Juan José de la Garza Montemayor was born in 1765 in Mier, Nuevo Santander, Mexico. He was the son of Juan José de la Garza Montemayor, Sr., and Gertrudis Chapa and the grandson of Capt. Blas de la Garza Falcón and Beatriz Gonzales de Hidalgo. On October 3, 1786, he married Josefa López de Jaen (Xaen) in Camargo. Eleven children were born to this couple.
The first Spanish land grant awarded in what is now Nueces County, Texas, was the Casa Blanca grant (1807). King Carlos III granted the land to Garza Montemayor and his three sons, José Manuel, Perfecto, and Agustín, a Catholic priest, all residents of Camargo, Nuevo Santander (later Tamaulipas), Mexico. The Casa Blanca grant, originally called the Penitas grant, consisted of 70,000 acres or sixteen sitios (see SITIO) of land between Penitas Creek and the Nueces River. The Garza Montemayors established themselves near the creek and named their homesite Casa Blanca Ranch, since it was near the ruins of Casa Blanca Fort.
Although Garza Montemayor had made his first payment for the royal grant in 1798, the grant was adjudicated in 1805 by Capt. José de Goseascochea, captain of the Provincial Cavalry Militia and chief justice of Camargo. The survey party found an abundance of wolves, coyotes, and snakes, a shortage of water, and a vulnerability to attacks by the barbaric Indians. The land was therefore evaluated at a mere ten pesos per league; Garza Montemayor paid 160 pesos for sixteen leagues of pastureland. The family was constantly attacked by Comanches, Karankawas, and Lipan Apaches. In 1814 the Comanches declared a war of extermination against the Spaniards. Indians forced the settlers to take refuge in the villas of the Rio Grande and destroyed their home.
The Garza Montemayor family became owners of most of the northwestern section of what is now Nueces County. Garza's father-in-law, Benito López de Xaen, was the original grantee of the San Antonio de Agua Dulce grant, adjacent to the Casa Blanca grant. After Garza Montemayor's death in 1816, his widow and their three sons sold the land to William Mann, who divided the land and sold it to area farmers and ranchers. After Mann's death his wife, Ester S. Mann, sold 22,000 acres of the grant to Richard King.
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Dan Kilgore, Nueces County, Texas, 1750–1800: A Bicentennial Memoir (Corpus Christi: Friends of the Corpus Christi Museum, 1975). Hubert J. Miller, José de Escandón, Colonizer of Nuevo Santander (Edinburg, Texas: Nuevo Santander Press, 1980). Nueces County Historical Society, History of Nueces County (Austin: Jenkins, 1972). Virginia H. Taylor, Index to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants (Austin: General Land Office, 1976).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Clotilde P. García,
“Garza Montemayor, Juan José de la,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 03, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
January 4, 2021
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: