José Antonio de la Garza

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José Antonio de la Garza
Mayor of San Antonio
80th Mayor of San Antonio (1st time)
Incumbent
Assumed office
1813
Preceded by Clemente Delgado
Succeeded by José Antonio Saucedo
100th Mayor of San Antonio, Texas (2nd time)
Incumbent
Assumed office
1832
Preceded by José María Salinas
Personal details
Born 1776
San Antonio de Béjar, Texas
Died 1851?
San Antonio de Béjar, Texas
Nationality According the different countries to which Texas belonged, he was Spanish (1776-1821), Mexican (1821-1836), Tejano (1836-1845), and American (since 1845)
Spouse(s) Maria Gertrudis de Jesus Rivas Irenaeus
Profession Landowner

José Antonio de la Garza (1776-1851?), was a Tejano who was noted for being the first landowner in San Antonio, Texas and the first man to create a coin in this state. José Antonio de la Garza was elected mayor of San Antonio in 1813 and 1832.

Biography[edit]

José Antonio de la Garza was born in San Antonio de Béjar, Texas, on May 31, 1776. His parents were Leonardo de la Garza and Martinez Magdalena. His ancestors came from Nuevo Leon, Mexico.[1] In 1813, José Antonio de la Garza was elected mayor of San Antonio.[2] In 1818, after acquiring permission from the Spanish government of the time, Garza acquired a reputation throughout Texas when he created the first coin that existed in this state. In fact, Garza taxed his initials "JAG", which referred to the first letters of his name: José Antonio de la Garza, on one side of the coin, along with the year in which such currency was established in the state (1818). While in the other side of the coin, fixed the drawing of a star. The importance of this event was not only there, as some writers[who?] have speculated the probability of the star symbol drawn in the currency could have inspired the "Lone Star," which later became the symbol of the flags of Texas. Garza began make these currencies in some building in the streets of Houston and Soledad for a year and a half. In 1824, in Mexico, thanks to the success of its currency, Garza was able to win the title of landowner, acquiring a large extension of land, consisting of two leagues, becoming thus one of the largest landowners in Bexar County. His ranch was located between San Antonio and Medina River.[1] In 1832, Garza was renamed Mayor of San Antonio.[2] In this year, he signed the articles resulting from the Convention of 1832. Probably at the beginning of 1834 he bought the San Francisco de la Espada Mission. This purchase, however, was deemed illegal by some residents, leading to a rejection of him, which was further strengthened when, in the middle of Texas Revolution, some of the residents of the city thought that the owner's family sympathized more with the idea that Texas should remain Mexican.

In the 1840s he and his family moved to a new home near Calaveras Lake. The house, a two-story structure was built forty years earlier, in 1801 and had a triple function: it could serve as a church, school and community center. Garza probably died on May 5, 1851 in San Antonio, in the State of Texas Bulletin.[1]

Personal life[edit]

José Antonio de la Garza married Maria Gertrudis de Jesus Rivas Irenaeus October 21, 1813 in La Villa de San Fernando de Béjar. Later, on July 20, 1824, he married Mary Garza Josefa Menchaca and they had four children. One of their sons, Leonard Garza, became a banker and one of the wealthiest citizens of Bexar County in his time.[1]

Legacy[edit]

In 1876 the Garza County acquired this name in honor to the family of José Antonio de la Garza.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Cynthia E. Orozco (November 26, 2008). "Handbook of Texas Online: De la Garza, José Antonio". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 22–26, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b La Odisea de los canarios en Texas y Luisiana (The Odyssey of the canarians in Texas and Louisiana), by José Manuel Balbuena Castellano.Chapter IV. Organización de los isleños: Los Ediles de San Antonio (Of the Islanders organization: The city fathers of San Antonio), page 46. Anroart Ediciones, SL. 2007., p. 46. Anroart Ediciones, SL. 2007.