The Junior Historian, Volume 14, Number 4, January 1954 Page: 7
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THE JUNIOR HISTORIAN
STEPHEN F. AUSTIN'S PROTEGE: JOSE
by AIDA BARRERA
Edinburg High School
ROUND down by intolerable
taxation, crushed by heartless
monopolies, and overridden by
military tyrants, the people of Mex-
ico have endured oppression in every
shape, and borne insults in a spirit that
would have dignified martyrs." Thus
wrote Jos Maria Jesus Carbajal when
he was accused of setting fire to build-
ings, desecrating the flag, and inten-
tionally firing on the consul at Mata-
moros in 1851.
Jose Maria Jesus Carbajal was a revo-
lutionary and a legislator. Though the
man's background is not clear, a letter
to his mother indicates that he had two
brothers, Mariano and Manuel, and sev-
eral sisters. It is also believed that his
father was Geronimo Carbajal, but his
birthplace is indefinite, though Stephen
F. Austin stated in a letter that he was
a native of Bexar.
Little is known of Carbajal until
1823, when he went to Lexington, Ken-
tucky, to work for two years learning
the saddle trade. Later he studied in
Bethany, Virginia, under the guidance
of the Protestant theologian, Alexander
Campbell. Greatly influenced by Camp-
bell, Carbajal renounced Catholicism.
Through the aid of Austin, Carbajal
first worked as a surveyor for Martin
de Leon, an empresario of Texas. Dur-
ing this time he became one of the
original "forty-one" landowners of the
De Leon colony and married De Leon's
Throughout his early life, Carbajal
was under the guidance of Stephen F.
Austin. Reference to Carbajal is made
in Austin's correspondence: "He is a
sprightly, intelligent youth, and his
principles are very sound and honorable.
His own countrymen call him a Norte
Americano." Further proof is given of
Austin's fondness for young Carbajal
when in 1830 he requested that his "old
pistol" be given to Carbajal. In 1835,
while Austin was in Mexico City, he
wrote his secretary telling him to re-
member him to Carbajal and to thank
him for his letters.
Carbajal's life was not at all easy. He
spent some time in jail or being hunted
by the authorities. In January, 1831,
while accompanying Francisco Madero
in surveying and issuing land titles in
East Texas, he was arrested by John
Davis Bradburn, who was in charge of
the federal military post at Anahuac.
He was soon released, however.
In the summer of 1835 Domingo de
Ugartechea ordered Carbajal's arrest
for voting for the decree authorizing the
governor to sell four hundred leagues of
land. After this Carbajal left for New
Orleans where he joined Peter Kerr and
Fernando de Leon in chartering a ves-
sel, the Hannak Elizabeth, to supply
the Texas forces in Victoria. The Han-
nah Elizabeth was captured by the Mex-
ican vessel Bravo, near Matagorda. The
arms and ammunition, which were
valued by De Leon and Carbajal at about
thirty-five thousand dollars, were con-
Carbajal and De Leon were impris-
oned at Brazos de Santiago. De Leon
managed to escape before Carbajal was
transferred to Matamoros for greater
security. While preparations were under
way to transfer him to the castle of San
Juan de Ulloa in Vera Cruz, Carbajal
As a revolutionary leader Carbajal
was in command of the group of Amer-
ican volunteers who defeated the army
of the Mexican Centralists near Mier in
After the annexation of Texas Car-
bajal returned to Mexico to command a
division of the Mexican army against
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Texas State Historical Association. The Junior Historian, Volume 14, Number 4, January 1954, periodical, January 1954; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth391400/m1/9/?q=Jos%C3%A9%20Mar%C3%ADa%20Jes%C3%BAs%20Carbajal: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.