Porvenir Massacre, 100

Porvenir, Texas
January 28, 1918

Agencies: Texas Department of Public Safety

Cause of death: Shooting

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Last updated: over 5 years ago


When the shooting ended on the moonlit night of Jan. 28, 1918, the crumpled bodies of 15 unarmed Mexican boys and men between the ages of 16 and 72 lay scattered in the brush downriver from Porvenir.

After the killers rode off in the darkness, the panicked women, children and other survivors fled across the Rio Grande. The next morning, an old woman came from Mexico with a horse cart to retrieve the bodies.

Days later, the cavalry soldiers returned to the remote Texas border hamlet - which was home to 140 people - to knock down and burn the abandoned dwellings.


“The quiet little village of Porvenir with its peaceful farms and happy homes was no more. The Rangers and four cow-men made 42 orphans that night,” was the bitter summary of Henry Warren, the local schoolmaster, whose father-in-law, Tiburcio Jaquez, died in the massacre.

While the dogged efforts of Warren and others to find justice for those slain ultimately proved futile, the ghosts of Porvenir have refused to fade quietly into history.

Recent archaeological work, including analysis of slugs and shell casings found at the scene of the executions, is turning the long-accepted historical narrative of the event on its head.

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