It was Saturday night in ol' San Antonio de Béxar, the night that all the young vaqueros and señoritas of San Antonio looked forward to all week. Saturday nights were - Fandango Night!
In a square building with a flat roof on Market Street, where the Governor's Palace is today, the Queen of the Fandango, Madame Candelaria, would host the most amazing fandangos anywhere.
First, she would prepare delicious Mexican plates (some say her food was second to none in San Antonio) for the guests attending. She would also secure the best entertainment for these events; singers and guitarists.
These were magical nights filled with exceptional food, socializing, dancing, and many possibilities. There, the young vaqueros of San Antonio could meet the young señoritas and dance the night away. Everyone attending knew each other and looked forward to "partying" with their friends. And, of course, everybody knew of the four brothers who always made their special entrance; The Flores brothers.
Everybody knew the Flores Brothers because everybody who owned a horse would likely purchase their equine investment from a Flores brother. The Flores brothers were known and had a reputation for riding the fastest ponies in San Antonio de Béxar. The brothers rode Spanish-bred Mesteños (Mustangs), the best picks from their father's ranch of over 200 horses. So if you owned a horse in Texas during this time in history, more than likely, one of the four Flores brothers was your horse salesman.
According to family tradition, many fandangos ended with a race on Market Street from San Fernando Church to the San Antonio River. This race almost always included the Flores brothers, and many times, a Flores won the race.
Also, everyone in San Antonio de Béxar knew these brothers very well for their strong family bond.
History remembers the Flores Brothers as:
· Manuel Flores
· Salvador (Chava) Flores
· Nepomuceno (Nepo) Flores
· Jose Maria (Chema) Flores
The Flores Family name was a prominent family name of Béxar, rich in the ranching history of Tejas; proud men and women - steeped in the cause of freedom. During the Texas Revolution (1835–1836), these four Brothers from this prominent Flores family in San Antonio bravely fought and served in almost every skirmish and battle!
These four vaqueros turned revolutionaries committed to the cause of freedom and independence. They would serve as scouts, couriers, messengers, and fighters. If a Texian military mission had any element of risk or danger, and most did – more than likely, a Flores would be assigned to it. From the fall of 1835 to the spring of 1836, these fighting Tejanos seemed to be everywhere in history. They saw it all, from Gonzales to San Jacinto.
In early October 1835, Manuel had gathered with other Texians in Gonzales for what they thought would be the first confrontation between Texians and the Mexican Army. Manuel was there on October 02, 1835, when Texians faced the Mexican Army during the Battle of Gonzales. Shortly after that skirmish, Manuel raced home to tell his brothers and his brother-in-law, Juan Seguin.
History remembers that about a week before, September 28, 1835, these young vaqueros had decided to engage in the fight for Texas at a meeting held at the Flores de Abrego Ranch. All their young friends attended that gathering and committed to fighting for Texas. Salvador was the man who came up with the idea of organizing a militia to represent San Antonio in the revolution. That historic meeting at the Flores de Abrego Ranch gave birth to the San Antonio Fighting Militia that became known as the "Tejano Volunteer Company," led by Juan Seguin. That afternoon, during his acceptance speech, Juan Seguin quoted what he and his brothers-in-law saw as their only option:
"Texas shall be free and independent, or we should die in glorious combat!"
Days before the skirmish at Gonzales, Salvador (Chava) Flores and Manuel Leal organized 41 volunteers from ranches southwest of San Antonio. Their objective was to reinforce the newly formed Texian Revolutionary Army and engage in the fight for independence.
The Flores brothers were now all-in with no possibility of turning back.
The brothers immediately became valuable assets for the newly formed Texian Revolutionary Army, mainly because the Flores brothers were from Texas. They had a strong sense of loyalty to the land of their forefathers. They were also fully knowledgeable of Texas terrain (even at night). All four brothers were exceptional riders, great sharpshooters, fierce and daring guerrilla fighters, and almost always fought together, looking out for each other.
Two hundred years ago, young Tejanos received training from their youth to survive, ride and fight. The Flores brothers were like "Navy Seals" of the Texas Revolution. Many Texians, including Stephen F. Austin, Deaf Smith, and Jim Bowie, admired and respected these young fighting Tejano patriots and fought alongside the brothers on many occasions.
The Flores Brothers bravely participated in all of the following historical events:
· The Battle of Gonzales
· The Battle of Concepcion
· The Grass Fight
· The Siege of Bexar
· The Runaway Scrape
· The Battle of San Jacinto
After the fall of the Alamo, Houston and the remnants of the Texian Army were in trouble. From the Mexican perspective, all that was left to do was catch Sam Houston and end this rebellion. Houston chose wisely to retreat - quickly in the night. History remembers that retreat by Houston as the Runaway Scrape.
During the war council before the withdrawal, Houston turned to Captain Seguin. He gave him an order, probably one of the most important orders of the war. "Secure our retreat. Texas must be allowed to fight another day."
Sam Houston's orders for Captain Juan Seguin's Tejano Volunteer Company were to serve as "security detail" for Sam Houston and the entire retreating Texian Army. Historically, this order represented a colossal responsibility because if the Mexican Army caught up to the retreating Texian Army - the revolution would be over with a Mexican victory. Therefore, Texians had to retreat and regroup, and someone had to be the buffer between them and utter defeat.
Captain Seguin assigned Sergeant "Chava" Flores and half of the Tejanos the critical task of guarding and protecting the rear of the retreating Texian Army. The rear guard had to be a vital buffer between the retreating Army and attacks from Indians or advancing Mexican units. And making sure no one was left behind. During the retreat, the Tejanos engaged the advanced units of the Mexican Army several times. They fought to keep the retreating Texas Army safe.
Manuel Flores, his younger brothers Nepo, and Juan Seguin were at "point position," scouting forward and securing a safe travel passage for the retreating Army. History remembers that the Fighting Flores successfully led and guarded the retreating Texian Army to east Texas - San Jacinto.
In April 1836, First Sergeant Manuel Flores, together with Captain Juan Seguin, Sergeant Salvador Flores, Corporal Nepomuceno Flores, Private Jose Maria Flores, and the rest of the Tejano Volunteer Company Cavalry would join forces with Houston and Rusk's men on Sherman's flank, to attack Santa Anna's Army at the Battle of San Jacinto.
During the attack, you could hear the shouts:
"Tejanos...al ataque!" "Recuerden...el Alamo!"
The Battle of San Jacinto would culminate the brother's service and efforts in the rebellion, becoming their moment of glory for the brothers. Texas was fortunate to have the fighting Flores from San Antonio de Béxar.
These four brothers, Manuel, Salvador, Nepomuceno, and Jose Maria, were True Patriots of our Texas Revolution.
The Fighting Flores brothers participated in almost all of the skirmishes and battles of the Texas Revolution together. They always had each other's back and fought to ensure each brother would walk away.
At the war's end, Manuel and Chava would be commissioned Captains, and Nepo would receive the commission of the First lieutenant. The brothers would also become part of the original Texas Rangers movement. Chava trained rangers to "shoot while riding" accurately.
All of the citizens of that generation knew, and had great respect for the four brothers who served, fought bravely, and exemplified outstanding leadership for Texas during its revolution.
Years later, the daughter of Jose Maria "Chema" Flores (youngest Flores brother) donated 200 acres of the Flores de Abrego Ranch for the establishment of a new City in Texas. That city would be named - Floresville, Texas.
The State of Texas placed a Historical Marker in front of the Floresville courthouse during the 1986 Texas sesquicentennial. It now stands in honor of Manuel Flores and his brothers for their service to Texas.
This post is dedicated to all the descendants of the Fighting Flores Brothers living today in Texas and worldwide, like David D. Reyna. They continue to carry the torch handed down to them by Manuel, Salvador, Nepomuceno, and Jose Maria, Texas patriots of our past, otherwise remembered as the "Fighting Flores" of our Texas Revolution.
And, Thank You, Manuel, Chava, Nepo, and Chema, for fighting for Texas, for standing for freedom, for your deeds of bravery, and for your heroic devotion to our Republic — Texas!
Texas Heroes - Never Forget!
• The Flores de Abrego Family and Floresville, South Texas – It really is like a whole other country. Link: http://www.stxmaps.com/.../texas-historical-marker-the...
• Flores de Abrego, José Salvador Ramon [Salvador Flores] (ca. 1806–1855) By Thomas Woods, Texas State Historical Association, TSHA. Link: https://www.tshaonline.org/.../flores-de-abrego-jose...
• Manuel N. Flores, Wikipedia
• Manuel Flores [1801–1868]: Roderick B. Patten, Texas State Historical Association, TSHA.
• Salvador Flores, Wikipedia.
• Juan Nepomuceno Flores, Everybody Wiki
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