance hall in the Harris Theater, minstrel shows and grand opera. The Germans played a major role in promoting musical and theatrical productions at their Casino Hall and through the Turn Verein. Many of the most successful theaters in the city, like the Grand Opera House that opened in 1886, were managed by Ernest Rische. The decline of the national theater industry with the introduction of movies opened the way for the “little theater movement” in the twentieth century. The city built San Pedro playhouse in 1930 to house locally produced plays with local talent. The local government also built the Sunken Garden in 1937 as a setting for civic opera. Draws mostly on published sources and the newspapers. (112 pp.)

 

Tijerina, Andres. Tejanos and Texas Under the Mexican Flag, 1821-1836. College Station, Texas: 1994.
The early settlement of San Antonio and its surrounding communities led to the development of a Tejano identity increasingly at odds with its Mexican counterpart. The book offers especially good coverage of local area ranches – where the more wealthy kept to themselves – and the municipal governing apparatus under the ayuntamientos. The “flying companies” of Mexican horsemen protecting the settlements were the prototype of the Texas Rangers. Tijerina also dwells on local customs and holidays.

 

Walraven, Edward Lee. “Ambivalent Americans: Selected Spanish-language Newspapers’ Response to Anglo Domination in Texas, 1830 – 1910.” Ph. D. diss.: Texas A & M U., 1999.
Spanish language newspapers reflected the ambivalence of the Tejano/Mexicano population with their status as American citizens. While many newspapers were established for purely political reasons, those that survived were run by business minded editors who relied on advertising and printing jobs to stay in business. The papers pressed an accommodationist approach to defend the civil rights of la raza, but they also exhibited the same racist, stereotypical thinking about Afro-Americans as the Anglo press. Among the San Antonio editors and newspapers discussed are Francisco A. Chapa of El Imparcial de Texas and Pablo Cruz of El Regidor.

 

Wright, Robert E. “Father Refugio de la Garza: Controverted Religious Leader,” in Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas. Ed. Jesús F. de la Teja. 77 – 95. College Station, TX: 2010.
As the pastor of San Fernando church between 1820 and 1840, Refugio de la Garza played a key role in the community’s transition from Spanish to Mexican to Anglo rule. He was the first representative from Texas to the Mexican national constitutional congress in 1822, where he helped form the colonization law that resulted in Austin’s colony. His continued ties with Mexico resulted in his being dismissed from his clerical post when American clergy arrived, and he departed for Mexico soon thereafter. The author challenges the conventional portrait of the priest as corrupt and indifferent to the spiritual needs of his people.

 

Austin, Stephen F. “General Austin’s Order Book for the Campaign of 1835.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 11 (July 1907): 1 – 55.
Austin issues orders to his military subordinates in Oct. and Nov. of 1835 during the military campaign leading up to the siege of San Antonio.

 

Carey, William R. “A Letter from San Antonio de Bexar in 1836.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 62 (April: 1959): 513-518.
A lengthy account of the Texan assault on Bexar by a captain of artillery who later died at the Alamo.

 

Curry, Ora Mae. “The Texan Siege of San Antonio,” M. A. thesis, University of Texas, 1927.
Curry covers the capture of the city during the early stages of the Texas Revolution, and before the battle of the Alamo.

 

De la Teja, Jesús F. (ed.) A Revolution Remembered, The Memoirs and Selected Correspondence of Juan N. Seguín. Austin: 1991.
The editor has a seventy page introduction that offers a biography of the Tejano rancher and soldier, as well as a profile of his locally prominent father, Erasmo (1782 – 1857). Juan N. Seguín (1806 – 1890) prepared his memoirs around 1858 to counter charges of treason. They cover his involvement with the Texas Revolution starting in 1834 and running to General Woll’s invasion in 1842. Seguín served with the Texian forces at the battle of San Jacinto, and led the first military unit to recapture San Antonio after the battle of the Alamo.

 

De la Teja, Jesús F. And John Wheat. “Ramón de Murillo’s Plan for the Reform of New Spain’s Frontier Defenses.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 107 (Apr. 2004): 501 – 533.
In 1804 an obscure military officer attached to Spain’s Interior Provinces (current day Texas and Northern Mexico) sent a lengthy set of unsolicited recommendations to the Spanish crown on improving the area’s military readiness in the face of Anglo-American encroachments. Most of the essay is an edited reprint of Murillo's memorandum. He offers a rich description of the equipment and standard operating procedures of Spanish forces like those stationed in San Antonio. Includes 3 water color illustrations of mounted Spanish troops prepared by Murillo.

 

Devereaux, Linda Ericson. “The Magee-Gutierrez Expedition.” Texana 11 (1) (1973): 52 – 63.
The Mexican Army of the North briefly captured San Antonio in April of 1813 during Mexican struggle for independence from Spain. The so-called Magee-Gutierrez expedition was a largely Anglo force led by Augustus W. Magee wherein Mexican patriot Bernardo Gutierrez served as a figurehead. By the time the troops got to San Antonio they constituted a raging mob that quickly wore out its welcome and would soon be evicted by Royalist forces under General Joaquin de Arredondo y Miono. The essay lists some of the members of the expedition.

 

Faulk, Odie B. “The Comanche Invasion of Texas, 1743 – 1836.” Great Plains Journal 9 (Fall 1969): 10 – 50.
As the Comanche moved deeper into Texas during the early part of the eighteenth century, they pushed their longtime enemies, the Apache, closer to San Antonio. The Spanish first tried allying with one tribe to help crush the other. They later turned to a policy of appeasement offering presents and trade. But Indian depredations only worsened in the last couple of decades of Spanish rule. The Comanche conducted several raids on San Antonio from their hide outs in the hills of the Balcones Escarpment. The Indians stole horses which they later used to trade with the Americans in Louisiana and East Texas. The pressure the Comanche exerted on San Antonio undermined the city’s prospects for prosperity or population growth.

 

Fox, Anne A. The Archeology and History of Alamo Plaza. San Antonio: 1976.
This report details excavations of the Plaza undertaken by UTSA’s Center for Archeological Research during the summer of 1975. Includes several maps and numerous illustrations of artifacts and the trenches dug to unearth them. A chapter is devoted to a history of the Plaza as it evolved from a mission, to a military post, and thence to a commercial center.

 

Garrett, Julia Kathryn. “Dr. John Sibley and the Louisiania -Texas Frontier, 1803 – 1814.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 49 (Jan. 1946): 399 – 431.
A two page letter from Silbey (dated June 10, 1813) describes the defeat of royalist forces attacking San Antonio that month. The Magee – Gutierrez Expedition had only captured the city from the Spanish government in April.

 

Garver, Lois. “Benjamin Rush Milam.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 38 (Jan. 1935): 177-202.
Milam is credited with leading the assault on San Antonio in Dec. of 1835. He was killed in the slow advance that eventually forced Mexican General Martín Perfecto de Cos to surrender and abandon the city.

 

Gronet, Richard W. “The United States and the Invasion of Texas, 1810-1814.” The Americas 25 (Jan. 1969): 281 – 306.
The Gutiérrez Magee expedition officially sought to liberate Mexico from Spanish rule in 1812 and 1813. Gronet argues that the invasion was not a filibuster by persons acting independently, but the U. S. government pulled the strings while seeking to appear uninvolved. He draws mainly on the correspondence between William Shaler, a special agent of the U. S. government based in Natchitoches, and officials in Washington D. C., most notably Secretary of State James Monroe. Through Shaler, the U. S. offered clandestine encouragement and material support to the military force that Mexican revolutionary leader José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara assembled in Louisiana in 1812. After the invasion force (composed mostly of U. S. citizens) captured San Antonio in April of 1813, however, it established a cruel and despotic and incompetent regime that alienated many of its American supporters. By this time the U. S. government also had more than it could do conducting military operations against the British in the War of 1812.

 

Jones, A. H. “Letter to Wm E. Jones.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 10 (Oct. 1906): 181 - 82.
Jones participated in the assault on San Antonio in December of 1835. He described the attack in a letter dated Jan. 15, 1836.

 

Kearney, La Nelle D. “John William Smith: Messenger of the Alamo.” Texana 2 (3) (1964): 178 – 88.
Smith travelled from Missouri to San Antonio in 1826 and married into a local Hispanic family. This essay recounts his many military exploits mostly as a scout in the campaign to capture San Antonio, the siege of the Alamo, and the battle of Salado Creek. During the era of the Republic he served three terms as San Antonio’s mayor and senator. His family connections made him the city’s third largest property holder. Smith later moved his family to La Grange, Texas, where he died in 1845.

 

Lack, Paul D. “Occupied Texas: Bexar and Goliad, 1835-36,” in Mexican Americans in Texas History. Eds. Emilio Zamora, Cynthia Orozco and Rodolfo Rocha. 35-49. Austin: 2000.
Lack describes the siege of San Antonio by “Texan” forces (a mostly Anglo army with about 160 Tejanos) in the winter of 1835-36. The city’s Hispanic citizens suffered numerous deprivations during its occupation by Mexican general Martin Perfecto de Cos, who imposed a curfew and confiscated their goods. The Texans fighting their way into the city also distrusted the “Bejarenos,” whom they often fired at and arrested.

 

Lanier, Sidney, “San Antonio de Bexar,” in Sidney Lanier: Florida and Miscellaneous Prose. Baltimore: 1945.
The writer arrived in San Antonio in 1872, one of many transplants drawn by its reputation for combating tuberculosis. He immersed himself in the Spanish Archives and produced this short, entertaining and illustrated narrative. The history devotes much of its attention to the city’s many violent episodes and ends abruptly around 1850. Lanier concludes with a walking tour of San Antonio’s more arresting tourist sites and with portraits of its diverse inhabitants.

 

Marshall, Robert P. “Locating the Site of the Battle of Medina: A Research Note.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 120 (Jan. 2017): 350 – 61.
On August 18, 1813 Spanish forces routed a motley army of Americans, Tejanos and Indians taking part in the movement for Mexican independence. The precise locationof the biggest and most deadly battle on Texas soil has long mystified researchers. The author consults long neglected maps and diaries to pinpoint the location along what is today Old Pleasanton Road about two miles south of the Bexar/Atascosa County line.

 

Marshall, Robert P. “Locating the Site of the Battle of Rosillo: A Newly Discovered Map Indicates the Likely Site of the 1813 Battle where the First Republic of Texas Was Born.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 118 (Apr.  2015): 350 – 61.
At the battle of Rosillo on March 29th of 1813, a multinational army led by José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara overwhelmed the forces under the command of Spain’s Governor Manuel María de Salcedo. The victory opened the way for the forces seeking to establish a Republic of Texas to capture San Antonio a few days later. A newly discovered map from 1876 in the Bexar County Spanish archives identifies the Old Goliad Road where the battle took place. It points to a spot three quarters of a mile outside Loop 410 near W. W. White Rd, or about eight miles south east of downtown San Antonio. This is about a half mile west of where the current monument situates the battle.

 

Menchaca, Antonio. Memoirs. San Antonio: 1937.
The author was born in San Antonio in 1800 and later dictated these reminisces, mostly covering the era just prior to and during the era of the Republic. He discusses the battle of Medina in 1813, the battles of the Texas Revolution, and recurring Indian incursions. Menchaca also recalls local customs and businesses.

 

Reeve, Frank D. “The Apache Indians in Texas.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 50 187 – 219.
Reeve covers the period spanning from early Spanish colonization up to the late nineteenth century. The Lipan and Hispanic populations frequently met in or near San Antonio, on friendly or unfriendly terms.

 

Rogers, Will Chapel, III. “A History of the Military Plaza to 1937.” M. A. Thesis, Trinity University, 1968.
The plaza was first laid out to protect the early settlement. By the mid nineteenth century its military role was overtaken by its commercial one as it became the locale of the city market, the chili queens and various forms of popular entertainment, gambling, and public events – including hangings. The study ends when city health inspectors closed down many of the market’s commercial establishments in the name of sanitation. Mainly drawn from newspaper accounts. (105 pages.)

 

Smith, Blanche Baker. “Legends and Old Tales of San Antonio and Vicinity.” M. A. Thesis, Southwest Texas State Teacher’s College, 1943.
Smith recites the various legends associated with the local flora and wildlife. She also considers stories passed down by various ethnic groups.

 

Smith, Horace R “History of Alamo Plaza from its Beginning to the Present.” M. A. Thesis, Trinity University, 1966.
Smith documents the changing appearance and function of the public space in front of the Alamo Mission. It first served as the courtyard of the original mission. After the mission was secularized the grounds were used by Spanish troops. It suffered many years of neglect after the battle. The area’s revival as a commercial center began with the opening of the Menger Hotel in 1859 and later appearance of the streetcar. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas eventually laid claim to much of the space to better preserve the Alamo shrine. The study utilizes newspapers, directories and city records. (90 pages)

 

Strong, Bernice Rhoades. “Alamo Plaza: Cultural Crossroads of a City, 1724 – 1900.” M. A. Thesis, The University of Texas at San Antonio, 1987.
The urban space in front of the Alamo Chapel has served many purposes. It began as an enclosed mission and, following secularization, became a military post for Spanish, Mexican and American troops. Once the army had decamped for Fort Sam Houston in the 1870's the spot developed into a commercial center before becoming the city’s premier historic site. Strong presents profiles of various individuals and institutions associated with the site. Illustrations. (123 pp.)

 

Tijerina, Andres. Tejanos and Texas Under the Mexican Flag, 1821-1836. College Station, Texas: 1994.
The early settlement of San Antonio and its surrounding communities led to the development of a Tejano identity increasingly at odds with its Mexican counterpart. The book offers especially good coverage of local area ranches – where the more wealthy kept to themselves – and the municipal governing apparatus under the ayuntamientos. The “flying companies” of Mexican horsemen protecting the settlements were the prototype of the Texas Rangers. Tijerina also dwells on local customs and holidays.

 

Walker, Henry P. “William McLane’s Narrative of the Magee – Gutierrez Expedition, 1812 – 1813.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 66 (Oct. 1962): 234 – 52; (Jan. 1963): 457-479: (April, 1963): 569 – 588.
McLane offers a firsthand account of the military expedition of Anglo filibusters who briefly occupied San Antonio in the spring of 1813. The expedition was quickly routed at the battle of Medina and the survivors fled back to Louisiana. It was originally published in a San Antonio newspaper in 1860-61. Extensively footnoted.

Loading ...