MÚSQUIZ, RAMÓN (ca. 1797–?). Ramón Músquiz, merchant and political figure, son of Miguel Francisco Músquiz, a military officer, and Catarina Gonzales, was born around 1797. He married Francisca Castañeda, daughter of Lt. Col. Juan de Castañeda and Josefa Fernández, in San Antonio on December 16, 1823. By 1830 they had two children, Francisca and Ramón. Músquiz's first contacts with Texas were as postmaster of Monclova, Coahuila, Mexico, a position he held at the end of the Spanish Texas period. Along with his official contacts, his father's brief service as military commander at Nacogdoches at the turn of the century must have given Músquiz a sense of business opportunities on the Texas frontier, for he undertook a series of business trips through the province in the early 1820s. By the end of 1823 he had established himself in San Antonio, where he operated a store and became involved in local political affairs. From July 1825 until August 1827 he served as secretary to the political chief. Appointed by the governor of Coahuila and Texas to serve as political chief of the Department of Texas beginning in January 1828, Músquiz held the position until July 7, 1834, when he resigned, citing health reasons. During his tenure as political chief, Músquiz lobbied in favor of Anglo-American colonists (see ANGLO-AMERICAN COLONIZATION), particularly in regard to slavery, Indian depredations, and contraband trade. He also attempted to mediate disputes between the colonists and national authorities, although he disapproved of the extralegal convention held at San Felipe in October 1832 and became distrustful of the Anglo-Americans' intentions. Despite his retirement as political chief, Músquiz remained involved in public affairs, balancing his Federalist political leanings with a strong loyalty to Mexico. In 1835 he was elected vice governor on the same ticket that the Federalist Agustín Viesca was elected governor, probably because he was acceptable to conservatives. After Viesca's arrest and the annulment of his election by the national congress in the early summer of 1835, an effort was made to name Músquiz governor, but General Martín Perfecto de Cos also considered his election void and Músquiz never assumed office. Unlike Viesca and other Federalists, Músquiz had not fallen out of favor and Cos considered him eligible for reappointment as political chief. His continued loyalty to Mexico was further demonstrated in December 1835, when Cos appointed him to assist in the negotiations between the Mexican army and the Texans at the siege of Bexar. Whether or not he left with Cos's retreating forces or remained in San Antonio, Músquiz was present at the fall of the Alamo and assisted in identifying the bodies of the defenders. In May 1836 Músquiz departed Texas for Monclova, where he lived out his life, though he returned to Texas briefly in the late 1850s to reclaim lands abandoned upon his departure.
Vito Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas desde la consumación de la independencia hasta el Tratado de Paz de Guadalupe Hidalgo (2 vols., Mexico City, 1945–46; 2d ed., Mexico City: Porrúa, 1979). Eugene C. Barker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1925; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1949; New York: AMS Press, 1970). Bexar Archives, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976).