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.
Tag Archives: hispanic heritage
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.
Mexia is located in Limestone County in east central Texas. It was founded in the 1800s and lies just north of Fort Parker with Groesbeck being the nearest town to the south of the fort. Before the Anglo settlement began in the area, it was home to Native American tribes including the Comanche.
On March 27, some 21 days after the fall of the Alamo, James Fannin and roughly 345 captured soldiers were executed by Mexican General Urrea at the order of Santa Anna after the fall of the Presidio la Bahia. The bodies of the soldiers were burned.
Out of this story came another one of a Mexican woman who had shown mercy to those who had been captured at other times or feigned death in the massacre. In various accounts, the woman was referred to by several variations of the name, including Alvarez, but for this account, we will use Francita Alavéz or just Señora Alavéz.
José Antonio Navarro was the son of Angel Navarro of Corsica, the Mediterranean island south of Spain, and Josefa Maria Ruiz y Peña. He was born in 1795 in San Antonio de Béxar. He, like many other Tejano residents of the area, opposed the rule of Santa Anna. He married Margarita de la Garza in 1825 and together they would have seven children.