San Marcos in Hays County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Don Felipe Roque de la Portilla
At the request of Antonio Cordero, interim governor of the Province of Texas, Spanish-born Felipe Roque de la Portilla (1768?-1841) established a colony here on El Camino Real. With his own family of eight, he brought 51 persons from the interior of Mexico and founded San Marcos de Neve in April 1808. Titles were issued to 13 lots, and homes were built, only to be washed away in June floods. Hardships plagued the colony: the defensive troops departed; no priest arrived; seed and a farm irrigation system did not materialize; horses and cattle were lost to Indians, and the people feared for their own lives. In 1809 new settlers brought the population to 81 without bettering living conditions. Portilla lost his health and fortune and was forced to lead his people back to Matamoros, Mexico, in 1812.
In 1829, however, he helped his son-in-law, James Power, and Power's associate, James Hewetson, plant their colony at Refugio, near Copano Bay. Portilla received land there in 1834, but left for Mexico in 1836. Because he invested his own fortune in the colonizing effort, he is sometimes called the First Empresario, and recognized as
Erected 1976 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 10256.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Hispanic Americans • Native Americans • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail series list. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1808.
Location. Marker is missing. It was located near 29° 51.326′ N, 97° 53.904′ W. Marker was in San Marcos, Texas, in Hays County. Marker was on North Old Bastrop Highway (County Route 266) 1.2 miles south of San Marcos Highway (Texas Highway 80), on the right when traveling south. Marker is located just south of the San Marcos River. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: San Marcos TX 78666, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Site of the First Town of San Marcos (here, next to this marker); Lt. Zebulon M. Pike (here, next to this marker); Charles Lewis McGehee Cabin (a few steps from this marker); Col. Ignacio Elizondo’s 1813 Campaign (approx. ¼ mile away); McGehee Crossing (approx. 1.1 miles away); Cheatham-Hohenberg CemeteryKings Highway (approx. 1.3 miles away); Thompson's Islands (approx. 2.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Marcos.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 7, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 2, 2013. This page has been viewed 1,167 times since then and 50 times this year. Last updated on October 7, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. Photos: 1. submitted on October 2, 2013, by Richard Denney of Austin, Texas. 2, 3. submitted on October 6, 2013, by Richard Denney of Austin, Texas. 4. submitted on October 30, 2018, by Richard Denney of Austin, Texas. 5. submitted on October 7, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.