Bustillo, Domingo (1779–1854)

By: Erika A. Haskins

Type: Biography

Published: April 28, 2015

José Domingo Estevan Bustillo (or Bustillos), born on August 3, 1779, in La Villa de San Fernando de Béxar, was a prominent military and political figure from the last decades of Spanish rule through the Republic era. Son of Don José Antonio Bustillo y Zevallos (also spelled as Zeballos or Cevallos) and Doña María Margarita de la Trinidad Salinas, Bustillo’s direct ancestry lineage can be traced as far back as Diego Ramón, commander of the Presidio San Juan Bautista and Don José de Urrutia, captain of San Antonio de Béxar Presidio in San Antonio. Other prominent ancestors include grandfather José Manuel Salinas, great-grandfather Francisco (also called Joseph Antonio) Menchaca, and family tradition claims ties to Don Juan Antonio Bustillo y Ceballos, Spanish governor of the province of Texas from 1731 to 1734. Bustillo may have come from a long line of educated men; however, more than likely it was his father who encouraged him to become well versed in the subjects of mathematics, reading, and writing.

Two days before Christmas, when Bustillo was only eight years old, his mother, Doña María Margarita de la Trinidad Salinas, passed away. About two years later, Don José Antonio Bustillo y Zevallos married Doña María Antonia Rodriguez, granddaughter of Vicente Alvarez Travieso. Raised with ten siblings, Domingo along with his half-brother Francisco were the only two children to fully engage in politics. Domingo joined the Spanish Royal Army, immersed himself into political agendas, and became a noted merchant, money lender, and a vast land owner. On February 6, 1824, he was granted the land he petitioned for two months prior. Known as Rincón del Alamito, this parcel of land consisted of one labor and was situated between the west side of San Francisco de la Espada Mission and San Juan Capistrano Mission. Rincón del Alamito was divided equally among his seven children as he requested in his will. In March 1838 Bustillo was granted one league and labor of land. Of this grant, 3,550 acres lay in San Antonio territory that spanned from Palo Alto Road to Mission Espada in the early twenty-first century. A separate piece of land grant, 1,051 acres, which he subsequently sold to José Cassiano on February 17, 1852, lay in Jones County, on the north bank of the Elm Fork of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, three miles southwest of Fort Phantom Hill.

Bustillo became a trusted confidant to key players in the Mexican and Texan fights for independence. On March 26, 1811, he began his political career. He was appointed as alférez in San Antonio de Béxar. On January 4, 1814, Bustillo was promoted to second lieutenant in the royal army. In 1815 he served as a councilman at San Fernando de Béxar and by January 1816 was named to fill the position of first alcalde. In 1822 Bustillo was selected by the ayuntamiento as the school master in attempt to offer a formal education to the children in San Antonio. Bustillo along with Refugio de la Garza and Erasmo Seguin were elected by the electoral assembly as secretary and examiners on February 9, 1834. That same year, on February 11, he and José Antonio Vásquez were elected to the state congress. Bustillo assumed the duties of Judge of First Instance on April 8, 1834, however the appointment was short-lived. On July 14, 1834, he relinquished his duties due to ill health. In January 1839 Bustillo returned to the political realm and was elected alderman to the San Antonio city council. On May 17, 1841, he was asked to be a guest at a special ball held in the home of Don Manuel Yturri in honor of Mirabeau Lamar, the third Texas president. During Gen. Adrián Woll’s September 1842 invasion of Texas, Col. Jack Hays ordered Bustillo and Ignacio Chávez on a reconnaissance mission during which Bustillo and his party were captured. Bustillo subsequently escaped with the help of friends.

Sometime in the 1830s Bustillo married Petra Martinez. They had seven children. Domingo Bustillo died a wealthy landowner on November 1, 1854, at the age of seventy-five. Records show that he was buried at Campo Santo, yet only a memorial plaque bearing his name lies at the former cemetery, now Milam Park. To this day, Bustillo descendants continue to live on the original land granted to Domingo Bustillo in the Mission Espada area.

Bustillo Family Papers, 1772–1936, Col 879, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas. Steve Gibson, comp., Descendants of Joseph Mondragon y. Zeballos,” Bexar Genealogy (bexargenealogy.com/archives/familyfiles/bustillos.rtf), accessed February 24, 2015. John Ogden Leal, trans., Camposanto: An Ancient Burial Ground of San Antonio, Texas 1808–1860 (San Antonio: s.n., 1975). John Odgen Leal, trans., San Fernando Church Baptismals (San Antonio: J. O. Leal, 1976). David McDonald, José Antonio Navarro: In Search of the American Dream in Nineteenth-Century Texas (Denton: Texas State Historical Association, 2010). Telegraph and Texas Register, December 21, 1842.

  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Military
  • Politics and Government
Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas
  • Mexican Texas
  • Republic of Texas

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

Erika A. Haskins, “Bustillo, Domingo,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/bustillo-domingo.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 28, 2015

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: