José Antonio Navarro

September 21, 2022

José Antonio Navarro was a leading Mexican participant in the Texas Revolution. Navarro’s early education was rudimentary, but he later read law in San Antonio and was licensed to practice. A developing friendship with Stephen F. Austin served to deepen his interest in Texas colonization. Before Texas independence Navarro supported Texas statehood in 1835 and embraced the idea of independence the following year.

Along with his uncle, José Francisco Ruiz, and Lorenzo de Zavala, he became one of the three Mexican signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence and one of just two native-born Tejano signers. Upon his election to the Texas Congress as a representative from Bexar, Navarro sought to advance the rights of Tejanos, whom many Anglo-Texans held in contempt after the Texas Revolution. Navarro was selected as a commissioner to accompany the foolishly conceived Santa Fe expedition. Decimated by Indian attacks and suffering from hunger and thirst, those who survived the march from Austin were imprisoned under brutal conditions at Veracruz for fourteen months, Navarro escaped and returned to Texas.

He was the sole Hispanic delegate to the Convention of 1845, which was assembled to accept or reject the American proposal; after voting in the affirmative, he remained to help write the first state constitution. He was subsequently twice elected to the state Senate. In 1846, in recognition of his contributions to Texas over the years, the legislature named the newly established Navarro County in his honor.

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