Manuel Jesus Ximenez, Wilson County sheriff, son of Esteban Ximenez and Theresa Haby G'sell de la Garza, was born in Graytown, Texas, on December 25, 1857. At an early age he moved to Lodi, one of the oldest settlements in Wilson County. His early formal education was limited, and he was mostly self-educated. His public career began around 1880. Ximenez served as tax assessor and collector, county clerk, deputy sheriff, and United States marshal in Wilson County. In 1890, 1892, and 1898 he was elected sheriff of Wilson County. Ximenez was a sheriff cut in the traditional pattern of most country lawmen, but he was ahead of his time when it came to moral and social issues. Before being elected sheriff he had labored for a more humane jail for the prisoners, and by the end of 1887 the new jail was completed. He brought reform to the area when he abolished the practice of lynching in Wilson County, and he ensured continuity of his philosophy in the department by surrounding himself with competent people whom he trained and advised. At the turn of the century Ximenez joined in the capture of Gregorio Cortez Lira for the murder of sheriffs from Karnes and Gonzales counties. In 1898 he assisted Theodore Roosevelt in recruiting and training the First United States Volunteer Cavalry (the Rough Riders) in the San Antonio area prior to Roosevelt's departure to Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Years later Ximenez was a guest of President Roosevelt at the White House. As a civic leader, Ximenez contributed to the Floresville Academy and also succeeded in having the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway pass through Floresville. Ximenez's first marriage was to Serafina Jacoba Olivares; they had six children. After Serafina's death, he married Josefina O. Lopez on November 3, 1893; they had two sons and four daughters. Ximenez died on January 11, 1911, and was buried at the Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery in Floresville.
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Arnoldo De León, The Tejano Community, 1836–1900 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982). San Antonio Light, January 15, 1911. Louise Stadler, ed., Wilson County History (Dallas: Taylor, 1990).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Gloria X. Gregory,
“Ximenez, Manuel Jesus,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 1996
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