Writing Tips        Vikings        Medieval History        Ancient Rome        Architecture        Old West        Travel        Vocabulary         

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Texas History - Francisca Alavez, The Angel of Goliad - #TidbitThursday


Welcome to one of my favorite columns of this blog - Historical Tidbit Thursdays!

I'm really excited to be able to share my research, my favorite reference books, shows or movies I've seen that inspire, as well as my passion for history with you in a quicker and more regular way. My focus will be on my current WIP (Work in Progress) - a western romance fiction novel. So I hope you enjoy!!

This post we will take a look at a another brave woman in Texas history, Francisca Alavez, also called "The Angel of Goliad" for her role there.

February 1836, Mexican soldiers under General Jose Urrea (one of Santa Anna's best officers) crossed the Rio Grande river. Francisca Panchita Alavez accompanied Captain Telesforo Alavez (she shared his last name but there's no evidence they were truly married). She was 20 years old and a real beauty.

February 27, Urrea surprised Francis W Johnson at San Patricio. All volunteer soldiers except for Johnson and a handful of escapees were killed or captured. He then attacked James Grant at Agua Dulce and all but Grant and 6 others were killed or captured.

upon hearing of the defeats, James Walker Fannin Jr, in charge of a contingent of men, decided to return to Goliad and prepare the site for defense against the oncoming army. He dubbed the presidio "Fort Defiance". Sam Houston sent him several directives. On March 19, just 13 days after the fall of the Alamo, Fannin moved his men out of the fort toward Victoria. Their escape was slow as he had 9 massive cannons pulled by oxen and no true road. Less than 20 miles out of Goliad, the enemy came upon them. By morning, the Texians were completely surrounded and their ammunitions cart had broke down. The small group of soliders faced over 1000 Mexicans. Fannin and his men surrendered. 240 men were marched back to Goliad as prisoners. 80 men were injured and would be transported to Goliad later. General Urrea asked Santa Anna for clemency for the men who surrendered but he refused. Fannin and 40 other injured men were executed at the Fort in Goliad. 28 men managed to escape. 20 people (physicians, nurses, interpreters, mechanics, etc) were spared to serve the Mexican army.

At a small settlement called Copano, a ship from New Orleans carrying 68 volunteers led by William P Miller docked in the bay and swam to shore where the Mexican army waited. They were tied up and left in the hot sun without food or water. Francisca raged at the guards and ordered them to be untied. Eventually, her insistency wore the guards down saving these men's lives.

They then escorted the prisoners to Goliad. She became friendly with the AMericans along the journey. When they arrived, the prisoners were added to the "Black Hole" a tiny space with over 400 prisoners and no room to lie down. She begged Colonel Portilla to let the captives get fresh air, food, and medical treatments. She convinced Portilla not to execute the men from Copano Bay as they hadn't been part of the actual rebellion and had never fired any shots. He agreed and shipped the men to a prison in Matamoros.

Under cover of darkness, Francisco smugged 12 captives onto the mission parapet to hide. She saved young Benjamin Franklin Hughes (only 15 yeard old) by claiming she needed him in the hospital to help with the injured. She saved William Hunter who'd been left for dead on the San Antonio River bank and dressed his wounds.

7 escapees were found by the Mexican soldiers. They killed 3. Francisca and another woman threw themselves in front of the firing squad and saved the other 4.

April 21, 1836, General Urrea moved across the Rio Grande into Matamoros. Telesforo (whom Francisca had accompanied all this time) headed back to Mexico City and left Francisco (supposedly he had a wife and two children back home).

Francisca had 2 children - sn Matias who went to work with Captain Richard King and daughter, Dolores. Francisca is buried at the King Ranch in an unmarked grave.

Book - "From Angels to Hellcats" by Don Blevins; ISBN#0-87842-443-1

No comments:

Post a Comment