Benavides, José Jesús (ca. 1802–ca. 1849)

By: Lilia Peña

Type: Biography

Published: October 25, 2021

Updated: October 25, 2021

José Jesús Benavides, rancher and early prominent citizen of Laredo, son of José Maria Benavidez and Petra Sanchez Gonzalez Hidalgo, was born in Laredo about 1802. His family was originally from Revilla in what is present-day Tamaulipas, Mexico. Benavides was the great-grandson of Tomás Sánchez de la Barrera y Garza, founder of Laredo in 1755. His family consisted of well-known civic and state leaders in Laredo and the state, as his brother Basilio Benavides later served in the Texas House of Representatives. José Jesús Benavides married Margarita (or Marguerita) Ramon Garcia of Laredo. Their children included sons Santos Benavides and Refugio Benavides—both became high-ranking Confederate officers during the Civil War.

Benavides received land known as El Pedernal by the Mexican government in April 1835. The land grant was 9,809 acres and was located in what is now Zapata County, Texas, but the tract was not surveyed for his heirs until the 1870s. After the death of his wife in 1834, Benavides married Tomasa Cameros. Their children included Cristobal, who also became a Confederate officer and civic leader in Laredo, and Juliana, who married Laredo merchant John Leyendecker. Described as a “frontiersman of high character…identified with the development of the Rio Grande country,” José Jesús Benavides spent his entire life in and around Laredo and had extensive land holdings and ranching interests. Benavides died in Laredo in the late 1840s. His place of burial is not readily apparent in written records, though other family members, including several children and his first wife, are buried in Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Laredo.

Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). José Peña, Inherit the Dust from the Four Winds of Revilla: A 250-year Historical Perspective with Emphasis on Ancient Guerrero, Its People and Its Land Grants (Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2006).

  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Landowners and Land Developers
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen
Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas
  • Texas Revolution
  • Republic of Texas
  • South Texas
  • South and Border
  • Laredo

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

Lilia Peña, “Benavides, José Jesús,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 25, 2021
October 25, 2021

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