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LOPEZ DE XIMENES, JOSEFINA

LÓPEZ DE XIMENES, JOSEFINA (1865–1961). Josefina López de Ximenes, farmer and the first Mexican-American teacher in Wilson County, was born in Panna Maria, Texas, on April 25, 1865, to Benito and Caroline Opiela López. Her parents were immigrants from Mexico and Poland, respectively, and her father was a businessman in San Antonio and later in Panna Maria. Josefina attended area Catholic schools, where she was an excellent student. She graduated from the Floresville Academy and then taught there until her marriage in November 1893 to Manuel J. Ximenez, a deputy sheriff and United States deputy marshal in Wilson County. The couple had seven children. Josefina López de Ximenes became a teacher in Wilson County.

She was widowed in 1911 but was apparently able to provide for her family, probably as a farmer. She also ensured that they attend school, a difficult challenge for Texas Mexicans at that time. She successfully influenced them with her love of learning, for five of her children pursued teaching careers. She also encouraged the educational goals of her granddaughters, some of whom she raised. Evangelina Bazan, one of these, has recalled that López de Ximenes taught her to read in English and Spanish and urged her to attend college when she was still a child. Twenty-six descendants became teachers. Josefina López de Ximenes died on March 1, 1961, and was buried at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Floresville. In 1986 her story became part of an exhibit called "Tejana Heroines: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," sponsored by Hispanas Unidas in San Antonio.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
San Antonio Express News, April 27, 1986. Louise Stadler, ed., Wilson County History (Dallas: Taylor, 1990).
Teresa Palomo Acosta

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Handbook of Texas Online, Teresa Palomo Acosta, "Lopez De Ximenes, Josefina," accessed September 29, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/flomv.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.