October 27, 1806–August 27, 1890
Texas revolutionary Juan Seguín was a politician, a soldier, a businessman, even a suspected traitor. Yet he was also a hero and an honored veteran. The contradictions of Seguín’s life illustrate how complicated loyalty was during the struggle for Texas independence—especially for Tejano citizens of the Republic.
Seguín was born in San Antonio in 1806. As a young man, he formed a militia of Texians to resist President Santa Anna’s oppressive rule. Seguín was a dedicated and able soldier, and he joined fellow Texians at the Alamo. He escaped death only because Colonel William Travis sent him out of the fort to seek reinforcements.
After the war, Seguín served in the Texas Senate and as mayor of San Antonio, but his unwavering defense of Tejano rights earned him political enemies. Seguín also had business dealings in Mexico that aroused suspicion, and he was labeled a traitor. Fearing for his safety, he fled to Mexico in 1842.
Santa Anna remembered Seguín’s role in the Texas revolution and as punishment, compelled him to join the Mexican army during the U.S.-Mexico War. Seguín was finally able to return to Texas in 1848.
After his death in 1890, Seguín was buried in the town that bears his name. A statue was erected as a tribute, showing belated respect for a founding father who once said, Texas treated me like “a foreigner in my native land.”
De la Teja, Jesús F. “SEGUÍN, JUAN NEPOMUCENO.” Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/SS/fse8.html
De la Teja, Jesús F., ed. Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2010.
Hardin, Stephen L. Texian Iliad: A Military History of the Texas Revolution. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994.
Lack, Paul. The Texas Revolutionary Experience: A Political and Social History, 1835–1836. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1992.
Seguín, Juan Nepomuceno. A Revolution Remembered: The Memoirs and Selected Correspondence of Juan N. Seguín. Edited by Jesús F. de la Teja. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2002.
Painting of Juan Seguín. https://www.tsl.state.tx.us/treasures/giants/seguin/seguin-01.html
Historic American Buildings Survey, M.C. Frederick, Photographer March 20, 1934 GENERAL VIEW FROM NORTHEAST. - Juan N. Seguin Ranch House, Northwest of Floresville, Floresville, Wilson County, TX http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/114_habs.html
Portrait of Juan Seguín, The Battle of San Jacinto Notebook, The McArdle Notebooks, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
This episode first aired on August 25, 2012.