ZERVÁN, FEDERICO (?–?). Federico Zerván, physician, lived in New Orleans from 1790 until 1803. When his wife, Sara Moore, died, he got possession of her property, which included sixteen slaves. Two of her brothers, claiming the doctor owed them $40,000, tried without success to block the transfer of the property. With a good deal of fanfare and in the company of the bishop of Monterrey, Zerván arrived in San Fernando de Béxar, Texas, in October 1805. He was placed in charge of the hospital in the Alamo, and for two years he treated the sick and the wounded. His administration of the affairs of the hospital was good, but he was in frequent controversy with the civil and military authorities, particularly about the cost of maintenance. In most of the controversies he prevailed because he was in high favor with the governor of the province. His most notable controversy was over a 500-peso gambling debt he owed to Father Juan Manuel Zambrano, with whom he lived. That the friendship changed to hostility is evidenced by a long series of accusatory letters in the Bexar Archives, the doctor demanding payment for professional services, the priest seeking payment for unpaid board bills. The governor finally required both participants to cease their demands. Shortly after this controversy Zerván lost favor with the governor and was replaced as chief surgeon at the Alamo hospital on October 1, 1807. He left San Antonio four months later and went to Mexico.
Pat Ireland Nixon, A Century of Medicine in San Antonio (San Antonio, 1936). Pat Ireland Nixon, The Medical Story of Early Texas, 1528–1853 (Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Lupe Memorial Fund, 1946). Henderson K. Yoakum, History of Texas from Its First Settlement in 1685 to Its Annexation to the United States in 1846 (2 vols., New York: Redfield, 1855).