The headline in the El Paso Herald-Post on Veterans Day, November 11, 1970 read “Hero of World War I Rides in Parade” and went on to tell the amazing story of Marcelino Serna. Private Serna was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart and Victory Medal (United States decorations) along with the French Medaille Militaire and two Croix de Guerre and the Italian Merito de Guerra. The article added that Private Serna spent his first Armistice Day in a hospital recovering from his wounds that he received about a week earlier on November 7, 1918 while participating in the Meuse-Argonne offensive.
Category Archives: hispanic heritage
(Image credit: FreddyFender.com)
Freddy Fender was born Baldemar Garcia Huerta in San Benito, Cameron County, Texas on June 4, 1937. His parents were Serapio and Margarita Garcia Huerta, who were migrant farm workers. Huerta was the oldest of four children and was raised around music, including lively “conjunto,” a traditional style of music that includes a blend of Tejano and references to German polka, including the use of an accordion. He performed as early as the age of ten on a Harlingen, Texas radio station. He dropped out of high school and lied about his age to join the United States Marine Corps. He served from 1954 to 1956. Huerta married in 1957 as he began to perform as “El Be-Bop Kid” and other stage names, doing covers of popular American hits of artists like Elvis Presley but singing them in Spanish. He and his wife Evangelina had five children. They divorced and remarried at one point, but otherwise were married for about forty-five years.
Juan Nepomucema Seguin was born in Spanish San Antonio on October 27, 1808 to Juan José Erasmo and María Josefa Becerra Seguin. Erasmo was descended from one of sixteen families who came to the San Antonio area from the Canary Islands in the early 1700s. The Seguin cattle ranch covered portions of three current Texas counties: Bexar, Guadalupe and Wilson. Erasmo served as postmaster of San Antonio from 1807 to 1835, mayor (alcalde) of San Antonio from 1820-1821 and quartermaster of Presidio de San Antonio de Béxar from 1825 to 1835. Erasmo was acquainted with Moses Austin who was succeeded by his son, Stephen F. Austin. Along with Don Martin de Veramendi, Erasmo assisted them in obtaining their Austin Colony grant.
(Image credit: pbs.org)
The Cortina Wars is a name given to armed conflicts precipitated by a Mexican rancher named Juan Cortina. Juan Nepomuceno Cortina was born in 1824 in Tamaulipas, Mexico into a cattle ranching family. His mother, Trinidad Cortina inherited some property in the late 1820s that was in the general area of what we know as Brownsville and Matamoros, located on both sides of the Rio Grande. At this time, the Rio Grande geographically divided the two areas, but it was all part of Mexico until after the Mexican-American War, which essentially moved the Mexican border from the Nueces River to the Rio Grande.
During its ownership and control of Texas, Spain had attempted to colonize the areas along the Rio Grande to take advantage of its fresh water system. The King of Spain granted ownership of blocks of land to certain private individuals who had shown an interest in colonization and had resided in the area for a number of years. After Mexico declared its independence from Spain, most of the Spanish grants were upheld. Similarly, most were also recognized under the Texas Republic, following its establishment.