February 19, 2010

Antonio Gil Y'Barbo

Antonio Gil Ibarvo, Spanish lieutenant governor and commander of the militia in Nacogdoches in the late eighteenth century, the son of Mathieu Antonio and Juana (Hernández) Ibarvo, was born at Los Adaes, Louisiana (then the province of Texas), in 1729. His parents were colonists sent by the Spanish government from the province of Andalusia, Spain, to the province of Texas in 1725. The family name, variously given as Ybarvo, y'Barbo, and y Barvo, is now commonly spelled Ybarbo, even by members of the family. Antonio Ibarvo married Maria Padilla; the couple settled on Lobanillo Creek in an area that is now in Sabine County and called their place Rancho Lobanillo.

After the Marqués de Rubí recommended the abandonment of the presidios and missions of East Texas, Ibarvo became the leader of the "displaced persons" of that area who were given their choice of settling at San Antonio or on the Rio Grande. In 1773 Ibarvo began presenting petitions to the Spanish authorities praying for the return of the settlers to their former homes. In 1774 they were permitted to return as far east as the Trinity River, where they founded the town of Bucareli at the Santo Tomás Crossing just below the mouth of Bedias Creek in the area of present Madison County. In 1779 the settlement of Bucareli was abandoned, and Ibarvo rebuilt the town of Nacogdoches.

The Spanish government bestowed the titles of lieutenant governor and civil and military captain of militia upon Ibarvo and appointed him judge of contraband. Persons who were tried for smuggling contraband made repeated complaints against Ibarvo until he tendered his resignation as civil governor in 1790. In 1791 he was accused of smuggling contraband goods into Nacogdoches and of trading with the Indians for horses stolen from the Spanish; he was cleared of the charges against him but was forbidden to return to Nacogdoches. He pleaded that he was a native of Louisiana, and an order of January 19, 1802, allowed him to live in that territory.

After the death of his first wife on September 24, 1794, Ibarvo married Marie Guadalupe de Herrera in San Antonio de Béxar on January 25, 1796. As a result of lawsuits between children of the two marriages and the default of an official for whom he was surety, Ibarvo lost most of his property. With the tacit consent of the Spanish authorities, he returned to Nacogdoches after a few years' residence in Louisiana. In 1809 he died at his home, Rancho La Lucana, on the west bank of the Attoyac River. His descendants still lived in the area in the 1990s.

The Old Spanish Cemetery was razed in the early 1900s in order to build the second Nacogdoches County courthouse in 1911. It is not recorded that any of those at rest here were exhumed and moved. In fact, it is specifically stated on the historical marker located on site that Antonio Gil Y'Barbo is still buried here, as are others. The Spanish Cemetery grounds are pictured below.

GPS Coordinates

Old Spanish Cemetery (Defunct)

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