Juan N. Seguin
Born to a wealthy, land-owning family in San Antonio, Juan Nepomuceno Seguin became a military leader and a politician who played a key role in the fight for Texas independence. Seguin displayed his leadership abilities at an early age. He entered local politics at the age of eighteen and was later elected mayor of the city of San Antonio.
During this time, Texas was a part of the Mexican state of Coahuila. The area was experiencing a large influx of Anglos from the United States, who eventually outnumbered the Mexican descendants, or tejanos, who lived there.
In 1833, Seguin organized a rally to recruit volunteers to join the army of Stephen Austin, who was waging war for Texas independence against the Mexican dictator, President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Seguin fought at the Battle of Concepcion with the famous frontiersman Jim Bowie. Afterward, Austin appointed Seguin captain of the Texas cavalry.
Seguin helped Austin defeat the Mexican army in the first Battle of the Alamo in 1833. The Mexicans came back in 1836, with General Santa Anna himself leading the forces. In this famous battle, Seguin led the tejano contingent of the rebel forces against the Mexican army.
Fortunately for Seguin, he was out seeking reinforcements when Santa Anna and his men regained the Alamo, killing all its defenders in the process. .After the Alamo defeat, Sam Houston, commander of the rebel Texas forces, promot¬ ed Seguin to colonel and made him military commander of San Antonio.
Seguin fought with distinction in the Battle of San Jacinto, where General Santa Anna was taken prisoner. After the battle, Texas declared its indepen¬ dence as the Lone Star Republic. Seguin returned to San Antonio after the war. He was elected to the Texas senate, and in 1840, he was reelected mayor of San Antonio.
During this time, hostilities between tejanos and Anglos intensified, as Anglos coveted the desirable land that many of the tejanos had owned for generations. In 1842, after receiving death threats and experiencing other forms of discrimination, Seguin fled Texas for Mexico.
His military exploits, however, made him a wanted man there. He was taken prisoner at the border and conscripted into the Mexican army. Ironically, a few years later, he fought against the United States in the Mexican-American War.Seguin had hoped that Texas would remain an independent republic.
In 1845, however, the United States annexed Texas as the twenty- eighth state of the Union. Seguin spent the remainder of his life partly in Texas and partly in Mexico, in the border town of Nuevo Lareda. In 1853, the newly incorporated town of Walnut Springs, Texas, renamed itself Seguin in his honor.