Gone With the Wind
On September 26, 1835, four friends from San Antonio de Béxar met at a small café on the southeast corner of La Plaza de San Fernando. They gathered there on short notice to address a critical and urgent matter. It had become evident that a storm was on the horizon, a rebellion, and soon it would sweep through all of Texas.
Welcome everyone to TVC History. I'm your host and Texas history ambassador, Alex Andrew. Today we have to talk about the four young Tejanos from San Antonio de Bexar that became the founding members of the Tejano Volunteer Company.
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Four young men who grew up in San Antonio met just a week before the skirmish at Gonzales because they were concerned about their futures and the future of Texas. Texas had been the home of their families for several generations. The young men at that cafe meeting were Juan Seguín, Manuel Flores, Gregorio Esparza, and Antonio Cruz de Arocha.
Manuel was the last to arrive, and as soon as he sat, the waiter brought four shot glasses and a bottle. The men took a shot and slowly put their shot glass down. Gregorio spoke first.
Gregorio: I've been saying for years, since the battle of Velasco, that Texas was headed to a rebellion. Then Santa Anna abolished the constitution, and that made things even worse. So I've always been for independence, but I'd like to know if we're prepared for what's coming our way.
Manuel: You're right, Gregorio; we don't have an army to speak of. Or any means of actual defense. We need a unified and trusted leader. This rebellion is going to be here before anyone realizes it. We need to prepare, and we need to do it soon. We could lose it all again. Remember the Battle of Medina?
Juan: I was young, but I remember that battle, and there is a reason why we don't say the name of that battle. I also remember hearing the cries of all those ladies coming from inside La Quinta after that battle.
Manuel: Texas is our home. This place was forged out of the frontier by our forefathers. San Antonio, the most significant settlement in Texas, is where we live, where we will be forced to make our stand. And, like Gregorio said, are we prepared for what comes?
Juan: Texas is my home. The only home I know. It was my father's home and his father's home. But, gentlemen, we don't have a choice. Texas will be free and independent, or we should die in glorious combat.
A young Juan Seguín spoke those words, and the small group that evening agreed in solidarity. Then, after a few more shots, the group shook hands and hugged each other as brothers. This group of friends who grew up together and whose families had long-standing relations represented the original members of the Tejano Volunteer Company.
These young men were the great hope of their generation. Their parents had groomed them to be the future owners and managers of their large familial and successful ranches. However, all that would have to wait because these young vaqueros would soon morph into revolutionaries in a rebellion against Mexico.
From its founding, La Villa de San Fernando was a society of compadres and comadres, tios y tias, primos y primas; in other words, it was a long-standing "family" community—a community built on strong family relations.
And as rumors of rebellion started to become real in Texas in late August 1835, this group of four friends (familia), concerned for the future of their families, businesses, and land, decided to immediately hold an "urgent and important" meeting and invite all young Tejanos in the local area. Their ultimate goal was to establish a local militia from San Antonio de Béxar to engage in the fight for freedom.
That historic meeting was held at the Flores de Abrego Ranch near Floresville, Texas, a couple of days later on September 28. Every eligible young and able man from Béxar, between 24 and 35 years of age, attended. History remembers that several attendees were younger than 20, like Carlos Espalier at 17 and Luis Castañon at only 15.
Almost all the families of San Antonio de Béxar had a representative at that meeting. In addition, many families had sons at that meeting, like the Garcia, Courbière, Henandez, Herrera, and Losoya families.
History remembers that these young vaqueros, future scouts, messengers, and fighters with the Tejano Volunteer Company would fight for Texas Independence (1835-1836). The Tejano Volunteer Company would succeed in all its missions and, along with all the other patriot militias, would eventually be part of a successful rebellion.
One year later, in late September, Juan Seguín, Manuel Flores, and Antonio Cruz de Arocha again met at that same cafe in the Plaza de San Fernando. But, unfortunately, many things had changed since that meeting one year before. They lost many friends during the fight for freedom, like their childhood friend Gregorio Esparza at the Alamo. Still, Juan, Manuel, and Antonio survive the war to witness the birth of a new Republic. Moreover, their militia, the Tejano Volunteer Company, became the most successful militia of the Texas Revolution. But, unfortunately, all of their sacrifices for their successes would come at a great cost to these young Tejanos - an end to their way of life.
Texas History - Never Forget!
If you love Texas and Texas history then join us in our efforts to promote both the history and the heroes of our Texas revolution. Support our efforts, Get our Book, "Tejano Volunteer Company: Stories of our Texas Revolution." Available on Kindle, Paperback and Hardcover. Thank you for all your support. -Gonzo