SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio oil and gas man is moonlighting these days, entertaining and educating anyone with a cellphone or computer about the often unknown and untold stories of the city's first 160 years.
Brandon Seale had dipped his toe in the business of podcasting with a history of Mexico's oil industry, but his "New History of Old San Antonio" podcast series goes in deep on what the textbooks didn't teach.
Among the revelations, or conclusions if you prefer, Seale explains how the business of using horses for commerce began on the open plains of San Antonio in the 1700s.
Seale contends the first cowboys were Tejanos or vecinos, and they were the driving force of the modern-day rodeo. He said the introduction of the saddle horn and the lasso also can be credited to San Antonio-area horsemen.
"The first actual documented mention on a lasso is in San Antonio in the 1700s. A lot of these cattle-raising techniques come from working on the open plains," he said.
Seale's weekly podcast drops on Tuesdays and is free to anyone who can download. With help from his wife, Susana Canseco, who by day is a lawyer, but also carries a degree in history, the stories are edited down from newly unearthed historical accounts.
From his office loft in the family home, he records his storytelling with a fresh view of old events.
"I am not a native San Antonian, and it kind of finalizes this feeling of home because as you drive around, just going to places you go all the time, you have so much more context for the stories that are being told in this podcast," Canseco said.
For example, while most of us know the story of the fierce battle of the Alamo defenders, Seale backs up to the reasoning as to why this somewhat isolated community, made up of different, and sometimes conflicting backgrounds, would band together so stubbornly with such passion.
"No city suffered for Mexican Independence like San Antonio did. After a thousand men died in the battle of Medina just south of town, the Spanish Army marches into San Antonio and starts executing civilians. Executes almost 300 of them. It's a brutal, brutal episode," he said.
Seale said that the women who survived the massacre were forced to cook tortillas for the men who slaughtered their husbands and sons. No wonder the city was ripe for revolution.
And there are other history lessons that tell us more about the San Antonio of old, which offers light on the San Antonio of today.
Peoples of many backgrounds, races, classes and cultures came together as a force to be reckoned with against those who would attack.
Indian wars, Spanish occupation, Mexican aggressors, perilously dangerous living conditions, and even the economic drivers like illegal smuggling are all addressed in Seale's podcasts.
The stories are so compelling, you may wonder how San Antonio ever survived to celebrate its 300th birthday.
He credits a number of historians who just recently published new accounts with providing his podcasts with good, otherwise unknown information.
"In the last 15, 20 years, these guys have done a really amazing job of digging through the archival records, the Bexar Archives, the Mexico City and Spain too," Seale said.