Born at Presidio La Bah?a del Esp?ritu Santo in 1762, Manuel Becerra played a significant role in the settlement and politics of the region. Becerra and his wife, Juana Mar?a Cadena, and their two daughters, Mar?a Josefa and Gertrudis, were leading citizens of La Bah?a. In 1820, Antonio Mar?a Mart?nez, the last Spanish governor of Texas, called for the formation of the ayuntamiento of La Bah?a as required in the Spanish Constitution of 1812. The ayuntamiento, or town council, included Manuel Becerra, who was elected its first secretary.
Becerra's involvement with colonization efforts came the following year, as he was selected to accompany Stephen F. Austin to the Colorado River to find a suitable site for Austin's first colony. His friendship with empresario Mart?n de Le?n led to his eventual responsibility within de Le?n's Guadalupe Colony in 1827, when de Le?n placed Becerra in charge of the colony's political and business affairs. The same year, Becerra helped negotiate a treaty with the Coco and Karankawa tribes to enhance peace and stability in the region. In 1832, Becerra received a land grant of 8,856 acres in what is now Refugio County and later assisted colonizer James Power in the colonization of the Power Colony at Villa de Refugio.
As a citizen under the flags of Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas and the United States, Manuel Becerra bore witness to many of the formative events in Texas history and played a significant role in colonization efforts. He died in what is now Refugio County about 1849.