Crabb, Henry Alexander, -1857

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Biographical/Historical note

Born in sometime between 1822-1824 in Nashville, TN, and became a prominent member of the Whig party. He married Filomena Ainsa. Crabb left San Francisco, CA for Caborca, Sonora, Mexico in early 1857 with an expedition party intent on filibustering. Their goal was to inspire a revolt which would establish the Republic of Sonora which would ultimately join the US. Over eight days, twenty-five Americans were killed, with even more on the Mexican side. On the last day the Americans failed to blow up the chuch and the expedition was captured. They were executed by firing squad on April 7, 1857. After being shot with more than 100 bullets, he was decapitated and his head preserved in mezcal. His men’s bodies were left to be eaten by animals. Mexican troops crossed into US territory and executed four more Americans a few days later, brining about an end to the practice of filibustering in Mexico. Of the 84 men who led the raid, two survived: Crabb’s brother-in-law Jesus Ainsa and 16 year old Charles Edward Evans.

From the guide to the Crabb Expedition Papers, 1856-1857, (Society of California Pioneers)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Oliver, James Harvey. James Harvey Oliver papers, 1840-1857. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Crabb Expedition Papers, 1856-1857 Society of California Pioneers
referencedIn Park, Joseph F. Mexican Labor History Research Collection, ca. 1961-1985. Arizona Historical Society, Southern Arizona Division
referencedIn Skaar, Swen, d. 1973. Sven Skaar collection, 1890-1970, bulk 1940-1965. University of the Pacific, William Knox Holt Memorial Library
referencedIn Filibuster Expeditions Collection, 1851-1908 San Diego History Center Document Collection
referencedIn Robinson, Juan A. Statement from Juan A. Robinson : ms., [undated]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Gabilondo, Hilario S. Diario ... y documentos relativos a la expedición del filibustero Crabb : ms., 1857 Apr. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Rand, Charles Edward, 1833-. Letters, 1852-1857. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Gabilondo, Hilario S. person
associatedWith Hine, H. person
associatedWith Oliver, James Harvey. person
associatedWith Park, Joseph F. person
associatedWith Phelps, C. B. person
associatedWith Pioneer Society of San Diego County. corporateBody
associatedWith Rand, Charles Edward, 1833- person
associatedWith Robinson, Juan A. person
associatedWith Skaar, Swen, d. 1973. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
San Francisco (Calif.) - Newspapers
Sonora (Mexico : State)
Filibusters--Mexico--Sonora (State)


Death 1857-04-07



Ark ID: w6db8d91

SNAC ID: 59458174