The 1911 Reyes Conspiracy: The Texas Side
CHARLES H. HARRIS III and Louis R. SADLER*
T EXAS HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN A REFUGE AND A BASE OF OPERATIONS
for those attempting to overthrow the Mexican government. In
1875, General Porfirio Diaz launched from Brownsville what proved
to be a successful revolution, establishing a dictatorship that would en-
dure until 1911. And during the decades of his authoritarian rule, Tex-
as became a center of activity for anti-Diaz exiles. In 1891, for example,
Catarino Garza mounted an abortive invasion of Mexico from Zapata
County. Two years later, the El Paso area became the scene of revolu-
tionary activity against the authorities in Chihuahua.'
The pace of opposition to Diaz increased in the twentieth century,
initially through the efforts of the Magonistas. These people were the
followers of Ricardo Flores Mag6n, founder of the Partido Liberal
Mexicano, who emerged as the most vocal opponent of Diaz. During
Flores Mag6n's career as an exile in the United States, he incited rebel-
lion in his homeland from a peripatetic headquarters-operating in
cities as distant from Mexico as St. Louis and Los Angeles-and conse-
quently served terms of imprisonment for violating the American neu-
trality laws. Though his movement encompassed the Southwest, much
of his support was in Texas. From El Paso the Magonistas made an
attempt in I908 to capture Ciudad Juarez, and the same year they
launched a raid from Del Rio that resulted in the temporary occupation
* The authors are respectively professor and associate professor of history at New Mexico
State University. They wish to acknowledge the generous financial support of the Weather-
head Foundation, New York City.
1For Diaz see Daniel Cosio Villegas, The United States Versus Porfirio Diaz, trans. Nettie
Lee Benson (Lincoln, 1963), 45-46. For Catarino Garza see Daniel Cosio Villegas et al.,
Historia moderna de Mdxico (g vols.; Mexico City, 1955-1972), VI, Pt. 2, pp. 324-326. The
best account of the 1893 Chihuahua insurrection is Francisco R. Almada, La rebelidn de To-
mochi (Chihuahua, 1938). For the United States side of the conspiracy see U.S. v. Victor L.
Ochoa, District Court, El Paso, no. 893 (Federal Records Center, Fort Worth; hereafter
cited as FRC-FW). Also see District Court, El Paso, nos. 4-8, 1oo9, 1024, ibid. Further de-
tails are available in Theodore Huston, U.S. consul, Paso del Norte, to Josiah Quincy,
assistant secretary of state, Nov. 30o, 1893, Department of State, Dispatches Received (Na-
tional Archives; hereafter cited as NA), Microcopy M-184, roll 5; and El Paso Times, Nov.
16, 22, 25, 26, 28-30, 1893.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101207/. Accessed March 27, 2015.