May 31, 2022

Daily Dose of Texas History - May 31, 1783 The Death of Fernando Veramendi

Daily Dose of Texas History - May 31, 1783 The Death of Fernando Veramendi

On May 31, 1783, a band of Mescalero Apaches killed a man named Fernando Veramendi near the presidio of San Juan Bautista in Coahuila. Veramendi and the Veramendi family played an important part in the early history of Texas and of San Antonio. A San Antonio businessman and alderman, Veramendi was only about forty years old on May 31, 1783 when he was away from home on a business trip to Mexico City when he found himself at the mercy of the Apache raiders.

Fernando had been born in Pamplona, Spain in either 1743 or 1744 and left Spain to practice his merchant trade in New Spain in search of success and wealth. He was in La Bahia, Texas by 1770 and his business occasionally required him to visit San Antonio, where he met and married married Doña María Josefa Granados on April 17, 1776. Her family were one of the famous Canary Islander settler families that had been brought to Texas 1731 to boost settlement of Texas. 

After his marriage, his business thrived in San Antonio-he ran a store, loaned out money, and purchased large tracts of land. As his success grew, he gained the wealth to build a wonderful house on Soledad Street. This home became known as the Veramendi Palace. 

His success made him a leader in community affairs. Veramendi was an alderman of the ayuntamiento in 1779 and in the year he died, 1783, he was elected senior alderman. His son, Juan Martin de Veramendi, was 4 and a half when his father died. He carried on in his father’s successes and was elected vice governor of Coahuila y Texas in 1830 and was governor from 1832 to 1833. Fernando’s granddaughter and Juan Martin’s daughter, Ursala Maria married the notorious Texas legend Jim Bowie of Alamo fame in 1831, but sadly Juan Martin de Veramendi, wife Josefa, and Ursala Bowie died of cholera in 1833.

As an added note, Ben Milam died in 1835 just outside or just inside the Veramendi house and he was first buried on the house’s grounds before being reinterred elsewhere.

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