Lipan Apache History
The Castro Family History of the LIPAN APACHE Band of Texas
The origins of the Castro Family start in the northern part of the State of Texas. The Castro Family comes from a proud Indian heritage that has lost some of its culture over the years, but has gained some ground in recovering their glory. The origins of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas can be traced back to the time when it received its Spanish surname. Colonial Spanish missionaries at San Saba Mission de la Santa Cruz gave Lipan Apache Band Chief Cuelga de Castro surname. Cuelga's Apache name means "moving among the trees". The "Castro, "surname was that of a rich Spanish land baron had taken the lands belonging to the Lipan Apache Band of Texas and settled it in the name of progress.
Before 1725 the Lipan Apache Band village sites ranged throughout the state with many favorites of which one of them was found some 250 miles Northwest of modern-day Austin, Texas. In 1740, the Lipan Apache Band village site was spotted some 50 miles Northwest of todays San Antonio, Texas at Tancahe Camp on the Rio Colorado de Texas. In 1757, the Colonial Spanish Government built the Mission San Saba de la Santa Cruz for the Lipan Apache Band of Texas. Mission San Saba de la Santa Cruz is found ninety miles Northeast of San Antonio, Texas and is found on the banks of the San Saba River. During the mid 1700's, Spanish Missionaries wishing to convert the Native American peoples of Texas would give Native Americans peoples Spanish names before converting them into Christianity. Castro Family oral history suggests that Cuelga de Castro was born in 1762, in the Lipan Apache village on the banks of the San Saba and Colorado Rivers of Texas. These rivers are found near what they called Lipan's Field between the strip of land between the Rio de Los Llanos and Guadalupe Rivers. In the year 1768, missionaries spotted the Lipan Apache Band camped on the banks of the Rio Grande de Norte or today's Rio Grande River between Texas and Mexico. In the year 1772, colonial missionaries were constantly visiting the Lipan Apache between the Nueches, Frio and Rio Grande Rivers of Texas, living in that area in hopes of converting them into Christianity.
In the year 1819 the Lipan Apache camped on the banks of the Rio Grande west of Laredo, Texas with little or no movement until the Spanish Empire involved itself into a second revolution in 1821. This revolution ended more than three hundred years of Spanish rule and created the Mexican government headed by Agustin de Iturabide. In August 1821, Mexican Emperor Iturabide ruled the newly formed government of Mexico. They recognized the following chiefs from the Lipan Apache Band of Texas; Cuelga de Castro, Jose Chiquito, Yolcna Pocaropa, Flacco, and El Mocha. The following Lipan Apache leaders all signed he first Lipan Apache Band of Texas Treaty with Mexico in Monclava, Mexico in 1821, and Northern Frontier Commandant General Gaspar Lopez constructed this treaty. Chief Cuelga de Castro, Jose Chiquito, Caboe, and Flacco all signed this treaty.
In the year 1822 Texas Governor Stephen F. Austin claimed that the Lipan Apache Band of Texas helped in supporting the Revolution in the Province of Texas in the year 1812.
To tell the Castro Family history better, I will use excerpts from Colonial French explorer Jean Louis Berlandier. The French explorer Berlandier reports meeting Cuelga de Castro on February 7, 1828, camped on the banks of the Rio Grande in Laredo, Texas. Berlandier also mentions three other chiefs of the Lipan Apache Band. The chiefs included El Cojo, Yolcna, and Pocaropa, whom they documented as witnesses to the official Coronation of Mexican Emperor Iturbide in August of 1822. While in Mexico City the chiefs noted all signed a peace treaty and alliance against the Comanches Indians with the Mexican Government on August 17, 1822.
In 1836, after the defeat of the Mexican Army at San Jacinto, the United States Government recommended the enlistment of the Lipan Apache as raiders against Mexican settlements. The Lipan, Texas Militia and farmers all participated in raids for ten years between 1836 and 1846, to secure Texas's independence from Mexico. In 1838 R. A. Iron U.S. Government Indian Commission for Texas made reference that Chief Cuelga de Castro was a sagacious, shrewd and intelligent man who vowed eternal hatred for the Mexican; as quoted by Cuelga de Castro January 8, 1838.
Between 1822 and 1844 the Lipan Apache lived and camped in on the banks of the Cibolo Creek, near Live Oak, Texas. The Castro oral history has verified that this area contains the remains of its buried dead and is located above the low rolling hills and flood plains located on the creek and is one of the most important spiritual sites to the Lipan Apache. For the Lipan Apache this was their spiritual and social center and like most Native American peoples, their villages were always located in the vicinity of their dead.
Cuelga de Castro of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas signed a treaty with The Republic of Texas on January 8, 1838. The location site of the treaty signing was at Live Oak Point, Texas in the rural northeastern part of San Antonio, Texas.
On February 15, 1839 Cuelga led a large group of Lipan Apache warriors and a battalion of Texas soldiers attacked the Comanches Indian village camp at Spring Creek in the San Saba Valley of Texas. In 1844 Ramon Castro replaced his father Cuelga de Castro as chief of the Lipan Apache. Unfortunately, Cuelga de Castro died of what might be called liver cirrhosis, and was said to have died in the year 1852. He is buried in the Old Missionary Cemetery of San Antonio, Texas. Family records have confirmed that Cuelga de Castro was buried in San Antonio Mission, but historical records have been changed, damaged or lost making it unverifiable.
In 1861 Ramon Castro and some followers were forced to settled at Fort Belknap, Texas, as a condition of their allegiance to the U.S. Government, but it was also an attempt to exterminate the Lipan Apache, so the U.S. Governments moved the Lipan Apache people as prisoners of war. In 1867 they transferred the Lipan to Fort Griffin near Albany, Texas. By 1885 less that 20 Lipan Apache Band members were alive and the U.S. Government later transferred them to the Oklahoma Agency.
In researching Cuelga de Castro Family, I have only found the names of five male Castro's. Castro Family members known are as follows: Simon Castro, Ramon Castro, Seuge Castro, Lemmas Castro, and Juan Castro, a.k.a. John Castro. The Castro Family histories suggest that Juan Castro, a.k.a. John Castro, was born in 1812, in the City of Beeville, or Three Rivers, Texas; encompassing the Bee and Live Oak Counties.
John Castro was a participant of the San Saba Treaty between the Republic of Texas, the U.S. Government and the Lipan Apache Indians signed on October 28, 1851 at San Saba in Bexar County, Texas. Cuelga de Castro, Seuge Castro, and Ramon Castro were participants in the Tehuacama Creek Treaty Negotiations; between the Republic of Texas Government and Lipan Apache Indians signed on October 9, 1844, at Tehuacama Creek, Texas. They listed Lemas Castro, John Castro, and Ramon Castro as leaders in the Tehuacama Creek Treaty Tribal Leadership List for the Republic of Texas Government. The Lipan Apache Band signed it on January 15, 1845, at Tehuacama Creek, Texas. Ramon Castro was also listed as a leader in the Tehuacama Creek Treaty Tribal Leadership List, dated January 16, 1845, at Tehuacama Creek, Texas. Ramon was the only witness at the Treaty Council of Texas Tribes at Tehuacama Creek, Texas.
This was an agreement with the Republic of Texas Government and U.S. Government from August 27, 1845 to September 27, 1845, signed at Tehuacama Creek, Texas. Simon and Ramon Castro presented themselves at the Military Post Campo Cibolo, Texas requesting reimbursement from the Republic of Texas Government and U.S. Government for property stolen by white settlers. On May 30, 1845 they filed a complaint in San Antonio, Texas. Based on oral family history Juan Castro, a.k.a. Porfirio Castro died in the year 1887, in the City of Pettus, in the County of Bee, in the State of Texas. His wife, Francisca Gonzalez was born in 1823, in the City of Cerralvo, in the State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Juan Castro married Francisca Gonzalez in 1854, in the City of Monterrey, in the State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
The only four known children were Calixtro Gonzalez Castro, Juanita Gonzalez Castro, Albino Gonzalez Castro, and Manuel Gonzalez Castro. In their prime, Juan Castro was a respected Lipan Apache War Captain, who resided in the Rio Grande Valley region, which the Lipan Apache Band proclaimed as their ancestral winter grounds. Juan's wife Francisca Gonzalez was said to be a home servant in the City of Laredo, in the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico. In 1861 Juan Castro, along with several leaders of his tribe, refused to move to Fort Griffin. They decided to move his people to Laredo, in the northern Mexican State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Through his genius, Juan Castro took charge of his tribal village on the banks of the Mexican Rio Grande River.
He would often defend his people against Texan and Mexican soldiers who periodically raided their village. The second Castro Family Ranch, or Lipan Apache Band stronghold village, was founded in the Mexican State of Nuevo Leon. The name of the small town was Cerralvo and is some forty miles northeast of the Mexican and United States border. This small town provided the Lipan Apache people with a mountainous terrain, which was well suited by its natural protection.
During the second Mexican Revolutionary War, the Porfirio Diaz Government of Mexico ordered guerilla fighters to raid and set fire to all Indian villages and ranches found within the boundaries of the northern state provinces of Mexico. Mexican soldiers were also directed to kill all occupants living there despite age, gender, or sex. The Diaz government was retaliating for acts committed by Apaches bands, and other renegade tribal bands in The Rio Grande region. Diaz also suspected all Indian peoples of hiding resistance fighters, who were trying to overthrow the regional governors in the provinces of northern Mexico. The Diaz Government therefore justified the mass killings of the Indian peoples based on misleading accounts from various regional governors and hacienda owners. This was the excuse used by the Diaz Government to say that the Indians were harboring resistance fighters.
All Lipan Apache
Stone of Blood, Apachean
Daniel Castro Romero, Jr., M.S.W.
General Council Chairman
Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas
P.O. Box 5218
McAllen, Texas 78502
Compiled by: Glenn Welker
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