José Antonio Vásquez was a Mexican public official in Goliad Municipality and a participant in the movement to establish a state government in Texas separate from Coahuila. He appears to have had a long military career in the Spanish royal army and was probably the sergeant serving with the presidial garrison at La Bahía whom Antonio María Martínez, governor of Coahuila and Texas, accused in June 1818 of abusing an invalid corporal. The commandant general, however, ordered Vásquez transferred to the office of subinspector in Coahuila and suspended the charges. He was ordered to the garrison at Bexar in October and by the following March managed to have another complaint filed against him, this time by Capt. Juan de Castañeda. He may be the officer at La Bahía named J. Antonio Vásquez, who studied for holy orders and was the pastor there in 1829–30. José Antonio Vásquez was alcalde of La Bahía in 1830, when he led a party of twenty armed men to prevent Comanches encamped near the town from burning to death a Lipan prisoner. Though the Comanche chief objected to Vásquez's claim of jurisdiction as alcalde, he was persuaded by the presence of the armed force to let his prisoner go. In August 1832 Vásquez was secretary to the meeting of the Goliad ayuntamiento, which declared support for separate statehood for Texas apart from Coahuila, but loyalty to the Constitution of 1824. He may have been one of the unnamed delegates from Goliad who attended the Convention of 1832 at San Felipe.
Vásquez was elected with Oliver Jones to represent Texas in the Coahuila and Texas state legislature during the 1834 feud between Saltillo and Monclova over which city should be the capital. In Monclova the two men, together with Thomas Jefferson Chambers, joined in an address of September 1, 1834, to the people of Texas describing the controversy and recommending that a convention be held at Bexar to organize if necessary a provisional government separate from Coahuila. Juan N. Seguín, the political chief at Bexar, approved this move and called for the meeting to be held on November 15, 1834. The move failed, however, when Texas colonists concerned about the well-being of Stephen F. Austin, then imprisoned in Mexico, refused to support the election of delegates. Vásquez then returned to Goliad and served as alcalde in 1834. In 1835 he was elected with Ramón Falcón as a delegate to the Consultation at San Felipe, but the occupation of Goliad by Mexican forces under Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cós prevented their attendance. After Texans under George M. Collinsworth recaptured Goliad, the General Council appointed Vásquez, Caleb Bennet, and Ramón Falcón commissioners to organize the civic militia of Goliad Municipality. Vásquez appears in neither the 1840 census of the Republic of Texas nor the 1850 United States census.
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Eugene C. Barker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1925; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1949; New York: AMS Press, 1970). Bexar Archives, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Hobart Huson, Captain Philip Dimmitt's Commandancy of Goliad, 1835–1836 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1974). John J. Linn, Reminiscences of Fifty Years in Texas (New York: Sadlier, 1883; 2d ed., Austin: Steck, 1935; rpt., Austin: State House, 1986). Kathryn Stoner O'Connor, The Presidio La Bahía del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga, 1721 to 1846 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1966). Virginia H. Taylor, trans. and ed., "Calendar of the Letters of Antonio Martínez, Last Spanish Governor of Texas, 1817–1822," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 59–61 (January 1956-October 1957).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Craig H. Roell,
“Vásquez, José Antonio,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 22, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
December 1, 1994
Most Recent Revision Date:
August 5, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: