Veramendi, Juan Martín de (1778–1833)

By: Jesús "Frank" de la Teja

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 26, 2020


Juan Martín del Carmen de Veramendi (Beramendi), businessman, public figure, and governor of Coahuila and Texas, was born in San Fernando de Béxar (San Antonio) on December 17, 1778, the son of Spaniard Fernando and Canary Islands descendant María Josefa Granados. He married Josefa Navarro; they became the parents of seven children. Veramendi entered public life at the turn of the nineteenth century, following his father into mercantile activities and public service. His first public service was as síndico procurador (municipal attorney) in 1808. Along with his merchant business, he also owned farmland and operated a stock ranch on the eve of the Mexican War of Independence. Although he sided with Juan Manuel Zambrano and the loyalist group that overthrew Juan Bautista de las Casas in March 1811, he subsequently became associated with the insurgent side during the Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition, although he apparently spent most of the period in Natchitoches, Louisiana. He managed to obtain the confidence of Commandant General Joaquín de Arredondo, and in spring 1814 returned to San Antonio with orders for the return of his property, which had been confiscated by the royalists when they recovered San Antonio following the battle of Medina. Veramendi soon resumed his commercial activities, including flirting with contraband trade across the border in Louisiana. He also resumed public service on the city council beginning in 1820. Veramendi and Erasmo Seguín met Stephen F. Austin at Natchitoches, Louisiana, on June 21, 1821, and accompanied him to Bexar. In 1822–23 Veramendi served as collector of foreign revenue. In 1823 Veramendi obtained a grant of five leagues of land from the ayuntamiento, but when he discovered that the land lay within Green DeWitt's colony, he petitioned for a grant under the colonization law of March 24, 1825, so that he would not be classified as a colonist of the empresario DeWitt. After he renewed his petition for land around 1827, he received a grant of eleven leagues. Veramendi was first alcalde of Bexar in 1824 and 1825 and in 1827 was elected an alternate deputy to the state legislature. He was elected vice governor of Coahuila and Texas on September 6, 1830, and was confirmed by the legislature on January 4, 1831, but remained in Texas to continue his commercial activities. That same year, his daughter Ursula María, married James Bowie. Bowie and Veramendi formed a partnership to establish cotton mills in Saltillo and fur trapping, although neither plan came to fruition.  When governor José María Letona died less than two years into his term of office, Veramendi was called to Saltillo to serve on an interim capacity. He and his family arrived at the end of 1832, a period of rising political tensions. During his term, an anti-Saltillo group of legislators from Texas, Parras, and Monclova managed to pass legislation moving the state capital from Saltillo to the Monclova. After the transfer, Veramendi’s efforts increasingly turned to the growing cholera epidemic sweeping through the state. Juan Martín del Carmen de Veramendi, his wife Josefa, and daughter Ursula all succumbed to the disease in September 1833. News of his death on September 7, arrived in San Antonio three weeks later, where he left an estate of over 30,000 to his remaining children.

Vito Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas en la época colonial (Mexico City: Editorial Cultura, 1938; 2d ed., Mexico City: Editorial Porrúa, 1978). Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Nettie Lee Benson, The Provincial Deputation in Mexico (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992).  David R. McDonald, “Juan Martín de Veramendi: Tejano Political and Business Leader,” in Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas, ed. Jesús F. de la Teja (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2010).

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas

Places:

  • Central Texas
  • San Antonio

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

Jesús "Frank" de la Teja, “Veramendi, Juan Martín de,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 17, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/veramendi-juan-martin-de.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

1952
November 26, 2020

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects:

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