she arrived at Port
of Copano with her husband, who was one
of Urrea's officers, Miller and his men had just been
taken prisoners. They were tightly bound with cords,
so as to completely stop the circulation of blood
in their arms, and in this state had been left several
hours when she saw them. Her
heart was touched at the sight, and she immediately
caused the cords to be removed and refreshments furnished
them. She treated them with great kindness, and when,
on the morning of the massacre she learned that the
prisoners were to be shot, she so effectually pleaded
with Colonel Garay (whose humane feelings so revolted
at the order) that with great personal responsibility
to himself, and at great hazards at thus going counter
to the orders of the then all-powerful Santa Ana,
resolved to save all that he could; and a few of us,
in consequence, were left to tell of that bloody day.
"Besides those that Colonel Garay saved, she saved
others by her connivance with some of the officers,
who had gone into the fort at night and taken out
some whom she had kept concealed until after the massacre.
When she saw Dr. Shackelford, a few days after, she
burst into tears and exclaimed, 'Why did I not know
that you had a son here? I would have saved him at
all hazards!' * * ' It must be remembered that when
she came to Texas she could have considered its
of Francita Alavez, the Angel of Goliad. The bust
is located in the Presidio La Bahia Museum
only as rebels and heretics, the two classes,
of all others, most odious to the mind of a
pious Mexican. And yet, after everything that
had occurred to present the Texans to her view
as the worst and most abandoned of men, she
became incessantly engaged in contributing to
their wants and in saving their lives. Her name
deserves to be recorded in letters of gold among
the angels who have from time to time been commissioned
by an overruling and beneficent power to relieve
the sorrow and cheer the hearts Of men; and
who have, for that purpose, been given the form
of helpless women."
John Henry Brown, who, in his youth, had known
many of the recipients of her bounty, wrote,
fifty years later, [Brown: History of Texas
I - 54 ] "of this angelic lady, whose memory
should be sacred in every Texan heart , and
whose name should be perpetuated in a
Angel of Goliad saving the life of of 15 year
old Benjamin Franklin Hughes minutes before the
Goliad Massacre, during the reenactment.
it is too late."
four generations of Texans have delighted to praise her,
they have been singularly incurious as to her name, personality,
and subsequent fate. She came into Texas with Urrea's army
and was swept out again with the Mexican retreat from San
Jacinto. From March through May of the year of Texan independence
her virtues shone resplendently against the grim cruelty
of Santa Anna; and then, insofar as Texas and Texans were
concerned, she stepped gently out of their hearts and lives.
Not even the beneficiaries of her mercies took the trouble
to learn, or, at least they failed to record, her name.
R. Brown, whose life she saved at San Patricio,
and who was again to share her mercies as a "Prisoner of
Matamoros," she was "a Mexican lady named Alvarez."
Jack Shackelford, whom she befriended in his darkest
hour, and who first proclaimed her virtues to the world,
she was "Pacheta Alevesco, wife of Captain A."
Joseph H. Barnard, to whom we are mainly indebted
for the little we know concerning her, she was "Señora Alvarez
* - * [who] arrived at the Copano with her husband [who
was one of Urrea's officers.]"
F. Hughes, lad of fifteen, whom she saved on that
fatal Palm Sunday at Goliad, she was "a young lady, Madame
Captain Alvarez, evidently of distinction."
Other Texans who owed her their lives knew her only as "the
wife of a Mexican officer."
John Henry Brown urged, fifty years since, that a Texan
county---be named for her, but that was not to be, since
no one knew then, and none knows now, what name she bore.
She was known to the Texans whom she saved as the wife of
Captain Telesforo Alavéz, Captain of the 6th Company of
Urrea's own cavalry regiment of Cuautla; who served as Paymaster
of the forces in Urrea's Texan campaign. But we know, too,
that the wife of Captain Telesforo Alavéz was Maria Agustina
de Pozo, native and resident of Toluca. But if the Angel's
name was Agustina, why did Dr. Shackelford call her "Pacheta
Alevesco," which could only have been his rendering of Panchita
But we had best allow Texans who knew her, and whose benefactress
she was, to tell their own stories.
The first published reference to our Mexican Angel of Mercy
was in Dr. Jack Shackelford's account of his experience
at Goliad, reprinted, in 1841, in Foote's Texas and Texans,
Vol. II, p. 245. Doctor Shackelford said:
"I consider it not inappropriate here to mention one female,
Pacheta Alevesco, the wife of Captain A. She was indeed
an Angel of Mercy -- a second Pocahontas. All that she could
do to administer to our comfort -- to "pour oil into our
wounds' - was done. She had likewise been to Maj. Miller
and men, a ministering angel."
The italics for her name are Doctor Shackelford's
For a better understanding of the events of Urrea's Texas
campaign, and our Angel's part in it, it should be borne
in mind that Urrea left Matamoros February 18, 1836, with
about half of the forces at his disposal, and hurried to
San Patricio by forced marches; beating Johnson in detail
at and near San Patricio, February 27, and Grant at Agua
Dulce on March 2. The Portion of his forces left at Matamoros
-- with the army's baggage and camp followers -- joined
him at San Patricio, on March 7. On the 12th, in disregard
of Santa Anna's repeated orders to shoot all prisoners taken
in arms, he remitted to Matamoros twenty-one prisoners taken
with Grant and Johnson. Their story becomes pertinent here:
Among the twenty-one thus spared was Reuben
R. Brown, a Georgian, who became, in later years,
a colonel in the Confederate Army, and a wealthy planter
at Brazoria. In an account of his early Texas adventures,
first published in the Texas Almanac for 1858 (See also
Barker & Johnson, History of Texas, Vol. 1, p. 124) Brown
explained why he was not shot at that time:
"Urrea * said that I would have to be executed according
to Santa Anna's orders * * * was * * taken out to be shot,
but was spared through the intervention of a priest, and
a Mexican lady named Alvarez * * * I was then marched with
other prisoners to Matamoros."
On March 13, 1836, Urrea moved against Amon B. King and William Ward at
Refugio, leaving behind his baggage and camp followers at
San Patricio. He fought Ward and King on the 14th; occupied
the old Mission on the morning of the 15th; executed King
and other prisoners on the 16th; joined Morales before Goliad
on the 17th; fought Fannin on the 19th, and received his
surrender on the 20th; occupied Victoria on the 21st; and
captured Ward and his men on the Garcitas on the 22nd. On
the 23rd, Major William P. Miller and his men were taken
by Colonel Vara at Copano. This was the only action of the
Texas Campaign in which Captain Telesforo Alavéz had a part,
and here the "Angel" again appeared.
On March 25th, Urrea, still at Victoria, sent Ward and his
men to Goliad to join the other Fannin prisoners. A direct
order from Santa Anna for their execution was received there
by Portilla, on the 26th, and he executed it next day. Her
heroic part in the Goliad tragedy has been told by Dr. Barnard.
In a note Doctor Barnard adds:
"During the time of the massacre she stood in the street,
her hair floating, speaking wildly, and abusing the Mexican
officers, especially Portilla. She appeared almost frantic."
Among those at Goliad who were saved by her intervention
was Benjamin Franklin Hughes, Captain Horton's young orderly,
then a lad of fifteen years. [He was born in Jefferson County,
Kentucky, September 8, 1820] Hughes, in his old age, wrote
an account of his experiences which is preserved among the
Philip C. Tucker Papers in the Library of the University
of Texas. With slight corrections as to spelling and punctuation,
his Goliad reminiscences read:
"The 27th of March, Sunday morning, came and with it an
order from the president, General Santa Anna, to shoot us
all. We were called out and told to hurry up and get in
line to march to a place of embarcation, and we got into
line rather hopping and skipping with joy at the thought
of soon being home. We were just about starting, when I
saw quite a number of ladies standing where we had to march
by, and two, who afterward proved to be Lady General Urrea
and a young lady, Madame Captain Alvarez were evidently
ladies of distinction. These, with a little girl ten or
eleven years old were standing in a group with Colonel Holsinger,
who seemed to be officiating in the execution of the order
for execution, and as we stepped off the young lady spoke
to her aunt, the general's wife, and then the elder spoke
to the Colonel, and a Sergeant or corporal came and took
me out of the ranks and stood me between the two ladies
with the little girl, and the rest marched off. In the space
of maybe five minutes they were halted and the Mexicans
were so arranged as to place our men in a cross fire, and
the instant of the halt the order was given to fire, and
then I saw for the first time why I was taken from the ranks,
and I nudged up to the ladies, and immediately after some
of the Mexicans came running back and menacing me with their
muskets with bayonets, as if they had bayoneted all who
were not killed out right -which they did, and even those
who were killed were stuck through with the bayonet rather
by way of sport and such was the fate of 332 poor fellows
that a few hours before were building high air castles,
all to fall suddenly in a few hours with all their plans.
Col. Holsinger seemed to be in command, as General Urrea
was, it seems, under suspension from duty for not executing
the order of General Santa Anna, but the Colonel seemed
pleased at the ladies taking me in charge.and was very kind
to me, and said he would, and I think he did, do all in
his power for me; and the madame wanted me to be one of
the family and treated me as a mother, but two or three
days passed, and a few companies started on a line of march
for Matamoros, and somehow the Colonel had orders to send
me to Matamoros, and I was to be taken from the ladies.
I was told the understanding was that Madame Urrea was to
have me when I got to Matamoros and Colonel Holsinger made
the arrangements for my being well treated, and the ladies
and the little girl made me some nice little presents *
and when the morning came for me to start, I could see tears
in their eyes as they kissed me good-by."
On March 31, 1836, Urrea -- his army, marching in two divisions
-- having preceded him -- marched from Victoria with his
escort, leaving in garrison there a detachment of forth
men under the command of Captain Telesforo Alavéz (Urrea,
Diario de la Campaña de Tejas p. 24; Filisola, Memorias
para la Guerra de Tejas, II, pp. 445-46) That the "Angel"
was with this garrison, we know positively from Doctor Barnard,
"She afterward showed much attention and kindness to the
surviving prisoners, frequently sending messages and supplies
of provisions to them from Victoria."
When Urrea occupied Victoria, three families of Irish Texans,
the Quinns, Shearns, and Haleys, remained in that town.
R. L. Owens, grandson of the Quinn family, has preserved
their recollections of those trying days. Though he does
not mention her by name, the "Angel of Goliad" is easily
recognizable in the incidents which he relates:
"As Santa Anna's army came marching into Victoria from the
river west of town, my grandmother looked up to find seven
Americans standing in the doorway * * * She exclaimed *
* 'I won't send you away, but if you are found here we will
all be * * ' shot.' Without a word, they wheeled and started
for the old road * * to Texana ... but the Mexicans pursued
and fired upon them, killing three or four and taking the
others prisoners, who were ... taken to the market square
(where the City Hall now stands) to be shot, but the wives
of several Mexican officers threw themselves between the
prisoners and the firing squad, and told the officers in
charge they would have to shoot them before they could shoot
these men, who had harmed no one ... The execution did not
"As some may be curious to know the treatment accorded the
Americans, while the Mexican army held Victoria, my impression
is that the Shearns were English subjects, and hoisted the
British flag. With my grandparents, a Mexican officer and
his family occupied part of their home, and they were very
Isaac D. Hamilton of Captain Shackelford's Company escaped,
severely wounded, from the massacre, and with the help of
Cooper, Brooks, and Simpson, who had also escaped, made
his way to within two miles of Texana, where his companions
left him for dead. On the nineteenth day after the massacre,
however, he revived and managed to find his way to Dimitt's
Point, where he was again made prisoner. In an affidavit
executed at Houston, January 8, 1852, he says of his subsequent
adventures. (The italics are the present writer's.)
"From this place I was hauled on a cart some fifteen miles,
when I was put upon a poor horse . . . until we arrived
at Victoria. At this place I was courtmartialed and order
to be shot, which fate I escaped by the intercession of
two Mexican Ladies."
in a subsequent affidavit, at Galveston, January 28, 1858,
covering the same facts, he says:
"I was sentenced to be shot at Victoria; two officers wives
pleaded for me."
Though Barnard, Hughes and Brown call their Angel of Mercy
"Señora," or "Madam" Alvarez, while Shackelford calls Alevesco;
all the narratives agree that she was the wife of one of
Urrea's officers; Shackleford and Hughes say, of one of
Urrea's Captains. The only possible inference from the known
facts is that she was the wife of Captain Telesforo Alavéz.
As paymaster of the army, Captain Alavez was one of the
few officers in position to be encumbered by a family. "Alevesco"
was Shackelford's rendering of her husband's name; as "Alvarez"
was that of Brown, Barnard, and Hughes. These Texans were
not accustomed to the Spanish idiom; and not-withstanding
the difference in accent, Alvarez and Alavéz sound much
alike to an American trained ear. Alvarez is a common Spanish
name; Alave'z an uncommon one. It is in point, too, that
since Barnard, Shackelford, and Hughes all speak of conversing
with her, their "Angel", beyond all doubt, spoke English.
Equally without doubt, they all knew her as the wife of
Captain Telesforo Alavéz.
The complete service record of this officer is preserved
in the Mexican Secretaria de Guerra y Marina. He was a resident
of Toluca, who enlisted as a private in the Mexican National
Army May 2,1821, and was promoted, in due course, through
the several non-commissioned and commissioned grades until
July 19, 1835, when he was commissioned as Captain in General
Jose Urrea's own Regiment, the Cavalry of Cuautla. He was
stationed in the City of Mexico from May 31, 1833, until
the Zacatecas Campaign in 1834, but rejoined his regiment
and fought against Zacatecas under General Urrea, by whom
he was cited for conspicuous services in the decisive battle
before Zacatecas, May 11, 1834.
In the Texan Campaign, "He assisted in the action of Puerto
de Copano, in March, 1836, and performed the duties of Paymaster
of the forces." As of December 31, 1837, he was rated as
thirty-four years of age, married, and a resident of Toluca.
Other documents in the Secretaria de Guerra y Marina indicate
that Maria Agustina de Pozo, also of Toluca, was his wife.
From Urrea's Diaria and Filisola's Memorias, we know positively
that Captain Alave'z commanded the garrison at Victoria
from March 31, 1836, until that place was evacuated on May
14th. He then accompanied General Urrea to Matamoros, arriving
there May 28, 1836. (Urrea's Diario de la Campaña de Tejas,
p. 36). By indirect evidence we can account for the presence
of the "Angel of Goliad" on Urrea's return March.
About August 1, 1836, Joseph H. Spohn, spared as an interpreter
at the Fannin massacre, said in explaining his own escape:
[Lamar Papers, No. 422, Vol. 1, p. 430]:
"A part of the retreating army ... fatigued and worn, fell
on Goliad ... Spohn, who thought a better chance to escape
would be found ... (at Matamoros) proceeded as far as San
Patricio with Captain Alavéz ... General Urrea, seeing him,
asked him if he would drive one of his coaches to Matamoros.
. . . He went to Matamoros with the General, and had for
his fellow driver a young man who had been saved from Col.
And P. J. Mahan, in accounting many years later, for the
men taken with him at the rancho of Julian de la Garza,
below San Patricio, on the occasion of Johnson's defeat,
"We were surrounded by a large body of the enemy's cavalry.
. . . Wm. Williams and Dr. Bunsen were immediately killed
and Spease [John Spiess, from Aargau, Switzerland] Hufty,
and your petitioner wounded ... Spease was afterward released,
and went to the City of Mexico with Captain Alavez, a Mexican
officer." (Memorial No. 247, File Box 68, Archives of Texas,
Department of State)
Concerning the Angel herself, we have only the evidence
of Doctor Barnard: [Wooten: Scarff's, A Comprehensive History
of Texas, I, p. 628]
"After her return to Matamoros, she was unwearied in her
attention to the unfortunate Americans confined there. She
went on to the City of Mexico with her husband, who there
abandoned her, and she returned to Matamoros without any
funds for her support; but she found many warm friends among
those who had heard of and witnessed her extraordinary exertions
in relieving the Texas prisoners."
Again the evidence is almost, but not quite, conclusive.
Captain Alavéz, as paymaster, was probably, though not certainly,
the only one of Urrea's officers who was permitted to go
on to the City of Mexico. And since Urrea and his forces
remained at Matamoros, he was almost certainly the only
one of Urrea's officers who could have abandoned his wife
at that time. Documents discovered in Secretaria de Guerra
y Marina in 1835, as a result of a search instigated by
Miss Marjorie Rogers, of Marlin, Texas, raise an unpleasant
question as to whether the "Angel" could, in fact, have
been, as she seemed, the lawful wife of Captain Alavéz.
Miss Rogers says:
I had the records in Mexico City searched by a ... young
man who speaks and reads Spanish well, and who says: . .
.'The legitimate wife of Captain Alavéz was Maria Agustina
de.Pozo, a resident of Toluca. There are several letters
on file from this woman and one from her brother. It seems
that Telesforo abandoned Maria Agustina about 1834 and three
years later she started writing the Minister of War for
money. She had two small children at the time."'
Dr. C. E. Castañeda found that the church records at Toluca
(which is the capital of the state of Mexico) for the years
prior to 1870, have been destroyed by fire; but he also
found a hint that the seat of the Alavéz family was not
in the City of Toluca, but in a nearby town called Amanalaco
de Becerra, where some of his descendants now reside. The
evidence at hand does not exclude the possibility that the
"Angel" was a pseudo-wife, and that "Panchita" is the only
name by which she may ever be known.
The above article is from Bits of Texas History by J.T.
Canales published in 1950. In 1949, Davenport wrote an earlier
version of the article with the same title for inclusion
in Hobart Huson's edited edition of Dr. J.H. Barnard's Journal.
Canales' included the following footnote containing the
expanded section of Barnard's journal referring to the Angel
"I must not here omit to mention Sehora Alvarez, whose name
ought to be perpetuated to the latest times for her virtues,
and whose action contrasted so strangely with those of her
countrymen, deserved (deserves) to be recorded in the annals
of this country (county) and treasured in the heart of every
texan. When she arrived at Copano with her husband, who
was one of Urrea's officers, Miller and his men had just
been taken prisoners; they were tightly bound with cord
so as to completely check the circulation of blood in their
arms, and in this state (way) had been left several hours
when she saw them. Her heart was touched at the sight, and
she immediately caused the cords to be removed, and refreshments
to be given them. She treated them with great kindness,
and when on the morning of the massacre, she learned that
the prisoners were to be shot, she so effectually pleaded
with Col. Garey (sic) (whose humane feelings revolted at
the barbarous order) that, with great personal responsibility
to himself and at great hazard at (in) thus going counter
to the orders of the then all-powerful Santa Anna, he resolved
to save all that he could; and a few of us in consequence,
were left to tell of that bloody day.
Besides those that Col. Garey (sic) saved, she saved by
convivance some of the officers-gone into the fort at night
and taken out some, whom she kept concealed until after
the massacre. When she saw Dr. Shackelford a few days (later)
after, and heard that his son was among those (that were)
sacrificed, she burst into tears and exclaimed:
"Why did I not know that you had a son here? I would have
saved him at all hazards."
She afterwards showed much attention and kindness to the
surviving prisoners, frequently sending messages and presents
of provision's to them from Victoria. After her return to
Matamoros, she was unwearied in her attention to the unfortunate
Americans confined there. She went on to the City of Mexico
with her husband (who there abandoned her.) She returned
to Matamoros without any funds for her support; but she
found many warm friends among those who had heard of and
witnessed her extraordinary exertion in relieving the Texas
(Texan) prisoners. It must be remembered that when she came
to Texas she could have considered its VeoVle only as rebels
and heretics, the two classes of all others the most odious
to the mind of a Vious Mexican; that Goliad, the first town
she came to, had been destroyed by them recently, and its
Mexican population dispersed to seek (for) refuge where
they might, and yet, after everything that occurred to present
the Texans to her view as the worst and most abandoned of
men, she became incessantly engaged in contributing to relieve
their wants and save their lives. Her name deserves to be
recorded in letters of gold among those angels who have
from time to time been commissioned here by an overruling
and beneficent Power to relieve the sorrows and cheer the
hearts of men, and who have for that purpose assumed the
form of helpless women, that the benefits with the boon
might be enhanced by the strong and touching contrast of
aggravated evils worked by fiends in human shape, and balm
poured on the wounds they make by a feeling of pitying women."
William H. Oberste's, Remember Goliad (1950)
The "Angel of Goliad, " as she is known even to this day,
Senora Alavez attempted to prevent the butchery. Not much
is known of the identity of Senora Alavez so affectionately
remembered in the annals of Texas. From an old newspaper
we have a clipping in which we find a few additional details
about her. Writing about the massacre at Goliad, the unknown
author tells us in his account, which he grandiosely and
incorrectly describes to be that "of the only living man
who survived it," the following story of the "Angel of Goliad":
. . . The courier from Santa Anna arrived at Goliad on the
twenty-sixth, having left San Antonio the morning of the
same day, distant, one hundred miles. Don F. N. Partilla,
the commandante, glanced at the superscription, then at
the black seal bearing the president's arms, an upright
arm and dagger, with the legend "Mano y Clavo, " and sat
down on his camp stool to read the missive, uttering something
like a groan. Its purport was that he had certain prisoners
in charge, that he knew what his duty was, and must execute
that duty promptly and rejoin his commander. Partilla, threw
down the dispatch in disgust. "Duty indeed!" he muttered,
leaning his head upon the table.
A young woman entered the room, took up the letter, and
read it through from beginning to end. Partilla looked up
and discovered the intruder with the dispatch in her hand.
"I see you have been reading my dispatch ' said the commandante.
"So---I have. I came here with that very purpose," she replied.
"I suppose you know what it means" "I understand its meaning
perfectly. It means the death of every American now in Goliad."
"I have watched for the courier since daybreak, and was
resolved to know the contents of his dispatch at any peril.
What are your intentions?" "To obey the president's instructions
to the letter." "Promise me that you will do as I wish.
Much can be done in a few days. I have friends near the
president whom he cannot afford to disoblige; nor can they
afford to slight me. Promise me this, and Francisco my husband's
orderly, shall start for Bexar tonight. ". . . . They call
me Indian, Senora Alavesque; but were I president I would
not write that letter for all the lands your father owns;
not for all the gold that ever passed the mint of Mexico."
The colonel leaned his bronzed Aztec face up on the table,
weeping like a child. Dona Panchita Alavesque, a lovely
woman of twenty, was the wife of a colonel of the Mexican
army, a man of great wealth and power. She had followed
him to Texas, partly from whim, but chiefly in the hope
of doing good. Her visit that night to the commander saved
The author of this account describes the shooting of the
Texas volunteers at Goliad, their outcries of panic, pain,
and agony, and how at last there was silence---a fearfully
oppressive silence of the hundred and more dead. This account
of the massacre does not differ much in detail from that
of Shackelford. He takes up the narrative again by relating
the further activities of the Angel of Goliad:
Maloney (Molloy), the curate of San Patricio pushed
the three American physicians and their assistants into
the vestry, and shut the door. He had hardly done so when
Senora Alavesque entered, and asked if they were still alive.
The priest answered that they were in the vestry, but that
he expected Dominguez for them any moment. "Give them this
note," she said, "and if he dares to treat it with disrespect,
he shall never pass that door alive." Soon Dominguez entered.
"Show him the note, Father," said Panchita. Dominguez read
the note, which was signed "Garay," and directed that the
three physicians and their assistants should be reserved
from execution. Dominguez walked away with an air of disappointment....
Eight days after the massacre an order arrived at Goliad
to shoot the remaining prisoners, but before it could be
carried into effect it was countermanded. And this, Don
Manuel Tolsa told me, was the result of Senora Alavesque's
influence at headquarters. About the close of April following
Senora Alavesque came to our headquarters one day with Don,
her husband, who looked like a goodhearted man, but dreadful
stiff and dignified. Panchita bade us all good-bye, and
said she was going home to Durango. . . . The Senora was
hardly twenty, a black-eyed high-bred beauty. God bless
her. She saved my life and the lives of my companions. .
According to Oberste, this account was found in an old scrapbook
of Mr. M.T. Gaffney, an early resident of Corpus Christi.
the years before his death in 1957, author Harbert Davenport
uncovered the apparent fate of the "Angel of Goliad" described
most recently in the 1993 publication by Bill and Marjorie
K. Walraven, The Magnificent Barbarians: Little Told
Tales of the Texas Revolution. In 1936, Mrs. Elena Zamora
O'Shea, wrote up some of her experiences while a school
teacher on the Santa Gertrudis Division of the King
Ranch in 1902-3:
…….Among the Mexicans there were Alfonso, an old servant
to Mrs. King, and Matías Alvarez..…..After school hours
every Friday, these two old men would come to the schoolhouse
and listen to me as I read to them from Spanish newspapers,
or translated stories from the books studied by the children.
We had been reading Mrs. Pennybacker's History of Texas.
They followed the stories anxiously. When I read the story
of the massacre of Goliad, Don Matías was alert, taking
in every word. When I had finished, he asked me, "Is that
all that they say about Goliad?" I told him it was. "They
do not say that anyone helped those who were hurt or that
any of them were saved?" he asked..….
Prompted for the reason for his questions, Matías Alvarez
related that his father was Telesforo Alavez whose marriage
was arranged by parents. He separated from the wife for
years, lived with his sweetheart, Francisca, who followed
him throughout his military assignments on the northern
frontier. In Matamoros, Matías and a brother Guadalupe,
were born. Matías related that after Colonel Alavez's death,
he and family members worked north of the Rio Grande on
ranches and truck farms including the Yturria Ranch which
was earlier the Cortina Ranch. Matías had children Pablo,
Luis, Dolores, Gerardo, Guadalupe, Jacinto, Maria and Telesforo.
In 1884 Matías began working for the King Ranch. According
to him, Captain Richard
King, founder of the ranch, knew Colonel Alavez while
he was still living and of the humanitarian actions of Señora
According to teacher O'Shea the whole extended family lived
on and worked on the giant ranch,
"the boys worked at different occupations. The girls sewed
for the family. Maria became the companion maid of Miss
Clara Driscoll…..During the two years I taught there, I
had among my pupils Gerardo Alvarez Jr. in whom both Mrs.
King and Mrs. Robert Kleberg took special interest. The
boy finished high school and was sent to a school of pharmacy
and is now  a druggist at Kingsville. Other members
of the Alvarez family live at Kingsville or on King ranches."
Mrs. O'Shea is said to have related to others that Matías'
aging mother was with the family and that she had met Doña
Panchita when she was bedridden and in her nineties. O'Shea
"she died on the King Ranch and is buried there in an unmarked
grave .... Old Captain King and Mrs. King knew and respected
According to the Walraven's, Mrs. O'Shea's story was related
in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in 1986. Gerard Alvarez
III of Corpus Christi contacted the author and related "I
was born in Kingsville in 1938, I am proud to say, the great-grandson
of Matías Alvarez and fifth generation descendant of Doña
Francisca 'Panchita' Alavez . . . ."
Mr. Alvarez related that Gerardo Alvarez I, son of Matías
Alvarez, became foreman of the Santa Gertrudis Division
of the King Ranch and died February 1914 just before the
birth of Gerardo II. Gerardo II never finished pharmacy
school, but instead became a professional baseball umpire
and after twenty-five years he later was a Civil Service
worker in Corpus Christi. In the 1930's Gerardo II was the
first American of Mexican descent to play high school football
in Kingsville. He died in 1985.
After Gerardo Alvarez I's death in 1914, Lauro Cavazos became
foreman of the Santa Gertrudis section. A sister of Gerardo
I, Rita Alvarez and also daughter of Matías Alverez, married
a Mr. Quintanilla. Their daughter, Tomasa Alvarez Quintanilla,
married Lauro Cavazos. Lauro and Tomasa Alvarez Quintanilla
Cavazos were parents of Bobby Cavazos, who was a Kleberg
County commissioner, a country singer and once foreman of
the Laureles Division of the King Ranch; Gen. Richard O.
Cavazos; and Dr.
Lauro Cavazos, former president of Texas Tech University
and Secretary of Education 1988-1990 under Presidents Reagan
and Bush, the first Hispanic to serve in the U.S. Cabinet.
Gerard Alvarez III wrote that …"the Alvarez clan is alive
and well in Kingsville, in Corpus Christi and all over South