Laurie Kingery here. To continue my series on Texas heroes, I'd like to tell you about Juan Seguin (pronounced "Se-GEEN"), a promininent participant in the Texas revolution on the Texian's side, although he was of Mexican heritage
He was born in 1806 in San Antonio. In 1825, he married Maria Gertrudis Flores de Abrego. They had ten children. He became an alderman, then later alcalde, or mayor, of San Antonio. As a youth, he had developed an interest in politics. When General Santa Anna seized power in Mexico (of which Texas was then a part) he was critical of him because Santa Anna repealed the Mexican constitution. When the Anglo settlers revolted against Mexican rule, Seguin joined them.
He was commissioned a captain by Stephen Austin, who had been the leader of the Anglo settlers. He entered the Alamo with other recruits during its 13-day siege, but because of he was Spanish-speaking and had a knowledge of the terrain, he was the one chosen to carry that last desperate message through enemy lines that the defenders of the Alamo would "never surrender or retreat." He then returned with some Texian soldiers to help the Alamo's defenders, but it was too late—the Alamo had fallen, its defenders all slaughtered.
He joined with General Houston, the commander of the Texian army, retreating at first in the "Runaway Scrape." Then he was the commander of the 9th Company, Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers and played a significant part in the Texas victory of San Jacinto that won Texas its independence.
During Texas's years as a republic, he was head of the San Antonio military, which defended Texas's western frontier against the Indians. In 1837, he directed the burial of the ashes of the Alamo's defenders. He was celebrated and a town was named after him 35 miles east of San Antonio in 1839.
He was elected a Texas senator and worked closely with Jose Navarro to protect the rights of the native citizens of Texas, the Tejanos, who were quickly becoming a minority in Texas with the influx of U.S. settlers. Those settlers sometimes questioned his leadership and loyalty. In 1842, he was blamed for an attack on San Antonio by Santa Anna, though he had chased the army of Vasquez from Texas.
With threats on his life, Seguin resigned from the army and discouraged, went to Mexico. There he was forced into the Mexican army and to serve with Santa Anna in the Mexican-American war of 1846-48. Following that, though, he asked to return to Texas and ranched in Floresville. He served two terms as a Justice of the Peace for Bexar County. Eventually he returned to Mexico to be near his son and died there in 1890. His body was returned to Texas for burial, and a statue erected in Seguin, depicting him on horseback and waving his saber.
I hope you've enjoyed learning about this hero of Texas.
Blessings, Laurie Kingery
Pictures courtesy of Wikipedia.