José Rafael Calixto de la Garza was born in San Antonio in 1818, the son of José Antonio and Gertrudis (Rivas) de la Garza. A member of a prominent old San Antonio family, he married, first, Josefa, daughter of Juan Martín de Veramendi, governor of Coahuila in the early 1830s. They had three children. After Josefa's death, Garza married her younger sister, María Antonia de Veramendi; they had two children. Garza was elected justice of the peace for Bexar County on August 15, 1839, and he served in the House of Representatives of the Seventh Congress from Bexar County in 1842. He was elected district clerk of Bexar County on February 3, 1845, and held this office until at least January 1846. In March of 1845 Garza and María sold two leagues of land on the Comal River, known as the Comal tract, to Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, for the intended resettlement of German immigrants. Garza died three years later in San Antonio.