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Urrutia, Toribio de (ca. 1710–1763)

Donald E. Chipman Biography Entry

Toribio de Urrutia, military commander, was the fifth child of José de Urrutia and Rosa Flores y Valdez of Saltillo. He was probably born at San Juan Bautista around 1710. He married Josefa Flores Valdez; they had no children. In 1740 he succeeded his father as captain of San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, and in 1743 he was justicia mayor of San Antonio. In 1745 Urrutia, in command of some fifty Spaniards and accompanied by Father Benito Fernández de Santa Ana, led a punitive campaign against the Apaches. The entrada may have penetrated as far as the San Saba River. In a clash with Lipans and other Apaches, Urrutia defeated the Indians and took a number of them captive. His actions, however, were severely criticized by Father Santa Ana, who viewed the entire military undertaking a little more than a slave-catching expedition. In the late 1740s and early 1750s Urrutia was often caught in the crossfire of controversy that surrounded the establishment of missions and a presidio on the San Gabriel River. When Father Mariano Francisco de los Dolores y Viana asked for additional troops to shore up the defenses of San Francisco Xavier Mission in 1748, Urrutia supported that request in a written communication to Governor Pedro de Barrio Junco y Espriella. For his efforts, he was caustically reminded that the king needed his sword more than his pen. And at the time of the murders of Juan José Ceballos and Father Juan José de Ganzabal in 1751, it was Urrutia who investigated the matter at San Antonio. His independent inquiry cast serious doubts on the innocence of Capt. Felipe de Rábago y Terán. Urrutia remained at his post as late as 1762. He died on June 26, 1763. In 1778 his widow received a royal grant near her home on San Pedro Creek.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). Donald E. Chipman, Spanish Texas, 1519–1821 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992).

Time Periods:

  • Spanish Texas

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

Donald E. Chipman, “Urrutia, Toribio de,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 20, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: