Texas is not only unique among states for having been its own nation, but also for the number of nations that have — at one point or another — laid claim to her: Spain, France, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America and the United States of America.
This land has been home to Caddo, Neches, Apache, Comanche and many other tribes of Native Americans. To French Cajuns, German and American immigrants, Mexican settlers, to Spanish missionaries, cowboys and astronauts.
In many ways, each iteration, each wave of incoming pioneers and settlers, has helped shape Texas’ individual cultural identity.
Here in the Texas Hill County, perhaps more than anywhere else, the unique blend of European — particularly German — culture with the already present Tejano culture, have contributed to an environment that is unlike anywhere else.
March is Texas history month, a time to celebrate the fierce pride, unique stories and diverse heritage that make the Lone Star State unlike any other.
This year, the Kerrville Genealogical Society has opted to celebrate Texas history by honing in on the lasting impact of Tejanos.
From music and art to cuisine and the early Vaqueros, Tejano culture has left an indelible stamp on Texas history. It’s a legacy immortalized by the likes of Col. Juan Seguin, a hero of the Texas War of Independence, and Jose Policarpio “Polly” Rodriguez, who served as a scout and guide to U.S. military forces helping develop roads and towns in Texas. He later went on to serve as a Texas Ranger.
In Kerr County, where Hispanics constitute roughly 27 percent of the population and San Antonio is only a short drive away, Tejanos were among other early settlers of the region. The Guadalupe River, one of our community’s most iconic elements, was christened on April 14, 1689, by Alonso de León in honor Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Since then, Hispanic Americans have continued to play a role in the development of Kerr County, from Francisco Lemos Street to the family-owned Sanchez Barber Shop, now in its 108th year, and that legacy lives on in numerous cultural programs and events.
Through the rest of the month, the genealogical society will maintain a display celebrating the Tejano influence on Texas history at the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library. That display, and the library itself, are both valuable resources to learn more about this aspect of our area’s history, as is the Polly Texas Pioneer Association, www.pollytexaspioneerassociation.org. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to learn more about this rich element of Texas history.