The Untold Story of the Ximenes Family: A Tejano Experience in Béxar Spanning Across Generations (1716-1899)
The Chapel of Miracles in modern San Antonio remains a relic of Tejano life that stretches to the foundation of the settlement of Béxar. Placed on the private property of the Ximenes-Rodríguez family it continues the religious traditions of that family’s Tejano ancestors. For this examination the Ximenes family provide a case study for Tejanos impacted by the political, cultural, and demographic changes in Texas. Accompanying the family’s history, other individuals are featured in this analysis to gain a wider scope of Tejano experience. Political and economic interactions with indigenous nations and foreign settlers developed a culture of a self-reliance and focus on family loyalty. I argue the culture of self-reliance by vaqueros influenced the dynamics of regional politics and international boundaries. National allegiance and demographic changes caused by immigration threatened Tejano land ownings and position in Texas. The Ximenes family provided a unique story, as they retained their original homestead through the conflicts of the nineteenth century. The background of these events assists our understanding of the Ximenes family and their continued possession of one of the few remaining chapels of its kind. The actions of the Ximenes family from 1716 to 1899 influenced the Tejano community and the local Catholic community for generations in San Antonio de Béxar.