Testimonies for Gregorio Esparza
Tejano soldier at the Alamo
Jose Maria Esparza, aka Gregorio, was born and raised in San Antonio de Bexar. He and his wife Anna had a daughter and three sons. Following the start of the Revolution at Gonzales, Esparza joined Juan Seguin’s company in October 1835 and aided in the siege of Bexar. When Santa Anna and the rest of the Mexican Army arrived in February 1836, Esparza and his family took shelter inside the Alamo. He tended a cannon while the Alamo was under siege and died fighting on March 6.
Following the Revolution, the Republic of Texas and then the State of Texas made land available to veterans of the Revolution or their heirs. The vast quantities of land being handed out made land fraud a common problem. Eventually a Court of Claims was established to audit land certificates that had already been issued, review claims, and issue original, duplicate, and unlocated certificates to those who provided substantial evidence. In 1859, as Esparza's family sought to retain their claims to Gregorio's lands, several people gave testimony to support that Gregorio fought at the Alamo.
The testimony of Candelario Villanueva describes his own participation in the Revolution as well as that of other Tejanos. Villanueva was a soldier in Captain Juan Seguin’s regiment who participated in the Siege of Bexar. In February 1836, as Santa Anna's army arrived, Villanueva got separated from his regiment and was unable to enter the Alamo. After the battle ended he went inside and recognized several fallen Tejanos including Gregorio Esparza. He testified that he saw Gregorio’s brothers removing his body for burial.
Francisco Esparza was Gregorio Esparza’s brother. Unlike Gregorio, Francisco was a soldier in the Mexican Army as part of the local presidial company regularly stationed in Bexar. He remained in the town after General Cos surrendered to the Texan forces in December 1835. He did not participate in the battle at the Alamo but afterward got permission to retrieve his brother’s body from the Alamo and to properly bury him.
View the transcripts:
Texas General Land Office, Archives and Records Program, Austin
Time Period: 1845 - 1861
This artifact is currently on view.