In reference to last week’s Coastal Bend Chronicles article “Records for Texan Army are Incomplete” it is so very true. Their names were left out of the rosters in order to avoid granting them headrights. If they did get headrights it was far away from their residence. When a Tejano petitioned for a headright a formal letter from an attorney in San Antonio was required.
My great-great maternal grandfather Mariano Cabrerra and his father’s (Manuel Cabrerra) widow petitioned for a headright, they but were denied. I am in possession of copies of these petitions. The formal letter states he never aided the enemy or left the country etc. Mariano was captured with Fannin’s men at Coleto Creek, but was set free before the execution along with some others. Mariano provided beef for Phillip Dimmit’s men at the presidio in 1835. Nazario Mancha also provided beef, hogs, etc. to Fannin’s men at the presidio in 1836. The Cabrera family knew this story well. My grand uncle Nicolas Cabrera a WWI veteran told me the story more than once. It is featured in the Goliad History book written in the 1970s. The father-in-law of Mariano, also from La Bahia served under Juan Seguin. Juan Seguin fought for headrights for his men and as a result Nazario Mancha received one league 4,500 acres of land but it was located in Wharton County. A map at the Wharton County Courthouse shows the headright. My family history indicates that sometime after the death of Nazario an Anglo man came to the home of his widow Micaela Mancha who was alone and living in La Bahia. He asked to see the headright certificate, which she showed him, he snatched it away from her, ran to his horse left and was never seen again. In the 1870s Nazario’s grandchildren, my own great grandfather Macario Cabrera, his brother Manuel and their sisters obtained from the land office in Austin a copy of the headright. They hired an attorney from San Antonio and filed a lawsuit against the people occupying the land. The suit was unsuccessful, claiming not enough evidence.
I believe it is interesting to say that the people occupying the Mancha land did not get a title to the land until 1932 after many lawsuits against each other.
Estella M. Zermeno