Domingo Benjamín Yuriar Viera

General Domingo Benjamín Yuriar Viera (Clemente)


Born: Aug 1869 in San Ignacio, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Baptized: 2 Sept 1869 in San Ignacio De Loyola, San Ignacio, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Married: 7 July 1897 in San Ignacio De Loyola, San Ignacio, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Died: Oct 1913 in Torreon, Mexico.

Known to the surviving family as Benjamín, Domingo was baptized on September 2, 1869, as the legitimate son of Clemente Yuriar and Trinidad Viera. His mother’s name was misspelled in the church records as “Biera”.

Benjamín’s first child was born November 4, 1892. The official record of birth does not list the child’s mother, but names him Carlos Yuriar. These older Mexican records often listed age, occupation, origin, etc. Benjamín is recorded to be a 21 year old single man from San Ignacio, currently practicing medicine and living at the Civil Hospital in Mazatlán. This record is even better, because the original record has survived, and Benjamín’s signature is on the bottom.

There is also a baptism record for this child at the Santa Iglesia Catedral, in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico.  Jose Carlos Yuriar was baptized on January 8, 1893, as the legitimate son of Benjamín and Refugio Hernandez. The baptism record says he was born November 4, 1892, and lists his paternal grandparents as Clemente and Trinidad.

Relatives have informed me that Benjamín had another illegitimate son, and said he was born in 1898.  Nicolas Yuriar Mancillas listed September 10, 1898, on his WW1 draft card, but his ages on all the records I’ve found lines up better with a 1897 birthday. Nicolas was born to Felicitas Mancillas in San Ignacio de Loyola, Sinaloa, Mx.

A few months before Nicolas was born, Benjamín married Josefa Deras Bastidas. According to the marriage record, Benjamín was a 26 year old doctor, and Josefa was 18. Benjamín’s parents were both dead, as was Josefa’s father. The marriage was arranged, and agreed to by all parties, including her mother. Interesting tidbit – if my research is correct, Josefa and Benjamín are 3rd cousins via the Bastidas. Their common ancestor would be their great-great grandparents, Rafael Bastidas and Carmen Patron. Also, the judge who recorded the marriage, Jose Maria Bastidas, is likely a cousin as well.

Benjamín and Josefa had 6 children, but at least one of them died very young. Benjamín is listed as a doctor on the first several birth records, but on the 1905 record of the birth and death of his daughter Maria Trinidad Yuriar Deras, Benjamín’s occupation is changed to “industrial”, which could mean any number of things.

D.Benjamín Yuriar was one of Pancho Villa’s generals in the División del Norte in 1913.  He was one of the founding members of the Division, and is most known for being the man Pancho Villa shot for insubordination.  In order to understand the situation Benjamín found himself in that fateful October day in 1913, we need to look at Pancho Villa, and the months leading up to that moment when Villa sentenced him to death.

Villa had started life as an outlaw, but he joined Madero’s revolution against Diaz, serving under Orozco.  When Orozco turned on Madero and joined forces with Huerta to overthrow him, Villa Joined forces with Carranza, and remained loyal to Madero and his ideals.

Huerta’s assassination of Madero angered Villa.  He began to pull together his old military friends and several of the local gangs. Shortly before the first attack on Torreon, Villa and his second in command Juan Medina, held a meeting of all the gang leaders, including Domingo Benjamín Yuriar.  It was decided that the best way to be coordinated during the attack was to have one leader in charge of the battlefield.  Medina nominated Villa, and everyone agreed.  Thus, on September 29, 1913, Yuriar was one of the founding generals of the División del Norte.

Yuriar and his men helped in the first battle of Torreon. He was sent with Generals Benavides and Urbina to guard the plaza and secure the town.

The leaders recognized Villa’s leadership on the battlefield, but not off.  As a result, Carranza ordered Villa to get control of the men and stop the looting.  Meanwhile, Villa, who had previously been back-stabbed by a friend, learned of a threat on his life, so he was on edge.

During the preparations for the next big battle, Juan Medina, a formal Federale and Villa’s right-hand man, advised Villa to leave General Urbina behind.  They were headed to Chihuahua, and would be close to the American border.  Urbina had a reputation for being a wild card. and would often wander off and cause problems.  The last thing Villa needed was America getting mad and coming for him.  So Villa arranged for Urbina to be paid handsomely and given whatever he wanted as long as he stayed behind.  Villa took Yuriar and his men along with Benavides’ Zarragoza brigade as he headed for Chihuahua.

According to articles printed in the Alerta in 1983, Yuriar was over heard complaining to someone at the train station.  He did not like the idea that a former Federale, Medina, was second-in-command.

Other accounts claim General Yuriar was drunk at the time, or that he wanted more money.  One account claims the person Yuriar was complaining to was General Manuel Chao. Chao was known to be jealous of Villa’s position as leader of the division.  He’d tried to organize a division in the north before Villa rode into town, but his efforts failed. The theory follows that Villa chose Yuriar to be an example to the others.  Villa reasoned that he could afford to potentially lose Yuriar’s 10-20 followers if they all chose to go home, however he could not afford to lose Chao’s several hundred followers.

Regardless, the fact remains clear. Villa had General Yuriar shot for insubordination. In an interesting twist, it was Medina who told Villa that Yuriar should have had a trial first.  Villa responded by daring Medina to court martial him if Medina thought he had acted out of order, but that he would not stand for any insubordination.  General Chao remained loyal to Villa, and eventually the revolution was won.

Several decades later, in 1939, the President of Mexico decreed that all who fought in the Revolution against Huerta would be able to get the Cross of Revolutionary Merit.

Found a video that discusses the revolution, and mentions Domingo as one of Villa’s Generals.

Baby Mama:  Refugio Hernandez


  • Jose Carlos Yuriar: 4 November 1892 – ??

Baby Mama:  Felicitas Mancillas


Wife:  Josefa Deras Bastidas


  • Alberto Yuriar Deras: 8 April 1900 – ??
  • Josefa Emilia Yuriar Deras: 6 June 1902 – ??
  • Igancio B. Yuriar Deras: Abt 1903 – ??
  • Domingo Guberto Yuriar Deras: 12 March 1904 – ??
  • Maria Trinidad Yuriar Deras: 4 July 1905 – 4 July 1905
  • Maria Antonieta Yuriar Deras: 16 June 1907 – ??

Research list:

La Batalla De Torreon by Roque Gonzalex Garza, P. Ramos, and J. Perez
Memoirs of Pancho Villa by Martin Luis Guzman
Life and Times of Pancho Villa by Fredrich Katz

Here are the articles from the 1983 series the Alerta printed on the Mexican Revolution.  My husband’s Abuelita only saved the articles that mentioned Benjamin Yuriar:

[scribd id=322867860 key=key-FAVsDM9QhsKnwxsbr2RH mode=scroll]

4 thoughts on “Domingo Benjamín Yuriar Viera

  1. Mi abuelo fue Nicolás yuriar Mancillas y según el me contaba fue hijo bastardo de domingo b. Yuriar siempre llevo ese apellido así como lo llevamos nosotros donde puedo investigar sobre el

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