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Músquiz, Ramón (1797–1867)

Jesús F. de la Teja Biography Entry

Ramón Músquiz, merchant and political figure, son of Miguel Francisco Músquiz, a military officer, and Catarina Gonzales, was born in 1797 in the presidio settlement of Santa Rosa, now Santa Rosa de Múzquiz, Coahuila. He married Francisca Castañeda, daughter of Lt. Col. Juan de Castañeda and Josefa Fernández, in San Antonio on December 16, 1823, and they had at least eight children between 1825 and 1847. Músquiz's first contacts with Texas were as postmaster of Monclova, Coahuila, Mexico, a position he held at the end of the Spanish Texas period. Along with his official contacts, his father's brief service as military commander at Nacogdoches at the turn of the century must have given Músquiz a sense of business opportunities on the Texas frontier, for he undertook a series of business trips through the province in the early 1820s. By the end of 1823 he had established himself in San Antonio, where he operated a store and became involved in local political affairs. From July 1825 until August 1827 he served as secretary to the political chief. Appointed by the governor of Coahuila and Texas to serve as political chief of the Department of Texas beginning in January 1828, Músquiz held the position until July 7, 1834, when he resigned, citing health reasons. During his tenure as political chief, Músquiz lobbied in favor of Anglo-American colonists (see ANGLO-AMERICAN COLONIZATION), particularly in regard to slavery, Indian depredations, and contraband trade. He also attempted to mediate disputes between the colonists and state and national authorities, although he disapproved of the extralegal convention held at San Felipe in October 1832 and became distrustful of the Anglo-Americans' intentions. Despite his retirement as political chief, Músquiz remained involved in public affairs, balancing his Federalist political leanings with a strong loyalty to Mexico. In 1835 he was elected vice governor on the same ticket that the Federalist Agustín Viesca was elected governor, probably because he was acceptable to conservatives. After Viesca's arrest and the annulment of his election by the national congress in the early summer of 1835, an effort was made to name Músquiz governor, but General Martín Perfecto de Cos also considered his election void and Músquiz never assumed office. Likewise, a sizeable portion of the Anglo American population approved of his assumption of power as governor of Texas but he declined the offer. Unlike Viesca and other Federalists, Músquiz had not fallen out of favor and Cos considered him eligible for reappointment as political chief. His continued loyalty to Mexico and status as an honest broker were further demonstrated in December 1835, when Cos appointed him to assist in the negotiations between the Mexican army and the Texans at the siege of Bexar. Following Cos’s retreat, Músquiz remained in San Antonio and was present at the fall of the Alamo and assisted in identifying the bodies of the defenders.

In May 1836 Músquiz departed Texas for Monclova, where he lived out his life. Family connections allowed him to quickly engage in local politics in the Monclova area. He served as prefect of the Monclova district in 1837 and again in 1853 and as vice governor of Coahuila in 1849. Músquiz returned to Texas briefly in the late 1840s to reclaim lands abandoned upon his departure, including a house at the northeast corner of San Antonio’s main plaza that Erastus “Deaf” Smith claimed by virtue of an act of the Texas Congress. He died in Monclova on November 27, 1867.

Jesús F. de la Teja, ed., Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2010). Family Search, "México bautismos, 1560-1950," (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NRKF-BGM), accessed February 20, 2018. Vito Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas desde la consumación de la independencia hasta el Tratado de Paz de Guadalupe Hidalgo (2 vols., Mexico City, 1945–46; 2d ed., Mexico City: Porrúa, 1979). Eugene C. Barker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1925; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1949; New York: AMS Press, 1970). Bexar Archives, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976).

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas

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

Jesús F. de la Teja, “Músquiz, Ramón,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 20, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/musquiz-ramon.

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