Juan Antonio Padilla, an official of the government of Coahuila and Texas and a supporter of Anglo-American colonization, served in the General Council at the beginning of the Texas Revolution. Little is known of his life. He was married and had at least one son and one daughter who survived to adulthood. Padilla moved to Texas soon after 1810 as an officer in a cavalry company stationed at San Antonio. He later served as secretary to the commandant general of the eastern Provincias Internas. At the end of 1819 he made a report on Texas Indian tribes, upon which Jean Louis Berlandier based his ethnographic sketches. After Mexican independence Padilla served on the provincial deputation that met at Monclova in 1822, and from 1825 to 1828 he served as secretary of state of Coahuila and Texas.
When he was appointed general land commissioner for the state in August 1828, Padilla was already familiar with Texas problems. As a friend of Stephen F. Austin and an advocate of Anglo-American colonization, he represented Austin individually and the settlers in general on such issues as slavery and the homestead law. His mission in Texas was short-lived, however, for after issuing only three titles Padilla was arrested for murder and fraud and his citizenship was suspended, on April 26, 1830. The charges may have been politically motivated, since his Federalist leanings produced many enemies. After he was found innocent and his arrest was lifted in 1832, he spent some time at San Antonio. In April 1834 he returned to Monclova, then the state capital, where he soon managed to have his citizenship restored. At the end of May he resumed the post of secretary of state.
Padilla's disaffection from the national and state governments grew during 1835. The outbreak of rebellion late that year afforded him an opportunity to return to Texas, where he joined George M. Collinsworth's company and participated in the capture of Victoria. Shortly thereafter he was elected to the Consultation, but did not arrive in time to participate. He did serve in the General Council as a representative from Victoria through December 1835. Nothing is known of Padilla's subsequent activities except that he died in Houston on August 6, 1839, while on a business trip.