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HUIZAR, PEDRO

HUÍZAR, PEDRO (1740–?). Pedro Huízar, surveyor, sculptor, and judge, was born at Aguascalientes, Mexico, in 1740. In 1778 he married María de la Trinidad Henriques. They had at least four children, a daughter and three sons; the eldest son, José Antonio Huízar, later became alcalde at San José y San Miguel de Aguayo Mission in San Antonio. After his first wife died, Huízar married María Gertrudis Martínez, the widow of Juan Antonio Flores, on February 5, 1798. In 1790 he was commissioned by Governor Manuel Muñoz to draw up plans for the reconstruction of San Antonio de Béxar Presidio and to propose improvements for its defenses. The drawings were submitted along with estimates, but the plans were never executed. On March 4, 1791, he was sent to La Bahía to report on the feasibility of irrigation for lands around Nuestra Señora de Loreto Presidio, but he concluded that the cost would be prohibitive.

San José Mission
San José Mission. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Huízar was appointed to the position of surveyor when San Antonio de Valero Mission was secularized on April 11, 1793. He was present when Governor Muñoz distributed the lands to twenty-three adult Indians, and for his services he also received a small parcel of that land. Huízar surveyed the lands of missions San Francisco de Espada, San Juan Capistrano, San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, and Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña when they were partially secularized in July 1794. He received land for these surveys at San José and Concepción. In 1794 he was appointed justicia at San José by Governor Muñoz, and in 1796 he was justicia at Concepción, where he was appointed to oversee the temporal affairs of the Indians.

San José Mission Rose Window
San José Mission Rose Window. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Unsubstantiated popular tradition holds Huízar is the sculptor who executed the famous sacristy window at San José mission. There are several variations of the legend concerning Huízar's connection with the rose window. Most of them contend that as a young man he was trained as a sculptor in Spain and sailed to the New World to seek his fortune. According to a few of the legends the rose window was so called because it was dedicated by the mourning sculptor to a lost love named Rosa or Rosita. Scholars, however, have been unable to locate any historical documentation naming Huízar​ as the sculptor and, for that reason, doubt he was the artist who sculpted the window. Nonetheless, his name is popularly associated with it in San Antonio legend.

Pedro Huízar Garden Historic Marker
Pedro Huízar Garden Historic Marker. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

In 1978 the San Antonio Conservation Society donated a portion of Huízar’s land to the city for use as a park named in his honor.  On January 13, 2012, city officials and Huízar’s descendants celebrated the dedication of Pedro Huízar Garden and unveiled a bronze plaque.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Marion A. Habig, San Antonio's Mission San José (San Antonio: Naylor, 1968). Katherine Ann McDowell, “Characterization and Conditions Assessment of the Sacristy Window Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo San Antonio, Texas” (M.A. thesis, University of Pennsylvania, 1997).

Rebecca H. Green

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Citation

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Rebecca H. Green, "Huizar, Pedro," accessed December 15, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhu22.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on August 24, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.