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Thomas Woods

OLIVARRI, PLACIDO (1815–1894). Placido Olivarri, a famed scout for the Texas Revolutionary Army, son of Simon Olivarri and Guadalupe Garza de Torres, was born in San Antonio, Texas, in February 1815. The Olivarri family initially arrived in San Antonio when José Olivarri, from the Basque region of Spain, established himself in the city as one of the first settlers. Placido Olivarri is most famous for his service as a scout and guide for the Texas Revolutionary Army under Sam Houston. His proficiency as a scout was so great that Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos of the Mexican Army offered a substantial bounty for Olivarri’s capture, dead or alive. During the Texas Revolution, Mexican sympathizers in San Antonio tried to apprehend Olivarri, but he was able to evade capture by concealing himself on Bowen’s Island on the San Antonio River. 

Following the Texas Revolution, Olivarri became a landowner and wagon train manager in San Antonio. Texas General Land Office records show that he received a certificate for one-third of a league of land in February 1838. Olivarri was married twice. His first wife, Juana Padillo y Olivarri, was born in 1816 in Bexar County and died around December 1862. She left her estate to her natural son born of a previous marriage. After her death, Placido Olivarri married Micaela Jimenes (or Ximenes), who was born in June 1844 and lived until 1917. Together, they had fourteen children.

Late in his life, Olivarri was a member of the Sociedad Mutualista Mexicana. He was listed in San Antonio city directories in the 1880s and into the early 1890s as a “ranchman.” The San Antonio Daily Express on May 2, 1892, listed a Placido Olivarri (possibly Olivarri himself or his son) as chairman of his voting precinct. Olivarri lived in San Antonio throughout his life, and died on September 8, 1894. He was buried in the San Fernando Cemetery No. 1. The Texas Centennial Commission erected a Centennial marker at his grave in 1936.


Dorothy Burns Peterson, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Patriot Ancestor Album, Vol. 1 (Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Co., 1995). Historical Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission Library, Austin. Olivarri Family Papers, 1856-1962, Col 5387, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas. 

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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, Thomas Woods, "OLIVARRI, PLACIDO ," accessed August 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fol19.

Uploaded on February 11, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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