Agustín Salinas, Sr., a prominent Laredo political figure and descendant of one of Laredo’s oldest families, was born in Laredo, Texas, about 1837. By the age of twenty-three, Salinas, a merchant, was living near Laredo’s main plaza. During his life, he also owned a large amount of land in the area and engaged in cattle ranching. His extensive political career began in 1862 when he was elected county commissioner for Webb County. He was reelected two years later. As he gained popularity among the citizens of Laredo, Salinas decided to run for mayor in 1866. He won with a majority of votes and was in office from 1866 to 1867 and also served as mayor from 1869 to 1873. During his tenure, city council meetings became very heated, and tensions ran high due to political unrest in the city. In an attempt to quell disputes, Mayor Salinas appointed an extra police force. However, this was merely a tactic used by Salinas to intimidate his political opponents, rather than to maintain peace in the city.
Before the international bridges were built, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo depended on ferry service to move goods back and forth between the two cities. Raymond Martin, an entrepreneur and political figure, founded the Laredo Ferry Company and cut rates in order to monopolize the ferry business. Salinas, along with Cayetano de la Garza, though both Martin supporters, complained about Martin’s endeavors to the city council; they were owners of the ferry franchise in Laredo and did not want Martin to monopolize the industry.
In 1876 Salinas was elected, reportedly as an Independent, to the Texas House of Representatives for the newly-created District 76, which included Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, and Zapata counties. He was elected in February 1876 but never actually served in the office. In April 1876 he resigned before being sworn in and recorded in the House Journal, “I regret that I have to notify you that the state of my health is such as to forbid my assuming the responsibilities of the position, and I therefore respectfully notify you that I shall not qualify as such Representative, and do now resign….” The date of his death is not known. A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas reported that Salinas had a son, Agustín Jr., who also became prominent in Laredo politics and later held the office of city marshal.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.
Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Augustin Salinas (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=4638&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=salinas~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed August 17, 2016. Jerry D. Thompson, Warm Weather and Bad Whiskey: The 1886 Laredo Election Riot (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1991). A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas ( 2 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1907).
Politics and Government
Ranching and Cowboys
Landowners and Land Developers
Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Lilia R. Mora,
“Salinas, Agustín, Sr.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
August 18, 2016
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: