María Josefa Granados (or Granado) was born in the villa of San Antonio de Béxar on October 8, 1759. She was the daughter of Juan de Acuña Rodríguez Granado and María Isabel de Castro Hernández. Her paternal grandparents, Juan Rodríguez Granado and María Robaina de Bethéncourt, traveled from the Canary Islands to Mexico to eventually settle in San Antonio. Juan Granado, however, died in Vera Cruz before his son Juan de Acuña was born (in Cuautitlán, Mexico) several months later. A few years later in San Antonio, María Robaina married Martín Lorenzo de Armas. Juan de Acuña’s daughter María Josefa grew up with her opulent grandparents, and grandmother María Robaina claimed her heritage as a descendant of the first conquerors and rulers of the Canary Islands and was apparently held in high regard in the society of the villa of San Fernando de Béxar. Their home was exquisite and filled with furnishings and heirlooms the family brought with them.
On April 17, 1776, seventeen-year-old María Josefa married thirty-three-year-old, Fernando Veramendi in San Antonio. They had five children: José María Fernando (b. 1777), Juan Martín (b. 1778), María Josefa Vicenta (b. 1780), Fernando Ramón Nepomuceno (b. 1782), and María Josefa de los Dolores (b. 1784). Some genealogy sources also claim that they adopted a daughter. Their home, like that of her grandparents, was quite elegant. The row-style whitewashed stone home, with a tiled entryway, a parlor, and a paved chamber, located on Soledad Street became known as the Veramendi Palace. Their home furnishings included a juniper table, a wooden bench, and wooden chairs, as well as “stained glass lampshades with gilded finials,” a “riding sword embellished with silver,” and a “large vase of gilded, cut crystal.” The family also owned a wagon, three nursing cows, and two horses.
The Veramendi-Granados marriage was a social and economic powerhouse. The combination of Don Fernando’s eye for business and Doña María Josefa’s family name aided in the success of their business, a fabrics and mercantile goods shop on Las Flores Street. In their shop, they carried an assortment of goods: Pontivy and Brittany cloths from France, Rouen linen, printed cloth with red flowers from Barcelona, calico, blanket cloth from China and Puebla, crimson coarse wool, ribbon from Granada, green and blue silks, corn-silk thread, lariat rope, needles, white paper, paliacate kerchiefs from China, pins and fringes, strings of pearls, Christian readers, silver and gold spangle, scissors, lace from Flanders and Lorraine, chickpeas, sugar, rice, chocolate, and gold earrings.
In May 1783 Don Fernando took a trip to Mexico City and en route, on May 31, 1783, was killed by Mescalero Apaches. “He, in the company of others, [was killed] at the place known as El Charco del Pescado, in the province of Coahuila.” Doña María Josefa was left with a thriving business, four children under the age of ten, and an unborn daughter to care for. “I affirm that when I married my aforenamed wife, Doña María Josefa Granado[s],” stated Don Fernando in his will on April 28, 1783, “I had more or less two thousand six hundred [pesos] of capital and that my wife did not contribute any [capital] to the marriage.” Don Fernando possessed a sizable estate for that time and declared in his will, “…it is ascertained that my entire estate amounts to seven thousand seven hundred pesos.” He directed that his wife receive half of the marital partnership profits of the estate in the sum of 2,550 pesos.
Once widowed, Doña María Josefa married Juan Martín de Amondaraín, and together they raised all five children. By the mid-1780s she owned “San Fernando de Béxar’s largest general store, which carried an array of merchandise.” Their marriage was unfortunately short-lived. She died probably in 1786, as probate records of her estate date January 9, 1787. Her second husband, Juan Martín, was listed on the 1790 census as a widower. On this census, he listed a five-year-old daughter, María Gertrudis, as his own and claimed the other children as orphans. At the time of the census, a total of fourteen people lived in the household, including the Veramendi boys—fourteen-year-old José, eleven-year-old Juan, and nine-year-old Fernando. María Josefa Vicenta would have been ten years old and was not listed on the San Antonio census; her whereabouts are unknown. Also living at the home were José Granados, the twenty-seven-year-old brother of Doña María Josefa; María Anttonia, a seventeen-year-old servant; María Guadalupe Rodríguez, a widow with her two children, José Xavier Vriegas and Raphael, lobos (of black and Amerindian ancestry); a seventeen-year-old María Navarro; an eight-year-old Indian girl named María Carmen de Ramos; a twenty-two-year-old loba (black and Amerindian ancestry) Juana Hernández; and Juan José Gonzalez, a twenty-four-year-old coyote (mestizo and Amerindian ancestry).
María Josefa’s sons would grow up to become important figures in the political arena of San Antonio and Coahuila. As a businesswoman and a descendant of a Canary Islander family, María Josefa lived a short but lavish life.
The Handbook of Texas Women project has its own dedicated website and resources.
Teresa Palomo Acosta and Ruthe Winegarten, Las Tejanas: 300 Years of History (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003). Bexar Archives, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). Jesús F. de la Teja, ed., Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2010). Steve Gibson, “The Granado Family from Lanzarote Island,” Canary Islanders, Béxar Genealogy (http://bexargenealogy.com/islanders/granado.html), accessed February 4, 2015. John D. Inclan, comp., “The Descendants of Don Martin de Veramendi and Dona Benita de Olagrie” (http://www.somosprimos.com/inclan/veramendi.htm), accessed February 4, 2015. Year of 1790 General Census of San Fernando de Béxar (http://www.cah.utexas.edu/db/dmr/pdf/e_bx_009180.pdf), accessed February 4, 2015.
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