William Corner.

San Antonio de Bexar; a guide and history online

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trillon succeeded in making a lodgment in the upper part of the Alamo to the
northeast. It was a sort of outwork. I think it is now used as a lot or a court-
yard. This seeming advantage was a mere prelude to the desperate struggle
which ensued. The doors of the Alamo building were barricaded by bags of sand
as high as the neck of a man; the windows also. On the top of the roofs of the
different apartments were rows of sandbags to cover the besieged.

•'Our troops, in.spired by success, continued tlie attack with energy and bold-
ness. The Texians fought like devils. It was at short range — muzzle to muzzle,
hand to hand, musket and rifle, bayonet and bowie knife — all were mingled in con-
fu.sion. Here a squad of Mexicans, there a Texian or two. The crash of fire arms
the shouts of defiance, the cries of the dying and the wounded, made a din almost
infernal. The Texians defended desperately every inch of the fort — overpowered
by numbers they would be forced to abandon a room. They would rally in the
next, and defend it until further resistance became impo.ssible.

"General Tolsa's command forced an entrance at the door of the church
building. He met the same determined resistance without and within. He won
by force of numliers and a great sacrifice of life.

"There was a long room on the ground floor. It was darkened. Here the
fight was bloody. It proved to be the hospital. A detachment of which I had
command had captured a piece of artillery. It was placed near the door of the
hospital, doubly charged with grape and canister, and fired twice. We entered
and found the coqxses of fifteen Texians. On the outside we atterward found
forty-two dead Mexicans.

"On the top of the church I)uilding I saw eleven Texians. They had some
small pieces of artillery and were firing on the cavalry and on those engaged in
making the escalade. Their ammunition was exhausted and they were loading
with pieces of iron and nails. The captured piece was placed in a position to
reach them, doubly charged, and fired with so much effect that they cea.sed work-
ing their pieces." * ='■ * '■'■'• '■"■'• :]:****

Sergeant Becera was of oi)inion that the two last men killed were Travis
and Crockett, though he admitted he did not know them personally and might be
mistaken as to their identity.

The Alamo, as has l)een stated, was entered at daylight; the fight did not
cease till 9 o'clock.

"General Santa Anna directed Colonel Mora to send out his cavalry to bring
in wo(kI. He ordered that they .should make prisoners of all the inhaljitants they
might meet, and force them to jiack wood to the Alamo. In this nianner a large
quantity of wood was collected. A large jnle was raised. It consisted of layers
of wood and layers of cor])ses of Texians. It was .set on fire. The bodies of those
brave men who fell fighting that morning, as men have seldom fought, were
reduced to ashes before the sun was set. It was a melancholy s]K-ctacle."



COL. I'ORD'S MI'MOIRS. 123

Don lino Ruiz, a rcspcctaljlc Mexican ol" r.rownsville, claiuKcl to have l)een
one of the men coniiK-lled to pack wood on that occasion. * * *

Mr. Nat;le, an Ivn.nlishnian, inscril)e(l liieir names on a stone of the Alamo.
It has an inscriiUion: ' ■Thermoi)yke liad h.er messenger of defeat, but the Ak^mo
had none." Tiiat memorial is at An-tin.

The number of Texians who fell cannot be accurately ascertained. Dr.
vSutherland placed it at 172. About twenty Mexican.s joined them. But four of
these remained to be massacred.

Eight or ten Mexican ladies were in the Alamo when it fell. Mrs. Als-
bury, an adopted daughter of Governor Veramendi and her little sister, Seiioras
Candelaria, Losoyo and others were present at the end of the .siege. Senora
Candelaria was nursing Bowie, .sick of typhoid fever. She says she raised
his head to give him water, when the Mexican soldiers came in bayoneted him
and gave her a wound in the face. Mrs. Alsbury told Mrs. Maverick that the
Mexican soldiers hoisted Colonel Bowie's body on their bayonets until the blood
covered their clothes. A Mexican colonel ru.shed to them and stopped them.

Sergeant Becera thus speaks of the Mexican loss and is corro1)orated l)y Dr.
Sutherland:

"There was an order to gather our own dead and wounded. It was a fear-
ful sight. Our lifeless soldiers covered the ground surrounding the Alamo. They
were heaped inside the fortress. Blood and brains covered the earth, the floor,
and had .spattered the walls. The ghastly faces of our comrades met our gaze.
We removed the bodies with despondent hearts. Our loss in front of the Alamo
was represented at two thou.sand killed, and more than three hundred wounded.
The killed were generally struck on the head. The wounds were generally in the
neck or .shoulders, seldom below that. The firing of the beseiged was fearfully
precise. When a Texas rifle was leveled at a Mexican he was con.sidered as
good as dead. All this indicates the dauntle.ss bravery and the cool .self-po.sses-
.sion of the men who were engaged in a hopeless conflict with an enemy number-
ing more than twenty to one. They inflicted on us a loss ten times greater than
they siistained. The victory of the Alamo was dearly l)o\,ight. Indeed the price
in the end was well nigh the ruin of Mexico."



124



SAX AXTOXIO 1)1' BKXAR.



The Alamo Monument.



Alamo at Austin, has Travis on the vSouth front,
ockctt on tlie Xorth front and Honham on the West
bed on the Xorth and v^'outli fronts, by Mr. Xagle,



The monument of the
Bowie on the Ivist front, Ci
front. Beneath these, iuscri
are the following names :

M. Autrev,

R. Alleu,'

M. Audress,

Ayers,

Anderson,

W. Blazeby,

J. B. Bournan,

Baker,

S. C. Blair,

Blair,

Brown,

Bowin,

Balentine,

J. J. Baugh,

Burnell,

J. Butler,

J. Baker.

Burns,

Bailey,

J. Beard,

Baliess,

Bourne,

R. Cunningham,

J. Clark,

J. Cane,

Cloud,

S. Crawford,

Cary

W. Cunmiings,

R. Crossman,

Cockran,

G. Cottle,

S. Dust,

J. Dillard,

A. Dickinson,

C. Dfspalier,
L. Davell,
J. C. Day,
J. Dickens,
Devault,
W Deadruff,
J. Krving,
T. R. Kvans,

D. Floyd,
J. Flanders,
W. F'islipangh,
F'orsvthe,
G. Fuga,
J. C. Goodrich,
J. George.
J. (iaston,
J. C. Garrett,
C. (irimes,
Groyn,

To these Mrs. Candelar

Jose- Marc-ra Cahro
I%]ijio or I'^lias I.os

These make 170 slain.

* It is also 0 by Antonio
de Aviles, or rather the growing settlement was then erected into a Royal
Presidio. Large numbers of military paj^ers, rosters and rolls of the Spanish
armies. Papers relating to American colonists and their " uprisings" — prisoner^;
of war.



12(i SAX ANTOXiO DK BKXAR.

This is only a partial list of the historical evidence accuimilated in the county
vault. It is sufficient to show that there is much material for an aml)iti()us local
historian.

Mem.— In the Coiinly Records may be seen a power of attorney to Domingo Hnstillo from James Bowie, to
administer James Howie's property and the property Ijelonging to James Bowie's deceased wife, I'rsula de Vera-
mendi, during his, tlie said James Bowie's absence from San Antonio, Dated June 2(ith, IS:;^.

Mem.— The Saints are usually .spoken of in the documents as "Sefior San Jose. etc. "



The Founding of the Town of San Fernando



By the Canary Island Settlers, 1730-31.

On pages 293 et seq., of the work "Apuntes para la Historia Antigua de Coa-
huila y Texas," por Esteban L. Portillo, already mentioned in a note appended to
the plan of Mission Concepcion, are some interesting passages of earliest San Anto-
nio history. The author, Portillo, gives at length a document which he says is
to be found in the City Records of Saltillo concerning certain aid and assi.stance
rendered by Don Mathias de Aguirre to the sixteen families of Canary Lsland
emigrants when on their way through Saltillo to the Presidio of San Antonio de
Bexar. The document as it stands is not quite lucid, at least not from the modern
reader's point of view. It requires some explanation here and there, and the edi-
tor regrets that for the present he is unable to inspect the original document,
to see if there is not "more to it." For instance, these sixteen Canary Island fam-
ilies, numbering, as the document avers, fifty-six persons, arrived in San Antonio
according to accepted history and tradition, on Xovember 28th, 1730, and here
apparently, are fifteen persons representing sixteen families, four of whom rep-
resent one family of themselves, * already (Jan, 29th, 1731), back in Saltillo.
witnessing to this voucher of substance delivered to them, all in order that
Don Mathias de Aguirre may be paid. Are we to suppose that these men
made the long weary journey back to Saltillo just for this purpose and noth-
ing more, or was Saltillo the early trading post of this new Texas Territory and
did they visit vSaltillo for these two or more purposes? The reader must answer
for himself this and other questions that will naturally arise upon the perusal of
the following most interesting matter :

The author E. L. Portillo says :

" By a Royal decree of 10th May, 1723, the King of vSpain ordered that four
hundred families from the Canary Islands should emigrate (pasaran) to populate
Texas.

" I think it opportune that the names of the founders of Bexar should be
known, after having remained forgotten for so many years. In an official docu-
ment exi.sting in the Archives of the Town Hall of this c'liyr is to he found a
valuable record leading back to the year 17-">1."

*This rcadN something like oni ol'tliD-t i(|u.ili(ins in -Mgebra with whicli llie good Bishop Colenso used to
puzzle us. —

t Saltillo, Mexico.



THlv I'OrXDIXC; OF Till- TOWN ()!• SAX I- I'RXAXDO. PJT

In the town of Santiaj^o del vSaltillo de la Nucva Vi/.oaia, on the twenty-ninth of January,
171)1, appeared present before me the Notary Public and the undersi^^Mied witnesses :

Juan Leal (roraz, Juan Leal the boy, Antonio vSantos, vSalvador Rodrij^uez, Josephc
Cabrera, Manuel de Niz, Francisco Arocha, Vicente Alvarez, Juan Delgado, Marino Melano,
Juan Curbelo, and Phelipe Perez, Josephe Antonio, Martin Lorenzo, Ignacio Lorenzo.
These last four comprise one family. They are sixteen families, although the Derrotero
counted but fifteen. It wa.s resolved here by Captain Don Mathias de Aguirre, at the request
of the above named parties, to adjust (or regulate) for sixteen families, numbering altogether
fifty-six persons, and these families declared that having presented and represented in writing
to Captain Mathias de Aguirre that they came without provisions of any kind and were with
neither mules nor horses, as stated to his Honour (or to his Worship) and proved by the fact
that the horses they had exchanged were unable to continue the journey, and the mules had
been returned to their owners ; that in order that they might be enabled to continue the
journey to the Presidio of San Antonio de Vejar* they were given what was most convenient
and necessary, namely : Kighty-six horses, as stated in detail in the account of the repartition
that was made to each one of the families ; also, .sevent3 - seven mules loaded with provisions
for their maintenance during the journey from this town to San .Antonio; also, twenty-seven
mules moreover to carry biscuit, meat and everything needed and necessary ; also, four mules
employed to carr\' four panier loads (cargas de arganas), making in all the number alludeil
to, seventy-.seven t mules. Also, sixteen yokes of oxen. But His Rxcellency ordered Captain
Don Mathias de Aguirre to give only fifteen }-okes, yet there was added one yoke for the four
single men who make up a family, adding to said yoke the necessary ploughshare, an axe and
a pickaxe. In the same manner they declared having received from the said Captain sixteen
metates J with their grinding stones, as His Excellency had ordered the said Captain. And
they said that the said Captain had delivered faithfully and without fault in the said Presidio
de San Antonio de Bejar the sixteen yokes of oxen. All of wdiich contained in aforesaid
arrived as expressed (or stated). They confessed and acknowledged to have received con-
formably all the above-mentioned, remaining satisfied; renouncing the laws of the delivered
(las leyes de la cntrega) and the proof of the receipt contained in them. Leaving the payment
of the amount to the will and convenience of His Excellency the Viceroy, Governor and Cap-
tain General of this New Spain, which amount the said Don Mathias de Aguirre will give in
detail to the officials of the Royal Treasury in the City of Mexico, and to his Attorney, in
order that he be paid the sum that would be equivalent to the above named in conformity with
that which His Excellenc}- would be pleased to determine and order to be executed, and in
order that all agreed upon remain as expressed in the above named contents, they signed it,
the witnesses being

Joseph Ramon Ramos, Diego de los vSantos and .\ugustiu de Imenarritta, present, and
neighbors of this said town, and who signed it at the request of those who could not sign, and
those that could sign for themselves before me, the present Notar}-, I certify

Juan Leal (roraz, Francisco Arocha, Bisente Alvarez, Francisco Antonio SantO'-, Juan Del-
gado, at request of Juan Curbelo, Manuel de Niz, Juan Leal the boy, Josephe Cabrera, Salvador
Rodriguez. Josephe Padron, and the four that comprised the extra family ; and for the widows
Maria Rodriguez and Maria Meleano. (Witnesses) Diego de los Santos, Josephe Ramon Ramos,
Augustin Imenarrieta. Before me, Juan Sanchez de Tagle,

Royal Notary Public and of the Corporation. ||

"At that epoch the Marquis of Casa Ftterte was Governor in New Spain, it
was he \vh ; ordered Oeneral Don Mathias de Aguirre to provide the .settlers of
San Antonio de liejar with necessaries to enal)!e them to continue their expedi-
tion to the said Presidio.

'- The various spellings of Bexar are indicative of the plasticity of Spanish pronunciation.

t The translation is not at fault, but there seems to be an error here in addition on the part of some one.

I The Mexican hand-mill for crushing grain.

I, Cabildo.



128



SAX AXTOXK) Dlv l^'XAR.



"General Aguirre died Ixjfore the X'iceregal Government had paid him the
value of the animals and provisions that he had furnished from his own resources.
For this reason Seiiora Ana Maria de Almandos, wife of the defunct Aguirre exe-
cuted a power in Saltillo on the first of October, of the year 17-'!_', before the Pub-
lic Notary Dn. Juan Sanchez de Tagle, in favor of Un. Fernando de Ugarte, of
the vicinity of the Capital of Mexico, in order to attend before the Viceroy to the
payment which was due her defunct husband.

"The four hundred families, that the King had ordered to be transported to
Texas instead of having been sent direct to that province, were disembarked at the
Port of Vera Cruz so that they might arrive at their destination overland, and we
see that only sixteen families arrived in Bexar and they were the founders of San
Fernando contiguous to the Mission of San Antonio."




..iSink




Historical, Statistical and Interesting Dates of, and
Relating to the City of San Antonio.



1


\ '^'h- ' '




r-.



JANUARY.



hMrst ])roinint'iil settlement near the head of the San
Antonio River, 1692.

Tile first charter was "granted to San Antonio by the
Kinji of Spain in i 73 , or 1734.



La Salle landed al)t)nt this time on the Texas coast 1685

Edward King writes "A Visit to San Antonio," A sketcli for Scribner's Ma}j;a/.ine

for January 1874

Wells, Fargo 8: Co. 's Ivxpress opens here for the Sunset Road 1883



The I'uebla of San Antonio dc Valero is aggregated to the curacy of the town of San

I'-ernando and Presidio of San Antonio de Bexar 1793



Sam lh)uston comes to San .\ntonio for the first time about this date in company

with James Howie 1833

One hundreil men of the Third Michigan Cavalry arrested for mutiny 1866



Mr. W. G. Tobin shows his great skill as a pistol marksman by shooting an apple, at
a distance of thirty feet, off the head of Thom.son (Ireen of New York, at a shoot-
ing gallery here 1858

East Commerce Street Railroad is begun 1884

San Antonio and Aransas I'ass Railroad gets to Eloresville 1886



An Act to incorporate the town of Nacogdoches and other towns (in which is in-
cluded San Antonio) herein named, by the Re])ublic of Texas 12nd document) . . 1837



IMO SAX AXTOMO DI'. IH'XAR.

6

I-'irst iiieeliiiii of vSaii Antonio Literary Association 1860

7

Kalteyer's drug store about completed 1872

First passenger and mail train goes out to Floresville 1886

8

Umbrella China Trees are introduce


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Online LibraryWilliam CornerSan Antonio de Bexar; a guide and history → online text (page 18 of 22)