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BOTELLO, JOSÉ MARÍA (?–?). José María Botello, Presbyterian evangelist, was born in Santander Jiménez, Tamaulipas, Mexico, between 1840 and 1850. He lived in Matamoros. He was converted from Catholicism to Presbyterianism and served as an elder in the Matamoros Presbyterian congregation. Another convert, Leandro Garza Mora, introduced Botello to Rev. J. W. Graybill, pastor of the Presbyterian congregation in Brownsville. In 1883 Botello helped Graybill move to San Marcos and was impressed with the living conditions there. Botello returned for his family and set up residence on a farm outside of San Marcos. Shortly after his arrival a death occurred in the Spanish-speaking community, and no priest was available for a graveside ceremony. Botello offered his services and preached a stirring sermon that attracted a small group of followers. Within a year ten converts ready for baptism and membership in the local Presbyterian church were received. In the same year the Presbytery of Western Texas licensed Botello "to preach the gospel to his people." Primarily through his efforts, the Mexican Presbyterian Church of San Marcos, the first Mexican-American Presbyterian church in Texas to be affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), was formally organized, on November 2, 1887, with twenty-six members. After Botello had returned to Mexico to live after his wife's death, he was ordained a minister by the Presbytery of Tamaulipas, on April 10, 1887. Although he returned to San Marcos for a brief stay (1890–92), his influence as a group leader was diminished, and he completed his ministry in Mexico. He was reportedly ninety-seven when he died.


Robert Douglas Brackenridge and Francisco O. García-Treto, Iglesia Presbiteriana: A History of Presbyterians and Mexican Americans in the Southwest (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1974; 2d ed. 1987).

R. Douglas Brackenridge


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

R. Douglas Brackenridge, "BOTELLO, JOSE MARIA," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 28, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.