Sheriff Santiago Brito of Brownsville, Texas made a name for himself in the Rio Grande valley. The fact that he owned and published his own newspaper certainly enhanced his reputation. During the 1870s his exploits led Governor Sul Ross to appoint him Special Texas Ranger.
Politics being what it is in South Texas, Brito lost an election to one Matthew Browne. So Brito applied for and received appointment as Brownsville city marshal. The two men competed as lawmen in Brownsville.
In January 1891, when the Rio Grande Railroad was robbed of $75,000, Brito succeeded in capturing the bandit leader José Mosqueda. Browne and Brito both organized posses. Brito solved the case by locating a witness and identifying the blacksmith who made the tool used for derailing the train, a spike puller. Brito captured Mosqueda but refused to turn him over to sheriff Browne. A US Marshall intervened and put Mosqueda in the Brownsville jail, effectively in Browne’s custody.
The competition between Brito and Browne didn’t survive much longer. The next year Browne was shot on a cattle drive and Brito was shot and killed as well. The Nineties weren’t all that Gay, down along the Border.
And José Mosqueda? He died in prison, but is remembered in “El Corrida de José Mosqueda,” which represents Brito as a coward fleeing from the valiant Mosqueda.
The Rio Grande Railroad? Now that’s another story…
January 25, 2016
“Even paranoids have real enemies.” – Delmore Schwartz