rhe Carafal Disturbases
ERNEST C. SHEARER
M UGH of the disturbances on the Rio Grande frontier
between 1851 and 1855 was due to the efforts of Jose
Maria Jesiis Carvajal.' According to Spanish tradition
his family was descended from a king, one Don Bermudo II of
Le6n. Several of Carvajal's ancestors achieved historic impor-
tance. Francisco de Carvajal gained fame in the sixteenth cen-
tury as a conquistador of Peru; his portrait hangs in the National
Library at Lima. Luis de Carvajal was a Mexican conquistador
of no mean renown; he founded the cities of Le6n, now Cer-
ralvo; San Luis, now Monterrey; and Almadon, now Monclova.
During the reign of Charles I, Antonio FernAndez Carvajal mi-
grated to England from Portugal and was probably the first
naturalized Jew in England. He later gave political aid to Oliver
Cromwell. Geronimo Carvajal was an early settler in San An-
tonio, who died there in 1748, thirty years after it was founded.
Josh Maria Carvajal was directly descended from this man, but
the date and place of his birth have not been determined.2
It is known that in 1823 Carvajal went to Lexington, Ken-
tucky, worked two years as a tanner, and learned the saddle trade.
Later he attended school at Bethany, West Virginia, where he
received the guidance of the celebrated theologian, Alexander
Campbell. Greatly influenced by Campbell, Carvajal renounced
Catholicism and became an ardent Protestant. While in Bethany
he wrote his good friend, Stephen F. Austin, for help in selling
Bibles in the Spanish language to the settlers of Texas. As many
families of West Virginia were thinking of joining Austin, Car-
vajal asked his friend to send him a map of his colony.3
1The name also may be found spelled Carbajal, Caravajal, and Carabajal.
2Frederick C. Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (San Antonio, 1937),
32-33; John S. Ford, Memoirs (transcript, 7 vols.; Archives Collection, University
of Texas Library), IV, 627; Victor M. Rose, Some Historical Facts in Regard to the
Settlement of Victoria, Texas (Laredo, 1883), iii.
sCarvajal to his mother, July 2, 1826, in Eugene C. Barker (ed.), The Austin
Papers (Vols. I and II, Annual Report of the American Association for the Years
ig19 and 1922, Washington, 1924, 1928; Vol. III, University of Texas Press, Austin,
1926), I, 1366; Carvajal to Austin, March 8, 1830, ibid., II, 745; Ford, Memoirs
(MS.), IV, 667.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101139/. Accessed January 29, 2015.