The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 118
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
hour or so before he was to face a firing squad in 1839 that he is reported
to have cleared up the matter. Unfortunately, the source of this informa-
tion fails to mention what he said about it. If Mexia was indeed born in
Jalapa, it would have been greatly to his advantage if he could have
proved it. When enemies of Jose Ignacio de Basadre, a life-long friend of
Mexia, spread rumors that Basadre was not born in Mexico, he was able
to publish his baptismal certificate to silence them. But Mexia was ap-
parently never able to present proof to his contemporaries that settled
the matter and it is still not clear whether he was born in Mexico or not.
The exact date of his birth is also not certain because he was not con-
sistent in giving his age, but according to his service record he was born
Mexia's career in the revolutionary war against Spain which began in
181o is equally obscure, although he stated on one occasion that he
fought during the early years of the war-that is, before Agustin de Itur-
bide turned against Spain in 1821. According to Mexia, some of the
members of his family lost their lives in the revolution and the family
lost its property. He also said that he was in exile for more than five
years, perhaps from about 1817 to 1822.6
It is not until November 8, 1822, that historical documentation finally
begins to catch up with Mexia; it may be significant that it is at San
Antonio, Texas, that it does so. His name appears in an agreement signed
on that day by Governor Jose Felix Trespalacios and by Cherokee Chief
Richard Fields who, with five or six of his followers, was to go to Mexico
City to negotiate with the government of Emperor Iturbide for a grant
of land in Texas. Fields knew no Spanish but could speak English, al-
though he could not write it. Trespalacios appointed Mexia to be one of
two interpreters to accompany Chief Fields and his men. From this it
appears that Mexia knew English and therefore had perhaps spent his
years of exile either in the United States or England or possibly both.6
Mexia arrived in Mexico City early in January, 1823, apparently bear-
4El Sol (Mexico City), Oct. 11, 1826; La Lima (Mexico City), June 5, 1839; Expediente de
J. A. Mexia, Secci6n de Cancelados.
5Jos6 Antonio Mexia et al. to Secretaria de Relaciones, Jan. 9, 1823 (Museo Nacional de
Antropologia, Mexico City), legajo 51-3-5-16.
6"Conbenio ajustado entre Capitan Richard de la Naci6n Cherokee y el Governadora
[sic] de la Prov.a de Texas," Bdjar, Nov. 8, 1822, Spanish Archives of General Land Office,
Stephen F. Austin State Building, Austin (cited hereafter as Spanish Archives, GLO), LII,
133; Ernest William Winkler, "The Cherokee Indians in Texas," Quarterly of the Texas
State Historical Association, VII (Oct., 1903), 98-1o0; Jaime Delgado, Espaia y Mdxico en
el siglo xix (3 vols.; Madrid, 1950, 1953), I, 385.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/154/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.