Monthly Archives: February 2015

February 20 came and went without incident

The Plan de San Diego called for an insurrection to begin at two in the morning on February 20, 1915. That was pretty specific. Why that time and date, no one knows. What we do know is that nothing happened as planned.
On that day and hour, the rebellion would get underway, “One as all and All as one!” The secessionists would would take up arms against the U.S. Government, proclaiming the liberation of all people of color. They would declare freedom from Yankee tyranny which had held them as slaves for some time. They would proclaim the independence and secession of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and California, all of which had been “stolen” from Mexico by the North American imperialists in a most perverse manner.
Basilio Ramos was sitting in a jail cell in Brownsville. Where his compatriots in the plot were, is anybody’s guess. Where they were not, was inciting any kind of revolution.
“While the plan upon its face seems most absurd,” wrote the Corpus Christi Caller, “authoritative sources” said states that officers and residents from several South Texas towns feared trouble on Monday, February 22. Preparation were made against any trouble that would occur. In Corpus Christi, however, the newspaper reported that “absolutely no trouble is feared.” Law enforcement officers did feel that in the smaller towns near the Rio Grande River “bands of Mexicans who have recently entered from Mexico to the Texas side” could cause some trouble.
The week after the supposed insurrection, the Brownsville newspaper reported that local resident were ridiculing the Plan. Valley towns reportedly “spent a sleepless night and literally slept on their arms the night of February 20th…” Various towns, San Benito in particular, had a “mite of fear.”

Governor, conditions convinced Federal authorities Plan of San Diego was real

Gov. James Ferguson
From the beginning of the troubles related to the Plan of San Diego, Texas Governor James Ferguson maintained that the problems were a Federal problem. His position was that the raiders were crossing the Rio Grande back to Mexico where General Emilio Nafarrate would provide them with sanctuary.
President Woodrow Wilson countered that the problem was of a local nature and the state was responsible for quashing the “bandits.” Still there were some 17,000 troops in the Valley in August 1915.
The governor wrote to the president asking for a doubling of the number of troops. “Every 12 hours loss of life…of American citizens occurs,” Ferguson wrote. “Citizens murdered, post officials robbed, Rangers and soldiers killed within last week. Offenders mostly Mexicans from across border. Only a few are American citizens.”
Secretary of War Lindley Garrison offered the governor 12,000 more troops if Gen. Frederick Funston at Fort Sam Houston requested them. The general’s position, however, was that “native Texans in satisfaction of a political feud” were directing the troubles.
The general, however, soon received a special report from the Valley convincing him affirming that the raids were in fact part of “Plan of San Diego.” The report indicated that three groups were operational in the Valley. The Raymondville, Lyford, San Sebastian area was seen as a “hotbed” of activity. Another area of revolutionary activity was in the Mercedes–Tiocana section, which provided easy access to the river. A third area of operation was “heading northward.”
General Funston received a report that some 1,000 had pledged loyalty to Plan of San Diego and that a couple hundred were gathering 10 miles below Brownsville and preparing to cross the Rio Grande.
In response to a request from Jim Hogg County Sheriff Oscar Thompson, Gen. Funston sent a detachment of 16 cavalry to Fort McIntosh in Laredo. The sediciosos reportedly had had taken over the Edds Ranch, 50 miles southeast of Laredo. Armed citizens from Hebbronville were ready to join the soldiers.
By September, General Funston believed that the Plan of San Diego support stretched all along the Rio Grande, as far north as Del Rio.

Who was Basilio Ramos Jr.?

Basilio Ramos’ family lives in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
Who exactly was Basilio Ramos, Jr.? He is the the name most commonly associated with the Plan of San Diego but in truth he had little known connection with the Plan’s implementation after his capture in January 1915.
The Ramos clan fled to the New World during the Franco-Spanish War and then emigrated to Texas when the new Mexican government was trying to deport Peninsulares. After south Texas was ceded to the United States, they crossed the river and were among the founding families of Nuevo Laredo
There is some evidence that Basilio Ramos was secretary to the governor of Tamaulipas in 1913 and about the same time he also served as secretary of the customs house in Nuevo Laredo. These positions are indeed very plausible since his political pedigree included a father and grandfather who served as presidente municipal of Nuevo Laredo.
In fact the Customs House in Nuevo Laredo was established by Juan Ramos Trevino, Basilio’s grandfather, who served as presidente municipal in 1854, 1855 and 1875. Customs revenues provided much-needed resources for the growing population of the newly founded city. Ramos Trevino also promoted public education.
Basilio Jr.’s father, Basilio Ramos, Sr., served as presidente municipal in 1861, 1862, and 1870. Using newly adopted free zone legislation, Ramos Sr. attracted American companies to town giving it a financial shot in the arm. A little known, but revealing fact, is that Basilio Ramos Sr. fought with the Union Army during the American Civil War. His service record indicates he served with the 2nd Regiment, Texas Cavalry, reaching the rank of corporal.
Basilio Ramos Jr. was born on November 14, 1888 to Basilio Ramos and Refugia Garcia. That would make him 26-years-old at the time of his capture in McAllen in January 1915. His son, Basilio Ramos III, said that his father wanted to study law but was unable to go to the university because of the chaos of the Mexican Revolution. He remained an “abogado sin papeles” for the rest of his life. His son and grandson, both named Basilio, are both practicing attorneys in Nuevo Laredo
His son adds that Basilio Ramos Jr. was driven by a desire to help people collect the documents they needed to reclaim lost lands in Texas. It was this reason that probably led him to San Diego and ultimately to join the organizers of the Plan de San Diego movement. 
After his capture, little is written about Basilio Ramos Jr. The judge presiding over his bail hearing in May 1915 reportedly said that Ramos needed “treatment for the brain.”(San Antonio Express, August, 17, 1915, p. 2) After posting bond, Ramos was never seen or heard from again in relation to the Plan. There is one mention in the Matamoros municipal archives that he was still around the area and meeting with General Nefarrate in Matamoros, along with Luis de la Rosa and Aniceto Pizana. 
The judge’s comment that Basilio Ramos was some kind of lunatic irks the Ramos family. That, and the numerous references made in the literature to him as a “bandit”. They see their father and grandfather as someone whose mission in life was engaged in the defense of people’s property rights.
After the troubles emanating from the Plan de San Diego, Basilio Ramos returned to Nuevo Laredo and in 1927 married Genoveva Garza of Laredo, Texas and settled down to raise a family.