This mystery Mexican man lies in a Portland graveyard

Cosmo De Sanchez
Died 1848 at age 24

October is the month of fairs, pumpkins and 31 interesting, “permanent Portlanders.” I’m posting one video per day. Today’s story starts with a short history lesson.

In 1847, the Mexican-American War was raging. Mexico City fell and, a month later, U.S. Major General Joseph Lane was sent to La Puebla, a town under siege by the Mexican army. Texas Rangers found Mexican General Santa Anna and 2,000 lancers at Huamantla, about 40 miles away. They fought a battle, the Rangers won and the siege was lifted. The Americans then burned and plundered the town.

That’s what we know.

What we don’t know, is how Cosmo De Sanchez came to be buried in a corner of Portland’s Eastern Cemetery, 3,000 miles away. It’s not even known what he had to do with the battle. His stone simply states his name and, “Huamantla, Department La Puebla.”

Was he a soldier or spy, diplomat or civil servant? We’ll probably never know.

Special thanks today to the folks at Spirits Alive who take care of the Eastern Cemetery and educate the public through outreach and walking tours.

Disclaimer: I’m not a historian. I owe everything I know to the dedicated research of those who have come before me. These character sketches are assembled from multiple (often antique) sources and sprinkled with my own conjecture.

Cosmo DeSanchez, who died in 1848, is buried in Portland's Eastern Cemetery. Just who he was or what he had to do with the battle of Huamantla during the Mexican-American War is a mystery. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Cosmo DeSanchez, who died in 1848, is buried in Portland’s Eastern Cemetery. Just who he was or what he had to do with the battle of Huamantla during the Mexican-American War is a mystery. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Troy R. Bennett

About Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.