DELGADO, CLEMENTE

Anthony Delgado

DELGADO, CLEMENTE (1760–1833). Clemente Delgado, rancher and city official, was born on October 8, 1760, in la villa de San Fernando de Béxar (present-day San Antonio) to Jacinto Delgado and Rita Álvarez Travieso. Both of his parents were children of the original fifty-six Canary Islanders that arrived in 1731 and established the civil settlement San Fernando de Béxar. Clemente was the only child born to his parents as his mother died one month before his first birthday. His father did not remarry until Clemente was sixteen years old. Jacinto Delgado raised Clemente with his in-laws, Vicente Álvarez Travieso and Maria Ana Curbelo. Around 1782 Clemente married Maria Gertrudes Saucedo, the sister of Spanish patriot José Antonio Saucedo and a descendant of the families that established Presidio San Antonio de Béxar in 1718. 

Clemente was a ranchero (rancher) like many in his family and other Bexareños. Clemente and his father Jacinto ranched on land owned by his maternal grandfather Vicente Álvarez Travieso, the first alguacil (sheriff) of San Fernando de Béxar. Clemente, his father Jacinto, his maternal grandmother Maria Ana Curbelo, and his grand aunt Leonor Delgado de Flores, and other members of the extended Delgado family held some of the largest ranches in the mid-eighteenth century. Clemente and his family, along with other local Tejanos, helped Gen. Bernardo de Gálvez round up and deliver cattle to Louisiana to aid the Americans during the American Revolution. 

Clemente Delgado was a public servant familiar with controversy. Like his father and grandfather before him, he served as regidor on the town’s council for several decades. All were elected by their peers and served as first alcalde. Clemente’s first cousin, Gavino Delgado, was also a local government official. In January 1811 Gavino joined up with Juan Bautista de las Casas and overthrew Spanish governor Manuel Salcedo (see CASAS REVOLT). At the time of the revolution, Clemente Delgado was on the opposite side of his cousin. Clemente, along with several other Spanish loyalists, was appointed to the municipal council responsible for reinstating royalist rule as part of the Casas counterrevolt.. Clemente was lauded for his loyalty and was elected to serve as the first alcalde in 1812. His annual term as alcalde ended in December 1812.

In April 1813, following several conflicts and skirmishes between royal forces and the Republic Army of the North, Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara declared independence from Spain, promulgated a constitution, and formed a new government. Appointed to serve on the new government were several members of the Arocha and Delgado families including Clemente Delgado. This new government established the first Texas Republic but did not last long. Following the insurgents’ defeat at the battle of Medina in August 1813, Clemente was one of the ninety-plus insurgents whose property was inventoried and seized by the Spanish Crown. In 1814 a deportation order, signed by Ignacio Pérez, banished Clemente Delgado and two Arocha brothers along with their families to Monclova. It is unknown exactly where Clemente sought refuge. He returned to San Antonio under escort in 1819. The town council minutes from March 1820 show that Clemente was given the council’s “blessing” and a certificate as a good citizen authorizing him to re-establish his home within the community. In 1828, six years from the date he initially submitted his petition, the Mexican government returned Clemente’s La Villita property. Clemente continued his public service with the local government—he served on the ayuntamiento in 1824 and was appointed a comisario de barrio shortly before his death in July 1833. Following his death, his La Villita property was distributed to his children—María Josefa, María Encarnación, and José Antonio, and to his daughter-in-law Juana Curbelo, on behalf of his minor grandchildren born to his deceased son, José María. In 1907 María de Jesús Delgado, one of Clemente’s minor grandchildren, who married Pasquale Leo Buquor, told the San Antonio Daily Express (printed in its July 19, 1907, edition) what she witnessed from her home in La Villita during the battle of the Alamo.  

A historical marker honoring Texas revolutionary John W. Smith, husband of Clemente’s granddaughter Josefa Curbelo, was erected on Clemente’s La Villita property in 1973. In the early twenty-first century, many of Clemente’s descendants continued to live in San Antonio and promoted his legacy. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Bexar Archives, Bexar County Texas, Wills and Estates. Jesús F. de la Teja, San Antonio de Béxar: A Community on New Spain’s Northern Frontier (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995). J. Villasana Haggard, “The Counter-Revolution of Bexar, 1811,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 43 (October 1939). Casey Hanson, “Archaeological Investigations for the Main Plaza Redevelopment Project,” San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas,” January 2016 (https://www.sanantonio.gov/Portals/0/Files/HistoricPreservation/Events/Main%20Plaza%20final%20report%20with%20cover%20public%20low%20res.pdf), accessed July 23, 2019. John Ogden Leal, trans., Camposanto: An Ancient Burial Ground of San Antonio, Texas 1808–1860 (San Antonio: s.n., 1975). John Odgen Leal, trans., San Fernando Church Baptismals (San Antonio: J. O. Leal, 1976). “Mayors and Alcaldes,” Municipal Archives & Records, City of San Antonio (https://www.sanantonio.gov/Municipal-Archives-Records/About-Archives-Records/Mayors-and-Alcaldes#13097661-alcaldes-1836-to-1731), accessed July 20, 2019. Spanish and Mexican Manuscript Collection, Catholic Archives of Texas, Austin. Robert H. Thonhoff, The Texas Connection with the American Revolution (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1981). 

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Handbook of Texas Online, Anthony Delgado, "DELGADO, CLEMENTE ," accessed August 19, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdelg.

Uploaded on July 24, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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