Álvarez Travieso, Vicente (1705–1779)

By: Jack Jackson

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: July 30, 2020

Vicente Álvarez Travieso, a leader of the Canary Islanders, was born in 1705 on the island of Tenerife, the son of Juan and Catarina (Cayetano) Álvarez Travieso. He joined the Canary Islander migration en route to Texas and married Mariana Curbelo at Cuatitlán, Mexico. After arrival at their new home, San Antonio de Béxar, the isleños organized a municipal government, and Álvarez Travieso was elected alguacil mayor (chief constable) for life. He soon became a leading spokesman for the colonists and something of a problem for the colonial administration.

When the islanders were refused permission to travel to Saltillo for medical attention, Álvarez Travieso launched a series of lawsuits on behalf of his disgruntled companions. One in 1740 was directed toward securing the labor of mission Indians on the settlers' farms and the right to sell produce to the presidio. The missionaries appealed to the viceroy, however, and managed to retain their privileges. Another celebrated case in 1756 was aimed against the missions' virtual monopoly on lands and water rights around the villa. When Don Vicente's claim to a ranch on the banks of Cibolo Creek was contested by the Quereteran friars at Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña Mission, he sued again in 1771. Although the ruling obtained in Mexico City was favorable to the private stockmen of Bexar, it was not implemented, and Álvarez's title to Rancho de las Mulas remained clouded.

This technicality did not keep the Álvarez Travieso clan from vigorously pursuing the stray cattle of the area, many of which were unbranded and had wandered away from neighboring mission pastures. To stop such "excesses" Governor Vicencio de Ripperdá conducted two rustling trials against the ranchers of the San Antonio River valley. Álvarez Travieso died just after these proceedings, on January 25, 1779, and the controversy was left to the younger generation. He and Mariana had eleven children. After her death in 1785, Las Mulas became the property of their son Tomás, who was executor of his father's estate, but other heirs challenged Tomás's rights. Nonetheless, the ranch was deeded to Vicente, son of Tomás, in 1809 and remained in his hands after Mexican independence despite the prominent role that Vicente had played in the revolutionary years against Royalist authority.

Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). Jack Jackson, Los Mesteños: Spanish Ranching in Texas, 1721–1821 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1986).

  • Peoples
  • Canary Islanders
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Politics and Government
  • Government Officials

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

Jack Jackson, “Álvarez Travieso, Vicente,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/alvarez-travieso-vicente.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994
July 30, 2020