José Antonio de la Garza

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José Antonio de la Garza
Mayor of San Antonio
In office
1813 – unknown
Preceded by Clemente Delgado
Succeeded by José Antonio Saucedo
In office
1832 – unknown
Preceded by José María Salinas
Personal details
Born 1776
San Antonio de Béjar, Texas
Died 1851?
San Antonio de Béjar
Nationality According to 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 the first landowner in San Antonio, Texas and the first man to create a coin in this state. Antonio de la Garza was elected mayor of San Antonio in 1813 and 1832.

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Antonio de la Garza was born in San Antonio de Béjar, Texas, on May 31, 1776. His parents were Leonardo de la Garza and Magdalena Martinez. His ancestors came from Nuevo Leon (modern Mexico).[1] In 1813, he became the first elected mayor of San Antonio.[2]

Coin[edit]

In 1818, after acquiring permission from the Spanish government, he created the first coin that existed in Texas. On one side of the coin, Garza used his initials "JAG" (José Antonio de la Garza) along to the year of creation (1818). On the other side of the coin, he fixed a drawing of one star.

The importance of this event was not only the creation of the first coin of Texas, but also that the star symbol drawn in the currency could have inspired the "Lone Star," which later became the symbol of the state.

Garza began to mint these coins in a building located between the streets of Houston and Soledad for a year and a half.

Landowner[edit]

In 1824, thanks to the success of its currency, Garza obtained a large extension of land (which consisted of two leagues) between San Antonio and Medina River. In doing so, he became one of the largest landowners in Bexar County.[1]

Mayor[edit]

In 1832, Garza became Mayor of San Antonio.[2] That year he signed the articles 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. This rejection was further strengthened when during the Texas Revolution (1835-1836), some Texas residents thought that his family sympathized with the idea that Texas should remain Mexican (Texas was a province of Mexico previous to the Revolution).

In the 1840s, he and his family moved near Calaveras Lake. Their house there, a two-story structure, had been built forty years earlier (1801) and served three functions: as a church, a school and a community centre.[1]

Personal life[edit]

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

Garza died on May 5, 1851 in San Antonio, according to the State of Texas Bulletin.[1]

Legacy[edit]

In 1876 Garza County was named after the family of José Antonio de la Garza.[1][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Cynthia E. Orozco (November 26, 2008). "Handbook of Texas Online: De la Garza, José Antonio". Handbook of Texas Online.  Consulted in 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.
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 135.