BRYAN After spending countless hours going through records and documents in the San Antonio Public Library about his family lineage, Philip Sandel confirmed that he was indeed a direct descendant of one of Texas' founding fathers.
"I feel kind of humbled by this because I had nothing to do with it. I just happened to be born in the right spot I guess," Sandel said.
He is a sixth generation descendant of Jose Antonio Navarro, who was one of the 59 delegates to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence 178 years ago.
"I am pretty proud that he was quite a champion of this whole thing," he said.
The 81-year-old Bryan resident says he first heard about his family's lineage through his grandmother, who was a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
"After a number of years, our two daughters showed interest in the DRT and we began to dig," he said. "We had her original application and that's how we were able to trace back to Jose Antonio Navarro."
Sandel said March 2, 1836 was one of the coldest days in Texas history. Navarro sat in Independence Hall with the rest of the delegates and made history. The Republic of Texas was born.
"Navarro was very, very much a champion for independence from Mexico," Sandel said. "He and Santa Ana did not see eye to eye on anything."
Navarro went on to father six children, which eventually led to Sandel. He is proud of his lineage and is grateful to be related to who he said is the first original Texan.