by Barbara J. Wood
FIGHTING FLORES BROTHERS
TEXAS REVOLUTION .... Fighting Flores Brothers
.... It was Saturday night in ol' San Antonio de Béxar, the night that all the young vaqueros and señoritas of San Antonio looked forward to because Saturday nights were - Fandango Night!
In a square building with a flat roof on Market Street, where the Governor's Palace is today, the Queen of the Fandango, Madame Candelaria, would host the most amazing fandangos anywhere. First, she would prepare very delicious Mexican plates (some say her food was second to none in San Antonio) for the guests attending and also, she would secure the best entertainment for these events; singers and guitarists.
These were magical nights filled with great food, socializing, dancing and so many possibilities; where the young vaqueros of San Antonio could meet the young señoritas and dance the night away. Everyone attending knew each other and looked forward to "partying" with their friends. And, of course, everybody knew of the four brothers who always made their special entrance; The Flores brothers.
Everybody knew these brothers because, they were always together and because these brothers were "known and had a reputation for" owning the fastest ponies in San Antonio de Béxar. The brothers all rode Mustangs; the best picks from their father's ranch of over 200 horses. If you owned a horse in Texas during this time in history, more than likely, one of the four Flores brothers was your horse salesman.
According to family tradition, many fandangos ended with a race on Market Street from downtown to the San Antonio River. This race almost always included the Flores brothers and many times, a Flores won the race.
Everyone in San Antonio de Béxar knew these brothers and knew very well of the strong family bond between them.
History remembers the Flores Brothers as:
· Manuel Flores
· Salvador (Chava) Flores
· Nepomuceno (Nepo) Flores
· Jose Maria (Chema) Flores
The Flores Family Name was a prominent family name of Béxar, rich in the ranching history of Tejas; proud men and women - steeped in the cause of freedom. During the Texas Revolution (1835–1836), these four Brothers from this prominent Flores family in San Antonio bravely fought and served in almost every skirmish and battle!
These four vaqueros turned revolutionaries were very committed to the freedom and independence cause. They would serve as scouts, couriers, messengers and fighters. If a Texian military mission had any element of risk or danger, and most did, – more than likely a Flores would be assigned to it. From the fall of 1835 to the spring of 1836, these fighting Tejanos seemed to be everywhere history was being made. They saw it all; from Gonzales to San Jacinto.
In early October 1835, Manuel had gathered with other Texians in Gonzales for what they thought would be the first confrontation between Texians and the Mexican Army. Manuel was there on October 02, 1835 when Texians faced off with the Mexican Army during the Battle of Gonzales. Shortly after that skirmish, Manuel raced home to tell the news to his brothers and his brother-in-law, Juan Seguin.
History remembers that about a week before, September 28, 1835, these young vaqueros had made a decision to engage in the fight for Texas at a meeting held at the Flores de Abrego Ranch (Flores brothers ranch) where all of their young friends attended and committed together to fight for Texas. Salvador was the man who came up with the idea of organizing a militia to represent San Antonio in the revolution. That historic meeting at the Flores de Abrego Ranch gave birth to the San Antonio Fighting Militia that became known as the "Tejano Volunteer Company" led by Juan Seguin. That afternoon, during his acceptance speech, Juan Seguin quoted what he and his brothers-in-law saw as their only option:
"Texas shall be free and independent or we should die in glorious combat!"
Juan Seguin and his brothers-in-law, along with another patriot Manuel Leal, made the decision to organized about 41 volunteers from ranches southwest of San Antonio to reinforced the newly formed Texian Revolutionary Army in mid-October at the start of the revolution and engage in the fight for freedom. The Flores brothers were now all-in with no possibility of turning back.
The brothers immediately became valuable assets for the newly formed Texian Revolutionary Army, mostly because the Flores bothers were from Texas. They had a strong sense of loyalty to the land of their forefathers. They were also fully knowledgeable of Texas terrain (even at night). All four brothers were exceptional riders, great sharpshooters, fierce and daring guerrilla fighters, and almost always fought together looking out for each other.
Because of the world they were born into and the training that they received in their youth, the Flores Brothers became like the "Navy Seals" of the Texas Revolution. Many Texians including, Stephen F. Austin, Deaf Smith and Jim Bowie not only admired and respected these young fighting Tejano patriots but, fought alongside the brothers on many occasions.
The Flores Brothers bravely participated in all of the following historical events:
· The Battle of Gonzales
· The Battle of Concepcion
· The Grass Fight
· The Siege of Bexar
· The Runaway Scrape
· The Battle of San Jacinto
After the fall of the Alamo, Houston and the remnants of the Texian Army were in trouble. At that point, from the Mexican perspective, all that was left to do was to catch Sam Houston and end this rebellion. Houston chose wisely to retreat - quickly in the night. History remembers that retreat by Houston as the Runaway Scrape. During the war council before the retreat, Houston turn to Captain Seguin and gave him an order; probably one of the most important orders of the war -
"Secure our retreat. It is imperative that Texas is allowed to fight another day."
Sam Houston's orders for Captain Juan Seguin's Tejano Volunteer Company were to serve as "security detail" for Sam Houston and the entire retreating Texian Army. Historically, this order represented a huge responsibility because if the Mexican Army was to catch up to the retreating Texian Army - the revolution would be over with a Mexican victory. Texians had to retreat and regroup and someone had to be the buffer between them and total defeat.
History remembers that Captain Seguin assigned Sergeant "Chava" Flores and half of the Tejanos, the very important task of guarding and protecting the rear of the retreating Texian Army from the dangers of Indians or Mexicans and making sure no one was left behind. Chava and his group of Tejanos engaged the advance units of the Mexican Army several times and fought to keep the retreating Texas Army safe.
Manuel Flores, his younger brothers Nepo, along with Juan Seguin were at "point position" scouting forward and securing a safe passage of travel for the retreating Army.
History remembers that the Fighting Flores led and guarded the retreating Texian Army successfully to east Texas - San Jacinto.
In April 1836, First Sergeant Manuel Flores, together with Captain Juan Seguin, Sergeant Salvador Flores, Corporal Nepomuceno Flores, Private Jose Maria Flores and the rest of the Tejano Volunteer Company Cavalry would join forces with Houston and Rusk's men, on Sherman's flank, to attack Santa Anna's army at the Battle of San Jacinto.
During the attack you could hear the shouts:
"Tejanos...al ataque!" "Recuerden...el Alamo!"
The Battle of San Jacinto would be the culmination of the brother's service and efforts in the rebellion and, it would become for the brothers - their moment of glory.
Texas was very fortunate to have the fighting Flores from San Antonio de Béxar. These four brothers, Manuel, Salvador, Nepomuceno and Jose Maria were True Patriots of our Texas Revolution.
It is now well-known that these Fighting Flores brothers, not only participated in almost all of the skirmishes and battles of the Texas Revolution together but, that these brothers literally, "had each other's back" during battle and fought to make sure that each brother would walk away.
At the end of the war, Manuel and Chava would be commissioned Captains and Nepo would receive a commission of first Lieutenant. The brothers would also become part of the original Texas Rangers movement. As a matter of fact, Chava was hired to train all the rangers how to "shoot while riding" accurately.
All of the citizens of that generation knew, and had great respect for, the four brothers who served, fought bravely, and examplified great leadership for Texas during its revolution.
In later years, the daughter of Jose Maria "Chema" Flores (Manuel's little brother) was the Flores descendant that donated 200 acres of the Flores de Abrego Ranch for the establishment of a new City in Texas - and that city would be named - Floresville, Texas.
A Texas State Historical Marker was placed at the Floresville courthouse during the 1986 Texas sesquicentennial. It now stands in honor to Manuel Flores and his brothers for their service to Texas.
This post is dedicated to all of the descendants of the Fighting Flores Brothers living today in Texas and around the world that continue to carry the torch handed down to them by Manuel, Salvador, Nepomuceno and Jose Maria, Texas patriots of our past, otherwise remembered as the "Fighting Flores".
And, Thank You Manuel, Chava, Nepo and Chema for fighting for Texas, for standing for freedom, for your deeds of bravery and for your heroic devotion to our Republic — Texas!
• The Flores de Abrego Family and Floresville, South Texas – It really is like a whole other country. Link: http://www.stxmaps.com/go/texas-historical-marker-the-flores-de-abrego-family-and-floresville.html
• Flores de Abrego, José Salvador Ramon [Salvador Flores] (ca. 1806–1855) By: Thomas Woods, Texas State Historical Association, TSHA. Link: https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/flores-de-abrego-jose-salvador-ramon-salvador-flores
• Manuel N. Flores, Wikipedia
• Manuel Flores [1801–1868] By: Roderick B. Patten, Texas State Historical Association, TSHA.
• Salvador Flores, Wikipedia.
• Juan Nepomuceno Flores, Everybody Wiki
Courtesy /Tejano Volunteer Company