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Head Municipality: Refugio

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DeLeon Colony MapThe McMullen & McGloin Colony

Municipality: San Patricio de Hibernia


John (Juan) McMullen
Irish Empresario &
Co-founder of the McMullen & McGloin Colony

From San Patricio de Hibernia by Rachel Bluntzer Hebert (Eakin Press, 1981).  Reprinted by permission in memory of Ms. Hebert and regional authors Hobart Huson (Refugio) and William Oberste (Texas Irish Empresarios) who kept the story of the Irish Settlers of Mexican Texas alive.

For additional biographical information, Search Handbook of Texas Online

A trunk full of letters and an old black hat were the last vestiges of the personal belongings of an important figure in the making of a new nation, the Republic of Texas. These were the only items left at the courthouse door of San Antonio de Bexar from the auction of the possessions of John McMullen. The Probate Records of Bexar County of the year 1853 state, "the trunk contains papers and personal letters which are of no value. " Since they were deemed of no value, they were in all probability destroyed, and in so doing the administrator pro tem of his estate sealed forever some of the mystery which surrounds the life of John McMullen, Texas empresario, member of the general council of the Provisional Government of Texas, president pro tem of the general council for January and February of 1836, and chairman of the committee of finance. In March he left San Patricio, the colony on the Nueces River, for the East to buy foodstuffs for his half-starved colonists. After the Texas Revolution he settled in San Antonio de Bexar as a merchant. He was active in church affairs as early as 1837. In 1840 he became politically prominent when he was elected alderman under Mayor John W. Smith; he also served as alderman under Smith from 1842-1844. He became chief justice of Bexar County in 1844. After his assassination in 1853 by an unknown assailant, he was eulogized in the San Antonio Ledger as "one of the oldest, wealthiest and most respectable citizens of Bexar County."

It is known that John McMullen was born in Ireland in 1785 most probably in east Donegal County or in a county of North-East Ulster. [Note: Interview with Canon Thomas Killeen, July 31, 1978, Newport, County Mayo, Ireland. When asked about the name McMullen, Canon Killeen said, "A good Donegal name." Canon Killeen is an author and a historian of note in Northwestern Ireland. He is familiar with the names that are identified with certain counties. To verify that he was right he referred to Woulfe's Irish Names and Surnames (Dublin: M.H. Gill & Sons, 1923) p. 389.]

It is said that his first stop in the United States was in Baltimore, Maryland, [Oberste, lrish Empresarios, p. 28] but he settled as a merchant in Savannah, Georgia, where in November 1810 he married Esther Cummings, a widow with two children, John and Eliza Cummings. [Probate Records on the Estate of John McMullen, Bexar County Courthouse, 1853; deposition of Rosanna Hoffee, affidavit of heirship on said Probate Records; John J. McGloin vs. John McMullen (nephew of the deceased John McMullen) Court Records of Bexar County District Court; marriage records of Chatham County Courthouse, Savannah, Ga. SeeJohn McMullen to the President, March 25, 1836, Jenkins, John H., The Papers of the Texas Revolution 1835-1836, Vol. V, p. 194 (Austin: Presidial Press, 1973)]

The exact year is not known, but we know from the deposition of Rosanna Hoffee in the McMullen probate records that he moved to Matamoros, Mexico, in the early 1820's and became a merchant there. Somewhere along the line he met James McGloin, who became his partner in business and his stepson-in-law by marriage to widowed Eliza Cummings Watson. [Marriage Records Chatham County, Savannah, Ga., Elizabeth Cummings & James H. Watson, 1823] Matamoros at that time was somewhat of a boomtown with many foreigners. Mexico had just become a republic; this seemed to bring aliens to it for the next two decades. It bordered on the Rio Bravo del Norte (the Rio Grande) in the state of Tamaulipas, a little south of the westward movement which was drawing settlers to the West with the force of a black tornado. But some of these settlers got out of its path and strayed southward to seek their fortune in the erstwhile village of Refugio, renamed Matamoros for General Mariano Matamoros of Mexican Revolutionary fame.

This vigorous westward movement, which had just wrested Florida from Spain, made it imperative that Texas' endless acres be colonized. Mexico, after many efforts to colonize it with native Mexicans, lifted the traditional ban on colonization with foreigners. A young Anglo-American named Stephen F. Austin had received a grant to colonize Texas with citizens from the United States. The Mexican Government had given him more than one generous grant of land under the empresario system. Was this not enough to set the mind of John McMullen to thinking? He was one to look ahead, a man of vision, not the type to be content to be a merchant in Matamoros in partnership with his son-in-law, James McGloin, for the rest of his life. His Stay in Matamoros had not been without gain. He could now speak and read the Spanish language, and had made influential Mexican friends; this would be an asset to him in any enterprise which he might undertake in Mexico. Forty-two years had passed since his birth, and it seemed as if he was still searching to satisfy his drive for success in business and politics.

When James McGloin returned from a merchandising trip to New Orleans aboard the boat Isabella in 1827, he brought the news that in that city all were talking about the leagues of land that Mexico was giving to those who would colonize in Texas. In those days, boatload after boatload of Irish were landing in New York and Boston. Since Europeans were especially welcome, why not colonize with Irish who had just arrived in the United States? So in that same year, John McMullen and James McGloin applied for an empresario grant to settle an Irish colony the empresa of which stretched from Galveston Bay to the Sabine. But the application was rejected because that area had already been granted to Joseph Vehlein and David Burnet. [Oberste, William H., Texas Irish Empresarios, p. 16; see note, application of McMullen and McGloin January 24, 1828]  Impatiently, McMullen waited. When he found that that particular grant had gone to someone else, it was not in him to give up that easily. "While awaiting a reply from the Mexican Government, McMullen learned that Benjamin Drake Lovell intended to surrender his empresario contract, which he had received jointly with Doctor John Purnell in 1825, to colonize lands on the Nueces. [Taylor, Virginia H., Spani4 Archives of the General Land Office of Texas, p. 52]

By an accident of fate-the drowning of Dr. Purnell while he was on his way to examine his grant-McMullen and McGloin were assigned the empresario grant on the Nueces. [Oberste, Irish Empresarios, p. 20] They had lost no time going to Leona Vicario (Saltillo), the capital of Coahuila and Texas, application in hand, for the coveted grant that stretched from the Nueces to the Medina near San Antonio de Bexar. Their application was dated August 14, 1828. Two days later it was signed, and the empresario grant on the Nueces was assigned to them by the Government of Coahuila and Texas. John McMullen and James McGloin sold their mercantile business in Matamoros, inspected their grant, and boarded a boat to New York to seek immigrants with Irish citizenship. They advertised in the newspapers and held interviews. McMullen was most enthusiastic about the assets of their empresa in Texas: the fertility of the land for farming, the excellent grazing for stock raising, and the crystal clear river, navigable to its mouth, that bordered it on the south. We may be sure that he painted a glowing picture of life in the colony, not one free from hardship, but one full of rewards on owning such large tracts of virgin land. Soon they had a group of thirty-five families of eager Irish colonists, many from New York, some from Kentucky, and some from as far south as New Orleans. All had retained their Irish citizenship. But upon becoming colonists, they would automatically become Mexican citizens.

The Empresarios McMullen and McGloin chartered two boats in New York, the brig New Packet and the schooner Albion, to bring the colonists to El Copano where they would disembark and trek their way overland to their empresa on the Nueces. It was October 1829 when the two small ships at full sail sighted the coast of Texas. The Albion with Captain Duehart at the helm missed its course, passed through Paso Caballo to Matagorda Bay, and there it docked. These colonists with Empresario McGloin made their way to Mesquite Landing on the Guadalupe and marched west from there across the open prairie to Mission Refugio. The New Packet with Empresario McMullen on board stayed on course and sailed into El Copano under John Harris and docked there. Its thirty-five passengers, with their tools for farming and other trades as well as their personal belongings, made their way to the nearest settlement, Mission Refugio. This was the first group of Irish settlers to come to Texas. According to McGloin their reason for stopping instead of proceeding to their own empresa on the Nueces was, in getting to Mission Refugio they (the colonists) had to stop there on account of the scarcity of provisions being the most convenient place to obtain supplies from both Goliad and New Orleans. [Charles Adams Gulick, Jr., assisted by Katherine Elliott (eds.) The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, Vol. V, P. 379 (Austin: A. C. Baldwin and Sons, 1924) after to be referred to as Lamar Papers]

The first challenge offered by their newly adopted land was the visit of Lipan Indians as recorded by James McGloin:

Some few days after the arrival in said place they were paid a visit by a tribe of Indians called Lipans, the captain of which was very Impertinent in demanding gifts from McMullen who refused to comply with their wants. McMullen ordered a Captain Kelly who had organized the men into a company of civil militia to have them immediately under arms to mand (sic) the cannon and fire them off which was done in a very few minutes, the Indians on hearing the report of the cannon immediately left the place. Upon being requested to stay to see the men exercise the answer was No that he had to find a good camping ground for the night and went off and returned no more.

The decision of the empresarios to stop at Mission Refugio en route to their empresa on the Nueces occasioned a series of clashes between the Mexican authorities and John McMullen. Captain Mariano Cosio, the customs officer at Goliad, met their boat and gave them permission to stop temporarily at the Mission. But as time went on, the colonists were getting more and more attached to their first stopping place. Here, at least, they had a great stone church in which to protect themselves against the Indians. They had never seen savages. Their first encounter with these Indians terrified them and caused them to hesitate to risk going farther inland on the Nueces in the very center of Lipan country. To be sure, in Ireland they had been hungry and oppressed, but they had had their thatched cottages. Here they were let loose in a wilderness where the only accommodation was water from the Mission River. The women huddled in the great stone church and were afraid to venture far from it. Some of the men, however, realized the worth of their sacrifice, the ownership of the great tracts of land and the freedom that went with it; but in most cases this realization had escaped their wives, whose homesickness blotted out all thoughts of the future. McMullen had shown them his resourcefulness in dealing with the Indians. He was not one to negotiate, to compromise, and to placate. The colonists could see what manner of man he was, fearless and impatient, not even-tempered like his partner, McGloin. While the colonists were trying to feel secure at Mission Refugio, two other Irish empresarios, James Power and James Hewetson, were in Leona Vicario (Saltillo), the capital of Coahuila and Texas, making arrangements for their empresa which took in the area (ten littoral leagues deep) from the Nueces to the Guadalupe.

These empresarios had filed the following protest with the governor, José María Viesca, who in turn sent it to Ramon Músquiz, political chief of the Department of Bexar, who was asked to discuss it with Juan Antonio Padilla, the commandant general for the distribution of land in this department. Padilla was at that time in San Felipe de Austin. A copy of the protest was also sent to the mayor of Goliad, Nov. 28, 1829

Your Excellency: The managers (empresarios) Santiago Hewetson and Santiago Power appear before you in the most respectful manner and declare, They say that they have received word from loyal persons of the arrival of the citizens Santiago McGloin and Juan McMullen, who come to settle the lands they received upon transfer from the citizen Benjamin Lovell. They also know that some families, which said managers have brought here, plan to establish themselves in the lands which we still occupied a few days ago, and which we had already promised to the families we planned to bring to this country. We ask your Excellence to please decree whatever orders you find most convenient to solve this case, in order to avoid vague answers and misdeeds. We expect to receive this as justice from your Excellency. I transfer this to you (Ramon Músquiz) for your knowledge so you will take whatever steps you find most convenient in order to prevent the managers who guide families to this country from settling them in lands which do not belong to them. They should adhere to the rules stated in their purchase licenses. We ask you to discuss the matter with the General Commissioner, who has been appointed by this government to distribute said lands. Viesca   [James Power and James Hewetson to Governor José María Viesca Dec 22, 1829, Oficio 62, Spanish Archives of the General Land Office of Texas, Bexar Archives after to be referred to as SPA/BA GLO of Texas]

In December 1829 following the above protest, the Albion arrived at El Copano with a third boatload of colonists for McMullen and McGloin. Most of the colonists who had arrived in November had taken up their abode in the old mission church. Those who preferred some measure of privacy instead of the safety from the Indians provided by the stone church, built jacales of posts which held bushy branches laid horizontally between them. The roof was thatched with palmetto, even cruder than the picket cabins that they were to occupy later. They had brought their tools for farming and their trunks of personal belongings. Here they would spend their first Christmas on alien soil. Fortunately they had their own pastor, Rev. Henry Doyle, so that one may be sure that Christmas with all its spiritual blessings, unhampered by material possessions, was celebrated by midnight Mass attended by this group of lonely, unacclimated colonists on the verge of venturing into a new life in Texas.  McMullen and McGloin's having settled in Refugio continued to create problems for the Mexican officials. Upon receipt of a letter from Músquiz, the political chief, in which he enclosed the protest of Power and Hewetson to Governor Viesca, Padilla wrote to Músquiz giving his interpretation of the situation:

"Without knowing anything about the claim of Empresarios Power and Hewetson, I advised McMullen and McGloin to keep the families within the limits set by the government ... they answered me that they were occupying the ten leagues temporarily. Now on these same days they placed a request before the Supreme Government (of the State) asking for land dimensions in which to erect a new settlement. They said they could not leave until a resolution was received." [J. Antonio Padilla to Ramon Músquiz, January 13, 1830, Oficio 64 SPA/13A]

Padilla expressed doubts as to the claim of Power and Hewetson. He went into detail setting out the metes and bounds of each contract and by looking at the corresponding contracts deduced that the claim presented by Power and Hewetson was not legal. In other words, the land occupied by the settlers of McMullen and McGloin was not included in the boundaries of Power and Hewetson, unless by a later contract that he did not know of the only way to settle this, he thought, was by a scientific survey, and who would pay for the survey? This should be solved by obliging McMullen and McGloin to evacuate the lands.

I transfer the case to you . . . if not I will take it to the Supreme Government so that it may decree what is Just. I am determined to see a solution set by it. Juan Antonio Padilla

On March 4, the mayor of Goliad wrote to Músquiz saying that permission had been given by the municipal government of Goliad to McMullen and McGloin to settle temporarily in Mission Refugio, in order to await the coming of more settlers cited in their contract to land at El Copano. However, he doubted the wisdom of this decision. He hoped that Músquiz would prevail upon McMullen to move. Soon after this the Albion arrived at El Copano with a third boat load of colonists. The persistence of McMullen, and the colonists as well, in remaining at Mission Refugio could not possibly make for peace, satisfaction, and some feeling of security. Only the distribution of the land grants and a permanent settlement on the Nueces could bring that about. As long as letters were being sent from one official to another---from Governor Viesca to Músquiz, from Músquiz to Padilla, and from each to Aldrete, the alcalde of Goliad---each trying to unsnarl the problem that McMullen had created by not taking his colonists to his assigned empresa on the Nueces, it was inevitable that the colonists would be in a state of suspense and dissatisfaction. The situation became a vicious circle. McMullen's declaring he would not leave re-enforced the colonist's desire to remain at Mission Refugio. The fact that Mission Refugio, was only sixteen miles from El Copano, their means of escape by water, could well have played a part in the colonists' insistence on staying there. They had not envisioned the cold realities of pioneering in a land, uninhabited except by hostile Indians and three widely scattered settlements, Nacogdoches, Bexar, and La Bahia (Goliad).  Meanwhile Governor Viesca wrote to Músquiz thinking he had found the solution to the problem. A copy of his letter was sent to the alcalde at Goliad.

Leona Vicario, March 13, 1830. I must tell you that since April 3 this government gave the ten littoral leagues from the Nueces to the Guadalupe to Santiago Power and Santiago Hewetson. Since the two empresario grants border on each other, the one who asks for the survey first will have to pay for it without any right to claim injustices They (McMullen and McGloin) without any motive (right) but a letter addressed to this government requesting the sale of the main portion of the mission lands, settled in it. [Viesca to Músquiz, March 13, 183o, Oficio 68, SPA/13A]

The governor was aghast at the presumption of McMullen, since there could be no doubt that he knew, for he had been told, that the mission lands were exempt. Músquiz answered that he would notify Padilla and the alcalde at Goliad whom he would ask to notify McMullen, whose attitude in this was not conceivable much less understandable. After this McMullen realized that he must move his colonists to the Nueces. In July 1830 McGloin prepared to go to their empresa on the Nueces to select a suitable site for the capital of the colony. In July 1830 a company prepared to go to explore the country on the Nueces to select a place for a town which was done by the Empresario McGloin and others. On the following month McGloin and four men and their families moved from the Mission to the Nueces taking with him the cannon for his defense.

San Patricio is beautifully situated on a high and dry plain on the east side (left bank) of the Nueces, about a mile from the River. I have rarely seen a prettier location. [Earl, Thomas (ed.), Life Travels and Opinions of Benjamin Lundy, p. 102, (New York: Arno Press and The New York Times, 1969)]. The townsite itself is on level ground in the valley of the Nueces, but to the north rise rolling hills from which one gets a panoramic view of the undulating countryside which in spring and summer is clothed in various shades of green, from the light green of the mesquite to the dark green of the live oak. They had chosen a strategic spot bordering the state of Tamaulipas. This it would prove to be within the next decade. Oral tradition has it that this site had earlier been a Mexican settlement which was attacked and razed by the Indians, and that "The Old Cemetery on the Hill" was its burial ground.

[Miller, Mrs. G.S., Nueces Valley, p. 7 (San Antonio, Naylor Press, 1930) "The place McGloin selected (for the townsite) had long been a settlement which for many years had been occupied by a Mexican colony. At a later time it was practically wiped out of existence by an Indian raid. When the Irish came, they found a deserted village with only a few human beings living where there was once a thriving settlement." The above is based on oral tradition as is the following: Kate Dougherty Bluntzer, often explained the two cemeteries by this same tradition. "The Old Cemetery on the Hill" is the one that the Irish settlers found when they settled on the Nueces; it was used for a burial place until 1872 when the parish priest, Rev. Maury, insisted that they bury their dead in the square designated "Cemetery" on the townsite plat. The author's conclusion concerning the so-called settlement is that the two leagues applied for by Martin de Leon in 1800 on the Nucces encompassed the Santa Margarita Crossing and a lagoon fed by the overflow of the river, all "on the Texas side" according to Harbert Davenport. It was known as Santa Margarita Ranch and the lake, present Round Lake, was called Santa Margarita Lake. Oberste cites the Census of Santa Margarita Ranch made by José de Jesus Aldrete Nov. 10, 1811, SPA/ BA as having had 23 persons living there. During the Revolution 1811-12 de Leon abandoned his ranch on the Nueces and moved to Bexar. All clues point to the assumption that this settlement that has come down in oral tradition was the de Leon Ranch] 

José Miguel Aldrete, alcalde of Goliad, reports by letter written August 12, 1830, to Músquiz:

The Irish priest (Doyle) informed me that there are only 16 families willing to settle in the land the Government has assigned them which lies along the Nueces River. The rest of the families are upset and discontent, and are determined to take any new promising destination . . . several of the individuals have come before me requesting a passport to New Orleans. The only reason they give for this is that they no longer wish to settle in the colony of McMullen. They refused any proposal I made about settling in this colony. [Aldrete to Músquiz, August 12, 1830, Oficio 80 SPA/13A]

But by August 27 Aldrete reports to Músquiz on a more hopeful note, after a visit to the remaining colonists at Mission Refugio:

I calmed them down and advised them to stay tranquil so that they will live peacefully. Whenever some of them appear before me, some still show signs of discontent. Five even persist in separating themselves from this type of life. The Empresario McGloin notified me that he is already constructing "factories" (presumably cabins) in the land assigned them. He says that twenty families are supposed to have left to occupy said land. I advised those that remained to evacuate . . . I did not understand anything of what they alleged; therefore, I am undecided as to whether they should go to their colony or let them go anywhere they want. I hope you will notify me what to do; whether to force them to reunite with the rest or allow them to go to New Orleans which is the resolution they hope for. [Aldrete to Músquiz, August 27, 1830, Oficio 83 SPA/13A. 18. Huson, Refugio Vol. I, p. 125-127. 19. Ibid., p. 171]

There can be no doubt that it was with a great sigh of relief that Aldrete was able to communicate to Músquiz on November 18, 1830, that all the families that remained at the Mission Refugio with McMullen were now settled in their "corresponding settlements." It can be assumed that McMullen's reason for staying with the colonists was not entirely his stubbornness, but he hoped that, given time, they would change their minds and join him on the Nueces. Colonists were not easy to come by unless they were citizens of the United States and a part of the westward movement. The eminent historian, Hobart Huson, has said, "By comparing the number of grants actually issued with the number brought to Texas by these empresarios, it would appear that more left than remained." He goes on to say, "Probably the bulk of the colonists had moved to the Nueces by November 18, 1830, but the testimony of Power colonists reveals that numerous of the McMullen-McGloin colonists were at Mission Refugio when the Refugio Irish arrived in May 1834." We do know that two McMullen colonists died before they left Mission Refugio, Peter Golden and John Charles Gallan. Both their widows married prominent Refugio men.

Rev. Henry Doyle, after building a picket church in the colony, is not mentioned again in the records; therefore, it is reasonable to assume that he left prior to October 1831 when the land commissioner came. There is no way of knowing which prospective colonists deserted the enterprise because all the passenger lists have not been found. Oberste cites a letter from Músquiz to Aldrete dated November 24, 1830, saying that there were some McMullen colonists who never got any farther than El Copano where they landed and others who would not leave the vicinity of Mission Refugio but had squatted on Power and Hewetson's empresa and refused to move. To these he sent word through Aldrete that they would have to elect an alcalde to govern themselves and request a land commissioner to distribute land. After this, McMullen made his way to his colony on the Nueces. The colonists had thrown up jacales for temporary shelters. The settlement lay across from the ancient Santa Margarita Crossing. With the coming of McMullen to San Patricio, the hopes of the colonists were renewed, for his first act was to write a letter to the political chief asking for a land commissioner to distribute land titles to the colonists,

Colony on the Nueces, Dec. 8, 1830 We respectfully beseech the Supreme Government to assign us, as soon as possible, a commissioner who may establish the colony, pacify the discontented minds of many of the colonists, and place them in possession of their lands with the customary formalities. Juan McMullen and Santiago McGloin [McMullen and McGloin to Músquiz, Dec. 18, 1830, Oficio 93, SPA/13A]

Músquiz in turn sent this request to the supreme government and said he would let them know as soon as he heard. A land commissioner was appointed January 29, 1831. The colonists awaited his arrival with anticipation. They would at last get their land grants. But they were not aware of the seemingly needless delays to which the land commissioners were prone. It was not until October 1831 that the aged José Antonio Saucedo appeared to distribute land. The colonists had definitely decided on the location of the townsite, had named it San Patricio de Hibernia for Ireland and its patron saint, and It had been surveyed by William O'Docharty. Picket cabins sprang up on the townsite; a few were erected with the pride of ownership by the colonists who were in possession of their land. They were: James McGloin, John McMullen, Juan Delgado, Edward McGloin, Patrick McGloin, John Heffernan, John Carroll, Maria Brigicla Kivlin, Patrick Neven, William O'Docharty, John Carroll, and John Hart. The picket church was the first community building to be erected in the colony and the first church to be named for Saint Patrick.

After Saucedo left San Patricio and did not return, those who were left without land, which they had so eagerly looked forward to owning, made known their feelings to the empresarios. McMullen promised that he would do every thing possible to get another land commissioner appointed. He too wanted to see the colonists busy clearing and plowing their labors and stocking their sitios with cattle. It lowered the morale of the colonists to be waiting and Idle. Blasted hope was the reason for their discontent. When they gazed upon the open prairie, covered with high grass and uninhabited except for the Indians, must they not have pictured with longing the ruins of the ancient stone abbeys, the round towers, and the castles which had stood through the centuries in Ireland? Upon hearing of the death of Antonio Saucedo in 1832, McMullen applied to the authorities for a land commissioner to finish the work that Saucedo had begun. While waiting for the new commissioner McMullen, his wife Esther, and their adopted son journeyed to San Antonio de Bexar in 1833. There in San Fernando Church is to be found the following entry in the Book of Baptismal Records #405:

McMullen, José Antonio de Jesus, about nine years old, from Carolina of the North of the United States, adopted son of John McMullen and Doña Esther Espadas. The child was adopted. Godparents were the adoptive parents. Father de la Garza baptized the child and signed the book.

Throughout the book only the wife's maiden name is listed; therefore, Esther McMullen's maiden name was Espadas, a Spanish surname which makes her of Spanish descent. Oral tradition has it that she was the daughter of a silk manufacturer in Baltimore, Maryland. The author found no further record of the adopted son; however, it has come down in oral tradition that there was an adopted child. Some think that the fact that Esther Espadas McMullen was of Spanish descent was a plus in the decision of the Mexican Government to give McMullen and McGloin an empresario grant. It may also account for McMullen's proficiency in the Spanish language. Upon his return from Bexar, McMullen found that José María Balmaceda had been appointed land commissioner for San Patricio. While the colonists waited with waning expectations, Balmaceda busied himself with political affairs in Monclova, Coahuila. There he stayed for nearly a year.

Toward the end of 1833, McMullen, leaving McGloin with the discontented colonists, mounted his horse and started for Monclova, a distance of 400 miles. Benjamin Lundy, an abolitionist from the East, was seeking a grant of land from Mexico on which to settle free negroes from the United States. He rode into Monclova on November 15, 1833, and there he became acquainted with John McMullen. He had several conversations with him, mostly on the political happenings which McMullen had read about in the Spanish newspapers. Also while McMullen was in Monclova, he told Lundy that he had received word that eight Mexicans had been killed by Indians near his colony of San Patricio. On another occasion he made the remark, "Slavery in Mexico is worse than slavery in the United States." [Lundy, Benjamin, Travels p. 89, conversation with McMullen in Monclova] Lundy left January 18, 1834; McMullen was still in Monclova. Mexican officials could not be hurried; however, one of the objects of McMullen's visit was accomplished when Balmaceda's first act as a commissioner was to help McMullen get an extension of his contract. The second was when the land commissioner departed from Bexar at the end of that month, and from there he was to stop in San Patricio.

McMullen may have been in Monclova for a second reason which in no way overshadows the first. John Cummings, his stepson was in Santa Rosa (now named Músquiz), Mexico, not far from Monclova. There he died in 1834. [John J. McGloin vs. John McMullen (nephew of John McMullen, deceased, and administrator of the Estate) Court Records, Bexar County, District Court, 1853] It is very probably that he died of cholera, for it reached epidemic states in Texas in 1833 and spread through Mexico in 1833 and 1834. He had to bring this news to Esther McMullen. It is interesting to note, at this point, that during the partnership of McMullen and McGloin, McMullen, older, more aggressive, and more interested in matters political, took the lead in the business and political end of their enterprise. McMullen was not only interested in the success of his colony, but he was aware of the potentiality of Texas. He had a creative approach to the development of Southwest Texas and was back from Monclova in time to talk with Juan N. Almonte as is seen in Almonte's, "Statistical Report of 1834. [Fehrenbach, T.R., Lone Star, p. 181 "Juan N. Almonte had been sent to Texas as a combined goodwill ambassador and presidential spy."]

John McMullen has a plan to make part of the waters of the Rio Bravo del Norte (Rio Grande) flow into the Nueces River for the purpose of making the rivers navigable. But this enterprise does not seem as practical to me as the one proposed by him to the State of Tamaulipas to change the course of the Rio Del Norte in order to make it empty into El Brazo Santiago, increasing the waters of this port making possible the navigation of the river as far as the village of Matamoros. [Texas Historical Quarterly, Vol. 28, p. 192 "Almonte's Statistical Report of 1834."] While McMullen was wheeling and dealing and hatching ideas, he gave McGloin a free hand in dealing with the colonists. It was not an easy assignment; the colonists had been cooling their heels for nearing three years since land commissioner Saucedo's appearance in 1831 while their hopes regarding their land titles were plummeting every day. Balmaceda seemed more like a myth than ever. They received word that he was in Bexar in March of 1834; he issued five titles in the McMullen-McGloin empresa to Mexican rancheros, three in Bexar County, and two in Atascosa County. [SPA/GLO McMullen-McGloin Grant] The Decree of April 6, 1830, had been repealed on May 1, 1834, so that there was no question as to whether titles should be issued to Anglo-Americans. A number of Anglo-American colonists came to San Patricio on their own, among them Lewis Ayers and David Ayers, who came from New York on the brig Asia. A boat load of colonists from Tipperary, Ireland, had also arrived in 1834 making it possible for San Patricio to qualify for an ayuntamiento. The town had been incorporated in April 1834, and elected an alcalde and four regidores (aldermen), who were not installed until the summer. [Huson, Refugio, Vol. I, p. 75, (Woodsboro: Rooke Foundation, 1953)] The slate of officers were: William O'Docharty, alcalde, and Thomas Adams, Francisco de Leon, Francisco Leal, and Patrick O'Boyle, aldermen. [Declaration of Francisco Leal, Jan. 21, 1835, BA/U of T]

In Almonte's "Statistical Report of 1834" be gave the population of San Patricio as 600. He had come to Texas in the spring, and upon his return to Mexico some months later he gave a good report on the attitude of the colonists, both Anglo-Americans and Irish. He thought that Texas should be granted the demands of the convention held in San Felipe de Austin in 1833. He wrote the government that all was quiet in Texas and that it would remain so, that is, if all the convulsions of Mexico could be stopped. [Barker, Life of Austin, p. 398, (Austin: University of Texas Press] On the whole the Irish colonists of San Patricio were not disturbed and were content except for their long-tried patience of waiting for the land commissioner. None of the San Patricians had taken part in the conventions at San Felipe in 1832 and 1833 nor were the majority concerned over these meetings. They did not consider them a threat as did the Mexicans, yet there was bad feeling in some quarters toward the Anglo-Americans. The only bond that the Irish had with them was that of language. Some of the San Patricians considered people from the United States as foreign as the Mexicans, if not more so. In fact, they had a better opportunity to know the Mexicans than they did Austin's colonists. The reason? Their proximity. Mexican rancheros were living among them. Harbert Davenport writes in his "Men of Goliad," "The Mexican citizenry of San Patricio and Victoria came, for the most part, of good ranchero stock, whereas those of Goliad were descendants of the soldiery of Presidio La Bahia." Nevertheless, there were some old and honorable families among the rancheros of Goliad. Of the eleven grants of land granted to native Mexicans, in the McMullen-McGloin empresa six were in the San Patricio area. Miguel Delgado's 17,692-acre ranch on the Nueces River several miles above San Patricio was named San Miguel de la Buena Virtud. He was a prominent and respected citizen. Another was Francisco Leal, an alderman, as was Francisco de Leon. All of these rancheros had vaqueros and Mexican farm laborers. Many of these laborers stayed after the revolution as we can see by the census, whereas most of the rancheros sold out and left.

McMullen and McGloin, by their stay in Matamoros, had not only learned the Spanish language but understood, as Austin did, the character of the Mexican. There was no religious barrier; both were Catholic. The soldiers of the garrison of Lipantitlan could be seen on the streets of San Patricio without causing alarm. Lt. Marcelino Garcia, second in command, was a friend of Empresario James McGloin, and William O'Docharty was on friendly terms with the commandant, Captain Nicolas Rodriguez. The year 1834 was a year of peace and conviviality for San Patricio. John J. Linn has said that Texas was a territorial paradise. He went on to say,

"A tax collector would have been a curiosity. There were no courts in the land, for there was no litigation; sufficient money was in circulation; theft of cattle was unknown; corn cribs knew no locks; and smoke houses stood open. There was Acadian simplicity of manners and purity of morals." [Linn, Reminiscences of Fifty Years in Texas, p. 23, (New York: D &J Sadler Co., 1883)]

It might be said that Linn was quite carried away by describing the Province of Texas as such a utopia, but many of the things he said had a basis in truth. He did not say, however, that there were no day-to-day hardships for the pioneer or that the fear of the Indians had disappeared. The year 1834 may have seemed an idyllic time for Texas to those who were unaware of what was happening in the Republic of Mexico. In April of 1834, as Castañeda put it, "Santa Anna threw off his mask,'' deposed his liberal vice-president, Manuel Gomez Farías, who went to New Orleans in exile, and dissolved the Constitutional Congress in May 1834. A centralized government replaced the federal system, and Mexico was to be ruled by a military despot.

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