Below, Cecilia Almaguer Rendón, recalls the death of her cousin Encarnación Garza in this oral history. Demanding Garza be remembered disrupts the routine erasure in Texas Rangers legends and names the importance of recognizing ethnic Mexican death, forcing a reconstruction of popular memory and a reckoning with the violence faced by countless ethnic Mexicans slaughtered in nameless bloodshed.
“At about 2:30 A.M. the ‘rinches’ came and the first thing they found was my cousin [Encarnación Garza]. They got him up just the way he was, in his underclothes. They didn’t let him put on his shoes or anything. hey put on handcuffs and made him stand in front of the car lights. One guarded him and the other searched the place.
“Three of them entered our home, yanked us out of bed and threw us on the floor. We all bunched together. I was small and got very frightened. They wanted to know how many other men were in the house. At that time my father was not there… The ‘rinches’ didn’t ask permission of anyone to enter homes. They didn’t conduct any investigation. If you didn’t open the door they would break it with their carbines…
“The ‘rinches’ then put my cousin in the car and left. They took him to a cemetery about a block away, placed him in front of a cross and shot him dead. We heard the noise. They left him laying there. The following morning instead of going to work in the fields as usual, we went to the cemetery. Poor cousin, there he was, just laying there. It happened that he has fallen right on my grandfather’s grace, although the ‘rinches’ didn’t know that. He was about twenty-one years of age. We didn’t put him in a box. We just wrapped him in a sheet and a blanket, dug a deep grave, and put him in it. Then we covered him up. The ‘rinches’ killed him without asking him any questions. They apprehended people and took them. We were afraid to challenge them because they were like big animals and they had guns.
“After that we went to Brownsville. Many families abandoned their farms and lost their belongings.”
Martínez, Oscar J. “Oral History Transcription from Cecilia Almaguer Rendón (Originally Interviewed in Brownsville in 1978 by Virgilio Sánchez. On File at the Institute of History, University of Texas at El Paso.)” In Fragments of the Mexican Revolution: Personal Accounts From the Border. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1983.
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