José Antonio Menchaca, Tejano army officer, was born in San Antonio in January 1800, the son of Juan Mariano and María Luz (Guerra) Menchaca. He married Teresa Ramón in 1826, and they had four children. Menchaca was not in San Antonio during the siege of Bexar, but returned shortly after Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos was forced to leave. In February 1836 he left for Gonzales, where he joined Juan N. Seguín's company of Texas Mexicans and fought in the battle of San Jacinto. After the revolution he returned to San Antonio, served several terms as alderman, and became mayor pro tem in July 1838. In July 1842 Menchaca was appointed to command a frontier company. His troops patrolled the area between the San Antonio River and the Rio Grande. When Adrián Woll led a Mexican army into Texas in September 1842, Menchaca participated in the defense of San Antonio and was wounded in the leg. In February 1844 Sam Houston appointed him an Indian escort. Menchaca helped organize a club of Texas Mexicans in support of Horace Greeley, the presidential candidate of the Liberal Republicans and Democrats in 1872. Along with eighteen other Bexar residents of Mexican descent, Menchaca wrote a letter in 1875 to the comptroller of public accounts claiming discrimination by the Texas government against Hispanic veterans of the revolution. Menchaca was a member of the Holland Lodge, the oldest chapter of the Masonic order in San Antonio. He died on November 1, 1879, and was buried in the San Fernando Cemetery No. 1 in San Antonio. In 1936 the Centennial Commission erected a marker at his grave. It has been asserted by residents of the town of Manchaca in Travis County that their village was named for the nearby Manchaca Springs, which were named for Jose Antonio Menchaca.
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Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). James M. Day, ed., "Texas Letters and Documents," Texana 5 (Spring 1967). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Rena Maverick Green, ed., Samuel Maverick, Texan (San Antonio, 1952). Antonio Menchaca, Memoirs (San Antonio: Yanaguana Society, 1937). Philip Ortega y Gasca and Arnoldo De León, The Tejano Yearbook, 1519–1978 (San Antonio: Caravel, 1978). San Antonio Express, November 2, 1879. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
George O. Coalson,
“Menchaca, José Antonio [1800–79],”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 12, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
August 2, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: