The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 3
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The Laredo City Election and Riot of 1886
Laredo had been founded in 1755 and raised to the dignity of
an incorporated town in 1767, after which time elections were
held each year for city officials. So city elections became annual
events and were conducted with all the vigor of revolutionary
uprisings. An old Mexican born in Laredo once remarked to
the writer that "as long as there are two Mexicans in Mexico,
there will be revolutions."" How well he knew the interest
taken by the Latin race in politics is shown by the history of
our southern republics, and by the political campaigns of all
Texas border counties.
Laredo slumbered along as a frontier town, passing through
the War of Texas Independence in 1836 and on up to the War
with Mexico in 1846 with very few Americans visiting the
place. General Mirabeau B. Lamar was in command of Laredo
during 1846 and 1847, and a number of Americans followed
him to the town to supply the soldiers with provisions. Some
of these, as well as many of the old soldiers, remained on the
border after the close of the war. In July, 1847, Lamar con-
ducted the first election under the laws of Texas, and Laredo
passed under the government of the State of Texas.' By the
time of the Civil War a great many Americans had found
Laredo a desirable place to live, and after the war others
moved to the border section.
In 1881 the Texas Mexican Railroad was extended to Laredo
from Corpus Christi, and the National Railways of Mexico
established the general shops of that system at Laredo. This
brought many skilled American workers to the place. In the
latter part of the same year the International & Great Northern
Railroad entered the town from San Antonio, and Laredo be-
came the "Gateway to Mexico."
With the coming of the railroad, Laredo's population of
English-speaking people was increased, and J. S. Penn, who
had served as a Major in the Confederate Army and who
was married to a sister of Governor Ireland, established the
Laredo Times as a weekly paper, the first issue being printed
on "Flag Day," June 14, 1881. The paper met with immediate
success, as it filled a long-felt want among the citizens, and
Major Penn, keeping abreast of the times, decided to publish
8Statement to the writer by Juan V. Benavides, now deceased, former
County Attorney of Webb County, and adopted son of Col. Santos Benavides,
of Confederate border fame.
'Lamar Papers, IV, 173.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942, periodical, 1942; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/m1/7/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.