Juan Seguin Letter of Appointment, 1836

Controversy surrounds this Texas Patriot

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by Jenny Cobb, Associate Curator of Exhibitions

This hand-written appointment documents the moment a Texas revolutionary was created.

Born in San Antonio to a long-established Tejano family, Juan Seguín began his military career in the spring of 1835 after he learned General Antonio López de Santa Anna had abolished Texas’s constitutional government and centralized authority in Mexico. Stephen Austin, head of the Texas volunteer army at the time, appointed Seguín to the rank of captain following the battle of Gonzales in October 1835, the battle that began the Texas Revolution.

“The accredited patriot D. Juan Seguin is appointed captain in the federal army of Texas, and as such is fully authorized to raise a company of patriots to work against the Centralists and military in defense of the constitution of 1824 and the federal system.” 

Seguín raised a company of 37 soldiers tasked with scouting and supply operations for the revolutionary army before taking up arms at the Siege of Béxar in December 1835. After five days of bloody combat between the Texan and Mexican forces, the Mexican troops surrendered, leaving San Antonio in the control of the Texans.

Seguín entered the Alamo following the victory with the Texan military but was sent out as a courier to gather reinforcements when Santa Anna and his army arrived. After the fall of the Alamo to Mexico on March 6, 1836, Seguín’s company functioned as the rear guard of Sam Houston's army and was the only Tejano unit to fight at the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Today, his eyewitness accounts preserved in his correspondence from the period are central to interpreting the Texas Revolution.

Following the revolution, Seguín was elected to the Texas Senate in 1837. Among his legislative initiatives were efforts to have the laws of the new republic printed in Spanish. In 1840, he was elected mayor of San Antonio, but growing hostilities toward Texas Mexicans (Tejanos) forced Seguín to resign in 1842. Accused of being loyal to Mexico, Seguín fled from Texas. He returned for a brief time in the 1850s, but ultimately spent the remainder of his life exiled in Mexico. On July 4, 1976, the Texas war hero's remains were returned to Texas to be buried in Seguin, the town named in his honor.

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Juan Seguin Letter of Appointment, 1836 Artifact from San Antonio, Texas
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