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Scion of one of San Antonio's leading early families, Juan Nepomuceno Seguin grew up in a Texas beset by violence and destruction. During the 1820s he matured in a household that welcomed Stephen F. Austin, and like many prominent Tejanos, the young Seguin came to see Anglo-Americans as a boon to the development of his beloved homeland. With the eruption of rebellion in Texas in October 1835, he volunteered for service in the Texas army and was involved in some of the most memorable events in the War of Independence, from the siege of Bexar to the Runaway, Scrape and the battle of San Jacinto. As the most prominent Tejano military figure during the war, and an important political figure thereafter, Seguin made enemies among the newly arriving Anglo-Americans unaware of the contributions of numerous Tejanos to the Texas cause. His opposition to landgrabbers in the San Antonio area and the machinations of political enemies while serving as mayor of San Antonio forced him to seek safety in Mexico, where he was impressed into military service. Among his controversial actions during his six-year exile were involvement in Gen. Adrian Woll's occupation of San Antonio in September 1842 and command of a Mexican cavalry company during the Mexican War. After his return to Texas in 1848, he became involved in San Antonio politics and was a founding member of the Bexar Country Democratic Party. He served as an election precinct chairman and as Wilson Country judge during Reconstruction before finally retiring in 1870 to Nuevo Laredo, where two of his sons had set up residence. He died in the Mexican border town in 1890. Jesus F. de la Teja has written the most extensive biographical study yet done on this controversial Tejano, who deserves a place among the more familiar names in the litany of the illustrious patriots of the Texas Revolution. Here is a wealth of information for serious historians but, even more, a readable and informative account for any person interested in early Texas history. This reprint edition of the out-of-print classic contains a new introduction.
JESUS F. DE LA TEJA is a professor of history at Southwest Texas State University and book review editor for the Southwestern Historical Quarterly.
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