- Luis Aguado was the son of a captain in the Spanish navy. He would later become supply chief of the Spanish arsenal in Fort San Felipe in the town of Cavite (now Cavite City). He was married to Felisa Osorio, sister of Francisco Osorio and oldest daughter of Antonio Osorio, a Chinese-Filipino businessman reputed to be the richest in Cavite at that time. Aguado's widow would later marry Daniel Tria Tirona.
- Eugenio Cabezas (born 1855 in Santa Cruz, Manila) was a goldsmith who was a freemason and Katipunero. He was married to Luisa Antonio of Cavite by whom he had seven children. He owned a jewelry and watch repair shop on Calle Real (now called Trece Martires Street) in Cavite which was used by the Katipunan as a meeting place.
- Feliciano Cabuco (born June 9, 1865 in Caridad, Cavite Puerto) was born to a wealthy family in Cavite el Viejo (now Cavite City). He worked in a hospital. He was married to Marcela Bernal of Caridad by whom he had two sons.
- Agapito Conchu (born 1862) was a native of Binondo, Manila who migrated to Cavite and became a school teacher, musician, photographer, painter and lithographer.
- Alfonso de Ocampo (born 1860 in Cavite) was a Spanish mestizo, who had been sergeant in the Spanish colonial army before his appointment as assistant provincial jail warden. He was both a freemason and Katipunero. He was married to Ana Espíritu by whom he had two children.
- Máximo Gregorio (born November 18, 1856 in Pasay, Morong) was drafted into the Spanish colonial army while he was studying at the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán. After training in San Antonio, Cavite, he was inducted into Regiment No. 72 and dispatched to Jolo, Sulu to fight the Muslims. Upon his return from Mindanao, was appointed chief clerk of the Comisaría de Guerra in Cavite where he worked for 20 years. He became a freemason and joined the Katipunan in 1892. He organized two Katipunan branches, namely, the Balangay No. 1 named Marikit (Bright) in Barrio San Antonio, Cavite and Balangay No. 2 called Lintik (Lightning) in Barrio San Rafael, also of Cavite. Among the people he initiated into the Katipunan were the jail warden Severino Lapidario, Feliciano Cabuco, tailor José Lallana, watchmaker Eugenio Cabezas and tailor Eulogio Raymundo. He was married to Celedonia Santiago with who he had four children.
- Maximo Inocencio (born November 18, 1833 in Cavite) was the oldest of the martyrs. Being a freemason, he was implicated in the Cavite Mutiny of 1872 and was subsequently exiled to Ceuta in Spanish Morocco or Cartagena, Spain for 10 years. Upon his return he rebuilt a fortune from building and bridge contracting, shipbuilding, sawmilling, logging and trading. He was married to Narcisa Francisco with whom he had nine children,
- José Lallana (born 1836 in Cavite) was a tailor whose shop was used by the Katipunan as a meeting place. Lallana was married to Benita Tapawan of Imus, by whom he had two children, Clara and Ramón. Ramón would later join the Philippine Revolution to avenge his father's death, but he never returned and is believed to have been killed in action.
- Severino Lapidario (born January 8, 1847 in Imus, Cavite) was a corporal in the Spanish Marine Infantry who was implicated in the Cavite Mutiny of 1872. He later regained the confidence of the Spanish colonial authorities who named him warden of the Cavite provincial jail in 1890.
- Victoriano Luciano (born March 23, 1863) was a pharmacist and freemason who was recognized for his formula of rare perfumes and lotions and was a member Colegio de Farmaceuticos de Manila. He studied at the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán and University of Santo Tomas. He owned a pharmacy, Botica Luciano, on Real Street (now Trece Martires Avenue) in Cavite whih was also a meeting place of the Katipunan.
- Francisco Osorio (born 1860) was the scion of a wealthy and well-connected family in Cavite. Little is known of him except that he was a pharmacist and not a freemason or a Katipunanero.
- Hugo Pérez (born 1856 in Binondo, Manila) was a physician. There is little biographical information about Perez except that he was a freemason.
- Antonio San Agustín (born March 8, 1860 in San Roque, Cavite) was a scion of a wealthy family. He studied at Colegio de San Juan de Letran and University of Santo Tomas. He was married to Juliana Reyes. He owned the only bookstore, La Aurora, in the town which was used as a meetingplace by the Katipunan.
The Cavite ConspiracyShortly before the Katipunan was uncovered, Emilio Aguinaldo was planning to attack the Spanish arsenal at Fort San Felipe and he enlisted other Katipuneros to recruit enough men so they could overrun the Spanish garrison. Their meetings were held at the house of Cabuco.
Aguinaldo and the other Katipuneros agreed that they would arm the inmates of the provincial jail who were made to work at the garrison. The task of recruiting the inmates was given to Lapidario, who was also the warden of the provincial jail. Aguado was to supply Lapidario with money to buy arms.
According to their plan, the uprising would be signalled by fireworks from the warehouse of Inocencio. Other leaders of the uprising were Luciano, Conchu, Pérez, Pablo José, Marcos José, and Juan Castañeda. The revolt was to start on September 1.
On August 26, Aguinaldo received a letter from Andrés Bonifacio who reported that a Katipunan assembly in Balintawak on August 24 decided to start the revolution on August 30, to be signalled by a blackout at the Luneta, then known as Bagumbayan. On the appointed day, Bonifacio and his men attacked the Spanish powder magazine in San Juan. Later that same day, the Spanish authorities declared martial law in Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.
Aguinaldo learned of the declaration of martial law in a meeting with Spanish Governor Fernando Pargas on the morning of August 31, 1896. He then went to Cabezas' haberdashery and ask him to inform to Lapidario that they had alternative but to rise in arms. Cabezas was the one who enlisted Lapidario for the planned uprising.
But Cabezas was not in favor of starting the revolt on August 31, 1896 so they discussed the uprising further. They decided to postpone the attack to September 3. However, the Spanish learned of the plan from a dressmaker named Victoriana Sayat and they immediately arrested Lapidario, de Ocampo and Aguado. The three were held incommunicado in the boat Ulloa and interrogated. They are presumed to have been tortured.
De Ocampo revealed the names of his companions and the thirteen suspects were rounded up on September 3 along with dozens of other Cavite leaders, including the musician Julián Felipe, who would compose the Philippine national anthem the following year. Felipe was incarcerated for nine months at Fort San Felipe. Also subsequently released were Pablo and Marcos José, and Juan Castañeda of Imus, who are also believed to have been involved in the uprising.
While awaiting trial, guilt-stricken de Ocampo tried to commit suicide by slashing his stomach with a piece of broken glass. However, he was included in the indictment for treason before a military court which found them guilty on September 11 after a four-hour trial.
At 12:45 p.m. the following day, the thirteen patriots were brought out of their cells and taken to the Plaza de Armas, outside Fort San Felipe, and executed by musketry. Their bodies were later buried in a common grave at the Catholic cemetery at the village of Caridad.
Later, the bodies of seven of the martyrs—Máximo Inocencio, Victorino Luciano, Francisco Osorio, Luis Aguado, Hugo Pérez, José Lallana, and Antonio San Agustín—were exhumed and reburied elsewhere. But the rest—Agapito Conchu, Máximo Gregorio, Alfonso de Ocampo, Eugenio Cabezas, Feliciano Cabuco, and Severino Lapidario remained unclaimed in their common grave.
In 1906, a monument to the Thirteen Martyrs was erected at the place where they were executed. Their families reinterred the remains of their loved ones at the foot of the monument. The capital of Cavite was renamed Trece Mártires in their honor and its 13 villages were named for each of the martyrs.