Navarro, José Luciano (1800–1869)

By: Camilla Campbell

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1995

Updated: August 3, 2020

Luciano Navarro, a prominent Tejano citizen of early San Antonio, the third son of María Josefa (Ruiz) and Ángel Navarro, was born on June 23, 1800, in San Antonio de Béxar. He was known as a jeweler and silversmith and was also active with his brothers José Ángel , Antonio, and José Eugenio Navarro in the mercantile business founded by their father. Luciano and Eugenio did most of the traveling to sell and buy goods in Chihuahua, Durango, and Zacatecas. Although not as interested in politics as his older brothers, he served on the board of health during the 1834 cholera epidemic and as a judge from June 1834 to December 1835. During his term he corresponded with the secretary of the Supreme Court and with state officers in Monclova. Col. Domingo de Ugartechea, commandant of Texas, quartered his cavalry in Bexar in December 1834. In October 1835 Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos arrived with 800 soldiers. The revolutionary army defeated Ugartechea's troops in the battle at Gonzales in early December, captured Bexar, and ran Antonio López de Santa Anna's Centralist army out of Texas. When the volunteers who remained in town and set up headquarters in the Alamo ran out of supplies and money, Navarro offered them goods and groceries from the family store and beef from the Navarro ranches. In March 1836, after the Alamo fell, Santa Anna gave Luciano the duty of sending to Gonzales a letter calling on all Mexicans to "come forward and present themselves to the President to receive their pardons." The Navarro family and others fled to east Texas and Louisiana until after the battle of San Jacinto. On February 16, 1837, through arrangements by attorney Samuel A. Maverick, Luciano obtained land in San Antonio from the estate of Gaspar Flores de Abrego. The 1840 census lists him as owning 7,326 acres, six town lots, and a gold watch.

Navarro married Teodora Sánchez de Carbajal on April 11, 1823. Through his wife's brother, José María Jesús Carbajal, he became involved with Mexican Federalist forces in 1838–40, when they attempted to gain independence for the northern states of Mexico and form the "Republic of the Rio Grande." Navarro was Carbajal's connection to Texas president Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar. In a letter to the president of August 9, 1839, he signed himself "Gen. L. Navarro." When his mother-in-law, Gertrudis de Carbajal, died, Navarro was named administrator of her estate. Luciano and Teodora Navarro had seven children. The eldest, Angela, married William Gordon Cooke, who had marched to Texas with the New Orleans Greys. Navarro died at his home on Cibolo Creek in Karnes County on June 21, 1869, and was buried in San Antonio.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Bexar Archives, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Navarro Family Documents, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio. San Antonio Daily Herald, June 27, 1869. San Antonio Express, November 1, 1877. Amelia W. Williams, A Critical Study of the Siege of the Alamo and of the Personnel of Its Defenders (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1931; rpt., Southwestern Historical Quarterly 36–37 [April 1933-April 1934]). Louis J. Wortham, A History of Texas (5 vols., Fort Worth: Wortham-Molyneaux, 1924).

  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas

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

Camilla Campbell, “Navarro, José Luciano,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1995
August 3, 2020

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