History Faculty Publications and Presentations

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On April 23, 1852, Ramona de la Peña became a widow for the second time when she buried Eusebio García at the Inmaculada Concepción Parish of Ciudad Mier, Tamaulipas. The priest who conducted the burial, Father José Luis Gonzaga García, had ministered to her family over the previous thirteen years and baptized five of the couple’s children. He christened their youngest, Gregorio, about a year earlier. On the day of the burial, the priest wrote a sacramental record that described Eusebio García’s death “in the hands of the Americans” (en manos de los americanos). He was one of eight Mexicans who died in a conflict that swept across adjacent areas of Texas in the early months of 1852 and among the over two hundred killings recorded in Mier between the Mexican War of Independence (1810–1821) and the French Intervention (1862–1867).

Mier and its neighboring towns date to the foundation of the Nuevo Santander colony under José de Escandón from 1749 to 1767. Over the following century, other frontiers overlapped with that of Spanish- Mexican colonists in the region. Plains Indians such as the Comanche, Lipan Apache, and Kiowa raided Mier’s surrounding ranches, especially after Mexican independence in 1821. At the same time, Anglo settlers and African American slaves reached Texas, and by the 1840s, American expansionists set their sights on Mier and its surroundings. The lower Rio Grande became a multifaceted contact zone that simultaneously witnessed lucrative trade, cultural exchange, intermarriage, and harrowing acts of brutality. The records of the Immaculate Conception Parish of Mier contain many accounts that attest to the contact and conflict that marked this frontier.


Published by The Southwest Center, University of Arizona. Original published version available at https://doi.org/10.1353/jsw.2019.0045

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Journal of the Southwest





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