The interview with the former mayor of Harlingen, Connie De La Garza, on May 5, 2017, explained why his great-great-grandfather, Carlos De La Garza, saved his six friends and neighbors from being part of the massacre of Goliad after the Battle of Coleto Creek by the Mexican army during the Texas War for Independence, but the interview did not explain how he did it.
Carlos was able to save his friends from the Mexican army, because he and his 80 Tejanos from Goliad were serving as scouts and advance calvary for the Mexican army.
Although Carlos was opposed to the Mexican General Santa Ana, he could not bear arms against Mexico because of the military service of his father and grandfather with each the rank of captain.
De La Garza was going to retire to his ranch, Carlos Rancho, and simply wait out the war.
However, things would soon change for the worse.
Col. James Fannin turned out to be a bad administrator as well as a bad military commander when he allowed several of his Texas soldiers to terrorize the citizens of Goliad and drive them out of their homes and town.
When many of these Tejanos came to Carlos Rancho for food and shelter, the ranch soon came under Fannin’s suspicion as being spies and sympathizers for Mexico. These same Tejanos who had fought with the Texans several months earlier to defeat the Mexicans at the Battle of Goliad and help occupy the Presidio would now form the Victoriana Guardes and fight with the Mexican General Cos and his army against Col Fannin and his army.
Garza and his Tejanos were instrumental in helping Cos to defeat the Texans at the Battle of Refugio and played an important role that would disastrously divide Fannin’s army that would lead to Fannin’s defeat at the Battle of Coleto Creek and ultimately to the Massacre of Goliad.
After the war was over, I believe that Carlos was one of the few Tejanos who were able to keep his ranch and land, because his Tejano friends were willing to band together with Carlos to fight the Texas army.
And I also believe those six friends and neighbors that he saved from death convinced the Texas General Thomas Jefferson Rusk that he was fighting against the mistreatment of the citizens of Goliad, and not for General Santa Ana.
Carlos was a man of his time, caught in the middle of whirl winds but always managed to survive. D e La Garza was born a citizen of Spain, lived as a citizen of Mexico, of Texas, of the Confederacy, and died a citizen of the United States of America.
He always kept his honor and integrity in every situation and that is a proud family tradition that Connie De La Garza is a part of …
Jack Ayoub Harlingen