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The Irish Colonies-Index | Coahuila y Tejas-Index

James (Santiago) McGloin

Irish Empresario
Co-founder McMullen/McGloin Colony

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

For more biographical information, Search Handbook of Texas Online

The first burst of color in the spring of 1856 was fading, but summer's green colored the tree-lined land that led to the new dwelling house of Empresario James McGloin on Round Lake. It was dusk on June 19th when the San Patricians began to arrive for the rosary and the wake of their esteemed empresario. Upon entering a hall with steep stairs rising to the half-story above, they had turned to the left to enter the parlor where he lay in death. The immigrants of the 1840's and '50's, as well as the original colonists, had lost a friend. James McGloin had always felt responsible for them, and this was the role he had played in their lives-always there to protect, advise, and comfort. Now they were coming to his home, which, according to oral tradition, was the first frame house to be built in San Patricio and in which he had lived for only a year. They had come so that they might pay him homage and pray for his soul.

The crowd had assembled; each woman having brought her offering of food, now sat sedately in straight-back, handmade chairs and benches to keep vigil over his corpse. Among them was Susanna O'Docharty, whose height and stately bearing made her stand out in the crowd. Those who had come to the wake called her Lady O'Docharty, in deference, for she, a legal scholar, was the mistress of her own school, which was held in her house. She was ever the driving force of the women of the erstwhile colony, and now that San Patricio had survived the exodus of colonists as a result of the aftermath of the revolution and was again a fair-sized town comprised of many who had returned and some who had come after the annexation, Lady O'Docharty was still a leader in her community.

The new-comers, the John Sullivans, came to pay their respects to the man who had extended to them a welcoming hand when they arrived in San Patricio in April of 1854. [L. Rachel Dougherty, nee Sullivan, the author's grandmother, often told of her attendance at the rosary and wake of Empresario James McGloin. She was fourteen years old at the time. It is to her we owe the only description of him] Among those who came were: the Gaffneys, the Mahonys, the Harts, the Ryans, the McMurrays, the O'Dochartys, the Weirs, and others. His many McGloin relatives who had come with him in October 1829, and those who had joined him later, as well as his own immediate family, were gathered there: his eldest son, John J., a bachelor; his handsome son, Gilbert, with his beautiful wife, Mary Molloy; his youngest son, Edward; and his two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary Ann Grover, nee McGloin, were all present to mourn his passing. His second wife of only three years, Mary Murphy McGloin, sat grief-stricken beside the coffin, a pine box covered with black cloth, made by the colonists.

Even the latecomers would miss his presence, for he had grown to be a part of the town and had inched his way into the hearts of all the settlers. The figure of James McGloin, tall, slender, and erect, regular featured with dark hair and dark, grey eyes, would leave a vacuum that could not be filled by another. When Father Bernard O'Reilly, the pastor, arrived to recite the rosary, the men who had been standing in a circle talking outside entered, hats in hand, to kneel and answer the Hail Marys repeated, seemingly in endless succession. The rosary was over; all were free to go; but most stayed a while and took refreshment. There were always those "faithfuls," however, who remained for a full night's vigil, fought sleep with coffee brewing over the coals in the kitchen fireplace, and sustained themselves at intervals on the food that they had brought: wild turkey and quail roasted on the spit, bread, butter, and wild grape preserves. Silence was expected, but there was talking in muted tones throughout the night. How else could they stay awake until dawn when the sun rose over Round Lake in all its fiery splendor? The next morning the empresario's remains were taken to the church where Father O'Reilly chanted a requiem Mass. Then the townfolk in procession accompanied the ox-drawn cart as it made its way to the Old Cemetery on the Hill where his grave now lies lost and unmarked while his spirit watches still over his forgotten colony.

It was in the townland of Castlegal, County Sligo, Ireland, that James McGloin first saw the light of day. There he was born in the white-washed, thatched cottage of his ancestors. [Hugh McGloin to Kate Dougherty Bluntzer, 1936, written from Castlegal, County Sligo, Ireland] In it he enclosed snapshots of the house where James McGloin was born. The facts of his childhood and early manhood are lost in the mists of time. It is not known which year he emigrated to America. The first we hear of him is as a merchant in Matamoros, Mexico, a booming town on the south bank of the Rio Grande a short distance from the Gulf of Mexico. How and when he met John McMullen is a moot question. Oral tradition has it that he met John McMullen in Liverpool where he had just missed the boat to Australia and McMullen forthwith persuaded him to come to America. But there is a discrepancy in the dates of this tradition. So it must be discarded. Another version is that McGloin boarded a boat for Australia; it missed its course and landed at Vera Cruz, on the Gulf of Mexico. From there he went to Mexico City and eventually made his way to Matamoros where he met John McMullen.

The earliest document on McGloin is a promissory note given to him by Samuel Blair and John McGloin in February 1826, but the place of the transaction is not mentioned. [Archives of the D.R.T. Library, San Antonio, Texas] He lost these friends to the Mexicans later. Samuel Blair was killed in the Alamo, and John McGloin was shot with Fannin at the Goliad Massacre. The date of the marriage of Eliza Cummings, a widow of James H. Watson, to James McGloin is established as 1825, but the place is not known. [John J. McGloin vs. John McMullen, District Court of Bexar County, Spring Term, 1853 John J. is the son of Empresario James McGloin and John McMullen is the nephew of John McMullen, empresario)]

Marriage date mentioned 1825, Elizabeth Cummings, married James H. Watson, in. 1823. according to Marriage Records, Chatham County, Savannah, Ga., then married James McGloin in 1825 (place unknown). One may easily assume that it took place in Matamoros, but no record of it has been found. Neither is there a record of it in Savannah, Georgia, where McMullen was a merchant as early as 1810. The Census of 1850 lists the birthplace of his eldest son, John J. McGloin, as "Texas in 1826." The reader may do his own speculation about the missing facts of McGloin's coming to America, and the place of his marriage to Eliza Cummings.

"Between 1821, when Mexico became a Republic, and 1830, Matamoros had become an important trading center. There were a number of merchants there from France as well as from England." [Ferguson, Henry N., Port of Brownsville (Brownsville: SpringmanKing Press, 1976)]

Among these were two Irishmen, John McMullen and James McGloin. James McGloin was the faithful helper in the enterprise, never boasting or seeking political offices, which so appealed to his step father-in-law, John McMullen. His first priority was always the welfare of his colonists. He wished to see them at least content, if not entirely happy. No doubt he often repeated to himself the thought so well expressed by his contemporary, Stephen F. Austin, when he commented on his work as empresario,

"It is a troublesome business and requires much more perserverance and patience than anyone can imagine who has not tried it." [Barker, Eugene C., Life of Austin, p. 147]

But McGloin was a patient man committed to his work with the colonists. It was McGloin, accompanied by four other families, who in July 1830 moved to the empresa on the Nueces after his extended stay in Mission Refugio. These families took the cannon with them for their defense, for they were moving deeper into Indian territory. They chose a site on the left bank of the Nueces, thirty miles "as the crow flies" from the Gulf of Mexico, and across from the ancient Santa Margarita Crossing." Lundy's description of the river on his return from Laredo on the last leg of his trip from Monclova in 1834 gives a graphic, first-hand description of that stream as it nears the townsite of San Patricio.

At length we reached the River Nueces, which we struck at some distance above San Patricio. The timber in the Valley of the Nueces is far more abundant than I had anticipated. Many beautiful groves chequer the landscape. From the elm and the white ash trees, on the margin of the river, immense quantities of the best Spanish and Mexican moss hung dangling while the towering and umbrageous evergreen live oaks gave an interesting aspect to the whole scenery. [Lundy, Benjamin, Life and Travels, p. 101]

Huson has this to say about the site chosen by McGloin for the capital of the colony:

The site chosen for the town of San Patricio, was pretty and strategically located, being the beaten highway (Camino Real) and being within a day's hauling distance of coastal landing places in the vicinity of McGloin's Bluff (between Corpus Christi and Ingleside). [Huson, Refugio, Vol. 1, p. 126]

On the second day after the four families reached the site of San Patricio, Empresario McGloin had some cause for concern. He was visited by a company of Comanche Indians, in number 54, which conducted themselves very friendly to the said settlers

although all precautions being used to prevent attack---on seeing us so cautious, the captain told us he was friendly to all whites and that they were only in search of another tribe called Carancahuas which was enemies of theirs. At ten of the same night five of their scouts returned bringing intelligence that they knew where the enemy was, whereon they got up on their horses and was ready in less than ten minutes to march, a distance of fifty miles and attacked the others at daylight killing two of them and taking all of their horses with them. [Lamar Papers, Vol. V, P. 379]

By October, sixteen more families had joined McGloin on the Nueces. During this month

"another party of Comanches, twenty four in number, stopped at McGloin's house where they got provisions and in the night one of them got in the sheep pen and was about taking one when he was seized by the neck by a servant of McGloin's who gave him a good flogging. The Comanche got to his company but never let them know what happened to him. They went off the next day in a friendly manner." [Lamar Papers, Vol. V, P. 379]

Flogging was the usual punishment given the Indian that was caught stealing. It is interesting to note the difference between McGloin's handling of the Indians and McMullen's way. McGloin gave them provisions and did not fire the cannon even though he may have had it in readiness. By the time McMullen came to the capital of his empresa on the Nueces it had been named San Patricio de Hibernia (St. Patrick of Ireland). Furthermore, McGloin had overseen the throwing up of jacales for temporary shelters as well as a few picket cabins. Among them was his own, a prototype of the rest. His cabin stood facing Constitution Square on the block south of it. Eliza, his wife, and his two children, John J., age 4, and Mary Ann, an infant, had to accommodate themselves to a picket cabin which had a palmetto roof, a dirt floor, and a clay chimney. The latter took the place of a kitchen stove in winter. In the summer cooking was done over an open fire outside. Water was carried from the river both for drinking and other purposes until wells were dug. There was little light in the cabin. Usually there were no windows, and, at most, two doors were cut through the upright poles. There was no lumber for window blinds to keep out the cold when a norther came whistling in; besides, a cabin with no windows was a protection against the Indians. The furniture was crude, handmade, and make-shift. But it was home in a wilderness while they awaited their land grants and until the time came when building materials would be available.

When McMullen arrived after his stay in Mission Refugio, the colonists protested vigorously. The reason for their protest was that by December 1830 there were forty potential grantees (the number required for a land commissioner to be sent), and no application had yet been made. In response McMullen and McGloin wrote to the authorities asking for one. By October 1831, the septuagenarian, Antonio Saucedo, had arrived, but as we have seen in the previous chapter, he distributed only nine land grants. He feared that the immigration law of April 6, 1830, which prohibited the entrance of any more colonists from the United States, might also apply to the Irish citizens recruited chiefly from New York; therefore, Saucedo left San Patricio in 1832. He died soon after leaving, not having returned to finish his undertaking there.   In that same year, 1832, the Guajardo Controversy arose, another complication in the McMullen-McGloin effort. The controversy goes as follows: Empresario James Power was in Saltillo attending to business in the fall of 1832 when he got the governor to appoint Mariano Grande to distribute land for his colonists. Soon thereafter when Grande resigned before he ever came to Texas, James Power suggested Juan Guajardo, the future brother-in-law of James Hewetson and a member of a wealthy land-holding family of Coahuila, to take the post of land commissioner for the Refugio colonists. [It might be noted that because both Power and Hewetson married into prominent Mexican families, i.e. Portilla and Guajardo, this could have had something to do with the concession made to them. Each received eight leagues of premium land] He took office August 9th, 1832. Gualardo attempted to distribute lands to the Power and Hewetson colonists, lands within the McMullen-McGloin empresa that he claimed were within the ten littoral leagues that included the town of San Patricio. Though the law provided that the ten littoral (coastal) leagues Inland from the Gulf of Mexico were not to be colonized, the governor had made an exception of Power and Hewetson and designated their empresa to include the littoral leagues between the Nueces and the Lavaca Rivers. Guajardo demanded that McMullen and McGloin survey and establish the boundary line between the two Irish colonies. McGloin informed Guajardo that his demands would be challenged and opposed. [McGloin to Guajardo, no date, from San Patricio; Saltillo Transcripts, Bexar Archives, one of 28 letters on the Guajardo Controversy] This caused a clash between Guajardo and Ramon Músquiz, the able and conscientious political chief of Bexar. Letters were exchanged between the two. It ended with the arrival of Musquiz in Goliad to settle the dispute. In short he settled it by depriving Guajardo of his authority. To retaliate Guajardo went to Coahuila to defend himself in person. But Musquiz declared that "the expelled commissioner was not qualified by temperament or ability to carry out the duties of the office." [Oberste, Irish Empresarios, P. 83]

Upon his return from Saltillo, Power decided to survey the boundaries of the littoral leagues under his control. Although Power had thought it all along, he now had proof that the townsite of San Patricio was within the ten littoral leagues which was Power's territory. This brought about a coolness between the empresarios, but James Power did not pursue it legally, as he well could have, but left the McMullen and McGloin boundary as the government had originally surveyed it. He was willing to give up that strip of littoral-league land to McMullen and McGloin when the government assured him that he would be entitled to all his premium lands whether he met the terms of his contract or not. After the Guajardo Controversy had subsided, the San Patricio colonists heard of Saucedo's death; whereupon they put up such a clamor for another land commissioner that McMullen and McGloin forthwith sent a letter to the authorities asking for one. Most of 1833 had passed and no land commissioner had arrived, although José María Balmaceda had been appointed March 3, 1833. Besides this, there was another problem about which the empresarios McMullen and McGloin were deeply concerned. They had a little more than a year to fulfill their contract for 200 families. It would expire in August 1834; and they had not even half that number of families. These two problems precipitated McMullen's 400-mile trip to Monclova on horseback. There he would confer with Balmaceda on the extension of their contract and at the same time hope to stir him to come to San Patricio to distribute land. With these two goals in mind, McMullen left McGloin in care of the colonists and started out for Monclova.

Time was passing. The year 1833 was coming to a close, and McGloin had had no word from McMullen regarding the extension of the contract. He became alarmed and planned a trip to New York where he would charter a schooner and recruit settlers as he and McMullen had done in 1829. He did not know that Balmaceda, as his first official act, would get the petition of McMullen approved. By decree of January 27, 1834, the Congress of Coahuila and Texas granted to McMullen and McGloin an extension of four years. However, McGloin left for New York in the spring of 1834 determined to fulfill his mission. In this same summer a schooner sailed into the port of El Copano from New Orleans with a group of Tipperary colonists. McMullen had arrived to greet them. Besides these a few colonists had drifted in from the United States. These and the Tipperary colonists had swelled the population of San Patricio de Hibernia to 600 souls. But since land grants were not yet being distributed in San Patricio, some of the colonists deserted to Refugio that fall where land was being distributed. They were: Robert and James Carlisle, Bridget Quirk, the Harts, Daniel O'Boyle, the O'Tooles, and Patrick and William Quinn.

McGloin, if we are to judge by the result of his trip to obtain colonists, had difficulty persuading the Irish immigrants in New York that Texas was an ideal place to settle. On November 13, 1834, only twelve families were aboard the schooner Messenger when it arrived at Aransas. The captain refused "to enter that port. " He would not risk crossing the sandbar where so many ships had been destroyed. He turned back and went to New Orleans. But two stout-hearted and determined families, the Mark Killeleas and the Thomas Pughs returned overland from New Orleans. [Archives of Texas, Department of State, Box 25, Memorial #1, Petitioner James McGloin, November 1834 (Pughs & Killeleas); Oberste, Irish Empresarios, p. 129]   Later, Stephen Hayes found his way into San Patricio. Father T. Molloy had returned from Ireland presumably with the Tipperary colonists in the summer of 1834 and had brought his Fadden nieces and nephews from County Mayo. [Gravestone of Mary Ann Collins, nee Fadden, niece of Rev. J.T. Molloy "born in County Mayo" in cemetery in San Patricio] In 1834 San Patricio had its pastor. This could not be said of other municipalities except Goliad, Bexar, and Nacogdoches. San Patricio was also fortunate in having a physician, James Cullen, M.D. He was listed among the first colonists that came on the Albion in 1829. The exact date of his leaving is not known. Whether he was there throughout 1834 is a matter of conjecture. Be that as it may, San Patricio had a doctor as late as November 1835 even though he did not remain as a colonists as we shall see later. Cholera swept through Texas into the interior of Mexico. But there is no recorded death from cholera in San Patricio. Among the Tipperary colonists who came in 1834 were three deaths and three burials at sea, which left as widows, Ann Burke and Mary Carroll, and as a widower, Patrick Carroll. It is not known what caused the deaths or whether the burials were in the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico.

The year 1834 was coming to a close. By August 27 Juan Almonte had made his "Statistical Report of 1834." On this date he was in San Felipe de Austin ready to start south to Mexico. In his report he had stressed that, in the cheerful attitude of the colonists and the stable conditions of the colonies, he had found no signs of rebellion. The Christmas season was approaching. Plans were being formulated for midnight Mass, and there was an air of excitement about San Patricio de Hibernia. As Christmas neared, both the pastor and the colonists were anticipating the celebration of the Nativity. They did not know that it would be the next to the last Christmas Mass to be celebrated in a decade. Father Molloy brought with him from Ireland two milk-glass candlesticks which adorned the crude picket altar. [Interview with Michael Leahy, who has in his possession the candlesticks which belonged to Father Molloy. They were for a time on loan to the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas. Interview in Beeville, Texas, January 6, 1975] They held homemade candles made from the candle wicks and molds the settlers had brought from their homeland. The colonists had gone down to the river bottoms to gather sprays from the evergreen trees and pull down moss from the live oaks lining the river banks. [Oral tradition]

The weather was cold and crisp as the colonists walked down the dark, ill-defined streets to Constitution Square where they gathered and exchanged pleasantries. They had gone into their small leather trunks from Ireland and lifted out some of their apparel: women's woolen skirts and shawls and men's coats and vests which were saved for special occasions. After they entered, the church was filled. There was standing room only; there were no pews. But the spirit of devotion and a steadfast faith permeated the small church. Once the Mass got under way, Father Molloy's melodious voice rose in Gregorian chant, and Susanna O'Docharty's could be heard above the others as she sang out the responses. The rest timidly joined in. Empresario James McGloin, his wife, Eliza Cummings, and their three children, John J., age eight; Mary Ann, age four; and the infant Gilbert, were in attendance, so also were Empresario John McMullen and his wife, Esther Cummings. All was peace and joy that memorable night, but an eminent historian sums up the transition from 1834 to 1835 thus:

While the year 1834 closed, therefore, with the outlook of continued tranquility in Texas brighter than it had been in some time, the forces were already in motion that would change the situation entirely. The War Party was small and of very little influence among the colonists, but from this point forward the Mexicans were to play into its hands, and it was destined to grow in numbers and in influence. the year 1835 marked the final parting of the ways. [Wortham, Louis J., A History of Texas, Vol. Il, p. 179]

By January 1835 Martin Perfecto de Cos, in charge of the Interior Provinces and stationed at Saltillo, was sending orders to Domingo Ugartechea, Military Chief of Bexar, "calling for a weekly report on the state of public tranquility in Texas." There were expresses going in every direction between the Anglo-Americans to each other and from the Mexicans in high places to each other. Sometimes spies would intercept them, which revealed that trouble was brewing in the Anglo-American colonies in the spring of 1835. But the San Patricians were so far removed from San Felipe de Austin that they spent the winter and spring months of 1835 in relative tranquility. They tended their gardens where they raised corn, melons, yams, and beans. Honey could be had for the finding, and milk was always available from their cows. When it clabbered, the thick, yellow cream was skimmed off and churned into butter and buttermilk. On trips the pioneer's fare was coffee, bacon, and some form of cornbread. Wild game was there for the shooting, and it was plentiful. The colonists were almost self-sufficient except for the drink they most relished-coffee. They had to wait for boats to come from Vera Cruz, a Mexican port at the foot of lofty mountains whose sides were covered with coffee trees, to bring once again the green coffee beans to be roasted and ground which would make the aromatic and stimulating drink they needed in this low coastal region. They were not looking ahead to oncoming trouble with Mexico but back to their five-year wait for their land grants.

Thus, in the first half of 1835 the majority of the San Patricio colonists were almost unaware of what was happening outside their own colony, nor were they particularly interested in finding out. Some had a feeling of loyalty to the mother country which gave them a measure of security. They were still waiting for their land grants, and this, to them, was the first priority. How could they consider themselves true Texans when most of them had not a foot of soil to call their own? It was different with the Austin colonists. They had farmed their own acres for a decade, had slaves to help them, and had made great profits in cotton. Some lived in relatively pretentious houses for that period. In contrast, the San Patricians still waited for their land commissioner. However, the summer of 1835 was to bring a turn of events. José María Balmaceda, the land commissioner arrived, and his arrival lifted the spirits of the San Patricians. However, they did not have long to enjoy what they had waited for so long.

On September 20, 1835, General Martin Perfecto de Cos and his troops landed at El Copano. They were met by Empresario James Power and Walter Lambert, who extended to them a cordial greeting. From El Copano they went to Refugio where the officers were given lodging at the best appointed cabins. Cos and his officers attired in handsome uniforms held court during their sojourn. Captain Villareal and other officers of the Lipantitlan garrison and the officials of the San Patricio Colony had been sent for and came to Refugio to make reports and pay their respects as well as to receive orders. Dignataries from Goliad and Victoria also came over. [Huson, Refugio 1, p. 214]  After this when Cos and his troops reached Goliad, they helped themselves to what La Bahia had to offer before making their way to San Antonio late on October 1st. These actions had their effect on the colonies of San Patricio and Refugio. They caused mixed feelings; some were fraught with apprehension while others clung to their feelings of loyalty to the mother country. The San Patricians were especially divided in their allegiance. Those few that were for the mother country in spite of Santa Anna's Centralist Government remained so; but those who wanted to uphold the Constitution of 1824 were now more determined to attain their goal. Both resented the sending of troops into Texas. The time was fast approaching when each would have to stand up and be counted. The reluctant San Patricio colonists were urged to join those who were rebelling against the Centralist Government of Santa Anna, as is shown in the letter from Thomas Western, a merchant at Goliad, to McMullen and McGloin written after the happenings at Gonzales.

Mr. John McMullen. James McGloin. Gentlemen and friends. The hour has arrived when it has become necessary to call upon you for your co-operation in promoting the cause of liberty and the Constitution of 1824--for substance matter and motives I refer you to the accompanying letter from our worthy friend Linn to your Alcalde to which I have only added my wish and hope that you will send us forthwith every man you can spare-of arms we have plenty and come one of yourselves in person if possible---this place is ours, the victory will also be ours decidely (sic) and more immeldately with your aid---Gentlemen hesitate not to rally your men---the day is ours. Recollect---United we Stand divided we Fall. Your friend and obedient servant. Oct. 8, 1835. Thomas G. Western. Do not omit to give us the most correct information of the force at Lipantitlan their caballada and obtain all possible information relative to the caballada lately driven off hence from Refugio. [Addressed to John McMullen & James McGloin, Es. Western to McMullen and McGloin, October 8, 1835, Jenkin's Pa) of the Texas Revolution 1835-1836, Vol. 11, p. 73-74, #789]

[NOTE: "The accompanying letter" referred to above to the Alcalde of San Patricio was a letter from John J. Linn to Thomas Henry, the "constitutional" alcalde of San Patricio. It fell on barren soil for the alcalde proved himself a sympathizer of Santa Anna when he was found among the wounded soldiers of the garrison of Nicolas Rodriguez in the Battle of Lipantitlan. See Jenkins Papers - Vol. 11, p. 69]

The aforementioned Battle of Gonzales, which is considered the Lexington of the Texas Revolution, had taken place October 2nd. The fort La Bahia at Goliad had been captured by Collinsworth and his men, and there were rumors that Captain Phillip Dimitt, commandant at La Bahia had in mind the capture of Fort Lipantitlan on the right bank of the Nueces above San Patricio. A number of San Patricians (said to be nine), had unofficially joined Nicolas Rodriguez and his men, although the majority of the colonists were against the Centralist Government of Santa Anna and were in favor of remaining under the Mexican Constitution of 1824 in a Confederation of Mexican States. Some few were for outright independence. The following is McGloin's account of the story of the taking of the cannon from the San Patricians before the capture of Lipantitlan.

News arrived in San Patricio of the capture of Goliad by the Texians on the 10th of October through some (Mexican) officers (from La Bahia) that made their escape. It was also stated that they were coming to take the garrison at Lipantitlan. The commander, Nicolas Rodriguez, in company with Mexicans from Gollad held a council to see which was the best way to defend it. They came to the conclusion to send to San Patricio for a piece of cannon which belonged to McMullen and McGloin knowing the same to be in favor of the Texians, the majority of whom were for defending the Constitution of 1824. They only wanted some pretext to take it from them; now it was concluded to send for the cannon the next morning which was accompanied by a note from the commander to McGloin requesting him to let him have the cannon for a few days to exercise his men and that he would return it safe. McGloin refused to lend it stating that the cannon was his private property, and he had purchased it for the protection of his family and the people from savages and any other enemies who would attempt to molest us. The officers came to the conclusion to send a company of men to take the cannon and also the owner (McGloin) and lash him to it for refusing. This would have been done if it had not been for the second in command (Lt. Marcelino Garcia), who said he would go to the ayuntamiento of San Patricio and get them to take the cannon from McGloin which was done. It was taken to the Mexican garrison which daily expected the Texians. [McGloin, "Historical Notes," Lamar Papers, Vol. V, P. 379-380]

Lt. Marcelino Garcia was certain to get an affirmative answer from the ayuntamiento, for Thomas Henry, a Centralist sympathizer, was the Constitutional Alcalde of San Patricio. The story of the cannon was a story often told from generation to generation of San Patricians. And now its story continues.

The Mexicans were out hunting the enemy, when, to their surprise the Texians made their appearance when the garrison was only manned with thirty men, principally rancheros and some few from San Patricio who volunteered their services, but upon the Texians making their appearance, the fort was given up to them without fire of a gun; the commander being absent with his company of about 80 in all. On hearing that the fort had surrendered, he determined to retake it. The Texians staying at the place until two o'clock the next day and not seeing the enemy prepared to cross the river taking with them McGloin's cannon and another one and some muskets and ammunition. On getting to the river and with half the Men across, intelligence was brought that the enemy was in attacking distance. They did attack but were repulsed by the fire of the other wounding Lt. Marcelino Garcia, one of the bravest Mexicans that was ever in the service. He was mortally wounded ... During the action a heavy rain fell which caused the Texians to throw the two pieces of cannon into the river not having the means to take them along.

For well over a century the fact that McGloin's cannon, which lies somewhere in the river, has whetted the curiosity of the colonists and their descendants as well as later residents of San Patricio. There are stories in oral tradition today of so-and-so who dug and dug, along the river banks somewhere in the area between Lipantitlan and the Santa Margarita Crossing and thought sure he had found the cannon only to discover that it had eluded him. It would be as much a find as a chest of gold!

The aftermath of the Battle of Lipantitlan struck a sad note in the lives of the San Patricians in contrast to the joy and relief which most had felt over the outcome of the battle. According to the account of John J. Linn in his Reminiscences,

"The next morning a flag of truce was sent in, asking permission to send in the Mexican wounded to receive surgical attention, they having no surgeon. [NOTE: This implies that San Patricio did have a surgeon. It might have been James Cullen, M.D] In compliance with our permission the wounded arrived a few hours later, and among them the second in command, Lt. Marcelino Garcia, who was fatally wounded and died the next day. Lt. Garcia was a particular friend of the author (Linn), who did all that was possible to mitigate his excruciating pains the few hours that his lamp of life was permitted to burn. He presented me with the horse that had borne him through the battle. With his last breath Lt. Garcia deplored the unhappy relations existing between Texas and the mother country in consequence of Santa Anna's ambitious purposes---Garcia was at heart a sympathizer with the Texians, but being an officer of the regular service had no option. His remains were interred by his generous enemies with the honors of war." [Linn, John J., Reminiscences, p. 121-122]

Oral tradition has it that Lt. Marcelino Garcia was taken to the cabin of James McGloin south of Constitution Square and there was attended with care and affection until his last hour. There is a ghost story concerning him and The Lady in Green, his sweetheart from the interior of Mexico, who through the power of bilocation visited him in his extremity. It makes a touching story. But the author remembers its introduction into the legendary material of the area. One can easily see how an imaginative person could be "carried away" by the romantic aura which surrounded Lt. Marcelino Garcia. The fact that he was young, handsome, and in sympathy with the Texians would make for romantic fantasies. The story of the Lady in Green, which couples his name with the ghostly figure who consoled him in his last hours, has been circulated in print for the last forty years. But the author takes issue with the authenticity of this story, because it is easy to see how it originated. The story took form in the thirties after the publication of Carlos Castañeda's monumental history of Texas, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas. In it he tells about The Lady in Blue, a Spanish nun, the Venerable Mother Maria de Agreda, who by the power of bilocation instructed some Indians in New Mexico and some in Texas so that when the missionaries arrived, these Indians were instructed in the tenets of the Christian faith. [Among the Texas Indians which she instructed were the Jumanos on the Nueces. Castaneda, Our Catholic Heritage, Vol. 1, p. 200]. Stir these ingredients together and add a portion of Irish imagination and a romantic story results. But it cannot be said that it belongs to oral tradition in the true sense, for it has not been handed down from generation to generation. Furthermore, there are some inconsistencies in the story. Mrs. Mary Ann McGloin, nee Molloy (1846-1906), is the only one who told that she actually saw the Lady in Green on Round Lake as she sat on the front gallery of the former home of Empresario James McGloin.  Lt. Marcelino Garcia did not die in this house; it was not built until twenty years after his death. The ghost of Round Lake was dressed in green which would indicate Ireland rather than Mexico. [NOTE: Mary Ann Molloy McGloin was the wife of Patrick G. McGloin, nephew of Empresario James McGloin, who bequeathed the homestead to his youngest son, Edward. Edward sold it to Patrick G. McGloin in 1873. Patrick G. McGloin and Mary Ann Molloy are the grandparents of Hubert McGloin, who has recently restored the house and granted it to the Heritage Society of Corpus Christi, together with the acreage that goes with it]

Getting back to the aftermath of the Battle of Lipantitlan, Huson says, "The success at Lipantitlan had a fine moral effect over the country and was highly valuable to the Texas cause. Austin praised it in an official report in which he commented that,

"The enemy has been driven from the River Nueces by a detachment of volunteers who garrisoned at Goliad and by the patriotic sons of Ireland from Power's Colony." [Huson, Refugio I, pp. 230-231]

Furthermore, "the General Council of the Provisional Government publicly thanked Captain Ira Westover for his splendid achievement." Captain Phillip Dimitt was not entirely pleased with the capture of Fort Lipantitlan, for he had not only ordered it captured, but he ordered Westover to burn and level it to the ground. The latter was not done; therefore, the unoccupied fort left intact was an invitation for Rodriguez and his men to recapture it. This was not the end of the activity at Lipantitlan as we shall see later.  On December 26 Lewis Ayers, as Commissioner of the Executive (Governor Smith), wrote to James McGloin asking him to serve as first judge and in so doing he must take the oath prescribed by the organic law. McGloin evaded Ayers and had not by the next day given him his reply of acceptance. Ayers further urged him to decide whether he would accept or reject the appointment. In answer to his note to McGloin, Ayers received the following reply from McGloin:

Lewis Ayers Esq. San Patricio Dec. 27, 1835. Sir, I have read yours in name and in behalf of the people of Tejas calling on me to accept the office of Judge of 1st of this municipality that you are ready to administer the oath prescribed in the organic law and deliver into me my commission signed by the governor and Secretary provided I accept the same. Sir, in answer to yours I beg to inform you that I accept of that office Particularly as being in conformity with an election made by the Ayr (ayuntamiento) who elected me one of the judges for the following year however I decline taking the oath until I hear an explanation of the last paragraph of said oath which seems to me not to accord with the spirit of the federal constitution and forthwith I will write to Mr. McMullen who is now sitting in council to hear from the Governor and Council their explanation of the said paragraph. Yours sincerely, James McGloin. [Texas Historical Association Quarterly, McGloin to Ayers, Vol. 9]

[NOTE: (The above oath was) I --- do solemnly swear, (or affirm) that I will support the republican principles of the Constitution of 1824, and obey the Declaration and ordinances of the Consultation of the chosen delegates of all Texas in General Convention assembled and the ordinances and decrees of the Provisional Government; and I will faithfully perform and execute the duties of my office agreeably to law, and to the best of my abilities so help me God]

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