Juan Seguín

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Juan Seguín
Juan seguin.jpg
Republic of Texas Senator from Bexar District
In office
December 5, 1837 – February 5, 1840
Preceded by Thomas Jefferson Green
Succeeded by William H. Daingerfield
101st and 110th Mayor of San Antonio
In office
1834–1835
Preceded by Miguel Arciniega
Succeeded by José Ángel Navarro
In office
1841–1842
Preceded by John William Smith
Succeeded by Francis Guilbeau
Member of the San Antonio City Council
In office
1828–1833
Justice of the Peace of Bexar County, Texas
In office
1852–1856
County Judge of Wilson County, Texas
In office
1869–1869
Personal details
Born Juan Nepomuceno Seguín
(1806-10-27)27 October 1806
San Antonio, Texas
Died 27 August 1890(1890-08-27) (aged 83)
Nuevo Laredo, Mexico
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) María Gertrudis Flores de Abrego (m. 1825)
Military service
Allegiance Texas Republic of Texas
Service/branch  Texas Army, Republic of Texas Militia
Years of service 1835–1836, 1836–1842
Rank Colonel
Unit Texian volunteer and regular army
Battles/wars Texas Revolution
Juan Seguin monument in Seguin, Texas

Juan Nepomuceno Seguín (October 27, 1806 – August 27, 1890) was a 19th-century Texas Senator, mayor, judge, and Justice of the Peace and a prominent participant in the Texas Revolution.

Early life and family[edit]

Juan N. Seguín was born in San Antonio de Bexar (now San Antonio, Texas, USA) on October 27, 1806. He was the older of two sons of Erasmo Seguín and María Josefa Becerra. Around 1700, a Frenchman named Guillaume Séguin had traveled from Paris, France to Aguascalientes, New Spain (Mexico). Guillaume married a Hispanic woman named Cruz and had four sons.[Note 1]

As the son of a postmaster, Seguín would assist his mother in the business, while his father was off in Mexico City helping to write the 1824 Constitution of Mexico. In 1825, he married María Gertrudis Flores de Abrego. They had ten children. He was elected an alderman in December 1828 and served on numerous electoral boards before becoming the San Antonio alcalde (mayor) in December 1833. He then served as political chief and mayor of Bexar until 1834, after the previous chief became ill.[1] In 1835, he led a relief force to Monclova, when Federalist Governor Agustín Viesca appealed for help.

Texas Revolution[edit]

Main article: Texas Revolution

As a teenager in Mexico, Seguín had a strong interest in politics. When General Antonio López de Santa Anna seized power and repealed the Mexican Constitution of 1824, Seguín was very critical of his contemporary Mexican leader. Soon Seguín joined the Anglo settlers in the Texas Revolution to rid Texas of Santa Anna's rule.[2] In 1835–1836, Seguin recruited and commanded troops for the Texan Army.[3] [Note 2]

Seguín was commissioned a captain by Stephen F. Austin in October 1835[4] and would be tasked with the burden of supplying the Texan troops with food and provisions.[5] Seguín sent out scouting parties to the Missions of San Antonio in search of a suitable base camp for the Texans [6] and participated in the early successful Battle of Concepcion[7] and the 2 month long, Siege of Bexar,[8] that drove the troops of Santa Anna out of Texas.

In January 1836, he was commissioned as a Captain in the regular Texas Army[Note 3]

Upon the return of Santa Anna's army, Juan Seguín had entered the Alamo with fifteen recruits to join William B. Travis on February 23, in the battle of the Alamo.[9] Although he served at the Alamo during the thirteen-day siege, he was dispatched as the last courier from the Alamo seeking reinforcements and was not present to participate in the closing battle.[10] Because Seguín spoke Spanish and was familiar with the terrain, he was chosen to carry the Alamo message through the enemy lines,[11] that the Texans "shall never surrender or retreat." Seguín got that message through to some other soldiers, on the Texian side.[10] He then returned with some of them hoping to reinforce the Alamo, but it had already fallen to Santa Anna's army.[12]

Seguín returned with his company to Gonzales, where they joined with Houston in the Runaway Scrape. Seguín was a significant part of the Texan victory at San Jacinto, where he commanded the 9th Company, Second Regiment Texas Volunteers[13][14] and then pursued remnants of the Mexican Army following the battle.

Surrender of Santa Anna by William Henry Huddle, depicts Santa Anna's surrender to the wounded Sam Houston.

[2]

Life under the Republic of Texas[edit]

After Texas became a republic, Seguin was named head of the San Antonio military, commanding a force to defend Texas's western frontier.[15] In 1837, Colonel Seguín directed the burial of the ashes of the slain Alamo defenders.[9][16] In 1839, Seguín, captain of a Texas force of about fifty-four men, again protected the colonists in the Henry Karnes campaign against the Comanche Indians.[17]

Texas Senator and mayor[edit]

Seguín was elected as a Texas Senator from 1837 to 1840 and worked closely with Texas Congressman José Antonio Navarro to introduce and support legislation that would protect the best interests of the native citizenry of Texas, who rapidly became the political minority as Americans immigrated to Texas. [Note 4]

Early in 1839, a settlement thirty-five miles east of San Antonio that had been formed by Texas Rangers from Gonzales voted to take the name Seguin in his honor. Later that year he was honored by parade and feast in the small community in celebration. In 1840, through the urging of Texas President Mirabeau Bonaparte Lamar, he resigned his congressional seat in order to join a controversial campaign against the Centralist government in Mexico City.[2] Then Juan Seguin again became mayor of San Antonio in 1841.

Challenges[edit]

Texas became flooded by adventurous and land hungry North Americans that were unfamiliar with the native Texans' history[18] and their loyal support of Texas.[19] Seguín's leadership and loyalty would be challenged by these newcomers.[20] He defied an order from the new head of the Texas military to burn San Antonio to the ground and made himself other powerful enemies.[9]

In 1842, San Antonio was overrun twice, by Santa Anna's forces. During March 1843, Colonel Seguín and other citizens of San Antonio would seek refuge at Manuel Flores Ranch on the edge of Seguin, Texas.[21] A counterattack was planned and even though Seguín had pursued the army of Ráfael Vásquez, chasing them from Texas;[22] he was blamed for the attack.[23]

Seguín resigned from office in April, due to threats on his life.[24] Opposition to his defense of Texas rights, adversities, and false charges that he was aiding the Mexican army, proved too much to bear. He went to Mexico to "seek refuge amongst my enemies," where he was captured, arrested and coerced to enlist in the Mexican army as a staff official. He returned to San Antonio with the opposition army of Adrian Woll[24] in September 1842 and later even served under Santa Anna in the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848.

Later life[edit]

Juan Seguin burial site in Seguin, Texas

In February 1848, Seguín requested permission to return to Texas. By year's end, he had returned,[25] establishing a home adjacent his father Erasmo Seguín's house, and ranching in Floresville, Texas.[20] He was elected to two terms as Justice of the Peace of Bexar County in 1852 and 1854. He became a founding father of the Democratic Party in Bexar county.[26] [Note 5] In 1858, he published his life memoirs. Seguín served as County Judge in Wilson County in 1869. However, business dealings occasionally took him back to Mexico. And around 1883, he settled in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, to be near his son Santiago, who was mayor. He died there on August 27, 1890. His remains were returned to Texas in 1974 and as part of the nation's Bicentennial celebration were reinterred in his namesake town, Seguin,[9] during ceremonies on July 4, 1976. A large monument, depicting him on horseback waving his saber, now honors his service to Texas, in the downtown Seguin Central Park.[27]

Legacy[edit]

In 1839, the town of Seguin was named for him and there he rode on horseback, in a parade, celebrating the event.

Over the years, the attitude to Juan Seguín was mixed. On one hand, he was recognized as the Alamo hero; on the other, he was often labeled as traitor, both by Texans and Mexicans.[28]

In the 1960 film The Alamo (by John Wayne), Joseph Calleia played Juan Seguín.

In the second half of the 20th century, interest in Juan Seguin grew. He was portrayed in the TV drama American Playhouse: Seguín (1982), directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño, where he was played by A. Martinez.[29]

In the 2004 film The Alamo (by John Lee Hancock), Juan Seguín was played by Jordi Molla. Playing as a supporting character, his role in the film was important, because the director considered this character as a "moral bellwether of the story".[30]

The first half of the 2012 graphic novel, Los Tejanos and Lost Cause, published by Fantagraphics Books and written by Jack Jackson, is based on the life of Seguin.

In a September 2001 ceremony, Park Road 1836, which connects Battleground Road (formerly Texas State Highway 134) to the San Jacinto Monument Grounds near Houston, was renamed in Seguín's honor and the Interstate 610/Texas State Highway 225 interchange in southeast Houston was bestowed with the name of "Juan N. Seguín Memorial Interchange".[31]

A statue of Juan N. Seguin sculpted by Erik Christianson of Bulverde was erected in 2000 in the public square south of the courthouse in the city of Seguin.[27]

When Texas schools were segregated, Spanish-speaking students in the city of Seguin attended the Juan Seguin School. During World War II, the Liberty Ship SS Juan N. Seguin was named in his honor, and the builder's plaque and ships bell from Juan N. Seguin hangs inside the city hall in Seguin. A Texas State Historical Marker explaining that the town is named for Juan Seguin stands in front of the city hall.

A high school at 7001 Silo Rd. in Arlington, Texas, in the Arlington Independent School District is named in his honor.

An elementary school at 7817 Grand Mission Blvd. in Richmond, Texas, in the Fort Bend Independent School District is named in his honor.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ The direct descent from Guillaume, who came to be called Guillermo (the Spanish version of William), to his great-great grandson, Juan N. Seguin, is shown below: Brother married (unidentified) II. Bartolomé Seguín (born 1722 - ) married Luisa de Ocon y Trillo III. Santiago Seguín (born June 1754 - ) married Guadelupe Fuentie Fernandez flores IV. Erasmo Seguín (born May 1782 - died Nov 1857) married Josefa Augustina Bercerra V. Juan N. Seguín (born Oct 1806 - died Aug 1889) married Gertrudis Flores[citation needed]
  2. ^ Juan Seguín had married María Gertrudis Flores de Abrego, a member of one of San Antonio's well known ranching families. There were four Jose Flores De Abrego sons, (brother-in-laws to Juan Seguín), who joined in with him. (see de la Teja (1991), p. 18) Captain Salvador Flores, Captain Manuel N. Flores, Lieutenant Nepomuceno Flores, and Private Jose Maria Flores all participated in the Texas Revolution, on the Texian side.
  3. ^ According to records, Seguín did not appear at the Convention to accept his appointment in the regular army. Jesus (Comanche) Cuellar would fill in for him. He instead took the position to become the first judge of San Antonio. According to Lindley, he was not regular army until after departing the Alamo as a courier on February 25. See de la Teja pg. 79, Lindley pg. 113
  4. ^ Although, through 1844 the former Mexican electorate still outnumbered the Anglo-American vote in San Antonio, other parts of the state were receiving a stream of American and even European immigration.
  5. ^ Notable is that while Seguín is being nominated to co-chair the Democratic party in 1855, his relative, Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín battles and defeats dictator Antonio López de Santa Anna, which ultimately leads to the return of a constitutional democratic government in Mexico

References[edit]

  1. ^ City of San Antonio, archives
  2. ^ a b Todish (1998), p. 109.
  3. ^ de la Teja (1991), p. 77.
  4. ^ name="de la Teja135">de la Teja (1991), p. 135.
  5. ^ Edmonson (2000), p. 219.
  6. ^ Hardin (1994), pg. 29
  7. ^ de la Teja (1991), p. 78.
  8. ^ Lozano (1985), p. 34.
  9. ^ a b c d Groneman (1998), p. 98.
  10. ^ a b de la Teja (1991), p. 79.
  11. ^ Lord (1961), p. 111.
  12. ^ de la Teja (1991), p. 80.
  13. ^ [1] Officers and Enlisted Men at the Battle of San Jacinto 21 April 1836
  14. ^ de la Teja (1991), p. 83.
  15. ^ Matavoina (1995), p. 19.
  16. ^ Edmonson (2000), p. 411.
  17. ^ Moore (2006), p. 228.
  18. ^ Edmonson (2000), p. 412.
  19. ^ de la Teja (1991), p. 113.
  20. ^ a b Nofi (1992, pp. 85–86.
  21. ^ de la Teja (1991), p. 116.
  22. ^ de la Teja (1991), p. 117.
  23. ^ de la Teja (1991), p. 118.
  24. ^ a b Groneman (1998), p. 99.
  25. ^ de la Teja (1991), p. 50.
  26. ^ de la Teja (1991), p. 51.
  27. ^ a b Visit Seguin, Texas
  28. ^ Seguin Family History
  29. ^ American Playhouse Seguin (1982)
  30. ^ "Texas Monthly, Texas History 101"
  31. ^ CDA archives

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
José Francisco Ruiz
1836–1837
Thomas Jefferson Green
1837 (25 days only)
Republic of Texas Senate
Republic of Texas Senator from Bexar District
Juan Seguín

1837–1840
Succeeded by
William H. Daingerfield
1840–1842