The name of José (Joseph) Antonio de Ecay (Eca y) Múzquiz, Spanish soldier, first appears in witness to a document signed by Alonso De León in 1688. He was a criollo who served on the Coahuila-Texas frontier as soldier, governor, and presidial commander until his death in 1738. José Joaquín de Ecay Múzquiz is believed to have been his son. On August 12, 1689, he witnessed the official founding of Santiago de la Monclova (present-day Monclova, Coahuila). During the terms of Francisco Cuerbo y Valdés (1698–1702) and Simón Padilla y Córdova (1708–1712) as governor of Coahuila, he several times pursued hostile Indians into the Sierra de Santa Rosa. Marching through barren, waterless country, he was frustrated in his objective by natives who took refuge on the mountain peaks and rolled rocks down upon his troops.
A fellow officer and close associate of Diego Ramón, Ecay Múzquiz led troops from the presidio of San Francisco de Coahuila on Ramón's 1707 march to the Nueces River in Texas. He signed the report of that expedition, purposes of which were to punish hostile natives and recruit neophytes for the San Juan Bautista missions.
In 1717, when Fray Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares was attempting to move San Francisco Solano Mission to San Antonio de Béxar, Ecay Múzquiz, as Coahuila governor ad interim, declined to furnish him an escort. Ecay Múzquiz was succeeded as governor by Martín de Alarcón on August 5, 1717. When Ramón died in 1724, Ecay Múzquiz succeeded him as commandant of Presidio de San Juan Bautista. In that capacity he helped José de Berroterán to organize his 1729 expedition that made an abortive attempt to reach La Junta de los Ríos by marching up the Rio Grande. In 1731 he provided an escort of San Juan Bautista troops to take the Canary Islanders on the last leg of their journey to San Antonio. In 1735 he joined Governor Blas María de la Garza Falcón in exploring up the Rio Grande to look for the site of a new presidio.
When Carlos Benites Franquis de Lugo was deposed as governor of Texas and brought to San Juan Bautista, it fell to the lot of Ecay Múzquiz to take testimony against him. With the Franquis affair at its zenith, he was called upon to officiate in lieu of Coahuila governor Clemente de la Garza Falcón in a new Coahuila mission, San Francisco Vizarrón. His life was winding down; yet it seemed administrative problems descended on him from every hand. In October 1737 he sat as judge in a hearing concerning allegations that the San Juan Bautista missions had been remiss in payment of tithes. He died in 1738 before the matter was resolved. He was succeeded as commandant by Joseph Hernández, formerly lieutenant of the garrison.
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Vito Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas en la época colonial (Mexico City: Editorial Cultura, 1938; 2d ed., Mexico City: Editorial Porrúa, 1978). Robert S. Weddle, San Juan Bautista: Gateway to Spanish Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Robert S. Weddle,
“Ecay Muzquiz, Jose Antonio de,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 25, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 1995
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