Jose Maria Sanchez y Tapia

If all goes as planned tomorrow morning I will leave for the border paradise of Laredo. After Laredo I will make several stops along the old Camino Real, or King’s Highway, including Pearsall, San Antonio, Gonzales, San Felipe and Nacogdoches. The purpose is to re-create and walk in the footsteps of an early 19th century Mexican officer, draftsman and illustrator named Jose Maria Sanchez y Tapia.

You’re probably wondering who the hell Jose Maria Sanchez y Tapia is? Sanchez was attached to the Meir y Teran Border Commission, which ventured from Mexico City to Nacogdoches and then on to swampy river bottoms of East Texas to map out the border between Mexico and the United States. He wrote a very interesting account of his journey, which I learned of and first read about two years ago. I recently acquired Teran’s diary of the journey as well. I’m also picking up Berlandier’s account of the journey from the library this afternoon. I had hoped to make the entire Mexico City to Nacogdoches journey, but with the Mexican border states as chaotic as they are now is not the time.

Sanchez is one of those rare characters who kept a dairy of his journey that was not only political, geographical and biological observations. He also adds some curious and often times wonderful personal notes. Not sure what I will find along the way but I’m fairly confident there is a story in this, somewhere. I’ll be blogging the journey here. Each entry will contain a snippet from Sanchez’s diary and then my thoughts on what I’ve seen from hopefully the exact vantage points he saw in 1828.

Also, there will be lots of photos. Hopefully some good wildlife. The Brush Country of South Texas may look daunting and arid, but it is one of the most fecund places I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s really a shame the white man killed off all the buffaloes, pronghorn antelope, white tailed deer and so much more.

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