I Know Where The Bodies Are Buried

After I retired from the military I tried to get a job as an ROTC instructor. I didn’t get it though so I decided to go to college. It was a little difficult at first because one of the required subjects was Texas History which I didn’t know much about. However, as time passed, I became fascinated by the history of the Texas revolution.
I started to read more and became sort of a Texas history buff. I also wanted to know more about the Mexicans who participated in the revolution. Just about everybody knows about the battle of the Alamo and the San Jacinto battle and some credit is given to the Hispanics who died during those battles. But, that’s where Hispanic involvement ends. Nothing is mentioned about what happened to them afterwards.
For example, Jose Francisco Ruiz, one of the first Mexican senator during the Texas revolution and one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence was humiliated by the Texans and he decided to go and live among the Comanche Indians. Furthermore, his son, Jose Francisco Ruiz, was the mayor (Alcalde) of San Antonio during the siege of the Alamo and had been under house arrest and after the battle was forced to identify the bodies in the Alamo. Later he was ordered to take bodies of all the Mexican soldiers who died during the battle and bury them. He along with other Mexican citizens move the bodies by cart to the Campo Santo, the site of the present Santa Rosa Hospital. It is said that they buried them in a mass grave. There were so many that some of the bodies fell into the river while travelling across the bridge on Commerce street.
Later, when Santa Rosa hospital was being built, they excavated all the bodies they could find and moved them to San Fernando cemetery located on South Colorado street and Vera Cruz street. At that cemetery are located the bodies of the Mexican Texans soldiers who participated during the battle of San Jacinto. In my search for the gravestone, I found a cluster of graves of Hispanic confederate soldiers who served during the civil war. Afterwards I went back a year later and the grave stones were gone. At the entrance to the cemetery, there is a Texas memorial Stone for Francisco Ruiz. However, the body is not there.
I knew that my brother in law, Jose F. Ruiz was related to the historic family and during my investigation, found that all his family are buried at a place called Paso de Los Garza which is located off Somerset and Fischer Road a few miles off Interstate 35 south.
In front of the cemetery which is now called Ruiz Herrera, there is a historical marker placed there in 1936 identifying the remains of Francisco Ruiz. His children are also buried there. Other Mexican Texan heroes are also buried there. Blas Herrera’s body who sounded the alarm that Santa Anna was entering San Antonio is also buried there.
When the battle of the Alamo ended, Jose Maria (Gregorio ) Esparza’s body was the only one that was given a Christian burial because his brother, a Mexican soldier, asked Santa Anna permission to pick up his body. His son, Enrique Esparza, a survivor of the battle, later related the story of what he saw during the battle. Enrique is buried at El Carmen Catholic church cemetery in Losoya, Texas.
San Antonio has two National cemeteries. One at Dodd Field off Harry Wurzbach Road and one on the East Side off S. New Braunfels street. At this cemetery are the remains of military men who fought in the Indian Wars and Spanish American Wars. A lot of them were black soldiers known as Buffalo Soldiers. A lot of them were awarded the Medal of Honor inscribed on their gravestone.
Juan Seguin, the soldier who fought throughout the Texas revolution and left the Alamo before the battle to deliver a message to Sam Houston is the man who afterwards came back to San Antonio to gather some of the ashes of the Alamo defenders who he believed were the bodies of Travis, Crockett and Jim Bowie and placed them in a semi coffin and took them to San Fernando church. He later became Mayor of San Antonio but, also, was so humiliated by the Texans that he left back to Mexico and fought in The Mexican American War against the United States. He eventually returned to the U.S. His body is located in Seguin, Texas in a place of honor and in a city named for him.
By the way, the bell which was rung when the Alamo fell was moved from San Fernando church when the church was being renovated and sent to Immaculate Heart of Mary church where it still rings for Mass. Also, during the building of city hall, the house of Francisco Ruiz was moved stone by stone to the Witte Museum and rebuilt back the way it was where it is still used as part of the museum today.]\
We, who are part of the generations of Mexican descent need to impart the history of our forgotten Mexican heroes and honor them for what they fought for. They also cried out for their freedom from tyranny.

One thought on “I Know Where The Bodies Are Buried

  1. Thank you! I’m posting this for my family so that we can visit the gravesites and pay our respect to these forgotten heroes.

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