A Guide to the Blas Herrera Letter, 1836
Blas María Herrera (1802-1878) was José Francisco Ruiz’s son-in-law often referred to as the Paul Revere of the Texas Revolution. Herrera often acted as a scout of the Texas Army and brought early word of Santa Anna’s advance on San Antonio. He also escorted and protected José Antonio Navarro and Ruiz to Washington-on-the-Brazos where they signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Family tradition states that Gen. Sam Houston used Herrera as a scout and intelligence agent because of his detailed knowledge of the countryside. Following the revolution, Herrera was a farmer and rancher.
Ruiz was elected regidor on the San Antonio cabildo (a member of the city council) in 1805. Several years later, he joined the Bexar Provincial Militia as a lieutenant. He took part in the Battle of Medina on August 18, 1813, with the Mexican revolutionary Republican Army of the North at Bexar against the royalist Spanish army in the bloodiest battle ever fought on Texas soil. Following the revolutionaries defeat, Ruiz was exiled, along with many other Mexican insurgents until 1822. He then continued his service in the army, often helping negotiate peace agreements with the native Indians until he cited declining health and was discharged in 1832.
When the Texas independence movement began to gain momentum, Ruiz allied himself with it and traveled to Washington-on-the-Brazos with his nephew José Antonio Navarro and his son-in-law Blas Herrera as a delegate to the Convention of 1836 where he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Ruiz wrote to Herrera from Columbia in the letter in this collection where he expressed affection and longing for his family as well as his support for the Republic of Texas.
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Herrera, Blas María," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HH/fhe73.html (accessed July 20, 2010).
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Medina, Battle of," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/MM/qfm1.html (accessed July 21, 2010).
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Ruiz, José Francisco," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/RR/fru11.html (accessed July 20, 2010).
The Blas Herrera Letter, 1836, was written by José Francisco Ruiz of Columbia, Texas, to his son-in-law, Blas Herrera, during Herrera's scouting missions for the Texas Army. Ruiz expressed concern for Herrera’s safety, inquired about Mexican activity in Bexar County, warning Herrera not to help them or hinder Texans, and instructed him to come to Columbia if danger loomed.
The collection is open for research use.
Blas Herrera Letter, 1836, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by archives staff in March 1965
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
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