While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Winifred W. Vigness
Tomas Sanchez
Tomas Sanchez, founder of Laredo. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Laredo Map
A late 18th century map detailing Laredo and Dolores in Santander County. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Laredo Monument
Sanchez Monument in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

SÁNCHEZ DE LA BARRERA Y GARZA, TOMÁS (1709–1796). Tomás Sánchez de la Barrera y Garza, founder of Laredo, son of Tomás Sánchez and María Josefa de la Garza, was born in the Valle de Carrizal near Monterrey, Nuevo León, in 1709. As a young man he served in the army of his king and later ran a ranch in Coahuila. When civilization pushed northward to the Rio Grande and José Vásquez Borrego established his ranch and headquarters at the Hacienda de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores on the north bank, Sánchez opened a ranch on the south side within sight of the new settlement. He was residing there in 1754, when he petitioned José de Escandón for permission to found a town on the north bank of the river. Escandón wanted a settlement on the Nueces and told Sánchez to explore that area to determine the feasibility of establishing a colony there. After a reconnaissance Sánchez reported that he found no site fit for settlement and repeated his request for permission to locate a villa ten leagues north of Dolores near Paso de Jacinto, later called the "Old Indian Crossing," near Fort McIntosh. Escandón approved the request and appointed Sánchez captain and chief justice of the new settlement, to be named Laredo. On May 15, 1755, Sánchez founded Laredo with his family and several others. In 1767, after settlers had received ranchlands and a charter from the Spanish crown, they elected as alcalde José Martínez de Sotomayer; but because of his lack of courage to defend against Indian attacks and his attempt to remove the settlers to the south of the Rio Grande, he was removed from office and replaced by Sánchez. Sánchez was almost singly responsible for maintaining the settlement on the north bank of the Rio Grande, and he held the offices of chief justice and alcalde with only brief intermissions until his death in January 1796. He married Catalina (Catherina) Uribe, and they had nine children. With his second wife, Teodora Yzaguirre, he had two children. On October 16, 1938, the Texas Centennial Commission erected a monument marking the site of the founding of Laredo by Tomás Sánchez.


Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Herbert Eugene Bolton, "Tienda de Cuervo's Ynspección of Laredo, 1757," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 6 (January 1903). Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Laredo Times, October 19, 1938. Natalie Walsh, The Founding of Laredo and San Augustine Church (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1935). Seb S. Wilcox, "The Spanish Archives of Laredo," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 49 (January 1946).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Winifred W. Vigness, "SANCHEZ DE LA BARRERA Y GARZA, TOMAS," accessed July 15, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsa19.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on January 14, 2020. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...