Tejano Association for Historical Preservation

Lorenzo de Zavala Chapter

Oct. Issue 2002

On Nov. 15, 2002, The Tejano Association for Historical Preservation is very fortunate to have Mr. William R. Bennett presenting at 7:00 p.m. at the Latino Learning Center 3522 Polk, Hou. Tx. 77003. He will provide a lecture in detail about his historical artifacts from the Mexican war from his private collection. Mr. Bennett travels throughout Texas and presents to school districts and libraries. He has presented for various schools of HISD and various libraries of the Houston Public Library. Please plan to attend this informative historical interpretive meeting.


Juan N. Seguin and San Jacinto Reenactment by Jerry Tubbs of the San Jacinto Volunteers


While Juan N. Seguin has always been a controversial figure in Texas history, he is considered one of the Fathers of Texas. He was caught up in the power struggle between the Mexican government and the American colonist. Juan N. Seguin and his company of volunteers are forever a part of this pivotal moment in history.


Although Juan Seguin and his volunteers were a cavalry unit, while at Harrisburg Sam Houston ordered all men under the rank of field or staff officer to be dismounted. When ordered to stay back and guard the baggage and sick, Juan Seguin replied to General Houston that he and his men had not ridden from San Antonio to guard baggage and sick men and wanted to fight, Houston reversed his command. Worried that Seguin’s men might be confused as the enemy, Houston ordered that each of Seguin’s men wear a playing card (it has been documented that on a white piece of cardboard the Tejanos wrote “Recuerden el Alamo” and “Recuerden Goliad”) on their hat to distinguish themselves from the enemy. This report was written by Bill and Marjorie K. Walraven in “The Magnificent Barbarians and Little Told Tales of the Texas Revolution” and shows that the Tejanos who fought alongside their Anglo friends at San Jacinto were held in high esteem. After the Battle of San Jacinto reports such as the following were common: “ A letter from Galveston, May 29, 1836” which was published in The Mobile Morning Chronicle of June 11, 1836 describing the battle of San Jacinto…730 bodies of the enemy are now lying on the field of battle, and are strewed for miles—More than 200 rifles and muskets were broken to pieces, beating out the brains of the Mexicans… “You will have seen the official reports, that will give you more detail than time will allow me to condense. I am pleased to say, that Captain (now Colonel) Juan Nepomuceno [sic] Seguin, a native of Bexar and whom I have known from a boy, commanded 25 men, all natives of the same place, and performed wonders: every man signalized himself in the most distinguished manner. One of them, with a Bowie knife, killed 25 of his countrymen and one of them, Colonel Batres, whom I knew well.”


Colonel Seguin and his men made still further contributions to the Texas cause after San Jacinto. In the follow up campaign, they followed the retreating Mexican Army’s rear guard to the Nueces River and provided protection to the citizens of San Antonio during the summer of 1836. Colonel Seguin served as Senator from the District of Bexar County in the Second, Third and Fourth Congresses of the Republic, September 25, 1837 to February 5, 1840 having an interpreter employed for him. He was elected mayor of San Antonio, January 4, 1841 and served two terms.


During the annual Battle of San Jacinto at the reenactment at the San Jacinto Monument, Mr. Ricardo Villarreal of Odem, Texas interprets Captain Seguin (he would later receive his commission of Colonel). Unfortunately Mr. Villarreal is without a command to represent Colonel Seguin’s company. The San Jacinto Volunteers, who are in charge of the battle reenactment, would like to extend an invitation to the Hispanic community to help recreate Col. Seguin’s command. In the up coming months there will be two events held that are a must for anyone wishing to participate in the event. “The School of Soldier” and “Pilgrims Camp” are held each year to help educate the newcomers to the world of living history. At these events firearm safety, proper clothing, campfire cooking, close order drill and other topics will be discussed and taught. The dates and further information will be posted later on the “Texian Legacy Association” website (http://www.texianlegacy.com) or can be obtained by contacting Jerry Tubbs at (713) 973-1136.

[Editor's Note:] I would like to call on the Tejano Association for Historical Preservation to organize and support the volunteers needed to form a group that will authentically recreate the Juan Seguin command. To see Colonel Seguin and his men represented at San Jacinto Battle reenactment would help bring to life the story of Hispanic contributions to the Texas Revolution and be of great benefit to the historical accuracy desired for the event.


A Day of Prayer for the Dead of San Jacinto


On November 3, 2002 at 12:30 p.m. and in conjunction with “Dia de los Muertos” a mass will be held adjacent to the marsh where hundreds of soldiers lost their lives on April 21, 1836. The bodies of the soldiers that were killed in the marshes were never recovered nor given a proper Christian burial. The Most Reverend Joe S. Vasquez, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Galveston Houston will lead the mass. Following the mass there will be blessings by Bishop Vasquez, Rev. Ron Pogue, Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Galveston, and Rev. James Bankston, Pastor of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Houston. A marker will also be unveiled to commemorate this event for future generations.


The organizations that are spearheading this event are The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, San Jacinto Chapter, Sons of the Republic of Texas, San Jacinto Descendants, Tejano Association for Historical Preservation, Catholic, Episcopalian and Methodist Churches. Please show your support by attending.


On Oct. 18, 2002 the Daughters of the Republic of Texas held their twelfth Texas History Forum. The Topic was Tejanos and Texas: An Evolution of Culture and was held at the Alamo Complex, Alamo Hall, San Antonio, Texas with a luncheon following at the historic Menger Hotel. Those presenting were Felix D. Almaraz, Jr., Ph. D., Professor of History of the Univ. of Tx. at San Antonio on the topic of “Canary Islanders, Soldiers and Franciscans”; Andres Tijerina, Ph.D., Professor of History at Austin Community College on the topic of “The Ranch Origins of Tejano Culture”; Emilio Zamora, Ph.D. Associate Professor with the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Univ. of Texas on the topic of “Jose de la Luz Saenz and his World War I Diary: Preparing the Ground for the Civil Rights Cause”; and John Wheat, Archivist at the Center for American History, the Univ. of Texas at Austin on the topic of “Pastores, Corridos, Conjuntos, and Cantantes: The Origins of Tejano Music.” The topics were informative and time was allotted for a question period. Mrs. Helen Burleson Kelso, Retiring President General to the DRT Library made a presentation of a rare 1825 broadside purchased at the Monumento Tejano Fundraising Gala, which was held Nov. 10, 2001 at the Bob Bullock Museum, in Austin. Dr. Cayetano Barrera, President of the Corporate Board of the Tejano Monument, Inc. eloquently read from Thomas Paine’s document, “Common Sense” and spoke of the need for the Tejanos to be equally represented by erecting a Tejano Monument at the Capitol. Dr. Tijerina also spoke of the need for a Tejano Monument and introduced Homero Vera, Vice President of the Tejano Monument, Inc. of El Mesteno Journal (for more information log on to www.el-mesteno.com), Mr. Benny C. Martinez, William and Estella Zermeno who sit on the finance committee and Loretta Williams who is working on the efforts of the Houston area.


The Herrera Family (who are descendants of Blas Maria Herrera, a soldier in the Texas Revolution) also made significant donations to the DRT Library of the following: An 1836 letter from Jose Francisco Ruiz (a signer of the Texas Declaration of the Independence) a portrait of Maria Antonio Ruiz, a painted retablo, possibly used in a family church, an iron cross through to have been used at San Fernando Cathedral, iron keys associated with the Alamo, and the Spanish Governor’s Palace, a rosary bag and sash the had belonged to Empress Carlota of Mexico. This was an important donation of family items and reflective of their distinguished and historic ancestors.


On Oct. 19-20, 2002 the Galveston State Park sponsored the Lone Star Legacy and Bob Moore, Atty. at Law (who has received an award for his efforts in the past from the Tejano Association for Historical Preservation) represented Cabeza de Vaca in full dress. Ms. Kelly Wood, in a native Indigenous dress demonstrated to the children how the Indians and Cabeza de Vaca survived off the “nuts” found around the roots of the “Cat tail” bush. In addition a large map detailing Cabeza de Vaca’s travels was displayed. Dr. Sammy Ray of Texas A&M also participated and show the children how to open fresh oysters and grilled the oysters for the children. Mr. Moore has been very successful in his live historical interpretative demonstrations of the link between man’s physical existence and spiritual existence through nature.


Mr. Bob Moore has been working for fifteen years to establish a Cabeza de Vaca Center Inc. This museum will be dedicated to land conservation for wildlife refuge; historical, archeological and scientific research; land management for the protection of the flora and fauna; Education and public service in the vicinity of the land where Cabeza de Vaca and the indigenous people lived on West Galveston after 6 November 1528. For more information visit his website of www.cabezadevaca.us


Seguin Descendants Historical Preservation will sponsor their first annual celebration to remember Col. Juan N. Seguin and all Texas Heroes on Sat. Nov. 9, 2002 at the San Jacinto Monument from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Please Call Linda and Angel Seguin Garcia for more information at 713-643-1195.


HISD voted at a special meeting on Sept. 5, 2002 to name the East District Administrative Offices Building and the Technical Skills Center housed in it the newly named Rudy C. Vara Building and the Rudy C. Vara Center for Technology. The Center will provide computer classes for Austin and Milby students serving the eastside community. The HISD board had originally voted on July 11, 2002 to name Park Place after Mr. Vara however, the Park Place community decided to retain the original name. On Sept. 2, 2002 the HISD Board rescinded it decision and therefore the community retained the name Park Place Elem. Mr. Rudy C. Vara (1912-2000 was one of the original founders of the Go Tejano Committee and helped raised thousands of dollars for scholarships. He was a WWII veteran and helped free the victims of the Holocaust. He was a pioneer and a leader who was always ready to help others in need.


Dr. Thomas H. Kreneck recently presented at the Julia Ideson Building on Sat. Oct. 12 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on the life of “Felix Tijerina and the Role of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center in its Production.” Felix Tijerina (1905-1965) was one of Houston’s most distinguished residents and a member of LULAC 60. Dr. Krenick has been awarded the Presidential Award by the Tejano Association in 1990 and is also an honorary member of LULAC 60. The Tejano Association for Historical Preservation has copies of his book “Felix Tijerina Mexican American Odyssey,” if anyone is interested. Call 713-673-1418.


The Talento Bilingue de Houston located at 333 South Jensen, Hou. Tx. 77003 will be having their Dia de Los Muertos Project on Saturday November 2, 2002 at 5:30 p.m. There will be entertainment and the unveiling of the altars. There will also be an opening of an art exhibit. A reception will follow and will be free of charge. Please contact Fernando Perez, Program Manager at 713-222-1213 or Richard Reyes, Director for more information.


These questions were obtained from the sources of reference "Hispanics in Houston and Harris County 1519-1986 A Sesquicentennial Celebration" and “Del Pueblo A Pictorial History of Houston’s Hispanic Community,” by Thomas H. Kreneck, Ph.D. Two of the questions were used in the Holocaust Diversity Fun Run that was held University of Houston Central Campus on Oct. 27, 2002. The Holocaust Museum Houston continues to educate the community about diversity and promotes understanding of others. Please support the Houston Holocaust Museum.  Call Yvette Banuelos for information at 942-8000 ext. 108.


Question: Who was the first Mexican American elected as City Controller in Harris County and later went on to serve as Immigration and Naturalization Director under President Jimmy Carter?


Answer: Leonel Castillo.


Question: Who was the first Mexican American applicant accepted by the Houston Police Dept. (members of LULAC 60 accompanied him during the application process) and would later become the first Mexican American elected Constable of Precinct 6, Harris County?


Answer: Raul C. Martinez.


Question: Who owned the first Mexican American radio station, KLVL licensed in 1950?


Answer: Felix Morales.


Question: What was the first Mexican American television program that aired in Houston, Texas?


Answer:  "Cita Con Carlos," it aired in 1964 and its host was Carlos Garcia, Sr., realtor of Houston,  WWII Veteran and Korean War Veteran.  It aired for 21 yrs. provided family entertainment and had distinguished guests, such as George Herbert Walker Bush who would later become elected as President in 1988.


Question: What Mexican American educator was appointed as a delegate to the United Nations by President Reagan and organized the first Spanish Language Class for Houston's Police and Fire Department?


Answer: Dr. Lupe Quintanilla


Question: What Vice President of the Republic of Texas (who had studied medicine in Veracruz while imprisoned for support of democratic reform) had his home serve as the first hospital in Harris County?


Answer: Lorenzo de Zavala and his family cared for the 19 wounded Mexican soldiers captured at San Jacinto in 1836.


Question: What Mexican American served in WWII and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, yet when he returned home was denied service at a restaurant for being a Mexican American? Hint: A street in Houston is named after him.


Answer: Staff Sgt. Macario Garcia.


Question: Who was the first Mexican American to serve in a judicial capacity in Houston?


Answer: Judge Alfred J. Hernandez, Attorney at Law.


Question: What educator would receive King Juan Carlos of Spain's highest civilian award?

Answer: Dr. Dorothy Caram, received the highest civilian award making her a "Dame in the Court of Isabel La Catolica."


Question: What female political activist would be the first Mexican American woman to run for various political offices here in Houston, Tx.?


Answer: The Late Ms.Olga Soliz.


Question: What Hispanic Civil Rights Organization would create the Little School of the 400 (which would later be known as the national program Head Start) and Project Ser, (which would also later be known nationwide as Jobs for Progress)? 


Answer. LULAC Council 60.  Under the Presidency of Felix Tijerina in 1957, the Little School of the 400 was created which was designed to teach Latin American children basic English vocabulary to help them enter school with confidence and gain a stronger knowledge of English. This program would later become the pilot program for Head Start under Alfred J. Hernandez's presidency, 1965, Project Ser, Jobs for Progress became a national program and would help low income people acquire skills needed for employment.


Question: Who was the first Mexican American to be elected State Representative from Houston?

Answer: Lauro Cruz, Korean War Veteran.

Plaudits are extended to Guadalupe San Miguel, Ph.D. Associate Professor of History at Univ. of Hou. as he has recently been selected as the recipient of the 2002 HES Outstanding Book Award for his book “Brown, Not White.” The award includes a cash prize of $500 and will be announced at the upcoming meeting of the History of the Education Society in Pittsburgh, October 31 - November 3, 2002.


Also Congratulations to Mr. Benny C. Martinez, President of the Tejano Association for Historical Preservation for being appointed National Historian for LULAC.


On March 8, 2003, the Cesar Chavez Parade will be held at the beginning of Cesar Chavez and Capitol. The parade will begin at 9:00 a.m. and a Fun Day in the Park will follow at Hidalgo Park. For more information contact parade co-chairs Linda Alonzo Saenz at 713-540-5449 or Richard Perez 281-451-0488.



Benny C. Martinez, President    Genaro Flores, Sgt. At Arms
Richard G. Perez, Vice President  Dr. Emilio Sarabia, Advisory Board
Loretta Martinez Williams, Secretary  Margarito C. Vasquez, Board Member
Linda Alonzo Saenz, Treasurer