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From the Republic of the Rio Grande

A Personal History of the Place and the People

By Beatriz de la Garza

Publication Year: 2013

Using family papers, local chronicles, and scholarly works, de la Garza tells the story of the Republic of the Rio Grande and its people from the perspective of individuals who lived in this region from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: Jack and Doris Smothers Series in Texas History, Life, and Culture


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Map, Copyright, Quote

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-9

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiii

This book had its origins in a small trunk—twenty-two inches long by eleven inches wide and high and made of tin reinforced with wood strips—filled to the top with papers either generated or preserved by my paternal grandfather, Lorenzo de la Garza. Among the first were dozens of...

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1. The Republic of the Rio Grande

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pp. 1-22

As a child, I dreaded the occasions when my aunts would pack me off to visit my maternal grandmother, for as soon as she saw me, her bright blue eyes, which reminded me of playing marbles, would fill with tears, and she would clasp me tightly to her bosom. Her reaction disturbed me profoundly...

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2. The Kingdom of Zapata

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pp. 23-47

In the early 1950s, when Hollywood producers made a movie about the Mexican revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata, with Marlon Brando in the title role (Viva Zapata! 1952), they chose South Texas, particularly Zapata County, as the location for shooting the film. Why they did so, when Zapata had lived...

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3. Grandfather’s Revolution: The Horseman

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pp. 48-73

According to a Laredo historian, in the summer of 1913 an unidentified bandit, posing as a revolutionary (carrancista), seized Guerrero, Tamaulipas, with about eighty men, sacking the town and burning ranches in the area. The bandit then shifted tactics and proceeded to collect...

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4. Grandfather’s Revolution: The Historian

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pp. 74-102

Toward the latter part of 1911 my grandfather Lorenzo de la Garza engaged in a flurry of correspondence with the men who had emerged victorious in the struggle to end the thirty- year rule of Mexican president Porfirio Díaz. The most important of these communications—all composed on his...

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5. The Prodigal

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pp. 103-136

On May 17, 1922, my paternal grandmother, Esther Peña de la Garza, wrote a letter from Guerrero, Tamaulipas, to her second son, twenty- year old Fabio Lorenzo, in South Texas. (Having been born on August 10, on his father’s birthday and the feast day of San Lorenzo, it was practically...

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6. “You and I Will Die of Love”

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pp. 137-156

When Fabio and Rogelia died, they left behind a few photographs and a bundle of love letters (mostly from him to her), but hardly any memories for their daughters to cherish. They died so early in their marriage that to their children, orphaned barely out of infancy...

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7. “Not a Stone upon a Stone”

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pp. 157-176

"No quedará piedra sobre piedra” (Not a stone will be left upon a stone). This was the anathema that the bishop was supposed to have pronounced about Guerrero some one hundred years before, and in 1950 it was coming to pass. To coincide with the bicentennial of its founding, Guerrero was to be destroyed...

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8. The Streets of Laredo

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pp. 177-189

One of the first things I learned after arriving in Laredo was that the streets of Laredo ran east to west and the avenues from north to south. It was my aunt Nela who imparted this bit of knowledge in order to prepare me to live in a place that was some twenty times larger than that we had left...

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9. Voyages in English

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pp. 190-203

The first word that I learned in English was “umbrella.” When I first heard it, I had no idea what it meant, but I was enchanted by its soft sound as it rolled off the tongue. An umbrella figured prominently on a page in the first- grade reader that showed a blonde, curly-headed little girl...


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pp. 222-235

Works Cited

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pp. 205-211


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pp. 213-225

E-ISBN-13: 9780292744073
E-ISBN-10: 0292744072
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292714533
Print-ISBN-10: 029271453X

Page Count: 255
Illustrations: 28 b&w photos, 1 map
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Jack and Doris Smothers Series in Texas History, Life, and Culture
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OCLC Number: 828078328
MUSE Marc Record: Download for From the Republic of the Rio Grande

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Subject Headings

  • Mexico, North -- History.
  • Mexico, North -- History -- Autonomy and independence movements.
  • Texas, South -- History.
  • Mexican-American Border Region -- History.
  • De La Garza, Beatriz Eugenia -- Family.
  • De La Garza, Beatriz Eugenia.
  • Mexico, North -- Biography.
  • Texas, South -- Biography.
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