You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Of outlaws, Texas Rangers, and Indian scouts
Juan Antonio Coy and his bride, Maria Jacoba Travieso Reyes Coy, were married July 23, 1890. Coy was a notorious gunman.
By Carol Ann Coy Garza
Welcome to Floresville, Texas! What did I see as I drove there alone one day on a journey only 30 miles from my home? I tried to imagine what it was like in the 1800s.
You see, my family -- the Coy family -- was having a reunion. We’re not a small band of people; it’s a lot of people and our roots are also from Floresville, where my grandfather was born in 1891. My great-grandfather, Juan Coy, was buried in the town’s Canary Islanders Cemetery. Our roots run deep in the Floresville area.
At one time Texas was New Spain under the rule of King Felipe V.
DeLos Santos Coy came in 1629; the family can be traced back to Rodrigo Diaz Vivar “El Cid” in 1042. Under King Henry lll, the Travieso family was the seventh of 16 families from the Canary Islands who traveled to Texas in November 1731 and founded Villa de San Fernando de Bexar, later to become San Antonio.
My great-great-great-great-grandfather was Don Vicente Alverez Travieso, who was elected mayor for life in 1731, serving until his death in 1779. He also was an attorney.
Floresville is named after Don Francisco Flores de Abrego, a descendant of the Canary Islanders. His brother was Don Juan Jose de Abrego, who was married to my great-great-great-great-aunt, Fransica Alverez Travieso Abrego, the daughter of Vicente Alverez Travieso. My connection to this city is great.
Some of the Coys settled in Floresville in the early 1800s. The Coy family once owned hundreds of acres in Karnes County, and sold them to the Butlers for financial gain. The Coys helped the Polish settlers just starting out with food and help during hard times, and were loved enough to have a small town -- Coy City -- named after them.
Cowboy and outlaw
Juan Coy was born in 1842. His father was Antonio Clemente DeLos Santos Coy, a Texas Ranger. His mother, Guadalupe Calderon, was a Lipan Apache; she was an Indian scout. Both served under Capt. Jack Hays and left Juan in Floresville to be raised by his uncle, Trinidad Coy, and his cousins.
Juan served in the Civil War, where he met William Butler. He later went to work for Butler -- a prominent Karnes County landowner -- as a hired gun, protecting the family’s land and cattle.
Juan was married to Maria Jacoba Alverez Travieso Reyes Coy. Juan was famous in his day. Called the ugliest and meanest cowboy around, his gun was his strength and carried a lot of weight. It’s said he killed more than 35 people in his day.
On Jan. 26, 1892, it all caught up with him in San Antonio, where Juan was killed by a bartender fearing for his life. That day, Juan didn’t have his guns on him.
Thousands of people came from all over to take a glance at the cowboy who was hated by most, but respected by the Butler family for whom he worked.
One of the most notorious events in Coy’s life took place in Daileyville. Coy, wanted for a murder in Floresville, and a companion engaged Sheriff Isham Lafayette “Fate” Elder and other lawmen in a shootout, which resulted in the death of the sheriff and two deputies.
My roots run deep in this small town.
Visiting the cemetery
As I drove through Floresville last year, I looked at the new areas and the older sections.
I was hoping to find some family graves and went looking for the Canary Islanders Cemetery; when I found it, I was disappointed.
I noticed so much that is new in town. But as I walked slowly in the cemetery, tears ran down my face. It was like I stepped back into the 1800s; time stood still there.
In a way it’s all original -- rusted and old as it should be -- but it’s been lost to the weather, with sun beating over it, stripping it from any kind of beauty. So many of the tombstones are so old, I couldn’t even read the names.
This cemetery was given to Wilson County by a Canary Islands settler, who believed and trusted it would be taken care of; somehow, through the generations, this cemetery has been forgotten.
Now neglected and uncared for, it sits forlorn, behind two auto parts stores.
It should be given back to the Canary Islanders or the county should ask the state of Texas to take over as guardians for all the families who contributed to the town’s history.
There is rich history in this little town, in a quiet little forgotten section.
That was and is my heritage.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Behind the lens: Cover photo (August 26, 2015)
Cody Johnson to rock Nixon Feather Fest (August 26, 2015)
Dance in Geronimo (August 26, 2015)
Enjoy Fall Feast in Garfield (August 26, 2015)
Franklin Mint (August 26, 2015)
Got prayer? ‘War Room’ does (August 26, 2015)
He’s lived a sweet, gentle life (August 26, 2015)
Kerrville Fall Music Fest Sept. 4-6 (August 26, 2015)
LV prepares for Hammerfest (August 26, 2015)
Memories soar during Honor Flight (August 26, 2015)
St. Hedwig Legion plans Warrior Cry fund-raiser (August 26, 2015)
Whit’s Initiative donates to children’s home (August 26, 2015)
A window to their world (August 19, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (August 19, 2015)
Gillespie County Fair, horse racing meet (August 19, 2015)
LBJ autograph (August 19, 2015)
Lutheran youth plan donation fund-raiser (August 19, 2015)
Purchase tickets for veteran fund-raiser (August 19, 2015)
Receive blessing, sundaes (August 19, 2015)
Remembering Coach Henry Tomerlin (August 19, 2015)
The importance of vaccinating your pets (August 19, 2015)
Tickets on sale for Wild Game Dinner (August 19, 2015)
AgapeFest is Aug. 22 (August 12, 2015)
Age Well, Live Well event (August 12, 2015)
Back-to-school carnival (August 12, 2015)
Barbecue benefit for Logan Saenz Aug. 16 (August 12, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (August 12, 2015)
Bible study in Verdi (August 12, 2015)
Falls City alumni celebrate Beaver Roundup (August 12, 2015)
Free family recycling event (August 12, 2015)
H-E-B invites Texans to shed pounds, gain dollars (August 12, 2015)
Hear country tunes in New Braunfels (August 12, 2015)
Labor Day campout (August 12, 2015)
Play bunco in La Vernia (August 12, 2015)
Prescription-free healing pleasures of summer (August 12, 2015)
Remembering the Farmer’s Daughter Dance Hall (August 12, 2015)
Sunday Country Dance set for Aug. 16 (August 12, 2015)
Tabletop radio (August 12, 2015)
Three Oaks Ice Cream Social (August 12, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (August 5, 2015)
Classic cookbook (August 5, 2015)
Farmers Market in Loire (August 5, 2015)
Floresville Leo Club Back to School event (August 5, 2015)
Get set to get wet at Splash-O-Lympics (August 5, 2015)
Hear Chris Rybak at Czech Gala (August 5, 2015)
Pilgrim Opry is Aug. 8 (August 5, 2015)
Prom date grows into enduring love — 15 years later (August 5, 2015)
Rey Feo group to award scholarships (August 5, 2015)
Savor: Lemon Pesto Mason Jar Pasta Salad (August 5, 2015)
St. Gerard Rummage Sale Aug. 8 (August 5, 2015)
Stockdale Leo Club fund-raisers (August 5, 2015)
The Floresville, Wilson County story from days gone by (August 5, 2015)
‘The’ rock wall: Searching for answers (August 5, 2015)