Texas history has long forgotten another Tejano hero, Jose Francisco Ruiz, one of the 59 Texas patriots who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836.
Ruiz would serve Texas as an educator, a city civil servant, a legal advisor, a military officer, a public servant in the Senate as well as a Texas patriot.
In 1803, he was San Antonio’s head school master and was elected to the City Council in 1805. Later, in 1809, his duties would soon include being the city attorney, administering the legal affairs of the city.
His long military career started when he joined Bexar (San Antonio) Provincial Militia on Jan. 14, 1811, with the rank of lieutenant.
Several years later, he joined the Republican Army at Bexar and took part in the Battle of Medina for Independence from Spain on Aug.
18, 1813. With the defeat of the revolutionaries by the Spanish General, Joaquin Arredondo, he and his nephew, Jose Antonio Navarro, would live in exile in Louisiana until there was a general amnesty for the Ruiz family in 1822.
With his long exile ended, Ruiz returned to Texas and was appointed to the Mounted Militia, where he took an active part in negotiating a peace treaty with the Lipan Indians in Mexico City in September 1822.
Eventually, Ruiz would be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and be given a command at Fort Tenoxtitlan in 1832 in Texas to prevent any further American colonization.
After retiring from military service, he later joined the Texas cause for liberty and traveled to Washingtonon- the-Brazos, along with his nephew, Jose Antonio Navarro, as delegates from San Antonio, to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence.
Ruiz’s life and contributions for Texas Independence will be honored and remembered at the 8th annual Texas Independence Day celebration at the San Benito Fairgrounds on Saturday, March 12.
At the opening of the event, all the visitors will be asked to resign the Texas Declaration with the names of our 59 Texas patriots, and who will want to personally resign Jose Francisco Ruiz signature to this famous document, just like this Tejano patriot did 180 years ago.
Jack Ayoub, Harlingen