The Angel of Goliad


Plaza Statue by Che Rickman

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Francita “Panchita” Alavez, “The Angel of Goliad” acquired her name due to her humanitarian efforts to help Texas soldiers who were captured during the Battle of Coleto. She is remembered as a beautiful, tenderhearted Mexican lady who showed compassion during the dark days of the Texas Revolution. Although there is some doubt as to her real name, she is commonly identified as Francita Alavez. (Alvarez or Alavesco)

Upon hearing the orders from General Santa Anna that the captives were to be shot the following morning, she managed to smuggle 20 captives through the lines to the banks of the San Antonio River before being stopped by Colonel Garay. She then pleaded so effectively with the Colonel that he spared their lives.

Later that day, Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, Colonel James W. Fannin and 341 of his men were shot, bayoneted and bludgeoned to death in what is now remembered as The Goliad Massacre. Those events lead to the famous battle cry “Remember the Alamo, Remember Goliad” which become the rousing cry of the victorious Texians at the Battle of San Jacinto.

One of the men (Dr. Joseph H. Barnard), who she managed to save, had this to say in his memoirs:

"I must not here omit the mention of Senora Alvarez, whose name ought to be perpetuated to the latest times for her virtues, and whose action contrasted so strangely with that of her countrymen, and deserves to be recorded in the annals of this country and treasured in the heart of every Texan. When she arrived at Copano with her husband, who was one of Urrea's officers, Miller and his men had just been taken prisoners. They were tightly bound with cords, so as to completely stop the circulation of blood in their arms, and in this state had been left several hours when she saw them. Her heart was touched at the sight, and she immediately caused the cords to be removed and refreshments furnished them. She treated them with great kindness, and when, on the morning of the massacre she learned that the prisoners were to be shot, she so effectually pleaded with Colonel Garay (whose humane feelings so revolted at the order) that with great personal responsibility to himself, and at great hazards at thus going counter to the orders of the then all-powerful Santa Ana, resolved to save all that he could; and a few of us, in consequence, were left to tell of that bloody day.”

She died in her nineties on the King Ranch and is buried there in an unmarked grave.

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