Manuel Tarín, Tejano soldier, was born in San Antonio de Béxar on July 24, 1811, the oldest son of Vizente Tarín, an officer in the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras (Álamo de Parras Company), and Juana Isidora Leal, daughter of Joaquín Leal. He was baptized two days later by the military chaplain at the Valero mission. The Tarín family lived in a simple jacal near the mission's compound. In April 1813 Manuel's father resigned his command to join the invasion forces of the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition. After the rebels' subsequent defeat at the battle of Medina, he fled to Natchitoches, leaving his family behind. When Spanish General Joaquín de Arredondo's troops recaptured the Texas capital, the family's property was confiscated, leaving them destitute. The female members of the insurgents' families, including Manuel's mother, were imprisoned and subjected to the cruelest of conditions for nearly two months. After her release, she and Manuel found refuge with Father José Darío Zambrano, the parish priest of San Fernando Church. Zambrano was a known royalist but was also Manuel's godfather. By 1814, a conditional pardon was issued to the insurgents. Although this restored some of the property that had been confiscated, Manuel's father defied the pardon, forcing the family to remain in the care of the priest for many years.
Manuel became a private in the reorganized Álamo de Parras Company, serving under Lt. Col. José Francisco Ruiz by 1830. That year the Álamo de Parras Company was ordered to build and occupy Fort Tenoxtitlán, a remote frontier garrison on the Brazos River. Over a two-year period sporadic payroll shipments, isolation, and eventually starvation prompted numerous desertions from the post. Tarín deserted twice and each time was arrested and restored to duty with little more than a reprimand. He returned to San Antonio with the Álamo Company in September 1832. His continued discontent with the Mexican military was further demonstrated in the spring of 1833, when he was apprehended with his brother, José Vizente Tarín, and another accomplice attempting to steal guns from the Álamo arsenal. Tarín, like many other Tejano dissidents, ultimately aligned himself with the growing Texas army. He participated in the siege of Bexar in 1835 under Stephen F. Austin's command. By February 22, 1836, he had mustered into Juan N. Seguín's company of Tejanos. Although he was present with Seguín at San Jacinto, illness prevented him from participating in the final battle. He served for the duration of the war and left the army in the rank of corporal in July 1837. For his participation in the revolution, he received several hundred acres in bounty warrants and donation land grants. Manuel married María Luisa Cásares by 1846; they had at least two children. He died sometime after 1849.