Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and independence in Saltillo

His stay in a large house in Saltillo, the last mass of his life in Ramos Arizpe and an ambush in Acatita de Baján. This was the journey of the Father of the Nation through the lands of Coahuila.

It is not that Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla has come for a walk through Saltillo, rather the consequences of the independence struggle forced him. His flight had strong reasons, such as reaching the United States to take refuge and get weapons to continue the rebellion. Oh, and sure, try to save his life. Although that plan did not work.

The armed conflict broke out in Mexico, but the Grito de Dolores of September 16, 1810 was only the beginning. In January 1811, after losing to the royalist forces in Guadalajara, the priest and the insurgent contingent had nothing left but to escape to the north.

When Miguel Hidalgo and his army arrived at the Villa de Santiago de Saltillo, the inhabitants already knew about that rebel priest.

Months before the insurgent flight to the north, on September 23, 1810, the annual fair was held in Villa de Santiago, attended by people from all over the country. It was they who transmitted the news of the armed uprising.

But that information was not received as one would imagine. The researcher Arturo Berrueto explains that the news alerted the Spanish authorities of the Villa de Santiago, since it was a town governed by a wealthy class and that it even prepared to defend the crown.

Although this changed at the end of 1810, when the instability of the Spanish in Mexican territory was more noticeable. So much so that Hidalgo himself would stay for more than a week in a house set up for officials of the Villa de Santiago city council.

Hidalgo in Saltillo

As we said, Hidalgo’s objective when advancing north was to acquire arms, but for that they had to cross Coahuila and then reach Texas.

If we talk about distances, from the then Villa de Santiago to Texan territory they were little more than 400 kilometers. Let us remember that at that time the transport was on horseback or on foot, so long journeys were days of travel.

As part of the strategy, on March 5, 1811, Hidalgo entered the Villa de Santiago de Saltillo, where he stayed for 11 days.

At that time he officiated at the parish that is now the Cathedral of Saltillo, although there is no more official information on the latter than what is narrated in books by the Saltillo doctor and writer Jorge Fuentes Aguirre.

The mystery of a plate

During their stay in the town, the insurgents stayed at the Mesón del Huizache, then located on what is now Calle Morelos.

Hidalgo stayed in the house located on the corner of now Hidalgo and Aldama streets, where the Cklass shoe store is located. That site was the home of the town’s treasurer, Manuel Royuela.

Hidalgo’s stay in this place has an anecdote that has even led local historians to debate.

A photograph by AV Carmona, although illegible due to the conditions of the photo, shows the house with a plaque commemorating the insurgent’s stay.

It is a black and white photograph, taken on the west side of today’s Hidalgo Street. In the corner you can see the two-story large house with six balconies, as well as several doors and windows in the lower part. To the left of this property is the Purcell house.

In 1953 this plaque was replaced by a more modern one, but with the same purpose, to commemorate the accommodation of the Father of the Nation. It reads:

“Here was the house that lived in Saltillo, from March 5 to 16, 1811, the IMMORTAL FATHER OF THE COUNTRY DON MIGUEL HIDALGO Y COSTILLA. From this city he rejected the pardon offered by the Spanish Government, pointing out to the Mexican generations the path of freedom ”.

The controversy began in the 60’s of the 20th century, when that building was bought to start the Modern Furniture business in Saltillo and the original building was demolished. During construction, the plaque was rescued and placed in the building across the street, where today is Funerales Martínez.

All of this generated speculation as to whether or not the board was in the right place. In this regard, Vanguardia consulted the historian Carlos Recio, who explained that the plaque and therefore the place where Hidalgo stayed in his passage through Saltillo, is as mentioned in the photo of AV Carmona, next to the Purcell house. , on the west side of Hidalgo.

To this day, who and why moved the place plate remains unclear.

The last mass

Returning to the Hidalgo road whose end was Texas. On March 16, 1811, the insurgent party left Villa de Santiago for Monclova.

One of their next stops was at Hacienda Santa María, in Ramos Arizpe, about 28 kilometers from where they stayed in downtown Saltillo. There, with the mountains as a landscape and cared for as a historical treasure, there is still a chapel in which the Virgen del Rosario is venerated.

It was in that place where Miguel Hidalgo offered the last mass of his life, according to figures such as the chronicler of Ramos Arizpe, Manuel Gil Vara and the writer Jorge Fuentes Aguirre.

The rest of the story falls into the tragic and unfolds in Acatita de Baján, Coahuila, where the priest and his entourages were ambushed by the royalist Colonel Ignacio Elizondo. As prisoners they were taken to Monclova and later to Chihuahua, where they were shot to death.

The heads of Miguel Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, and Mariano Jiménez were exhibited as an example in the Alhóndiga de Granaditas in Guanajuato. Thus, the eyes of these caudillos were left without seeing the results of their struggle, since the consummation of this war reached until September 27, 1821 when the Trigarante army finally drove away the Spanish army.

* With information from Carlos Recio, Jorge Fuentes, Pablo Cuéllar, Arturo Berrueto, Jesús de León, Manuel Gil, Arnoldo Hernández, Arturo Villarreal.

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