The elder Ángel Navarro, a leading citizen and merchant of Spanish Texas, was born about 1748 in Ajaccio, Corsica, and grew up during the Corsican revolution against Genoan rule. In 1762 he ran away from home, began working as a servant in various Mediterranean ports, and traveling eventually from Genoa to Barcelona and Cádiz, where he took passage on a ship to colonial Mexico. After arriving in 1769, he was employed by Juan Antonio Agustín and worked for him eight years in the silver mines of Vallecillo, about sixty miles south of Laredo, Texas. In 1777, his employment with Agustín ended, Navarro moved to San Antonio to work for himself as a merchant. In 1783 he married María Josefa Ruiz y Peña, a sister of José Francisco Ruiz, who held the same political beliefs as the Navarros. Navarro built a house and a store on the corner of Presidio (now Commerce) and North Flores, facing the busy public market. According to his son Antonio, Navarro "by means of commerce was able to maintain the family in good circumstances and educate his children." Ángel Navarro also set an example of civic duty that was followed by his sons. He served in various public offices from the time he became the town's first elected alcalde in 1790 until the year before his death, when he was again alcalde. He died on October 31, 1808, and was the first person buried in the new cemetery for which he had donated funds the year before. Of his twelve children, six survived him—four sons, José Ángel, Antonio, Eugenio, and Luciano Navarro, and two daughters, María Antonia and María Josefa. Josefa later married Juan Martín Veramendi, and their daughter Ursula married James Bowie.
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Eugene C. Barker, "Native Latin American Contributions to the Colonization and Independence of Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 46 (April 1943). Bexar Archives, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Biography of José Antonio Navarro (Houston: Telegram Steam Printing House, 1876; rpt., Austin: Hart Graphics, 1976). Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). Joseph M. Dawson, José Antonio Navarro, Co-Creator of Texas (Waco: Baylor University Press, 1964). Charles Adams Gulick, Jr., Harriet Smither, et al., eds., The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (6 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1920–27; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1968). José María Rodríguez, Rodríguez's Memoirs of Early Texas (San Antonio, 1913; 2d ed. 1961).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 26, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
May 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
March 9, 2019