Urrutia, José de (ca. 1678–1741)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 12, 2020

José (Joseph, Josef) de Urrutia was born in Guipúzcoa, Spain, about 1678. He came to America before 1691, when, as a member of the Domingo Terán de los Ríos expedition, he was left at the garrison established near the Neches River. When the soldiers withdrew in 1693, Urrutia met with an accident on the Colorado River and was forced to remain among the Indians. He was one of four soldiers who remained in East Texas at this time. He lived with the Kanohatinos, Tohos, and Xarames for seven years, was made "captain general" of all the nations hostile to the Apaches, and conducted several extensive campaigns against the Apaches. He rejoined his countrymen shortly after the founding of San Juan Bautista Mission in 1700. By July 23, 1733, when Urrutia was made captain of San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, he had forty years' experience with the Indians in Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Texas and was probably the best informed of all Spaniards on Indian affairs in Texas. In the winter of 1739 he led a campaign against the Apaches in the San Saba region; he apparently reached the same point that Juan Antonio Bustillo y Ceballos had reached in his Apache campaign of 1732. Urrutia's first wife was Antonia Ramón; they had one daughter, Antonia, who married Joseph Antonio Menchaca (also known as Franscisco Menchaca). Urrutia later married Rosa Flores y Valdez; they had four daughters and six sons, including Toribio de Urrutia, who succeeded him as captain of the Bexar presidio. Urrutia died on July 16, 1741.

Bexar Archives, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). William Edward Dunn, "Apache Relations in Texas, 1718–1750," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 14 (January 1911). Robert S. Weddle, "San Juan Bautista: Mother of Texas Missions," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 71 (April 1968). Elizabeth Howard West, trans., "Bonilla's Brief Compendium of the History of Texas, 1772," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 8 (July 1904).

  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Military
  • Soldiers
Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas

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

Anonymous, “Urrutia, José de,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/urrutia-jose-de.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 12, 2020

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