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PEREZ ALVAREZ, CASIMIRO

PÉREZ ÁLVAREZ, CASIMIRO (1871?–?). Casimiro Pérez Álvarez, rancher, United States marshal, and publisher of Spanish-language newspapers, was born around 1871. His grandfather, José Pedro Pérez, had bought land from Pedro Lugo, an original Spanish land grantee, in 1767. Pérez Álvarez was one of a few Mexican Americans in Texas to go to school in the late nineteenth century, attending a common school in Rio Grande City until he was thirteen. Then he attended school in Mier, Tamaulipas, and Saltillo, where he studied through his junior year. He quit school because of illness and in 1888 returned to Rio Grande City, where he took some classes with Professor Thomas Hart. He conversed fluently in English and Spanish and was familiar with world geography. Pérez Álvarez eventually inherited 641 acres, which provided the economic base for his business activities. He raised stock from 1888 to 1890. From 1890 to 1892 he operated a private Mexican school in Rio Grande City. In 1892 Pérez Álvarez was a member of Club Washington Hidalgo, apparently a Mexican political club in the city. Also in 1892 he and a partner began El Bien Público, a newspaper. He published El Voluntario in Rio Grande City from 1892 to 1894. He called it an "independent newspaper" and an "organ of the Mexico-Texano element." Pérez Álvarez used the term Mexico-Texano to refer to Mexicans born or raised in Texas. Through his newspapers he promoted an independent and critical political voice. El Voluntario folded in December 1894, when his partnership with Tovar Recio ended. It may have ended because he had to compete with El Cromo, another Spanish-language newspaper in the city in the 1890s. Newspapers like El Voluntario politicized readers. Pérez Álvarez was politically active in Rio Grande City in the 1890s and was concerned with the political rights of Mexicans in Rio Grande City and South Texas. He criticized members of both the Republican and Democratic parties,qqv noting that "el pueblo no vive solo de palabras, quiere pan" ("the town doesn't live on words alone, it needs bread"). He also criticized a Starr County official for placing the burden of county taxes on the working class. From 1895 to 1900 he again worked on his ranch, with ninety-five cattle and seventeen horses. He served as a United States census enumerator in Starr County in 1900, and from 1900 to 1902 operated a grocery store in Rio Grande City. Pérez Álvarez began work as a deputy United States marshal for the Southern District of Texas in Rio Grande City in 1902–03. He served as a marshal in Brownsville from 1903 to 1906, in Laredo from 1906 to 1913, and in Rio Grande City from 1913 to 1914. He returned to stock raising and took up farming from 1914 to 1915 and from 1919 to 1921. He was also a government scout for Fort Ringgold during the "Border Wars" between 1915 and 1918 during the Mexican Revolution. In 1917, during World War I, he acted as county food administrator. In 1921 he had tenants (see FARM TENANCY) on his land and by 1923 seems to have become a full-time farmer. Like many others in the Rio Grande valley, he shifted his business from cattle to farming. He was still alive around July 1924.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

El Voluntario, October 16, 1992. Casimiro Pérez Álvarez Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Cynthia E. Orozco

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Cynthia E. Orozco, "PEREZ ALVAREZ, CASIMIRO," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpeed), accessed September 02, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.