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Tovar, Francisco (unknown–unknown)

Robert H. Thonhoff Biography

Francisco Tovar (Tobar, Thobar, or Thovar) was captain of La Bahía del Espíritu Santo Presidio from 1767 to 1772. He was successor to Manuel Ramírez de la Piscina, who had died on July 25, 1767. Tovar took possession of the office on December 3, 1767. His administration was marked by the Britain incident. The Britain had been chartered on December 12, 1768, to carry thirty-four Acadians and forty German Catholics to New Orleans. The ship was unseaworthy, and the captain incompetent. The captain passed the mouth of the Mississippi and continued to sail in a southwesterly direction, finally landing on Matagorda peninsula in April 1769, sending out two search parties. Bad weather forced the ship to sea for two weeks. Upon its return it found one of the search parties with Spanish soldiers. The owner and some of the passengers went with the soldiers to La Bahía, where Tovar sent supplies to those still at the landing. Shortly afterwards all of the passengers were brought to La Bahía. They were treated well, and the captain and owner were allowed to store their cargo in a warehouse. No one was allowed to leave until Tovar's reports reached Mexico City and a reply reached him. When the Spanish government allowed the refugees to leave they found that the ship's rigging had been stored so poorly that the ship was not seaworthy. Tovar sent them overland with guides to Natchitoches. Later, the owner claimed his cargo had been confiscated, but it was proven that he had sold it at La Bahía. Tovar was unpopular with soldiers and priests, who complained of his abusive manner. Governor Juan María de Ripperdá was petitioned in 1771 to remove Captain Tovar, who asked to be relieved of his command for health reasons. His resignation was accepted on April 28, 1772, by his superiors, and Luis Cazorla was assigned as his successor.

Bexar County Archives, San Antonio. Carl A. Brasseaux and Richard Chandler, "The Britain Incident, 1769–1770: Anglo-Hispanic Tensions in the Western Gulf," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 87 (April 1984). William H. Oberste, Remember Goliad (1949). Kathryn Stoner O'Connor, The Presidio La Bahía del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga, 1721 to 1846 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1966). Robert S. Weddle and Robert H. Thonhoff, Drama and Conflict: The Texas Saga of 1776 (Austin: Madrona, 1976).

Time Periods:

  • Spanish Texas

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

Robert H. Thonhoff, “Tovar, Francisco,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 01, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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