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Francisco A. Chapa Family Papers-now available to researchers

July 22, 2013
Francisco A. Chapa, 1894

Francisco A. Chapa, 1894

Francisco A. Chapa founded the Chapa Drug Company and La Botica del Lion (the Lion Drugstore) later known as Chapa Drug Store in San Antonio, Texas. Chapa served on the personal staffs of three Texas governors and in 1923 and 1924, he played a pivotal role in securing arms and ammunition from the United States government for President Obregon of Mexico. This aided the Mexican government in their fight against revolutionaries based on the border between the United States and Mexico.[1] In 1894, Chapa married Adelaida Rivas, a descendent of the original Canary Islanders that settled in San Antonio.

Francisco A. Chapa and Adelaida Rivas wedding portrait

Francisco A. Chapa and Adelaida Rivas wedding portrait

Francisco and Adelaida had three children, Frank, Isabel, and Beatrice. Frank L. Chapa enjoyed a long career in the military. He entered military service in 1917 and his commissions included second lieutenant in the Texas National Guard, first lieutenant of the Central Cavalry Officers training camp in Leon Springs, and adjutant of the Fifty-sixth Calvalry Brigade of the Texas National Guard. During the Second World War, Frank L. Chapa served as chief intelligence officer for the Southern Defense Command.[2]

Captain Frank L. Chapa

Captain Frank L. Chapa

After retiring from the military, Frank assumed management of Chapa’s Drug Store and obtained his pharmaceutical certification in 1930. Chapa ran the Drug Store located at West Commerce and Santa Rosa Streets in San Antonio until 1970 when the store was demolished to accomodate urban renewal. Frank L. Chapa was one of the founders of the Texas Cavaliers, a San Antonio social club that developed into a philanthropic organization. Frank’s sisters, Isabel and Beatrice Chapa, were both life-long members of the San Antonio Conservation Society and were known as gracious hostesses of events held at the Chapa family home.

Chapa Drug Store 1899

Chapa Drug Store 1899

Chapa Drug Store 1948

Chapa Drug Store 1948

The photographs shown in this post are part of the Francisco A. Chapa Family papers recently donated to UTSA Libraries Special Collections.  The papers are divided into six series: Francisco A. Chapa, The Rivas Family, Frank L. Chapa, The Laborde Family, Isabel Chapa and Beatrice Chapa, and Assorted Family.  The Francisco A. Chapa Family Papers consist of clippings, correspondence, drug store records, legal documents, military records, photographs, and assorted materials. Many of the legal documents included in the collection pertain to properties owned by the Chapa family in San Antonio, much of which succumbed to urban renewal. The collection is rich with photographs depicting life in San Antonio and surrounding areas from the mid-1800s through the late 1900s. Photographs in the Francisco A. Chapa series document Chapa’s career on the personal staffs of three Texas governors and the history of Chapa Drug Store. To schedule an appointment to access the collection, please email Special Collections staff at specialcollections@utsa.edu.

Turkey Trot in Cuero, Texas

Turkey Trot in Cuero, Texas

Family picnic July 11, 1899

Family picnic July 11, 1899

Francisco A. Chapa at Mexican social at the Casino Club

Francisco A. Chapa at Mexican social at the Casino Club

Mr. and Mrs. A.V. Huth

Mr. and Mrs. A.V. Huth

May pole dance

May pole dance

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[1] “F.A. Chapa’s Role in Support of the Obregon Mexican Government,” in Chapa and Rivas Family History, 121.

[2] “Chapa, Frank L.,” in The Handbook of Texas Online [http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/CC/fchar.html], accessed January 7, 2008.

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