Congregacion El Arcabuz is the name of the Mexican town that has played an integral part in the lives of both my Paternal and Maternal ancestor lines and also in my own life. This town is known by several names: El Arcabuz, Arcabuz, and Congregacion El Arcabuz. *Since first writing this post I have come to find out that it also used to be called San Andres del Arcabuz.
As of today this town it lies at the south most part of the Municipality of Miguel Aleman and borders El Rio San Juan (the San Juan River) which is the dividing line between Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon. Half of the town is on high ground covering a small hill and the rest in low ground. The lower part of town has suffered several floods.
It is possible that the name El Arcabuz came from the european predecessor to the musket named Arcabuz wich was widely use from the 1400’s to the 1700’s (Wikipidia). *In fact it was was named after this weapon. The story is that one of the early settlers lost an Arcabuz while crossing the river San Juan near this town and since then it has been called El Arcabuz.
The exact date of the towns founding is unknown to me but According to Galindo, in a Box labeled G-25 in the Mier Casa De Cultura Archivo De Mier (Mier Archives) there is a folder labeled 1753 with an undated survey of the Mier Ranches. Arcabus appeared as having 16 Jacales and no stone buildings. If the date of the folder is correct we can safely assume that this town can date its history prior to 1753. The town currently has stone buildings but they were probably built during the 1800’s. *The official founding was on 1767 when my 5th great grandfather Francisco Angel de La Garza received his land grant. It is also mentioned in the document that he received that land grant due to having already established a ranch on said land. You can read it here: 1767 Land Grant of Francisco Angel de la Garza – Mier Porcion 14
The cemetery can also support this claim since some of the oldest tombs are made out of brick and are above ground with dates prior to 1770’s
Other than Galindo’s thesis I have not found any other documents or books detailing El Arcabuz’s history and I fear that its only remaining history is slowly dying as the eldest of its residents dye. *Thanks to Jose Garza I now know the real History of El Arcabuz and you can read it here The History of El Arcabuz, Tamaulipas, Mexico
El Arcabuz On the Web
I have also found a Facebook page titled Yo Tambien Soy De Arcabuz Tamaulipas, they also have alot of photos. I found pictures of my uncles parents in there. They also have some historical photos of town and some of its events.
El Arcabuz, serves also as the Civil Registry for half of the Municipality. Births, Deaths, and Marriages are still recorded in it’s Civil Registry Books. It is located in front of the plaza.
Also it’s cemetery is northeast of town and has graves dating back to the mid 1700’s. If I ever go back to this town one of my goals will be to transcribe the whole cemetery, if anyone is interested let me know.
I have also found the MyHeritage website for the Family Tree of Ricardo Salinas. He has many people from El Arcabuz including some of my family and ancestors. I have tried contacting him but unfortunately he has not responded to my messages.
People that lived in this town can also be found at Ancestry.com and FamilySearch on their Border Crossing Collections. I also tried searching the Mexico 1930 Census but it seems that all of the municipality of Miguel Aleman Tamaulipas Mexico is Mission from it.
Google Earth Map
Source: “El Arcabuz” 26°04’18.69″ N 99°07’33.57″ W. Google Earth. October 18, 2007.
December 4, 2011.
- Galindo, M. J, Con Un Pie En Cada Lado: Ethnicities and the Archaeology of Spanish Colonial Ranching Communities Along the Lower Río Grande Valley. Pages 21- 23.
- Wikipidia – Arcabuz
* Last Updated 11-16-2013