Essays and Such

Irish Cultural Society

of San Antonio Texas


Promoting Awareness of Irish Culture

San Patricio Minute Men
by Keith Guthrie
Nominal Protection from Indian and Mexican Raiders


The San Patricio Minute Men were formed in February of 1841 in 
order to provide protection to the people in the colony of San 
Patricio.  Capt.  A. T. Miles is listed in the ranger muster 
roll of May 14-28, 1841, as heading a squad of men. ­Reported 
estimates regarding membership in the group varied from fifteen 
to forty.  Local tradition puts the camp for this ranger group 
two miles outside of San Patricio on the road that led to 
McGloin Bluff on Ingleside Cove.  Legend also reports that a 
fort was built for these rangers.  At this time San Patricio 
had been declared a depopulated area that was largely 
controlled by gangs of former Mexican soldiers and gingo cattle 
rustlers.  Another muster roll for June 1-15 contained the same 
names, with the addition of T. Walker.  On July 12-26 Miles 
headed a group of twelve men, but by August 10 the list had 
grown to thirty.  The last roll, dated August 11-25, 1841, 
listed thirty-one men.  Though Miles's previous record as a 
cowboy was a bit unsavory, on August 29, 1841, the group was 
being led by W. J. Cairns, whose reputation was worse.  
According to minuteman law, county companies could have only a 
total of four months' service a year.  In September 1841,
however, the Department of War and Marine granted  the company 
official sanction	after a Mexican raid on Refugio 
illustrated to authorities the fragile security of area 
settlements.  Cairns and five other men were still operating 
in March 1842, when Lt Col.  Ramon Valera and a Mexican army 
force of 132 men raided Goliad and Refugio.  Valera sent a 
small detachment commanded by Capt.  Jose  Maria Gonzales to 
destroy Cairns's group.  The skirmish on March 7, 1842, 
represented the end of the company.  Cairns and two of his men 
were killed, two others were captured, and one escaped.  The Old 
Colony remained virtually deserted until Gen. Zachary Taylor 
tationed a dragoon of troops in San Patricio in 1845 to insure 
safety for John H. Wood, who had agreed to fumish beef for 
Taylor's army.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:	Keith Guthne, History of San Patricio County 
(Austin: Nortex, 1986).  Hobart Huson, Refugio: A Comprehensive 
History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1953 
(2 vols., Woodsboro, Texas: Rooke Foundation, 1953, 1955).  
Gerald S. Pierce, Texas Under Arms: The Camps, Posts, Forts, 
and Military Towns of the Republic of Texas (Austin: Encino, 
1969).  Telegraph and Texas Register, March 30,1842.

Keith Guthrie