General Jose Antonio Mexza and His Texas Interests
C. ALAN HUTCHINSON*
ALTHOUGH JosE ANTONIO MEXIA1 PLAYED A PROMINENT PART IN THE
affairs of Mexican Texas and in the early history of the Republic
of Mexico, it is difficult to find information about him. Was he really
born in Havana, Cuba, as his contemporaries and most 'present-day his-
torians assert, or was he from Jalapa, capital of the state of Veracruz, as
he always said he was?2 A careful search of church records at Jalapa has
failed to reveal his birth record there. Joaquin Moreno, a native of Jala-
pa, who seems to have known him well, expressed himself on this subject
as follows: "Mejia says he is from Jalapa because he has a sister in that
city; but I think he is from Havana." Identifying his parents might be
expected to help answer this question but his army record provides one
set of parents, while the baptismal certificate of one of his children gives
him a different mother and father.3 That there is some mystery about the
place of his birth is evident from the fact that it was not until half an
*C. Alan Hutchinson is professor of history at the University of Virginia. He presented a
shortened version of this paper at the March 1973 meeting of the Texas State Historical
Association in Austin. He acknowledges, with appreciation, assistance from the University
of Virginia Committee on Research Grants in preparing the paper.
1His contemporaries generally spelled Josc Antonio Mexia's name with a "j"-Mejia-but
he preferred an "x," which is used here.
2Among writings by his contemporaries the following references to Mexia may be cited:
Francisco de Paula de Arrangoiz, Mdxico desde 1808 hasta 1867 (2nd ed.; Mexico City,
1968), 359 (the first edition was published in Madrid in 1871-1872); Joaquin Moreno, Diario
de un escribiente de legacidn (2nd ed.; Mexico City, 1970), 4 (This diary was written dur-
ing the years 1833-1836 but it did not appear in print until 1925). Carlos Maria de Busta-
mante, "Voz de la Patria" (Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley) X, I1.
Among modern historians the following may be mentioned: Vito Alessio Robles, Coahuila
y Texas, desde la consumacidn de la independencia hasta el tratado de paz de Guadalupe
Hidalgo (2 vols.; Mexico City, 1945-1946), II, 86; Jorge Flores D., La Revolucidn de Olarte
en Papantla 1836-1838 (Mexico City, 1938), 19; Jose C. Valadds, Santa Anna y la guerra de
Texas (2nd ed.; Mexico City, 1951), 205; James A. Magner, Men of Mexico (Milwaukee,
1943), 325; Joseph Milton Nance, After San Jacinto: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1836-
1841 (Austin, 1963), 145. The differences of opinion on Mexia's birthplace are noted in
Walter Prescott Webb, H. Bailey Carroll, and Eldon Stephen Branda (eds.), The Handbook
of Texas (3 vols.; Austin, 1952, 1976), II, 182.
3Baptismal books nos. 23, 24, 25, in the cathedral at Jalapa (searched by C. Alan Hutch-
inson; Raymond Estep and Patrick Carroll have also searched church records at Jalapa);
Moreno, Diario, 4 (quotation); Expediente de J. A. Mexia, Secci6n de Cancelados (Archivo
de Defensa, Mexico City); Libro de bautismos, 1825 (Sagrario, Mexico City), 68; Mexia
Family Papers (Bancroft Library), M-B 1, Part 1.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/. Accessed January 28, 2015.