A Mexican American Soldiers Describes the Killing of a Mexican Rancher's Daughter
Digital History ID 3694
In 1927, a soldier wrote to the Texas governor describing the killing of a Mexican rancher’s daughter twelve years earlier.
About eleven o’clock one night, in 1915, during the height of the bandit troubles, a party of Rangers called at this Mexican’s house, just as he was returning from the fields, and asked him what he was doing, where he had been etc., and the man replied “Am just returning from my work in the fields, where I have been all day. Then the leader of the Rangers told him to get into the house, put out all the lights, and remain there, as they were watching and waiting for some bandits to make their appearance at that particular place, as they had been told by some parties in Brownsville that he (Cenobio Rivas) was in the habit of sheltering bandits at his Ranch, and they wanted to investigate and make sure. About eleven o’clock, two Mexican laborers…stopped there on their way home, and asked for some water to drink. Immediately on their stopping there and knocking, the Rangers started shooting, thereby hitting these two laborers. After they had fallen, they continued shooting at the house where the family was asleep, killing his daughter Martina Rivas, and wounding his son George Rivas….
The morning following the shooting, the Rangers conversed with the two wounded laborers, and ascertained from them who they were, where they worked, and also ascertained that they were not bandits, but law-abiding laborers going to their camp….
At the time that this happened, the man possessed over one hundred and thirty chickens, three ranch houses, thirty or forty bee-hives, and about one hundred and forty animal traps. Everything was destroyed after he left the ranch, as he was afraid to remain there after what happened.
Source: P.C. Alamia to Governor Dan Moody, November 15, 1927, Texas State Archive, Record Group 301, Bo 56
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