Laredo Election Riot, 1886
Posted by: linkys
N 27° 30.152 W 099° 30.359
14R E 450023 N 3042199
Quick Description: In 1886, if one political party dominated the municipal elections in Laredo and rubbed your opponents face in it, the result was going to be a riot.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 3/16/2008 8:09:13 PM
Waymark Code: WM3CYT
Looking out over the small Plaza where this is historical marker stands today, it is hard to imagine the Laredo of over 130 years ago. It was the time Laredo was having its first major growth spurt. It was a time when political passions ran high. The result was the fascinating incident this marker commemorates. Though mostly overlooked, there has been a full length book written about it: Thompson, Jerry D. (1991), Warm Weather and Bad Whiskey: The 1886 Laredo Election Riot. Texas Western Press.
For one of the best online treatments concerning the events that are the subject of a Texas historical marker, check out this excellent treatise at Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online. Be prepared to some serious reading, but it really doesn't get a whole lot better than that.
View of the tranquil scene in the Plaza today with the marker in the foreground.
Marker Number: 3036
Annual elections for city officials, held here since 1767, were followed by rioting in 1886. Citizens were divided among two rival parties. The Guaraches, named for the Mexican Indian sandals, were led by Dario Gonzales. Raymond Martin, a French immigrant, led the Botas (boots). Shortly before the April election, a Bota city councilman was killed. Sheriff Dario Sanchez, a Bota, appointed several special deputies, and Guarache resentment flared. The April 6 election was peaceful. Bota candidates won all places except two. Against the advice of party leaders, the Botas planned a mock funeral for their defeated opponents on the evening of April 7. The humiliated Guaraches determined to stop the procession. They fired their ceremonial cannon, filled with nails and scrap iron, into the Bota parade. Both sides began shooting, and a battle ensued. U.S. soldiers, dispatched by Col. R. F. Bernard, commander at Fort McIntosh, ended the fighting. Martial law was imposed. Casualties were estimated higher than the 11 known dead. Col. Bernard blamed the violence on factions in both parties, and on lawless outsiders and renegades gathered on both sides of the border in the days preceding the election. (1976)
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