José Antonio Mexía
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Political and Military Career
Mexía was a great supporter of federalism and decentralizing the Mexican states. He spent a major part of his youth in the United States and became very proficient in the English language and served as a translator for a brief period. From 1823 to 1824, he served as secretary of the state congress of Tamaulipas and simultaneously was a military captain. In 1827, he joined the staff of General Vicente Guerrero and received several promotions; lieutenant colonel in 1828 and colonel in 1829. As brigadier general in 1832, he traveled to Texas to quell the rebellion started by the Anahuac Disturbances. Also in 1829 and on through 1831, he served as secretary of the Mexican legation while in the United States . As a senator for the state of México, he participated in an 1834 uprising against President Antonio López de Santa Anna, a former federalist who changed his politics to centralism. Two months later, he was captured by centralist forces in Jalisco and sent into exile. He traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he encouraged filibusters from the United States to invade Mexico, recruiting Anglo settlers under the guise of brokering land for them. On November 6, 1835, the schooner Mary Jane set sail for Tampico, Tamaulipas in the Tampico Expedition. The Americans, realizing they had been tricked, did not support Mexía's plan of stirring another uprising against Santa Anna. Thirty-one men were taken prisoner but Mexía managed to escape to Texas. Santa Anna ordered the execution of the prisoners. Three died from illness.
In 1839, Mexía joined General José de Urrea's rebellion against Santa Anna and was defeated and captured at Acajete, Veracruz. Santa Anna ordered his execution, granting him three hours to write any final letters home. Mexía, upon hearing Santa Anna's order said, "If Santa Anna had fallen into my power, I would have conceded him only three minutes."
On May 3, 1839, Mexía was executed by firing squad.
Mexía's son Enrique Guillermo Antonio Mexía became a Mexican soldier and diplomat; his granddaughter Ynes Enriquetta Julietta Mexía was a botanist and explorer.
Enrique Alberto Mexia; José Antonio Mexía’s remaining heir, lives in McAllen Texas.
- Raymond Estep, "MEXIA, JOSE ANTONIO," Handbook of Texas Online , accessed March 12, 2012. Published by the T S H A.
- "TAMPICO EXPEDITION," Handbook of Texas Online , accessed March 12, 2012. Published by the TSHA.
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