Madero, José Francisco (unknown–1833)

By: Jesús "Frank" de la Teja

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 6, 2020

Francisco Madero, Mexican surveyor and land commissioner responsible for organizing the Liberty Municipality, was born in what is now the state of Chihuahua into a family with substantial agricultural interests. He attended the School of Mines in Mexico City at the turn of the nineteenth century, where he obtained the title of surveyor. He returned to the Chihuahua City area, practiced his craft, and made a number of business trips to New Mexico, before moving to Coahuila sometime after 1815. In 1814 he married Rosa Molinar, who died the following year after giving birth to a daughter. In 1824 he married Victoriana Elizondo, with whom he had four children, one of whom, Evaristo, became governor of Coahuila and was the grandfather of Mexican president Francisco I. Madero. Although he took an interest in Texas lands early in the 1820s while on a business trip to New Orleans, Madero became involved in the area only at the end of the decade. On September 27, 1830, José María Viesca, governor of Coahuila and Texas, appointed Madero general land commissioner of Texas, to succeed Juan Antonio Padilla. Madero was to issue titles to qualified settlers outside the empresario grants. He arrived in San Felipe de Austin in January 1831 and soon ran into opposition from the federal military commander at Anahuac, John Davis Bradburn. As a Federalist, Madero tried to assert the state's right to issue land titles within the ten-league coastal reserve allotted by the national government to settlers whose grants had been previously approved by the federal executive. Bradburn, citing the Law of April 6, 1830, denied Madero's authority to issue any such titles. Although Bradburn arrested both Madero and his surveyor, José María Carbajal, they were soon released and allowed to continue their work. Between March 2 and May 12, 1831, Madero issued sixty land titles, mostly along the lower Trinity River, and formally organized the town of Liberty, which was located within the coastal reserve. Ordered by the jefe político to suspend his activities until a final determination could be made regarding federal-state jurisdiction, Madero left Liberty in mid-May and returned to Coahuila. José Antonio Navarro was named to issue titles in his place. Madero again became involved in Texas in 1833. After the Convention of 1833, he was enlisted by state authorities to persuade the East Texas settlers to work for peaceful change. His activities were cut short by his death on September 26, 1833, a victim of that year's cholera epidemic.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Enciclopedia de México (Mexico City: Instituto de la Enciclopedia de México, 1966-). Hardin Papers, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Liberty, Texas. Margaret S. Henson, Juan Davis Bradburn: A Reappraisal of the Mexican Commander of Anahuac (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1982). Spanish Collection, Texas General Land Office, Austin. José Vasconcelos, Don Evaristo Madero: biografía de un patricio (Mexico City: Impresiones Modernas, 1958).

Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas

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

Jesús "Frank" de la Teja, “Madero, José Francisco,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 21, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 6, 2020

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