University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Charles Phillips Smith Family Papers, 1771-1952

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Smith and Cassiano families
Title: Charles Phillips Smith Family Papers
Dates: 1771-1952
Abstract: Papers relating to the Smith and Cassiano families in San Antonio, Texas.
Accession No.: 1954
Extent: 11 ft., 3 in.
Language: Materials are written in German and English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

The Cassiano family of San Antonio, Texas, began with José Cassiano (1791-1862), born Giuseppe Cassini to Geronimo and Catalina Cassini of San Remo, Italy. He moved to New Orleans around 1812 and began a merchandizing business. By the 1820s, he moved to San Antonio, where he opened a store and purchased extensive property and landholdings in San Antonio and South Texas. He donated supplies to the Texas revolutionary army, served as a scout, provided intelligence on Santa Anna’s troop movements, and made significant financial contributions. José was a notable figure in San Antonio, serving as alderman in 1839-194, 1941-42, and1845-46 and donated to the San Fernando de Béxar Cathedral and public charities and school funds. He wed four times, marrying, in succession, Josefa Menchaca; María Gertrudis Pérez de Cordero (1790-1832), widow of Governor Manuel Antonio Cordero y Bustamante; Margarita Valdez in 1833; and Trinidad Soto in 1842. With María Gertrudis, he had a son named José Ignacio Cassiano (1827-1882).

María Gertrudis Pérez de Cordero Cassiano was the daughter of Canary Islander descendants Juan Ignacio Pérez and Clemencia Hernández in their home in San Antonio. Her father owned a significant amount of stock and land, as well as the building known as the Spanish Governors’ Mansion. Pérez sided with Spain before and during the Mexican Revolution, serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Spanish army and as interim governor. María Gertrudis married Colonel Manuel Antonio Cordero y Bustamante, one of Mexico’s best military commanders in Texas and one-time assistant governor of Texas. During her husband’s absences, María Gertrudis carried out his duties, including reviewing the troops. She inherited her family’s homestead after her father’s death and married José Cassiano three years after her first husband passed away in 1823.

José Ignacio Cassiano married Margarita Rodriguez (d. 1877), with whom he had seven children, including Gertrude Cassiano Smith, José Cassiano, and Guadalupe Cassiano Steele. José Cassiano married the daughter of German immigrants, Pauline Hainer, with whom he had two sons, Frank Cassiano and José Cassiano. Guadalupe Cassiano Steele married a Col. Steele. Gertrude Cassiano married Charles Phillip Smith, a prominent figure in San Antonio.

Charles Phillips Smith (1844-1923) was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, excelling at mathematics, before receiving a commission to West Point, where he graduated with honors. After serving with the army in Portland, Maine, for several months, he was sent to Galveston, Texas, with the Seventeenth Infantry in April 1866. Nine months later, he was reassigned to the Thirty-fifth Infantry in San Antonio, a unit made up of soldiers from the Seventeenth. By this time, Smith had been promoted to Captain and he served in a number of positions at Fort Davis, Fort Clark, and in San Antonio. He was given command of the United States' arsenal in San Antonio, acted as judge advocate in several military cases, and also secretary of civil affairs.

In 1870, Smith resigned his commission and moved to a farm in Wilson County for two and a half years. He took up work as a surveyor and civil engineer, becoming San Antonio’s city engineer in 1881 under Mayor French. Three years later, he left this position and opened a real estate, mortgage, and loan business under the title Charles P. Smith & Company. Smith married Gertrude Cassiano, the oldest daughter of José Ignacio and Margarita Rodriguez Cassiano. They had three children: Charles C. (who worked in his father’s company), Marguerite, and Alfred W.


A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas, Volume I. Chicago, Ill. Lewis Publishing Company, 1907.

Charles Phillips Smith Family Papers, 1771-1952, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Cassiano, José," (accessed July 29, 2010).

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Cassiano, María Gertrudis Pérez," (accessed July 29, 2010).

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Cordero y Bustamante, Manuel Antonio," (accessed July 29, 2010).

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Pérez, Juan Ignacio," (accessed July 29, 2010).

Scope and Contents

The great bulk of the Charles Phillips Smith Family Papers, 1771-1952, is comprised of the papers of the real estate, mortgage and loan business of Charles P. Smith and his son, Charles C. Smith, in San Antonio, 1884-1952. Parts of the collection relate to Charles P. Smith’s military and civil engineering activities and to the activities of C. C. Smith as alderman of San Antonio, 1907-1911; a significant part of the collection consists of papers relating to the history of the Smith and Cassiano families and the city of San Antonio.

Materials are printed, manuscripts, typescript, photocopy, correspondence, receipts, tax receipts, check stubs, cancelled checks, account books, bank account books, survey notes, chess postals, business card, bulletins, time book, property listings, legal files, election materials, photo plates, insurance policies, promissory notes, bill of sale, bill of cost, power of attorney, petition, contracts and agreements, deeds of trust, releases, record of property assessments, warranty deeds, copies of official papers, copies of wills, patents, commissions and military papers, appointment, travel journal, letters of introduction, relics, marriage license, death certificate, heirship papers and genealogy charts, photographs and pictures, land deeds, abstracts of land, property leases, land plates and papers, pocket map folders, books, pamphlets, magazine, sheet music, travel brochure, catalogue, newspapers and newspaper clippings, and maps.


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Cassiano family
Cassiano, José, 1791-1862
Cassiano, Ignacio, 1827-1882
Cassiano, María Gertrudis Pérez
Sadler, R.E.
Smith, Charles C. -- Archives
Smith, Charles P. (Charles Phillip), 1844-1923 -- Archives
Smith family -- Archives
Smith, Margaret C.
Stude, J.V.
Subjects (Organizations)
Charles P. Smith and Company
Genealogy -- Texas.
Inheritance and succession.
Law -- Cases -- Texas.
Real property -- Texas.
Wills -- Texas.
Pittsburgh (Pa.)
San Antonio (Tex.)
West Point (N.Y.)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Charles Phillips Smith Family Papers, 1771-1952, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Charles W. Macune, Jr., November 1963.

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.

Detailed Description of the Papers


Contact repository for inventory.