ESPALIER, CARLOS (1819–1836). Carlos Espalier, Alamo defender, was born in Texas in 1819. He was said to be a protégé of James Bowie. He died in the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, at age seventeen. Because of similarity in names the claim has been made that Carlos Espalier and Charles Despallier are the same person, but the claim is not accepted by most historians.
Suspicion arose regarding the Espalier-Despallier mix-up as early as 1856. Newspapers such as the New York Daily Tribune and The Weekly Telegraph (Houston) published articles in which they spoke about the matter in rather strong words—they suspected a fraud.
Espalier's aunt was Carlos’s sole heir and was granted lands for his service. Some sources mention her as Doña Guardia de Luz, but her real name was Luzgarda Grande. Her father Luis, married to Trinidad Sanchez, was a farmer, Spaniard, and a native of the abandoned presidio of Orcoquisac. Luis was active as one of the rebels spreading revolutionary pamphlets during the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition and was executed for that reason. One of the pamphlets was written by his son-in-law Capt. Bernardo Martin Despallier, who married his daughter Candida Grande. Their son was Charles Despallier. So Luzgarda and Candida were sisters, making Carlos and Charles first cousins.
Luzgarda’s daughter Trinidad Garcia married a lawyer named Malcolm G. Anderson. He prepared the 1855 petition, claiming Luzgarda to be the aunt and sole surviving heir of Carlos Espalier. After receiving land grants in November 1856, she immediately sold the grants for $1,000 to her son-in-law.
Both Charles Despallier and Carlos Espalier were recognized as Alamo heroes, and both names are mentioned on the Alamo Cenotaph.
Rasmus Dahlqvist, From Martin to Despallier: The Story of a French Colonial Family (North Charleston, South Carolina: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013). Daughters of the American Revolution, The Alamo Heroes and Their Revolutionary Ancestors (San Antonio, 1976). Bill Groneman, Alamo Defenders (Austin: Eakin, 1990). Amelia W. Williams, A Critical Study of the Siege of the Alamo and of the Personnel of Its Defenders (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1931; rpt., Southwestern Historical Quarterly 36–37 [April 1933-April 1934]).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Rasmus Dahlqvist and Bill Groneman, "Espalier, Carlos," accessed August 24, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fes16.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on February 13, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.