Presidio document is not linked to American Revolution

By by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 6, 2013 at 8:07 p.m.

Julia Lopez knows her ancestors helped win the American Revolution, but she's still trying to find the information that will prove it.

Originally from Victoria, Lopez, of Austin, is a direct descendent of soldiers who served at Presidio La Bahia dating to the 1730s.

In 1783, King Carlos III asked his subjects to make a voluntary donation to aid the American Revolution against the British. Lopez knew her ancestors served at the Presidio and would have donated, making her eligible for the Daughters of the American Revolution, but her membership application was initially denied because she didn't have a list detailing the amount each soldier donated.

For the past four years, Lopez has been looking for a "donativo," a list showing which soldiers donated pesos to the American Revolution. She and her husband, Lorenzo Lopez, were elated when they located what they believed was the document in the collections at the Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin, as recounted in a story that ran on Page A1 in the Victoria Advocate on Feb. 3.

However, her search isn't over. Lopez learned this week that the list she found was from a donation made by soldiers in 1798 to support Spain in a war against the British in the Anglo-Spanish War. The war, fought from 1796 to 1808, was an offshoot of the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.

When they were looking for the list, Lopez and her husband were so focused on finding the one from 1784, they failed to realize the king had issued other decrees ordering his subjects to make voluntary donations to fight a war with Great Britain, she said.

Mary Ann Long de Fernandez de Mesa, Spanish Task Force Chairman of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, of Madrid, said she initially believed the document was the one Lopez had been searching for. It was only after further research when it was found that the officer who signed the list, Commandant Jose Miguel de Moral, was not stationed at the Presidio in 1784, that the mistake was discovered.

The 1798 donativo list is authentic, and the odds are good the list from 1784 will be found because the Spanish kept meticulous records, de Mesa said.

Lopez said she was disappointed to learn the news, but she said she's glad the soldiers listed were honored on Saturday and she's not letting the setback deter her.

"If there's a silver lining, it's that now there are so many people interested in finding the list," she said. "We know that list is out there, now we just need people to help us find it."



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