Mier, Tamaulipas is a very dear place to me. As a child I used to go with my dad on his usual business trips to Mier. His dealings were usually done near the buildings of its plaza and as a child I could not help but walk over to play in its kiosk. I used to walk over to the church, which is located on one side and there is nothing dividing the plaza and the church, I always thought the plaza was somehow part of the church.
I remember that I would be amazed at the big doors and the huge structure. Mind you I was only about five or six years old at the time. I could have had never imagined that this church and it's plaza might have any deep history in my own family history.
I never imagined that my ancestors at one point might have had enjoyed the cool breeze int hat same plaza. Nor I ever imagined that so many of my ancestors got married and baptized in that church. I also never imagined that many of them also had their last rites in that same church.
As I delved more into my family genealogy a name kept repairing over and over again. That was the name of Fray Antonio Manuel del Alamo. His signature appears in many birth, marriage , and death records of my ancestors. While searching the online archives at PARES (Portal de Archivos Españoles) I came across the following painting of Fray Antonio Manuel del Alamo depicting his with the Garza Indians of the area. The image indicates that he had baptized them. The painting is undated but Fray Antonio served in Mier from about 1790's to the 1830's.
Source: Pintura representando al padre fray Antonio Manuel del Álamo y a indios garzas del Río del Norte (Nuevo Santander) bautizados por él. Archivo General de Indias,MP-MEXICO,504 - 1 - Imagen Núm: 1 / 1
I first became aware of the Garza indians years ago when I first started to do genealogy and I always wondered if they had been driven into extinction. As it turned out they are still around in the San Antonio/Austin area and several years ago they were recognized as a Texas tribe.
If the above painting is of it's times then it is very interesting to note the style of dress of the priests and specially that of the Garza tribe.