Don Santiago Vidaurri was executed July 8th 1867 at 4:00 Clock in the afternoon, en la Plaza de Santo Domingo, DF Mexico. The last hours of his life were spent with his heart, he only thought of his family, friends and country. He had been calm and serene; he gave that same habitual smile, the one he always gave.

Se levanto al vernos para saludarnos, con su habitual sonrisa agradable y sin estar desconcertado en lo mas minimo, nos abrazo ~J.E.S

The guards came for him quarter to 4:00, he was escorted by a priest and two attendants onto a carriage that took him directly to the square. There he was met by fifteen soldiers, who could not look him in the eye. This was an order that everyone would follow with a wretched heart.

Le pregunte si deseaba ver a Indalecio, que habia hablado con Diaz sobre esta, quien me dijo que si Indalecio no tenia empleo efectivo que no habia riesgo para el; despues de reflexionar, me dijo que preferia no ver a Indalecio y encargo que no supiera nada , hasta despues de su muerte ~J.E.S

He had peace in his heart that made the long march bearable. One being that his son Indalecio had not been made aware of his capture, at least not until after his death. He carried with him a secret fear that he would find out and come to his aid, putting his own life at risk. Another consolation was that his daughter Pudenciana was married to his friend and business partner, Don Patricio Milmo O’Dowd. He knew that Patricio loved her and would provide for the prosperity of his family.

Que pronto estare antes el juez supremo, que confiaba en su decision, pero que protestaba contra la orden de ser fusilado sin ser oido “Que
era una barbaridad que mancharia a su patria”~S.V

Don Santiago Vidaurri asked his friends General Pedro Hinojosa and General James E. Slaughter to stay with him until the very end. Having them witness what was about to take place somehow gave him an overall sense of tranquility. Don Santiago Vidaurri was a great man that marched to his execution with dignity and humility. He stood bravely in front of the fire squadron; he was wearing a white handkerchief tied loosely around his eyes.

Cumpliendo con su deseo de seguir hasta el fin, segui el coche, le vi Bajar, oi la descarga, su alma volo al cielo ~J.E.S

Don Santiago was old, frail and sickly but as long as he breathed he was considered Benito Juarez’s most feared and respected rival. Don Santiago Vidaurri could never be accused of being arrogant or of being a greedy man who had self-serving motives. He and his family lived modestly; the thought of making himself rich with the blood and sweat of the people had never occurred to him. His last words were, “Let my blood be the last and let Mexico be happy.”

“Deseo que mi sangre sea la ultima derramada y que Mexico sea feliz” ~ J.E.S.

I was fortunate to have received copies of General Slaughter’s account of the execution from my cousin Patricio Milmo Hernandez. This account has brought me back in time and has only brought my tio Santiago closer to my heart. This is my tribute to a great man that I admire and love, but most of all am proud to claim kinship.

My uncle, Don Santiago Vidaurri was born in 1808, in Lampazos de Naranjo, Nuevo Leon. His father Pedro Jose Vidaurri Borrego y de la Cruz was the brother of my fourth great-grandfather, Don Jose Antonio Vidaurri Borrego y Villasenor. They were two of many children born to my fifth great-grandfather Don Francisco Vidaurri y Vasquez Borrego, who was the 10th child of Don Juan Antonio de Vidaurri  y Dona Manuela Vasquez Borrego.

Don Santiago Vidaurri went through life never using his full name; this caused many genealogists for generations to believe that his father Pedro Jose was the brother and not the grandson of Don Juan Antonio de Vidaurri. This information can be verified through Pedro Jose’s marriage investigation that mentions the names of his parents and through a CD rom that was compiled by information gathered in the early 1900’s by Father Robert D.Wood. This CD can be purchased at the St. Augustine church in Laredo, TX.

Don Santiago Vidaurri came from a politically dynastic family that had spawned four Acaldes and two Governors: Don Jose Fernando Vidaurri y Vasquez Borrego (1777-1778), Don Jose Maria Margil Vidaurri y Vasquez Borrego (1814), Atanacio L. Vidaurri (1895), and Atanacio C. Vidaurri (1899). Acalde’s of Laredo, TX.

Perhaps it was the youth that watched  his uncle swear into office: Don Francisco Vidaurri y Villasenor (1830-1831), Governor of Coahuila y Texas. Whatever it was, Santiago had heard the calling of his forbearers before him and answered.

It is my belief that the dreams and ambitions of a family become the fingerprints on the souls of its descendents.” AMR

Young Santiago did not start with a very favorable future. Yet his actions in his adolescence were a clear indication as to the man he would become. At the age of twenty-four, Santiago was involved in a heated bar room brawl, and in self- defense severed the hand of his attacker.

This led him to spending time in jail, where his talents for reading and writing were discovered. Santiago being a very educated man realized his full potential and began in earnest to fulfill his family legacy, for he was the second great-grandson of Don Jose Vasquez Borrego.

This explained a few things: first Santiago had placed a high value on human life and would not take one unless it was unavoidable. Second, Santiago would do what was necessary to survive. His character was not one that could be labeled being a Fence-Sitter, he was true to his convictions and on more than one occasion was forced to choose the unpopular route. He always remained true to his beliefs and ethics until the end.

There is much written about my tio Santiago, what is written about him is mainly in Spanish. There is not much written about him in English, except what can be found in the Texas handbook online or in his biography by Ronnie C. Tyler. My wish is to portray him as a man, whose occupation had been one of Fearless General and one of Powerfull Governor.

Don Santiago Vidaurri had many names that were given to him by the people: El Senor Del Norte, El Caudillo del Norte, El Caudillo Appassionato de la Frontera, y Gobernador Poderoso. The decade that spawned him is referred to as El Vidaurrismo.

Santiago’s army, Los Vidaurristas, had the same devotion and loyalty that Napoleons had for their Emperor, he had been a man among men. Santiago was an honest and loyal person, who expected the same in return from the people around him. He preferred and wanted nothing but the truth, no matter how unpleasant it was. To withhold anything from him was considered a betrayal. He fought fiercely to keep his border states free of foreign invasion and attacks from the neighboring Indians. He also gave asylum to the African slaves that entered Northern Mexico.

Quiero que la fuerza que este a tus ordenes sea un modelo bajo todos aspectos, por eso es que debes llevar el diario que te he encargdado, debiendo tomar empeno en que nada se me oculte por desagradable que parezca. ~ S.V

He worried about his soldiers and generals equally. He made sure that they were paid their wages on time and that their widows were looked after. Don Santiago was a man of his word, he believed in the chain of command and in discipline. Santiago also did not show favoritism and on more than one occasion was forced to punish one of his soldiers for disobeying orders.

Ya emprendieron su marcha para Mexico (DF), y mi corazon va con los hijos del estado. Lo unico que calma un tanto mis cuidados es el que van con el senor Comonfort y contigo. ~ S.V

He was a man who was fair and just. It is said he resembled a judge more than he did a general. Santiago was a man with a fixed mind, he did not like being questioned and once he formed an opinion about someone or something, it usually never changed. He was strong-willed, tenacious and not afraid of confrontation. Santiago was direct with what pleased and displeased him in equal measure.

It is my wish that my third great-grandfather and tio Santiago had been close, they were only a few years apart in age and both grew up in the little town of Musquiz, Coahuila. As a tribute to his illustrious cousin, my third great-grandfather named my second great-grandfather after El Caudillo del Norte: Don Santiago Vidaurri Borrego y Vela. I have noticed through out my search that the Vidaurri men with the first name of Santiago had died without issue, all except for my second great-grandfather and El Caudillo del Norte, could the name Santiago be accursed?

Behind every great man is a woman, Don Santiago married his cousin in 1831, Dona Juana Maria Vidaurri Borrego y Borrego Sanchez. Juana Maria was the daughter of Santiago’s great uncle, Don Jose Maria Margil Vidaurri y Vasquez Borrego (y Maria Josefa Borrego y Sanchez). This couple had three children that were found through the paper trail of baptismal and marriage records: Indalecio, Pudenciana and Amelia. However, a complete search has not been completed and it is said that they had an adoptive son.

Amelia’s existence to date remains a family mystery. The baptismal record located for Amelia Vidaurri mentions the names of her parents: Santiago Vidaurri y Juana Maria Vidaurri (# M605451, # 0605182). She was married the same year of her mother’s death,

(April 29th 1865) and during the time her father was serving the French Empire.

In General Slaughter’s account of the execution, Santiago only mentions Indalecio and Pudenciana. Could Amelia’s marriage have been made against her parents wish’s, could it have been a young girls desperate attempt to escape difficult circumstances. Or did Amelia die in childbirth? This is all merely speculation on my part.

Entonces me dijo en donde encontraria el poco de dinero que tenia, y me ordeno darle a Indalecio, dijo algo sobre que habia dado a su esposa alguna cosa de igual valor ~J.E.S

It is said that Indalecio Vidaurri y Vidaurri was married three times; we know that through one of the marriages to Maria Francisca Gamboa he had a son named Indalecio Vidaurri y Gamboa (June 14th 1855, # C605461, # 0605160). Through another marriage, he had a daughter named Juana Maria Vidaurri, who had died without children. Not all the documents for Indalecio’s descendents have been located, they are still in question.

I’ve seen many drawings and photos of my tio Santiago, and not one of them really do him justice. The only drawing of him that resembles my mother’s family can be found in his biography by Ronnie. C Tyler; one can clearly see the big forehead, the round face with the chiseled jaw, the tiny lips and ears.

It is these same eyes that could command from a room with out words. These eyes were also capable of inciting fear and respect and yet at the same time show compassion and mercy. Santiago was tall and slender, with dark hair and light olive skin. His hands were small, thin and regal. He had surprisingly small feet for having been so tall.

I look at this drawing and I am reminded of my mother’s family. I look in the mirror and see his eyes looking back at me; I see the eyes of my grandmother and those of my mother looking right through me; these are the eyes that remind me of who I am.

My tio Santiago did have his peccadillo’s, he did father a natural daughter in 1860 with Clemencia Canales: Carlota Vidaurri Canales. There was also a rumor that he fathered a natural son named Julian Quiroga. This rumor is found in the biography by Ronnie C. Tyler. There is a volume of correspondence between Don Santiago Vidaurri and Julian Quiroga, spanning from 1858-1865. This volume is number two in el archivo Santiago Vidaurri, compiled by Cesar Morado Macias.

Don Santiago was the type of man who when asked an inappropriate question he would not answer, but allow the public to derive their own version of what they thought the truth to be.

Reading these letters, between these two men, it is easy to understand how such a rumor started. They treated each other like father and son. One can feel their mutual respect and admiration. I got the sense that young Julian reminded tio Santiago of himself when he was Julian’s age: willful, tenacious and not afraid of confrontation.

Ha llegado Epifanio y me informa que te dejo en San Luis bastante enfermo; pero Arredondo me escribio por el correo pasado y me dice que estabas ya aliviado. Estas noticias me tienen con bastante cuidado, y no estare tranquilo hasta no ver letra tuya. Espero por lo mismo que cuanto antes me escribas. ~ S.V

Some of these letters made me cry because they were both very protective over the other. What affected one affected the other equally. It was also known that Indalecio Vidaurri and Julian Quiroga were great friends; both could always be found by the Caudillos side. My opinion is that Julian was the brother that Indalecio had always wanted. I am dispelling the rumor; Julian Quiroga was not a natural or legitimate child of Don Santiago Vidaurri.

My uncle, Don Santiago Vidaurri was a powerful governor who was able to negotiate with Juarez and other foreign relations. He was not only influential in the political and military aspect of things, but also in the national sense of things. During 1855-1864, he exercised complete control over Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, which he ran virtually independent.

The rift between my uncle and President Juarez began when Juarez had placed the order for Ignacio Comonfort’s execution. Santiago openly refused to surrender him to Juarez. This was the first step towards the decline of what was an amicable friendship at best. Although both Juarez and Santiago had been liberals, they both failed to see eye to eye on several issues of the day. Santiago did not give into Juarez’s childish demands for revenge. Santiago had given Comonfort exile and his word that he would not betray him. Santiago was capable of seeing the bigger picture and knew that Comonfort was still instrumental in the needs of Mexico’s political arena.

Santiago de dio asilo a Don Ignacio Comonfort , que habia sido presidente de Mexico y que para retractarse en la aplicacacion de las” Leyes de Reforma” urdio un autogolpe de estado que, sin embargo fallo y se fue a refugiar a Nuevo Leon – por mucho tiempo, Juarez estuvo insistiendo que lo enviara a Mexico para juzgarlo – pero Vidaurri le contesto que no iba tracionar su palabra dada, que el no era un picaluga~ P.G.O

If only General Diaz had not given into Juarez’s childish need for revenge. Diaz followed orders that fateful day of July 8th at 4:00 Clock in the afternoon. General Diaz had his own political agenda and did not deviate from the cruel dictate that had been given. Perhaps this is why Diaz was the only president that Mexico ever had who actually did anything positive for his country? Could it have been his atonement?

Diaz: Dice positivamente que no fue denuciado por Wright, ni por ningun Americano ~

The further conflict between these two chieftains was caused when Juarez demanded that Santiago hand over the revenue that his border states collected during the Civil War. Juarez also insisted that Santiago hand over his army.

Santiago agreed to aid Juarez, but refused to surrender his army and to empty the coffers that belonged to the people of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon. His reasoning was that he was not going to leave his border states defenseless to enemy attacks or to attacks from the neighboring Indians; the revenue was needed for his army and the flow of the economy of the border states.

Juarez insisted and Santiago kept refusing. The bad blood between these two- that most historians wish to make us believe had never been spilled has since been further embedded into Mexico’s obscure history. Santiago felt strongly about this and with this conflict changed his entire view. Santiago did not help over throw Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna only place another President with self-serving motives. Santiago did not buy into Juarez’s vision of HIS Mexico.

It is common knowledge that Benito Juarez sold Baja California to the United States and had given the money to his relatives residing in New York. Benito Juarez also committed many more crimes against his country. There is a book titled: “The many crimes of Benito Juarez,” by Don Celerino Salmeron, explains the above in further detail.

During the conflict between Santiago and Juarez there were many casualties. For Santiago it would be his family. Ronnie C Tyler’s biography of my uncle makes it seem that he had fled Mexico allowing Don Patricio to take the brunt for his actions.

Habiendo sufrido ochenta y dos dias en prision, la mitad de este tiempo sin ver algun ser humano y sin poder hablar con mis hijos y convencido de que solo podria conseguir mi libertad comprandola resolvi hacerlo de mala gana, ya que mi salud estaba cada vez mas delicada, por esto estuve de acuerdo en pagar $ 50,000 – $ 46,000 al gobierno: un tercio al contado, 1/3 en 30 dias y 1/1 en 60 dias; el resto de $ 3,700 seria para el corridor del ministro Jose Maria Iglesias ~ P.M.O.

The truth is that Santiago was residing in Texas when he learned of Don Patricio’s trouble with Juarez’s regime. Santiago quickly went back to Mexico via Veracruz. He did not feel it was right that Juarez involve his family into their personal feud, he had with him a letter intended for the English Minister (Queen Victoria) on behalf of Don Patricio Milmo: He was a citizen of England and was entitled of the protection of the English Crown.

Mi suegro, Don Santiago Vidaurri, ahora en la capital, es de opinion que evitar lugar debo de hacer una apelacion al Emperador para una compensacion siempre reservando mi derecho de ciudadano britanico. El senor Vidaurri quiere que actue condescendientemente, con el deseo de evitar en todo lo posible la necesidad de poner el problema como el propone y le he pedido al senor Vidaurri que le visite con relacion a este asunto. Debo de disculparme por escribir tanto, pero no podia darle una idea de mis problemas en pocas palabras ~ P.M.O

Maximiliano during this time had already been established in the capital, upon hearing that such a distinguished political figure was in the city, had Santiago summoned to El Castillo Chaputepec. We do not know what was said during their extensive meeting. What we do know is that there is a four page letter written to Santiago from Maxle. This letter is in possession of a family member and has yet to surface for further study. However, the relationship between Santiago and the young Hapsburg Prince was always on the best of terms.

I wish to say in defense of the young and hopeful Emperor that if it were not for him, Mexico would not have its precious treasures preserved. It is a known fact that Maximiliano had fallen in love with Mexico, and its people he had wanted to do what was best for Mexico. He was always at odds with the French and the Mexicans he was sent to rule. His execution was unjust and unmerciful. Kings do not execute Kings, they exile them.

When Juarez learned that Santiago was offered a job with the French, he immediately tried to convince him that all was well between them. Santiago at this time didn’t need to learn a hard lesson twice. He knew that trusting Juarez would only lead to his down fall. Santiago had sent many of his troops and notable Generals to aid Juarez. Instead of being grateful that Santiago did not hold a grudge, Juarez convinced Santiago’s men to betray and abandon him. Juarez was slowly planning the demise of Don Santiago Vidaurri.

By joining the French- Santiago had bought himself time. In my opinion, because of the feud between Santiago and President Juarez my uncle had no choice but to join the French. It was a colossal mistake, but then it was the only choice he could have made.

It is common knowledge that Santiago Vidaurri was a great general that during El Vidaurrismo many great generals under his leadership were spawned: Garza Ayala, Zuazua, Aramberri, Zaragoza, Escobedo, Mier, Quiroga, and Naranjo. My theory is that if he had aided the French, how did Juarez’s regime triumph over the French Imperial army? In a letter to Don Patricio in July of 1865 he says “Porque vivir aqui es morir.” He hated being away from his family and his people. He desired to leave the capital and return to the North. He knew that would never become a reality, because no matter what Juarez said, he would never allow him to live in peace. My theory is that if my uncle had aided the French, the French would not have been defeated.

Don Santiago Vidaurri had a love affair with his beloved Nuevo Leon. He established many public parks, increased the revenue, established factories and opened up commerce such as the import and ex-port trade. He also had El Theatro del Progresso, El Mercado Colon, and La Alameda de Monterrey built. He turned Monterrey into the capital of Nuevo Leon.

Tio Santiago was a man like any other, with his virtues and his peccadillo’s. I am not writing this paper from the view-point of a genealogist, biographer or historian, but from the view-point of a family member. I leave his rise in the political arena to them, the experts. These are my opinions based on information supplied to me by various family members and by his current biographer Mrs. Leticia Martinez Cardenas de Hunt, whom I consider an honorary Vidaurri.

El archivo: Santiago Vidaurri consists of over 17,000 letters. These important documents were obtained in an illegal manner by the state of Nuevo Leon. These letters were not abandoned or forgotten – they were confiscated from the property of Dona Leonor Milmo Vidaurri: Don Santiago Vidaurri’s grand-daughter. Don Santiago had specifically expressed desire that his archive not be made public until 100 years after his death.

El archivo de Santiago Vidaurri fue extraido de los sotanos de mi abuela: Leonor Milmo Vidaurri en la forma ilegal. La Casa Bancaria Patricio Milmo y Hijos y sucesores quebro en la decada de los 20’s y 30’s y esta negociacion rentaba una parte del inmueble propiedad de mi abuela. Aunqe probaron que los sotanos no pertenecian a la fallida Casa Bancaria, el gobierno del estado de NL finalmente se quedo con el mencionado archivo. Santiago Vidaurri habia solicitado que su archivo se abriera 100 anos despues de su muerte: cosa que no ocurrio. El archivo no estaba abandonado y olvidado ~ P.G.O

These letters were turned into volumes for research by many dedicated historians and biographers, such as Mrs. Leticia Martinez Cardenas, Armando Leal Rios, and Cesar Morado Macias.

This past July 9th marked another year of my tio Santiago’s execution. A misa was held at the ancestral home, La Mesa de Cartujanos. La Mesa was bought originally as a hiding place for cattle and horses. Back then, a man was not considered rich by how much money he had, but by how much he owned in livestock. Don Santiago did not only keep his personal livestock there, but also that of his son in-laws Don Patricio Milmo O’Dowd and that of his army. He ended up falling in love with the place and had a home-built.

La Mesa de Cartujanos is in the jurisdiction of Coahuila, but can be reached through Lampazos. It is described as an elevation from the earth. It can only be reached by plane or half day by mule, making most of his descendant’s expert pilots. This became his final resting place; his body had been exhumed three times before his last request had been fulfilled.

Su deseo era que se lleven sus restos a Monterrey, y que el y su amada esposa sean removidos a la Mesa, y depositado alli, en una capilla modesta y sencilla, que se fabricara, en caso que vuelva a poder de la familia dicha Mesa, y sino que sea en Monterrey con su esposa, comprando su terreno con este fin ~   

His last request was to be buried there, with his beloved wife under the capia. The stipulation being that La Mesa is in the possession of a descendent, it was his desire and final wish.

Today it is owned by a group of his second and third great grandsons: Lorenzo y Tomas Milmo Zambrano and Alberto Milmo Garza Madero y hermanos. A portion of El Rancho Encinas is also owned by a second great-grandson: Patricio Milmo Hernandez. (We believe that this portion of Rancho Encinas is part of the original, that was owned by my seventh great-grandfather: Don Jose Vasquez Borrego).

Santiago Vidaurri had been a visionary; he knew that by allowing the marriage between his daughter and his friend/ business partner: Don Patricio Milmo O’Dowd that the prosperity of his family would continue. His grand-daughter Pudenciana Milmo Vidaurri married Prince Albrycht Wocjciech Radziwill circa 1896 in NY, New York.

Some of Don Santiago Vidaurri’s second and third great-grandchildren are: The late Emilio Azcarrraga Milmo (El Tigre) of Televisa; Jose Milmo Garza Madero of Casa Madero (Mexico’s oldest and largest winery); and Tomas Milmo Santos of Axtel (A Mexican telecommunications company that provides local, national and international telephone services); Patricio Guerra O’Hart, who owns and operates his own company; Patricio Milmo Hernandez, a retired lawyer; Patricia Gonzales Vidaurri, artist and architect.

Those of us who are aware of our family history have always believed that it was the Milmo Vidaurris that ended up with what was left of the Vidaurre y Vasquez Borrego legacy. This was not the case. Not only did they have to endure having their homes, businesses confiscated during the revolution, but they also suffered through the hands of Juarez’s regime.

I have to keep reminding myself that my uncle was not a hero, but a man who had lived during Mexico’s darkest hours. I can’t say that he was a victim of a corrupted government, because he would have never of described himself in those terms. I can’t say that he was a martyr, because his execution lacked political meaning, but was one of childish revenge. My uncle was a man who held much power, yet he never took advantage of that power. He instead used that power to protect those who could not protect themselves.

My uncle did not die a wealthy man. He was a man who had lived during difficult times, and at the time did what he thought was best. Don Santiago Vidaurri is a man, who can be proud of his descendents, who moved forward in time, even with the threats of Juarez and the outcome of the Revolution.

Santiago’s gift to those who came before and to the many of us who came after was not only the fulfillment of our family’s ambition, but also in maintaining the honor of our family name. We are Los Vidaurre de Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, y Texas, and we in our turn honor him by preserving his memory.


LDS records and research done by Terry Guerra – Tamez. * Also for the discovery of Pedro Jose Vidaurre Borrego y de la Cruz’s pedigree.

Copies of CD rom compiled by Father Robert D. Wood provided by Raul Longoria.

“Los Vidaurre de Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas y Texas” by Jose Felipe de la Pena Vidaurri.

Milmo Vidaurri (Borrego) Family Tree provided by Patricio Guerra O’ Hart.

General James E. Slaughters account of the execution provided by Patricio Milmo Hernandez.

Verbal conversations with Patricio Milmo Hernandez.

(All editorials provided by Patricio Milmo Hernandez).

General James E. Slaughters account of the execution provided by Patricio Milmo Hernandez.

“Variaciones Santiago Vidaurri” by Carlos Marin Foucher.

“Visita a Cartujanes, sepulcro de Vidaurri” by Israel Cavazos Garza.

“Un Godernador y un gran patriota” by Abelardo Leal.

Texas Handbook online: Santiago Vidaurri

“Santiago Vidaurri” compiled by Patricio Guerra O’ Hart.

“Santiago Vidaurri and the Southern Confederacy” by Ronnie C. Tyler.

Verbal conversations with Mrs. Leticia Martinez Cardenas de Hunt.

A special Thanks to Mrs. Leticia Martinez Cardenas de Hunt for her support and guidance. Also for providing me with much source material, and making the communication with my parientes possible.

A very special “Thank You” to my dear cousins, Patricio #1 y Patricio #2 for being so supportive and their willingness in sharing with me our family legacy.