While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


John G. Johnson
José Miguel de Arciniega
Portrait, José Miguel de Arciniega, by David Baisden. Courtesy of the José Miguel Arciniega Descendants Society (JMADS). José Miguel de Arciniega’s portrait is displayed by the State Preservation Board, in the Texas State Capital’s Legislative Reference Library in Austin to honor José Miguel de Arciniega as a Lawmaker of Texas from 1827 and 1829.  His portraits are also displayed at the San Jacinto College Special Collections Room in Houston, Meador Elementary Library, in Houston, and the Bastrop Museum in Bastrop.

ARCINIEGA, JOSÉ MIGUEL DE (1793-1849). José Miguel de Arciniega, legislator, military explorer, and alcalde of San Antonio de Béxar, was born on September 20, 1793, in Coahuila, New Spain, to Gregorio and Josefa (Flores) Arciniega. His father was a soldier from San Carlos de Parras Presidio sent to reinforce San Antonio de Bexar in 1803 (see SECOND FLYING COMPANY OF SAN CARLOS). In November 1811, Arciniega received a tract of land in San Antonio along Alamo Street. In 1816 Arciniega was authorized to go to the United States border to check on possible illegal entry of Americans. In 1818 he and Vicente Gortari gave information secured at Nacogdoches, Texas, and Natchitoches, Louisiana, on foreigners at Galveston and on the Trinity River. 

In 1826, when he was sent to learn the intentions of the Cherokee Indians, he met Richard Fields and leaders of the Comanche, Tahuallace, Tejas, and Caddo Indians at Laguna de Gallinas, near Nacogdoches. Arciniega was arrested in October 1826 by alcalde Juan José Zambrano for signing a document for María Josefa Seguín but was evidently exonerated, as in December he was appointed captain of the civil militia. By April of 1827 he and Ángel Navarro were elected commissioners, and the following month he and José Antonio Navarro were elected deputies to the state congress at Saltillo, where they managed to pass a law allowing slavery in Texas. In 1832 Arciniega returned from the United States border to advise Ramón Músquiz of the cholera epidemic in New Orleans. On February 27, 1833, he was reelected alcalde of Bexar, and in June he assumed the post of political chief because Músquiz was ill.

José Miguel de Arciniega, José Gregorio Arciniega, and Alfarez Felipe Arciniega
Portrait, Alamo de Parras' mounted lancers in 1818, by David Baisden. Courtesy of the José Miguel Arciniega Descendants Society (JMADS). The portrait features Alfarez Felipe Arciniega (left), José Miguel de Arciniega (center), and José Gregorio Arciniega (right).

Arciniega had been appointed land commissioner for Stephen F. Austin's colonies in November 1830. In this position he signed a four-league grant for the town of Bastrop and with Samuel May Williams laid out the town in 1832. On September 22, 1835, Arciniega purchased 48,708 acres now in Hunt, Grayson, and Harrison counties. He was chosen interpreter for Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos in negotiations for the surrender of Bexar in December 1835. It is unclear whether he supported the Texas Revolution, as he was appointed Bexar delegate to the Convention of 1836 but did not attend. He had been appointed second judge of Bexar in 1835, and it was probably in that position that he corresponded with Thomas Jefferson Rusk in August 1836 concerning a cholera epidemic in Brazoria, treatment of Bexar residents, and the theft of cattle. In the cattle case he was ordered to assist the cavalry sent by Rusk to prevent the thefts and to protect anyone who had not opposed the Texans in the war. After 1836 his name appears only twice in the records. In 1840 he reported for tax purposes twenty town lots in San Antonio and three slaves. Arciniega married Maria Losova, daughter of Jose Seferino Losova and Teresa Rivas, on January 26, 1825, and they had eight children.

Proclamation of Governor Greg Abbott
On February 26, 2015, Governor Greg Abbott officially recognized José Miguel Arciniega and his contributions to Texas.

On February 26, 2015, Governor Greg Abbott officially recognized José Miguel de Arciniega and his contributions to Texas. On May 13, 2015, the Texas State Legislature passed House Resolution No. 2674, which recounted and commended the Aciniega family's contribution to the State of Texas.  Two days later, the Texas Historical Commission unveiled a historical marker dedicated to Arciniega in front of the Arciniega House in a ceremony that included family, friends, and local dignitaries.


Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Adán Benavides, Jr., comp. and ed., The Béxar Archives, 1717–1836: A Name Guide (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989). John Henry Brown, History of Texas from 1685 to 1892 (2 vols., St. Louis: Daniell, 1893). Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). Hans Peter Nielsen Gammel, comp., Laws of Texas, 1822–1897 (10 vols., Austin: Gammel, 1898). William Fairfax Gray, From Virginia to Texas, 1835 (Houston: Fletcher Young, 1909, 1965). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Kenneth Kesselus, History of Bastrop County, Texas, Before Statehood (Austin: Jenkins, 1986). Virginia H. Taylor, The Spanish Archives of the General Land Office of Texas (Austin: Lone Star, 1955). Gifford E. White, ed., The 1840 Census of the Republic of Texas (Austin: Pemberton, 1966; 2d ed., Vol. 2 of 1840 Citizens of Texas, Austin, 1984). Texas House of Representatives, H.R. 2674, May 13, 2015.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, John G. Johnson, "ARCINIEGA, JOSE MIGUEL DE," accessed August 12, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/far03.

Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Modified on March 9, 2020. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...