Saturday, July 23, 2011

Women Survivors of The Alamo

In a July 10 column, reader Richard Villanueva asked if there were other female survivors of the siege and battle of the Alamo besides his great-great-great-grandmother Andrea CastaƱon Villanueva. Known as Madam Candelaria, the innkeeper's wife lived more than 100 years and became legendary for telling generations of reporters and tourists her stories of having nursed Texian defenders.

Like several figures associated with this engagement, Madam Candelaria is not considered by some historians to have been a survivor of the Alamo because she came and went at will, rather than being confined to the compound from Feb. 23, 1836, when Mexican troops first fired on the fort, through the March 6 battle.

However, historian Dora Elizondo Guerra counts her among seven women survivors, all related to men fighting with the Texians.

Guerra, a former librarian at the DRT Library on the Alamo grounds, recently researched the battle's noncombatants. Her list corresponds closely to the individuals named in the Handbook of Texas entry on Alamo noncombatants.

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