Vicente Tarín

©1996 Texas State Historical Association

Vicente Tarín was the son of Pedro Nolasco Tarín and María Bernarda Araújo. He was born circa 1767 probably in the Villa de San Gerónimo, Chihuahua, México.

Tarín, a lancer, had served in the military for 20 years, and was a sergeant in La Segunda Compañía Volante de San Carlos de Parras, also known as the Alamo Company, when it arrived at Mission San Antonio de Valero in January of 1803. While there, he distinguished himself as a formidable Indian fighter and was instrumental in recovering stolen livestock on numerous occasions. By 1807 he had been appointed to the position of Second Alférez, due in part to his exemplary record.

Vicente Tarín's first wife, María (or Mónica) Luján, died in 1796. He remained a widower until 1810, when he married Doña Juana Isidora Leal, daughter of Don Joaquín Leal and Doña Ana María de Arocha. Their first child, Manuel Antonio Santiago Tarin was born one year later.

Tarín was made a Second Lieutenant and Commandant of the Alamo Company by 1811, while concurrently holding a position in the Presidial Company of San Fernando de Béxar. During the Las Casas revolt of that same year, Tarín was singled out as the one most capable of apprehending the criminals of that revolt because of the diligent manner in which he executed his duties.

In April of 1813, Tarín resigned his command to join the invasion forces of the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition holding the rank of Captain. After the rebel's subsequent defeat at the Battle of Medina, he fled to Natchitoches leaving his family behind.

When Spanish General Joaquín de Arrendondo's troops recaptured the Texas capital, the family's property was confiscated leaving them totally destitute. The female members of the insurgent's families, including Vizente's pregnant wife were imprisoned and subjected to the cruelest of conditions for nearly two months. From their prison window many of the women watched as their children roamed the streets in search of food and shelter. However it is probable that the infant Manuel found refuge with Father José Darío Zambrano, the parish priest of San Fernando Church. Zambrano was a known royalist but also godfather of the child. After her release, Juana also came under the care of the priest and shortly thereafter, gave birth to her second child, José Vicente Tarín.

By 1814, a conditional pardon was issued to the insurgents. Although this restored some of the property that had been confiscated, Tarín defied the pardon forcing his family to remain in the care of Father Zambrano. This affiliation with the priest continued for many years though under less than platonic conditions. Indications are that Zambrano fathered at least four illegitimate children by Juana Leal de Tarín while Vicente was in exile, though civil records later identify them as children of Vicente Tarín.

By 1815, Tarín formed his own company while still in Natchitoches aligning with the army of General Frances Humber. The Spanish government placed a price on his head when his return ventures into the Texas province included bartering guns and other goods with the Comanches, continuing the seditionary alliance that had been established with them.

Persistent in the cause of revolution, Vicente Tarín became a member of Dr. James Long's Supreme Council. When it issued its Declaration of Independence in Nacogdoches, June 23, 1819, he signed his name to the document as Secretary. Tarin remained in Louisiana until Mexican Independance was won.

In 1821, the newly established Mexican government, in an effort to establish peace with the Indians, appointed Vicente Tarín and Francisco Ruiz as Indian commissioners. Negotiations began which resulted in the signing of a treaty in Mexico City by the Lipan chiefs.

Tarín died by 1826. In the census for that year Juana Leal de Tarín, is listed as a widow.


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