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 »


Melissa Barrientos-Whitfield

VILLEGAS, QUINTÍN (1850–1914). Quintín Villegas, merchant and civic leader, was born in Santander, Spain, in March 1850. He was the son of Lorenzo Bustillo Villegas and Vicenta Francisca Ivanez Pacheco. Villegas traveled to Cuba with his family in 1865 and then to Corpus Christi in 1870 to join his brother Joaquín, who had already established himself as a merchant. The two brothers ran their mercantile business in Corpus Christi until 1874 when Quintín and Joaquín moved to Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and established successful businesses in those neighboring cities. By the late 1870s Quintín Villegas married Amalia Gonzales, a native of Cuba. They had at least two children, but only one daughter, Herminia, survived to adulthood.

In 1889 the Villegas brothers formed a partnership, J. Villegas & Bro., and engaged in the general mercantile trade. In an advertisement in the January 12, 1890, edition of the Laredo Times, the brothers were described as “Importers And Wholesale Dealers” in groceries and as commission merchants and manufacturers’ agents with “Special Attention to Mexican Produce.” Their business grew and became one of the largest and most influential on the border and one of the largest importers of Mexican goods in the Southwest. They organized Villegas Mercantile Company in 1903 but shortly thereafter sold the business to L. Villegas & Bro. (Joaquín’s sons Leopoldo and Lorenzo) and retired by 1906.

Quintín Villegas was active in Laredo civic affairs but never held a political office even though the citizens of Laredo encouraged him to run for mayor in 1894. Villegas was president of the Laredo Business Men’s Club for seven years and resigned from that position in 1904. His work with the Laredo Business Men’s Club did much to improve the city and the area. With his brother he owned ranch property in Webb and contiguous counties. He also owned several mining and banking businesses in México. Villegas was a stockholder and director for the Milmo National Bank in Laredo. His house, now gone, was described as “one of the most beautiful in the city.”

He died at his home in Laredo in February 1914. His death, which is listed as February 5 in the Texas Death Index, was reported in the February 8, 1914, edition of the Laredo Weekly Times: “In his demise Laredo lost a worthy and valuable citizen, a man who had always been foremost in everything he contributed to the betterment of the city, its institutions and its populace.” He was buried in Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Laredo.


Laredo Times, January 12, 1890. Laredo Weekly Times, February 8, 1914; July 14, 1918. “Quintin Villegas,” Find A Grave Memorial (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/178888582/quintin-villegas), accessed January 15, 2020. A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas (2 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1907).

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, Melissa Barrientos-Whitfield, "VILLEGAS, QUINTÍN ," accessed July 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fvilq.

Uploaded on January 19, 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...