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Special Collections & University Archives: Yturria Family

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Current Exhibits

2nd Floor Wall Gallery:

War and Piece of the Rio Grande

3rd Floor Wall Gallery:

Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives

3rd Floor Gallery Cases:


Library Lobby:

Gabrielle Casas Art Exhibit

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Francisco Yturria (1830-1912)

Francisco Yturria  (1830-1912)

Yturria's downtown Brownsville office (from left) Juan Valls, Ygnacio Garza, Julian Espinoza, Don Pancho, George More

Francisco Yturria, Civil War profiteer and banker, son of Capt. Manuel Maria and Paula Navarro (Ortuzu) Yturria, was born in Matamoros,Tamaulipas, Mexico, on October 4, 1830. He was married to Felicitas Treviño, daughter of Ygnacio Treviño, an original Spanish land grantee in Cameron County. Yturria began his career in business by working as a clerk for Charles Stillman, one of the founders of Brownsville, and by purchasing lands adjoining those of his wife's inheritance. As a top aide to Stillman, Yturria was involved in the formation of Mifflin Kenedy and Company, the Rio Grande river boating monopoly that Stillman financed and that Mifflin Kenedy and Richard King operated. Yturria became the leading cotton broker of Matamoros during this time. He not only established and operated the Francisco Yturria Bank of Brownsville under a private charter, he also owned and established a mercantile house in Matamoros. He was one of the wealthiest and most influential men of his time in southwest Texas. Yturria died on June 12, 1912,  in Brownsville.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        











      Francisco (Don PanchoYturria                                                                                                                                                                                                           Felicitas Trevino                                                                                                                                                                                     

Ox-drawn wagon train hauling cotton to Brownsville/Matamoros during Civil War (Courtesy of Glenn Harding)

Frank Daniel Yturria

Frank Daniel Yturria



Frank Daniel Yturria, author of The Patriarch, is Francisco Yturria's great-grandson. Frank is a fourth-generation south Texas businessman, rancher and avid polo player with an avocation for history. He is also well-known for his philanthropy, in the U.S. and in Latin America as Chairman of the Inter-American Foundation.

At different stages of his life he has been a soldier, banker, civic leader and public servant Four U.S. presidents have named Dr. Yturria to various high-level government positions. In 1956 President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Yturria Customs Collector for the 23rd Customs District of Texas; 1982 President Ronald Reagan appointed Yturria to serve as an alternate representative to the South Pacific Commission; 1990 President George H. Bush appointed Yturria to serve as Chairman of the Inter-American Foundation and in 1997 President William Clinton reappointed him to the Inter-American Board and was again made chairman of the board by President George W. Bush. He also served on the Texas Historical Committee by appointment of Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Frank is a World War II veteran having served in the U.S. Atmy 1942-1944. In 1947 he took his doctoral degree in veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University. Eight years later, while serving as a captain with the U.S. 13th Air Force at Clark Field in the Philippines, he earned a masters degree in political science from the University of the Philippines.

His Yturria Ranch, noted for its fine cattle and horses, is part of the 80,000 acre Punta del Monte Ranch Francisco Yturria established in 1860 and is part of the King Ranch EI Sauz ranch that was deeded to the King Ranch Atwood heirs. Frank also owns mineral interest in 156,300 acres of ranch lands in five south Texas counties (Jim Hogg, Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy and Kenedy).

A noted wildlife conservationist, Frank has set aside 2,500 acres of his ranch into a wildlife habitat to protect the highly endangered Texas ocelot, which today is found on the Yturria Ranch and the Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge. He and Mary Lewis Kleberg co-endowed a $1 million research chair at Texas A&M University in Kingsville for the study of ocelots and other wildcats.

Frank also was instrumental in re-introducing the Aplomado falcon to South Texas in cooperating with the Peregrine Fund and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Besides The Patriarch, his published works of history include, Bos Indicus, the story of Brahman cattle in the U.S.; The Rise and Fall of the German Army, 1933-1945; and Colonel Manuel Maria Yturria, a biography of his great-great grandfather.

Frank is married to the former Mary Elizabeth Altman, with whom he has two daughters, three grandchildren and one great-grandson. The Yturria's celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in 2012.

Frank, Marian, & Fausto Yturria

Frank, Marian & Fausto Yturria



Yturria house

Frank Yturria's brother, Fausto Yturria Jr., is the owner of the Yturria ranch in Brownsville, Texas, and a real estate developer and an heir to the 150,000-acre Yturria ranch that once moved longhorn cattle up the Chisholm Trail. Mexican-born Don Francisco Yturria founded the ranch and Brownsville’s first private bank in the mid-Nineteenth Century. A Confederate war profiteer, Francisco Yturria formed a shipping company with several partners, including legendary King Ranch founder Richard King .




Loading the Confederate cotton on a vessel in Matamoros (Illustration courtesy of Brownsville Historical Association)

The company monopolized the region’s Civil War trade by registering ships in Yturria’s name, sailing under Mexican flags and thereby moving through Union blockades. Yturria’s great-grandson Fausto is a rancher and real estate developer who was the top investor in Harlingen’s Valley Greyhound Park race track in the early 1990s, when track owners got the state legislature to slash gambling taxes. During the administration of Governor George W. Bush, the Texas Water Development Board appointed Yturria to the Coastal Bend Regional Water Planning Group. Fausto and siblings Frank and Marion fought in court in the 1990s over how to divide up their inherited ranch. With 150,000 acres, the family ranked as the 58th largest landowners in the country, according to a 1997 Worth magazine report," Texans for Public Justice wrote. 


Facing the Yturria house

Curator's Information

Dr. Gilberto M. Hinojosa

College of Humanities , Arts and Social Sciences

University of the Incarnate Word

4301 Broadway

San Antonio , Texas 78209

210 - 829 -2757



  • 1979 Ph.D., History, University of Texas at Austin
  • 1970 M.A., History, St. Mary's University of San Antonio
  • 1966-1968 Graduate Studies, Theology, Oblate College of the Southwest
  • 1965 B.A., Philosophy and Sociology, Our Lady of the Snows

Teaching Experience:

  • 1995-pres. Professor, University of the Incarnate Word
  • 1993-1995 Associate Professor, Incarnate Word College
  • 1984-1993 Associate Professor, The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • 1981-1982 Visiting Fulbright Professor, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon
  • 1979-1984 Assistant Professor, The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • 1976-1979 Instructor, The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • 1975-1976 Assistant Instructor, The University of Texas at Austin
  • 1974 Assistant Instructor, Pan American University
  • 1971-1974 Teaching Assistant, The University of Texas at Austin
  • 1970-1971 Instructor, Laredo Junior College , Laredo , Texas
  • 1969-1970 History Teacher, Lowell Junior High School , San Antonio ISD

Yturria Family Gallery

Yturria Family Gallery

Below you will find images of the respected Yturria family who in many ways, contributed to what is now the Rio Grande Valley