La Quinta (1813)


By: Amy Porter

Type: General Entry

Published: May 2, 2022

Updated: May 2, 2022


La Quinta was the name of the building that the Spanish army used to imprison women in the villa of San Fernando de Béxar in 1813. Spanish troops led by Gen. Joaquín de Arredondo confined women, primarily widows and daughters of men who Arredondo suspected to be rebels. This imprisonment took place in the aftermath of the battle of Medina, which occurred on August 18, 1813, and pitted the Republican Army of the Gutierréz-Magee expedition against Spanish Royalist forces. After this bloody battle, the victorious Arredondo ordered his men to imprison the women in la Quinta. José Antonio Navarro late in his life noted that la Quinta was located where the post office stood on Quinta Street. More precisely, la Quinta was located on the southeast corner of modern-day Dwyer Avenue and Dolorosa Street in San Antonio, Texas. Prior to the battle of Medina, la Quinta was the Curbelo house, owned by Juan Curbelo’s son, José (or Joseph). The term la quinta usually referred to a building in a rural community or on a rural estate.

Spanish soldiers detained approximately 500 women there. The soldiers made the women prepare thousands of tortillas daily, which meant processing twenty-four bushels of corn each day. In addition, the soldiers mistreated the women with verbal, physical, and sexual assaults. The Spanish soldiers did not permit the women to bring their children with them, so these children had to struggle on their own. The Spanish troops held the women at la Quinta for approximately two to four months. One account states that an angry mob formed and demanded the women’s release. As a result, the Spanish troops freed the women.

Although the names of most of the women held at la Quinta are not known, sources note that Juana Leal de Tarín, Concepción (Consolación) Leal de (la) Garza, and Josefa Arocha were among the women in la Quinta. All three were granddaughters of Simon de Arocha, and Juana and Concepción were the daughters of Joaquin Leal. José María de Jesús Carvajal’s mother Gertrúdis Carvajal (also spelled Carbajal) was also imprisoned in la Quinta. Carvajal was one of the young children left to fend for himself during his mother’s confinement.

In the aftermath of the battle of Medina, Arredondo ordered martial law and restricted the Bexareños in many ways. Some Bexareños fled the villa and headed toward Louisiana. Arredondo sent Ignacio Elizondo after these refugees. Some of the refugees escaped to Louisiana, but the Spanish soldiers captured others. The soldiers made the women captives bathe nude in the Trinity River, then they brought the prisoners back to Béxar and imprisoned these women in la Quinta as well. Important Tejanos such as José Antonio Navarro and José María de Jesús Carvajal chronicled the harsh memories of the battle of Medina and the women’s experiences at la Quinta in writings and interviews which appeared in newspapers and later publications. See also CANARY ISLANDERS and TEXAS IN THE AGE OF MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE.

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Charles Merritt Barnes, Combats and Conquests of Immortal Heroes: Sung in Song and Told in Story (San Antonio: Guessaz & Ferlet Company, 1910). Joseph E. Chance, Jose María De Jesús Carvajal: The Life and Times of a Mexican Revolutionary (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2006). Bradley Folsom, Arredondo: Last Spanish Ruler of Texas and Northeastern New Spain (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2017). José Antonio Navarro, Defending Mexican Valor in Texas: José Antonio Navarro’s Historical Writings, 1852–1857, David R. McDonald and Timothy M. Matovina, eds. (Austin: State House Press, 1995).

Categories:
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Prisons and Correctional Facilities
  • Rebellions, Raids, and Wars
  • Military
  • Politics and Government
  • Women
Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas
Places:
  • Central Texas
  • San Antonio

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

Amy Porter, “La Quinta (1813),” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/la-quinta-1813.

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May 2, 2022
May 2, 2022

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