Ruiz, Marcos (ca. 1701–unknown)

By: John G. Johnson

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1995

Updated: February 2, 2019

On September 20, 1754, Marcos Ruiz, a lieutenant in the Spanish army, was ordered by Governor Jacinto Barrios y Jáuregui to proceed to the mouth of the Trinity River and investigate a rumor that four Frenchmen and two Spaniards were illegally trading there. Accompanied by twenty-five soldiers and members of the Bidai and Orcoquisac Indian groups, on October 10 Ruiz found and captured Joseph Blancpain, Elias George, Antonio Dessars, and two black slaves, taking them to San Xavier. Ruiz claimed that he distributed all the trade goods captured to the Bidais and Orcoquisacs, but Blancpain later claimed that Ruiz seized ten times the goods distributed. In September 1755 Ruiz was sent to Mexico with a report on plans for settlement on the lower Trinity. While in Mexico, on February 29, 1756, he was appointed lieutenant commander of a proposed presidio, San Agustín de Ahumada, and ordered to recruit thirty men on his way back to Texas. When he was able to recruit only fifteen men, Barrios provided him with sixteen more, and on May 27, 1756, Ruiz formally occupied a place near the site of present Wallisville in Chambers County. The spot became known as El Orcoquisac. In August 1756 Ruiz served on a commission appointed by Barrios and headed by Bernardo de Miranda y Flores to locate a site for civilian settlement for fifty families. They recommended Los Ojos de Santa Rosa del Alcazar twenty leagues from the gulf. In April 1758 Ruiz and Barrios explored a new proposed site at El Atascoso. On March 10, 1759, Governor Ángel de Martos y Navarrete received orders to take charge of Los Adaes and hold a residencia on Barrios. Barrios appointed Ruiz and Ignacio de Zapeda to represent him in these proceedings, as he had to leave for Coahuila. Ruiz was also included in the residencia, which was held in January 1760 and was favorable. In 1764, following the desertion of most soldiers at San Agustín, Martos appointed Ruiz to temporary command with orders to restore peace among the soldiers and compel the Indians to attend prayers and get settled in the mission. Ruiz arrived on October 7 to arrest the commander, Capt. Rafael Martínez Pacheco, and found San Agustín deserted except for Martínez and four soldiers. Martínez refused to surrender and with the four men barricaded himself in the presidio. On October 11 Ruiz decided to burn him out, but Martínez escaped, for a while living openly in San Antonio, then escaping to Mexico. On November 2, 1765, Ruiz was arrested for burning Martínez's house and the presidio. In late 1769 Martínez was reinstated, and Martos was eventually fined heavily for the destruction of the presidio. The fate of Ruiz after the arrest is unknown.

Bexar Archives, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Elise Denison Brown, History of Spanish Establishments at Orcoquisac, 1745–1772 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1909). Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). John V. Clay, Spain, Mexico and the Lower Trinity: An Early History of the Texas Gulf Coast (Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1987). Charles W. Hackett, ed., Pichardo's Treatise on the Limits of Louisiana and Texas (4 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1931–46). Velma Hill Pridgen, Administration of Don Jacinto de Barrios y Jáuregui as Governor of Texas, 1751–1759 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1933).


  • Exploration
  • Explorers (Spanish)

Time Periods:

  • Spanish Texas

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

John G. Johnson, “Ruiz, Marcos,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 26, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1995
February 2, 2019

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: