Francita Alavez, the "Angel of Goliad," accompanied Capt. Telesforo Alavez to Texas in March 1836. Her first name is variously given as Francita, Francisca, Panchita, or Pancheta, and her surname as Alavez, Alvárez, or Alevesco. Her real surname and place of birth are not known. Some writers claim that she was with Gen. José de Urrea's army at San Patricio, but this is highly unlikely since Captain Alavez came by ship from Matamoros to Copano Bay. Because Francita was with Captain Alavez in Texas, it was long assumed that she was his wife. However, research carried out in 1935 by Marjorie Rogers revealed that the army officer's legitimate wife was María Augustina de Pozo, who was abandoned by Alavez in 1834.
Francita was at Copano Bay when Maj. William P. Miller's Natchez volunteers were held prisoner there by General Urrea's troops. She noticed that the men were tightly bound with cords that restricted the circulation of blood in their arms. Taking pity on the men, she persuaded the Mexican soldiers to loosen their bonds and to give them food.
From Copano Bay she went with Alavez to Goliad and was there at the time of the Goliad Massacre. She is credited with persuading the officer in charge of the fortress not to execute Miller's men, who had been brought from Copano to Goliad. In addition, it is believed that Francita entered the fort the evening before the massacre and brought out several men and hid them, thereby saving their lives. Francita and Captain Alavez proceeded to Victoria, where she continued to aid the Texans held prisoner at Goliad by sending them messages and provisions. When the Mexicans retreated from Texas after Santa Anna's defeat at San Jacinto, Francita followed Captain Alavez to Matamoros, where she aided the Texans held prisoner there. From that town she was taken by Alavez to Mexico City and there abandoned. She returned to Matamoros penniless, but was befriended by Texans who had heard of her humanitarian acts on behalf of Texans captured by the Mexican army.
Dr. Joseph Barnard and Dr. Jack Shackelford, two of the Goliad prisoners spared by the Mexicans, later testified to Francita's saintly behavior, thus causing her deeds to be more widely known. She came to be called the Angel of Goliad and gained recognition as a heroine of the Texas Revolution.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every penny helps.
Samuel Erson Asbury Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Joseph H. Barnard, Dr. J. H. Barnard's Journal: A Composite of Known Versions, ed. Hobart Huson (Refugio?, Texas, 1949). Harbert Davenport, "Men of Goliad," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 43 (July 1939). Henry Stuart Foote, Texas and the Texans (2 vols., Philadelphia: Cowperthwait, 1841; rpt., Austin: Steck, 1935). Kathryn Stoner O'Connor, The Presidio La Bahía del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga, 1721 to 1846 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1966).
Gulf Coast Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
George O. Coalson,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.