Skip to comments.Tejanos' presence in revolution called 'major'(Texas)
Posted on 03/28/2005 1:17:45 PM PST by SwinneySwitch
With the wide-eyed wonder of a 10-year-old, Timothy Miranda entered the hallowed, dimly lit church of the Alamo.
It was in the venerated shrine that his great-great-great-great-grandfather, then a 13-year-old and named Juan Losoya, is said to have watched his older brother, José Toribio Losoya, die fighting for Texas independence in 1836.
"I saw a bunch of cool stuff here," Timothy said, reflecting on his first visit to the Alamo.
It was a well-timed adventure. Timothy has been studying Texas history in his fourth-grade class in Houston and found out just last year that he had ancestors at the Alamo.
He saw last year's movie "The Alamo" and thought it, too, was "cool." But he wasn't sure if he saw Juan or Toribio.
"I wish there had been more on them" in the movie, he said.
Usually, extras have played Tejanos Hispanic Texians in films about the Alamo. That has long bothered Robert Garcia, a local historical researcher and former president of Los Bexareños Genealogy Society.
"We're just sittin' against a wall," he said. "It shows us there, but we're just sittin'."
A new 180-page genealogical reference gives a different view.
Citing state records, "Tejano Participants in the Texas Revolution of 1835-37" names 325 Hispanics who served in that war with Mexico, more than twice the 150 or so that historians have estimated.
Because the total Texian force is thought to have been about 2,000, the research suggests Tejanos made up at least one in six Texian troops, said Garcia, who co-wrote the book with his wife, Sylvia Jean de Jesus Garcia.
The book, on sale since Feb. 26, was written for Hispanics who want to study their family history, but lack a computer to access records on the Internet. Garcia and others believe it's a breakthrough because few have tried to count how many Hispanics fought with Davy Crockett, Ben Milam, Sam Houston and other Anglo heroes of Texas.
"Historians don't talk about this. They go into events," said Garcia , 58, a retired school district financial manager and descendant of Trinidad Coy, a scout in the revolution.
"Now we have this to look to and say, 'We were there, too.'"
Andres Tijerina, an Austin historian who's written books and articles on the Tejanos, agreed the new research quantifies them as "a major element" in the revolution.
"And it clarifies questions about the reasons behind the revolution," he said. "While many have characterized it as an Anglo American vs. Mexican conflict, this supports the argument it was about principles and ideologies."
Tijerina also agreed there could have been more than 500 Tejanos in the war.
In the 1840s and '50s, the Congress of the Texas Republic refused to give land grants to Tejano participants unless two Anglos gave supporting statements of their involvement.
"I found (records of) one Tejano who said, 'You know, you can keep your land,'" Tijerina said. "If the research suggests the Tejanos have been greatly undercounted, then I agree."
He hopes the research also will encourage non-Hispanics to research their family history, to better define other ethnic groups, such as Irish or German Texans who had a "major role."
Citing records of the Texas General Land Office and Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the new book lists 142 Tejanos given land entitlements in exchange for service in the war, and 112 who personally or through survivors were granted annual pensions authorized by the state in 1870. It mentions 18 listed on rosters of the Texian army or registered militias, and 53 whose names were in pension affidavits, volunteer company roles or witness accounts.
Garcia said it was hard for Tejanos in the early days of the war to get land grants or pensions, because few rosters were kept. Some Tejanos died before the pensions were created, didn't know about them or were unable to find witnesses.
The book is at Borderlands Book Store, at Wurzbach and Evers roads.
Proceeds from each $25 sale of the book will aid the nonprofit genealogical society, which helps Texans trace their roots.
George Farias, the store's co-owner and a member of Los Bexareños, said he wants to shed light on Texas history without dishonoring Anglo heroes such as Crockett, Houston and Milam.
"What this book does, really, is gives you more knowledge of the Texas revolution.
"Typically, it's been one-sided," Farias said.
Garcia, a volunteer docent at Mission Espada, has helped Texans uncover links to history to pass on to their children, and he hopes to help others find uplifting portals to the past.
"You should see how happy they are when they find out," he said.
No one questions Toribio Losoya's role as an Alamo combatant who, at 28, fought and died in the church.
Names of his mother, Concepción, sister Juana and brother Juan appear on some lists of survivors at the Alamo, but not others, including the Alamo's official Web site.
Annette Losoya-Mahl, another Losoya descendant, is writing a children's book about the Alamo, from young Juan's eyewitness perspective.
Though it's known that the Losoyas lived at the Alamo Juan's grandfather had been given a house at the southwest corner, for service to the mission she believes the story of the Losoyas has been lost in Alamo lore.
"They weren't just in the Alamo, but they lived in the walls of the Alamo," she said. "They were born in the walls of the Alamo."
Richard Buitron, 74, learned only a few years ago that he was a Losoya descendant.
Friday, he watched his grandson, Timothy, walk the grounds of the Alamo, which has 2.5 million visitors annually, for the first time.
"I hope he understands the importance of this," knowing his family aided a cause that shaped history, Buitron said.
Timothy also saw a statue of Toribio Losoya firing a pistol, and the boy read a plaque marking the spot where his ancestors lived.
To him, it was cool. That's good enough for a boy who's 10.
I remember reading that most of Jim Bowie's militia cavalry were Tejanos.
But it's pronounced "may-hor".
As may be, but their blood ran just as red as everyone else's when they shed it to create Texas. Texas wasn't created by a bunch of pissed-off white guys, you know.
Take a good look at the Goliad and Alamo butcher's bills. You'll see names like Buchanan, White, and McGregor. You will also see names like Esparza, Gonzales, and Perez. Think about it.
Great story. Thanks for posting it.
My comment wasn't intended to impugn anyone, it was just a joke. I know that Tejanos were and are vital to that Great State.
Texas Revolution Ping!
Please let me know if you want on or off this South Texas/Mexico ping list.
Tejanos have been defending our southern border from the start and continue to this day. 47% of US Border Patrol Agents are Hispanic Americans defending our great nation with courage and honor.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.