| San Ygnacio... Story written by
Roberto D. Uribe
Story was written by my brother, Roberto Daniel Uribe and dedicated to
our mother, Esther S. Uribe. Edited by Antonio Uribe for easier reading.
ORIGINAL and/or edited original stories on file with Antonio E. Uribe at
Story is not open to debate or discussion since it was Roberto D. and/or
Jose D. who researched and wrote story and not me. In
"Introduction" Roberto D. states his information sources used
for the story. I can only verify some of contents as told by our gr-grandmother,
Olayita Gutierrez de Uribe, who lives thru part of them and heard
others from her mother and grandmothers.. Antonio E. Uribe
This book is dedicated to Doņa Esther Sanchez de
Uribe, my Mother. She always wanted to write this book but with her
raising five children, four of them boys, she never could dedicate the
time that was needed to write it. I hope that she enjoys reading it in
PS My brother also passed away on September 5,
1998, before he could finish this story. My job is to try to
finish this story for him so I dedicate this book to my Mother and my
Brother Bob.. I hope it brings a smile to both of them in heaven.
PSS... Joe too is gone to be with Mom and Bob as he passed
away on Christmas day 1999.
It is up to me to put this book out to be enjoyed by all three of them.
Original story was written in CAPS and since I have to retype, I am
editing it for easier reading but not changing anything from the text..
I do not want to change anything Bob or Joe did.. I take NO credit for
this for research was done mostly by Bob and maybe some by Joe... Hope
they both enjoy reading it to Mom in heaven... Enjoy reading for it is
I started thinking about writing this book when I was a youngster
roaming the streets of San Ygnacio. Although my family lived in Laredo,
I spent most of my summers with my aunts and uncles in San Ygnacio,
sometimes staying in the old fort or in the house of my great-uncle, don
Most nights we would sit around listening to stories about the old days,
of the beginning of the village of San Ygnacio. My
great-grandmother, Olalla Gutierrez de Uribe, was still alive and she
would tell us stories of our ancestors, going back to my Great-great-
great-grandfathers don Jesus Treviņo and don Vicente Gutierrez I.
She still lived with my aunts in the old fort that was also know as la
casa larga. One aunt lived with her in la casa larga which is parallel
to the river and my other aunt lived in la casa pinta, just on the other
side of the fort. Our great-grandmother, who was the first decedent of
don Jesus Treviņo to be born in San Ygnacio, loved to tell us stories,
some true, some not so true, but all were most enjoyable. And since this
was before electricity had been introduced to San Ygnacio, story telling
was still a very important source of entertainment.
Because the summer nights in San Ygnacio were so hot, my brothers and I
would often sleep outdoors with all our cousins. Sometimes we would
spend the night in the balcony of don Fernando's house, or inside the
yard of the old fort. I still remember sleeping in the fort yard, where
we would awaken in the morning to the wonderful fragrance of the
blooming jasmine bushes that my grandmother had planted next to the
My mother, doņa Esther Sanchez de Uribe, was raised in the old fort by
her grandparents, don José Dionicio Uribe II and doņa Olalla Gutierrez
de Uribe. My mother and her four sisters went to live with her
grandparents when my grandmother, doņa Amada Uribe de Sanchez passed
away when my mother was nine years old. Greatgrand-parents also had to
raise two other granddaughters, the children from their other daughter,
Maria Dolores Uribe de Sanchez who also passed away. .
As a young woman, mother wrote down many of the stories told by her
grandparents and she continued to write stories and record the genealogy
of our family into the 1980s. She always wanted to write this book but
never seemed to have the time to put it together.
I have taken all my mother's notes and old papers she was keeping, and
with the aid of the computer, I hope I will be able to assemble the
story that she wanted to share with our family and all who might be
interested in our town of San Ygnacio.
Among the papers in my mother's possession were: the 1827 order for the
survey of the lower portion of Corralitos, which is part of the Vasquez
Borrego land grant, for the purpose of the sale to don Jesus Treviņo.
The Alejandro Vidauri's will dated 1806. A partial bill of sale from
Jose Alejandro Vidauri in what appears to be 1828. Don Jesus' inventory
of all his belongings after his death, dated 1849. Doņa Viviana
Gutierrez Treviņo's will. The Zapata County survey dated December 18,
1876. Don Fernando Uribe's will dated December 19, 1887. (Don Fernando's
will was loaned by doņa Margarita Sanchez de Uribe and her son Fernando
E. Uribe), and the will of Don Blas Maria Uribe, dated May 23, 1894.
After reading other books on San Ygnacio, I realized that they did not
have any of the above mentioned papers to back up their claims. Most of
what has been written in the past has been based on what people found by
investigating other sources or by word of mouth.
I am almost certain that someone will dispute what I have written, but
unlike the others, I have most of *the documents to support my case, and
it is my sincere belief that this will be the most accurate story of the
town of San Ygnacio, Texas.
Roberto D. Uribe
"San Ygnacio Texas" is a story about a person buying land on
the north side of the Rio Grande in 1828 and building a ranch house on
the property for the protection against the indians and also to be
used as a storage room. The room grew into a full sized fort and from
there, the rancho named San Ygnacio became a town by the same name. It
is also a story of the people that were touched by the growing of this
town and their part in it. Some people will be named while others will
not be. It was not my intention to exclude anybody but am writing
stories that were told to me and some did not include names.
In 1828, don Jesus Treviņo purchased approximately half of the Vasquez
Borrego land grant. The township of San Ygnacio was to be built on this
land grant by a few landowners and the workers they brought with them
from Mexico. In the beginning, both the patrons and the workers
had to endure the same hardships in this untamed land. The first signs
of civilization was when Don Jesus erected the first stone building in
1830. This room with thick stone walls became the principal ranch
quarters on this newly bought land.
The present day San Ygnacio is not to be confused with San Ygnacio viejo,
"Old San Ygnacio," the older settlement established by the
original owners of the land. That settlement, situated in the southwest
corner of the Vasquez Borrego land grant failed in the late 1700s. The
stones of those old houses can still be seen scattered where they once
To understand the beginning of San Ygnacio, you have to go back in
history to the mid 1700s when Mexico and all the southwest was known as
New Spain and trace the principal names of the colonizers. Names like
Treviņo, Gutierrez de Lara, Uribe, and Benavides.
In 1746, don Jose Cayetano de Treviņo was an established rancher in
Sabinas Hidalgo. His son, don Juan Jose de Treviņo joined don Vicente
Guerra in Queretaro as part of a group chosen to colonize Nuevo
Santander. Nuevo Santander in the 1700s was what is now the state of
Tamaulipas in Mexico. With permission from don Jose de Escandon, don
Vicente Guerra took families and established a vista or settlement on
the banks of the Rio Grande and the Rio Salado. Don Jose de
Escandon was governor and captain general of the state of Nuevo
Santander. He was responsible for the first settlements along the Rio
Grande between Laredo and Brownsville. Don Jose de Escandon was born in
Spain in the year 1700.
Don Jose de Escandon granted don Vicente Guerra approximately
110,000 acres for the settlement which was founded in October of 1750
and was named San Ygnacio de Loyola de Revilla. The name was changed to
Guerrero in the mid 1800s. The settlement grew and in 1757, the census
showed about 60 families living in Revilla.
Don Juan Jose Treviņo married doņa Ana Gutierrez de Lara. A son, Don
Jose de Jesus, was born in Revilla, became a successful business man and
rose to alderman of Revilla. He married doņa Maria Viviana Gutierrez de
The Gutierrez de Lara were successful ranchers in Sabinas Hidalgo and
Monterrey. Don Santiago Gutierrez de Lara married doņa Rosa Maria de
Uribe. Don Santiago passed away in 1798 and doņa Rosa passed away in
1816 in the township of Revilla. Two of their sons, Jose Antonio
Apolinario Gutierrez de Lara Uribe, born in 1760, became a catholic
priest working among the indians and Jose Bernardo Maximiliano born in
1776, was instrumental in Mexican Revolution for Independence from
Spain. Don Jose Bernardo Maximiliano Gutierrez de Lara was
named Colonel of the Insurgent Army of the North, was Hidalgo's Emissary
to Washington D. C., was first President of the the First Republic of
Texas (1814) and first Governor of Tamaulipas, Mexico, among others. Don
Jose Bernardo died in 1841.
Don Vicente Gutierrez de Lara I, another son of don Santiago, married
doņa Olalla Gutierrez de Lara Villareal. Don Vicente II was born in
1807, the same year his father, Vicente I died. His sons, Blas Maria and
Vicente II would be instrumental in the purchase of the Vasquez Borrego
land together with don Jesus Treviņo who was married to Maria Viviana
Gutierrez de Lara, don Vicente I sister in law.
The Uribe family were also successful ranchers in Monterrey and Sabinas
Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon., Mexico. Among them was don Francisco Javier
married to Maria Apolonia Bermudez in Monterrey. One of their
daughters, Rosa Maria del Carmen married don Jose Santiago
Gutierrez de Lara.
Don Jose Luis Francisco Uribe, Francisco Javier's son, married doņa
Magdalena Gutierrez de Lara. Among their children were Maria Josefa who
married Jose Bernardo Maximiliano Gutierrez de Lara and Jose Dionicio
Vicente, (Jose Dionicio I) married several times. First to Maria Josefa
de la Peņa, second to (no name given) Benavides and third to
Maria Ignacia Gutierrez de Lara Villareal.
Don Blas Maria, born from the third marriage, was very
instrumental in building of San Ygnacio.
To bring story of San Ygnacio we go back to the founding of the Dolores
Vista on the Texas side of the Rio Grande and the mouth of the Arroyo
Dolores. Don Jose Vasquez Borrego, owner of a large ranch, San Juan del
Alamo, in Monclova, Coahuila was granted approximately
110,000 acres for starting the Vista at Dolores. The settlement started
with about 15 families and in 1753, don Jose Vasquez Borrego was granted
approximately 110,000 acres more. These 220,000 acres of land covered
from the Arroyo Dolores to the present day Ramireņo north fence and
from the river approximately 40 miles to the northeast.
The settlement called Nuestra Seņora de los Dolores, prospered and
supplied a much needed ferry service across the river. After about 20
years and constant indian attacks, the village was abandoned. Don Jose
Vasquez Borrego died and the land was split in two parts. The Dolores or
northern portion was inherited by doņa Manuela Borrego de Vidauri and
the southern or San Jose de Corralitos portion was inherited by don Jose
Fernando Vidauri, grandson of don Jose Vasquez Borrego.
According to don Fernando's will dated November 20, 1806, he was deeply
in debt and claimed Corralitos was given to him in the year 1766 by his
grandfather don Jose Vasquez Borrego. In approximately 1808. don
Fernando died and his sons, Alejandro, Fernando and Ildefonso put the
lower portion of Corralitos land for sale. That portion is now known as
the San Ygnacio Subdivision.
In 1827, don Jose de Jesus Treviņo and his son in law and nephew, don
Vicente (II) Gutierrez de Lara and his brother don Blas Maria decided to
buy the lower portion of the Corralitos Ranch from the heirs of don
Fernando Vidauri. They bought 110,000 acres. Don Jesus made a second
purchase in 1828 of 60,980 acres giving him approximately 101,400 acres.
In 1830, don Jesus together with his two sons in law, Don Vicente
Gutierrez (II) and don Manuel Benavides went looking for a place to to
set up a ranch house for the new bought land. They found the place on
the river banks of the Rio Grande and the Arroyo Grullo. A high flat
spot area with the Rio Grande on the west and the Arroyo Grullo on the
north. By building there, they would be protected on the north by the
arroyo and on the west by the river. They would only have two sides that
the indians could attack from. The ranch was called San Ygnacio.
Land was cleared and a room was built about 18 feet by 20 feet. The room
was built of local stones, some from the river banks and some from the
hills east of the ranch site. The walls of the room are about 18 inches
thick. The floor is the natural dirt. The room had no windows and only
one entrance, facing south. The door facing south is made of solid
mesquite, about 2 inches thick. It has no metal nails or hinges. It is
held together with wood dowels and wedges. The door swings on two
mesquite heart pins resting on almendria stones. On the inside, it has a
mesquite cross bar that slides into a hole in the stone... The door
swings free to this date.
The room was made with a flat roof made of river trees and mesquite. On
the southwest corner of the roof, there was a lookout perch. The roof
has long been replaced but on the southeast corner of the wall, the
stepping stones for the perch can be seen sticking out of the wall.
Outside of the door, two turrets were built. One on each side of the
door. The turrets were about 5 feet tall with cutouts for firing the
muskets. The turrets had an opening facing the door to be able to
retreat into the room. The turrets were removed in approximately 1851
when more rooms were added to the building. Circular foundations for the
turrets on the stone walk outside the door can still be seen. A
compartment was built on the east wall of the room to keep what ever
valuables they had. By removing a stone from the wall, there was a deep
hole and this was the compartment. Today, this room is known as
"El Cuarto Viejo" or just "El Cuarto."
The room or ranch house was used mainly for protection from the indians
and for Don Jesus to stay when visiting the ranch. Don Jesus and his
family lived in Revilla and only visited to supervise the operation of
the ranch. Workers cleared land around the ranch and built their jacales,
"shacks", to live in. On the north side, between the ranch
house and the arroyo, land was cleared and a log fence was built from
the southwest corner of the ranch house about 100 feet, 90 degrees east
about a hundred feet, 90 degrees north about 120 feet and then 90
degrees west to the northeast corner of the ranch house. The last part
of the fence had a gate. When fort was finished, live stock were brought
into the compound for protection during indian raids. This Story was
told to doņa Olalla Gutierrez de Uribe by her grand mother doņa Olalla
Gutierrez de Gutierrez.
When the cuarto was built, it was very hard times due to the constant
Indian raids. The live stock had to be kept close to the compound during
the raids. More land was cleared for planting seasonal crops like corn,
squash and melons. The other thing that was done was to bring cactus
from the other side of the river and plant it on the open range. The
original purpose of the planting of the cactus is a puzzle but thru the
years, especially the drought years, cactus has been a feed for the live
Blas Maria Uribe and doņa Maria Juliana Treviņo were married
1832 and had six children, five boys and one girl. As they grew, the
boys worked the ranch and later, don Blas Maria had specific assignments
for each. Don Blas Maria and doņa Juliana built their house
in Guerrero The town of Revilla had the name changed to Guerrero. Don
Blas Maria Uribe and doņa Maria Juliana lived there for a few years.
The house still stands in Old Guerrero. It has the name Blas Maria Uribe
carved in its front door portal. Don Blas Maria kept that house until
his death in 1895. Don Blas Maria continued to transport goods up and
down the river. He and his wife, doņa Maria Juliana became very active
helping don Jesus run the ranch, San Ygnacio. Doņa Maria Juliana became
her father's Don Jesus, right hand in running the ranch. The son-in-law,
don Blas Maria , would transport don Jesus' stock to sell in various
parts of Mexico and Texas..
In 1843 on one of his trips to his other ranch, La Realdeņa in Sabinas
Hidalgo where his son lived, , don Jesus took sick and passed away.
Doņa Maria Juliana inherited the ranch seat and 1/7 part of the land.
Don Blas Maria bought two of his brother-in-law's parts.
In 1850, don Blas Maria Uribe and his family decided to move to the
ranch. Don Blas Maria and his son Fernando laid out the new site for the
house they built next door to don Jesus original room and also built a
wall enclosure. The first room on the west side of the existing room
started in 1851. The floors for the two rooms were done and the wall was
started. The first room was finished in 1851. An outside kitchen was
built with a chimney. The roof was extended 20 feet beyond the outside
wall of the 1851 room to the southwest corner of the wall. On top of
that corner was a lookout perch. The top of the wall had cutouts there.
The second room and walls were completed in 1854. The walled enclosure
is 100 feet by 120 feet. A gate of cypress was on the north side of the
wall. The roof beams were cypress or pine. These beams were floated down
from upriver from somewhere around where around where the Pecos and Rio
Grande rivers meet. An Inscription is written on one of the beams of the
1854 room which reads, "PAZ Y LIBERTAD OBREMOS".. Work
for Peace and Liberty. This part of the house is known as "La Casa
Larga," The Long House.
The walls are about 18 inches thick and 12 feet high. It had "Troneras"
every 10 to 15 feet. Troneras are loop holes for firing muskets from the
inside of the compound. With time, some of the troneras were covered but
there are still 3 or 4 open. The room and walls were made of cantera
stone. A sandstone that is very plentiful in the hills just east of San
Ygnacio. The stone is about 2 feet under the soil and us in layers of 12
to 18 inches thick. By using wedges and pry bars, it could be broken off
and shaped to the desired size. Most of the sandstone houses in San
Ygnacio were built from the same quarry. The roofs and floors were made
from "chipichil," a mix of very fine river stones mixed with
lime, cal in spanish.
At the time that the walled fort was built, a sundial was set above the
portals of the entrance gate. The sundial has a story that goes with it.
To tell the story you have to go back a few years to Revilla. Cosme
Damian Martinez and his cousin, Jose Villareal, as 13 year olds, were
captured by the indians and taken north into Texas. After about ten days
of traveling, they managed to escape. First, they traveled north guided
by the north star to throw off the Indians then south, traveling at
night and hiding during the day. After traveling for days they reached
Palafox, a small town north of Laredo. There they were nursed back to
health and taken back to Revilla.
Jose never forgot the importance of the stars for directions. When he
was older on one of his trips to the interior of Mexico, he saw a
sundial set to point to the north star with an arrow in the center. He
asked how it was done and learned all he could about making one. When
don Blas Maria was building the fort, Jose asked don Blas Maria if he
could make and set a sundial on the entrance. Jose was given permission
to set the sundial. Jose made two stone blocks, polished on both sides
with a small hole on the center for the iron arrow to be set. The hole
was also used to set the stone on its final resting place on the mortar.
The stone had to be set during the equinox. The equinox is when
the sun is directly over the equator, which is either March 21 or
September 23. The stone had to be set at night with the hole for the
arrow pointing to the north star. The arrow was then set on the hole to
read time. The sundial shows time on the north side in the summer and
the south side in the winter except for 2 or 3 days during the year.
This was the monument that Jose Villareal made to the north star in
appreciation for guiding him away from the indians and back to his home
The original entrance to the fort was flat on top of the gate. The round
part was added by don Blas Maria to accommodate the sundial.
Don Blas Maria and his family moved back to their new home in San
Ygnacio in 1851. The fort was the first real stone house in San Ygnacio.
Before that there were jacales, shacks made of mesquite lumber by the
In approximately 1854, don Vicente Gutierrez II built a house on the
east side of the fort for his mother, doņa Olalla Gutierrez de
Gutierrez. In this house, Maria Olalla Gutierrez Treviņo was born. She
was the first descendant of don Jesus Treviņo to be born in San Ygnacio.
Maria Olalla was born in 1857. She was don Jesus grand daughter and the
daughter of don Vicente Gutierrez II and doņa Maria Trinidad Treviņo
The house that don Vicente II built was the first church meeting place
in San Ygnacio. Doņa Olalla set one room aside for church services. Doņa
Olalla later sold the house to don Blas Maria and don Blas Maria gave
the house to one of his sons, don Jose Maria Uribe. Don Jose Maria's
daughters lived in that house until their death in the 1960s. The first
dairy in San Ygnacio was run by doņas Simona and Rosita Uribe out of
that house. That house is known today as "La casa de las tias Uribe."
the house of the aunts Uribe (Uribe Aunts). It is actually a Gutierrez
house. In 1849, don Vicente Gutierrez, his wife, doņa Maria Trinidad,
and their family built their house on their land about 3 miles north of
the town (San Ygnacio). The Gutierrez house, known as San Francisco,
also had troneras, loopholes, but made a little different than the
troneras in the fort. The troneras in San Francisco are holes made in
the mesquite beams. The house still stands with an additional house
built approximately in the 1870s. In about 1870, a second house was
built in San Francisco by don Vicente's son , don Antonio Gutierrez.
That house still stands today. Later, don Antonio built another house in
San Ygnacio. That house sits across from the Plaza on the west side.
of 1851 to the 1880s were rough and strenuous for don Blas Maria's son
Fernando. The family was growing and they needed houses to live in. The
ranch was now turning into a town. Don Fernando laid out the streets and
the Plaza. He supervised the building of the fort for his father, don
Blas Maria. He also designed his own home across from the fort. The
house consisted of two large rooms and a porch facing the river. That
part was completed in November, 1868.
After finishing that part of the house, he was again busy supervising
the building of his aunt's, doņa Maria Dionicia and don Manuel
Benavidez house. The house was completed in 1872. That house is across
from the fort on the north side. Next, he supervised the building of his
brother Manuel Maria's house. It was completed in in 1873. That house is
across from the fort on the northwest corner. He also supervised, at the
same time, the building of his sister and brother-in-law's house, don
Proceso Martinez and doņa Maria de Jesus house which was completed in
1873. That house is diagonal from the fort on the northwest corner. The
don Trinidad Uribe's house was the first two story house. It was
completed in 1870.
In 1856, don blas Maria's wife, doņa Maria Juliana Treviņo passed
away. She was buried in the old cemetery that is on the north side of
the arroyo Grullo, west of the existing Uribe cemetery on the high area
of the river bank.
Don Blas Maria remarried to doņa Maria Tomasa Gutierrez Treviņo. For
her, don Blas Maria had another house added to the fort. The new house
was built on the northeast side of the wall, next to the main gate. The
inside walls had garden and floral murals painted about ten feet high
all around the room. The house was to become known as "La Casa
Pinta," the pink house. That house was completed in December
10, 1871. Two roof beams have writing on them. On one it has the date
and "LA PAZ DE JESUCRISTO SEA CON NOSOTROS." "The Peace
of Jesus Christ be with Us." On the other, "SAN YGNACIO, RUEGA
POR NOSOTROS" "Saint Ignatius, pray for us."
On completion of La Casa Pinta, doņa Maria Tomasa asked don Blas to
build a church for the growing town. Don Blas Maria granted her the wish
and donated the land, material and labor. The church was built by the
same workers that had built La Casa Pinta. The church was completed in
1872. Don Blas Maria donated the church and grounds for the promotion of
the catholic faith. Credit to the church should go to doņa Maria Tomasa
Gutierrez de Uribe. The church was to be named "San Ygnacio de
Loyola" and a delegation was sent looking for a statue of the
saint. None was found and "Nuestra Seņora del Refugio" Our
Lady of the Refuge, was brought instead so name was changed to "Nuestra
Seņora del Refugio.
By the 1870s there were hardly any more Indian raids. The town was
growing. By 1878, there were about seven stone houses. and the jacales
were being replaced with houses being built with the now available
lumber. A lot of workers were given lots by don Blas Maria to build
their own homes. By the 1880s, there were about 75 families living in
Don Fernando Uribe was very active in the building of houses and helping
don Blas Maria run the business end of the ranch. Don Fernando was
one of the first surveyors and tax collectors in Zapata County. Also,
the first postmaster of San Ygnacio.
Don Fernando added a second story to the house and enclosed the patio in
1878. That house utilized the flat roof to collect rain water into a
Manuel Maria Uribe married doņa Maria del Refugio Gutierrez and they
had four children. Don Manuel Maria was very active helping don
Blas Maria with the ranch. He was in charge of stores and supplies. Also
being one of the first sheriffs of Zapata County.
Don Jose Trinidad Uribe marriage doņa Francisca Garza. Their house, up
the street from the fort on Uribe Street was built in 1870 by his
brother don Fernando Uribe . It was the first 2 story house in San
Don Trinidad also built a stone house across from the plaza on the
northeast corner. It is now the post office in San Ygnacio. There he had
a dry goods store until the early 1900s.
Don Jose Dionicio married doņa Olalla Gutierrez, don Vicente's II
youngest daughter. Don Jose Dionicio was a rancher and he was the
one who helped his father, don Blas Maria in the ranch. He was the one
that took the herds to market. He also ran the wagons to transport
goods to and from Mexico for their own use and for sale in the
Don Jose Dionicio was also sheriff and tax collector of Zapata County.
He and his wife lived in the fort with don Blas Maria. Don Jose Dionicio
occupied "la Casa Larga" and don Blas Maria "la Casa
Pinta." Don Jose Dionicio and doņa Olalla with their family lived
all their married life in the fort. Some stories here came from doņa
Olalla Gutierrez de Uribe as she told them to her daughters and grand
daughters. Some of the stories were hand written by her grand daughter,
Esther Sanchez Uribe as they were being told to her by doņa Olalla.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, don Jose Dionicio made some additions
to the fort. The kitchen in "la Casa Larga" was enclosed and a
chimney added. In one of the new walls. In one of the walls for the
kitchen there is a steel crankshaft sticking out. Nobody knows the
purpose for it but the origin of the crankshaft goes back to
The saying is that don Blas Maria was the only rancher to have open
passage thru "La Kineņa," the Kings Ranch. Captain King and
don Blas had a mutual agreement. Don Blas Marias herds could pass thru
Kings land and captain Kings herds and wagon trains could go thru Uribe
land. At the time the river was very wide and navigable with flat boats.
Captain King used to keep a river boat tied to the banks of the river
just across from the fort, with permission from don Blas Maria. The
riverboat was used to transport cattle and dry goods or cotton to
Brownsville or even to New Orleans. During a very heavy storm the boat
was destroyed. Parts from the boat were around the fort for the longest
time. The part that is on the wall is the crank that used to turn the
In the early 1900s, don Jose Dionicio made additions to 'la Casa Pinta"
Across the gate using the west wall of "el Cuarto Viejo" he
built another kitchen with a large chimney built diagonally on the
northwest corner. Doņa Olalla had seen a chimney built on the corner on
San Antonio during one of her trips there. The chimney used to be open
all the way to the floor. but in approximately 1909, one of her
granddaughters crawled inside the fireplace. That very same day, with
the help of one of the "barrileros", water carriers, named
Pablo Garza Salas, "Chino Salas" for short, they built the
bottom of the fireplace to the present height.
Don Jose Maria married Benita Martinez. He helped his father, don
Blas Maria, in the operation of the ranches and was responsible for
moving cattle from one ranch to the other. Don Jose Maria and his family
lived in don Vicente Gutierrez I house after his father, don Blas Maria
Uribe bought it from doņa Olalla Gutierrez de Gutierrez.
Doņa Maria Josefa de Jesus, don Blas Maria's only daughter, married don
Proceso Martinez I. Don Proceso Martinez I was a very successful
business man. He had had stores in Laredo and Guerrero. He moved to San
Ygnacio in 1869 and married the seņorita Maria de Jesus Uribe. He built
and taught in the first schoolhouse in San Ygnacio. He opened a store,
brought the first kerosene lamps and steel plows to San Ygnacio. He was
one of the first successful cotton ranchers in Zapata county. He
operated the store until the early 1900s.
Doņa Maria de Jesus Uribe Martinez passed away in 1886 and was buried
in the Uribe cemetery.
After his daughter was buried, don Blas Maria told the people at the
Uribe cemetery, "the day that my daughter, Maria Josefa de Jesus
was married, I lost half of my life. Today that we buried her I lost the
other half. From this day on, I do not exist and as far as anybody is
concerned, I have died." From the cemetery, he went home to the
fort, packed his belongings, and left to his ranch, "San Jose del
Barrosito," with the intention of never to return to San Ygnacio
But he did return to the town he was very instrumental in building. Don
Blas Maria Uribe I passed away in the year of our Lord 1895 and was
brought back to San Ygnacio to be buried close to his wife, doņa Maria
Juliana Treviņo de Uribe, his daughter, doņa Maria de Jesus Uribe de
Martinez, and his second wife, doņa Tomasa Gutierrez de Uribe. He was
brought back after he passed away in one of his ranches.
When don Blas Maria Uribe I passed away bells tolled for three days in
San Ygnacio in his honor. The town had lost a very important citizen.
There are conflicting stories of where he died. Some say he died in
"San Jose del Barrocito" and others say he died in "El
Don Proceso martinez I died in 1934. His son Proceso II took over store
and ranch management. He was also a very successful cotton farmer way
into the 40s in his ranch on "Casa Verde"
By the late 1800s, there were many self employed people. Some would cut,
gather and sell firewood to the towns people. Others worked as "barrileros"
and would supply the town with water. By taking a set of wagon wheels
and attaching two wooden rails as support for a wooden barrel laying
flat with a spout on the back side at the bottom. The rails were also
used to hitch the mule to. The barrel was tied down with rawhide
and a square hole on top between the steel bands. The same wood cut for
the hole was tied together and used as a lid. On the back of the rails
stuck out long enough to hand up two shortening buckets with handles.
The top of the bucket was cut off and a wire handle installed. The
barrileros would go down the river shallows, drive into the river until
the water was up to the hubs of the wheels. Then he would get on all
fours, still on top of the wagon , and scoop river water with one of the
buckets and fill the barrel thru the square hole on top. He would then
go to town and deliver barrel of water. When one of the barrels of
water at home was empty, a barrel of water was ordered. By having two
barrels it gave the newly filled time to settle before it was used. When
delivering the water, the barrilero would fill one bucket and when full,
a second bucket was placed on the spigot to fill while the first was
emptied and this procedure continued until all the water was emptied
into the barrel in the house. Some of the barrileros in the 1940s were
Amador Pruneda, Pablo (El Chino) Garza Salas, Daniel Garza, and David
Gutierrez to name a few..
At the time and up until the 40s, the river water was clean. It was used
for drinking and cooking without fear of contamination
In 1894, Don Blas Maria made his will at his ranch. He left everything
in order by spelling out how everything was to be divided. He left
everything to his six children or their heirs to be divided equally and
peacefully among themselves with the exception of the farm called
"San Julian" that he left to his son don Manuel Maria and a
house that was in need of repairs, don Blas Maria left to his son don
Jose Maria. Don Blas named his 4 sons and don Erasmo Uribe to represent
the deceased son, don Fernando and don Proceso Martinez to represent the
deceased doņa Maria de Jesus Uribe Martinez. If by circumstances all
six could not get together, a majority of 4 could act as trustees to
divide the property. If a majority of 4 was to be used, one of the 4 had
to be his son don Manuel Maria.
Don Blas Maria divided his main ranch of 25,000 acres into 18,000 to be
divided 6 ways leaving 7000 acres for "San Jose del Barrosito"
ranch for his disposal or to be divided later. He divided another 18,000
acres that he had inherited from his first wife, doņa Maria Juliana,
six ways, in most cases saying where the boundaries were to be. Another
6,000 acres in the town site with river frontage, don Blas Maria
appointed his sons, don Jose Dionicio and don Jose Maria to distribute 6
ways so that all 6 parts were equal in value.
At the end of the will, don Blas Maria mentioned that he had given his
daughter, doņa Jesusita, some land called "Los Camotes" and
was to be for her heirs, not part of the divided portions.
The execution of the will was carried out in 1896 with the exception of
the division of the fort. This was done in 1897. Don Jose Dionicio,
already living in the fort since 1873, bought the other 5 parts of the
fort and became sole owner.
The times in the 1800s were very good for ranchers. The demand for good
horses , mules and cattle were growing. The development of the american
farm made great demand for mules and horses. With all the new machines
being developed for the use of farming using mules, it was very good
business to raise mules.
Raising beef was still the most paying. The ranchers also raised sheep,
goats and hogs. These were raised mainly for their own use. Some of the
wool was sold but most was held back and used for making their own
quilts. Goats were a good source food. They multiplied fast and provided
milk, cheese and meat. Having no way to keep fresh food for long times,
goats were small enough to butcher and use fast. Some of the meat was
preserved by making it into "carne seca" or jerky. The
goats milk was preserved a little longer by boiling it and some of the
milk was used to make cheese and that would keep for long periods of
time. One other point worth mentioning is that goats would withstand the
dry seasons or droughts better than any other animal. When times were
slim, you always had the goats to pull you thru.
From the sheep, wool was provided to make quilts or to sell. To make
quilts, the wool was washed and softened. After the wool was washed, it
was placed in a large clean area to dry. After it was dry, it was
softened by beating it with a long stick, usually a long straight, clean
dry jara from the river. You beat the wool over and over until it was
soft and fluffy. This job was usually done by young boys and supervised
by an older lady to keep the boys from spreading the wool all over and
to give the word when it was ready. After it was softened, it was put in
sacks for storage. Some of the wool was left out for making quilts. To
prepare the wool for quilting, it had to be combed into thin squares. To
do that, you tool a pair of "cardas," wool cards. They are two
wooden rectangles about 3 inches by 8 inches with handles in the middle
of the 8 inches and have hundreds of short pins about 3/8ths of an inch
long sticking out on one side of the 3 inch by 8 inch side. You place a
small amount of wool between the "cardas" and pull the "cardas"
against each other in the same direction. When the "cardas"
are full of smooth wool, then you go in the reverse direction only to
pull the wool off the pins in the cardas. Now you remove the 3 by 8
combed rectangle and stack it for later use. You repeat this process
until you have enough rectangles to cover a quilt by putting the
rectangles side by side . Remember that this was your batting in those
To start a quilt, a rack was setup with a set width and adjustable
length. A nice looking cloth was picked and put on the rack with the
length shortened, squares of wool were placed on the cloth with
overlapping layers to the thickness wanted. Another cloth was placed
over the wool and sewn to the bottom cloth. A pattern was marked on the
top cloth and women would sew the two cloths together. After that was
sewn, the rack was extended another short length. This process was
repeated until the quilt was done.
Quilts was a pastime and means of women getting together in the
evenings. Women would spend lots of evenings making one quilt. It was
also a way to keep up with what was going on in the town.
Raising pigs was good in many ways because pork was easy to preserve.
After butchering a pig, the blood was saved for use later. After using
boiling water on the skin, it was shaved of all the hair. It was skinned
and the skin in small pieces and the fat was placed in a large vat, cast
iron pot with a fire under it. The fat was brought to a boiling point ,
the skin was removed from the vat and let the skin cool down. This are
called chicharrones, pork rinds. The meat was then placed in the vat
with the boiling fat, some chile powder was added and partially cooked.
After this phase, the meat and the fat were placed in a barrel and left
to cool down and turn to thick lard. The meat inside the thick lard
would keep for a long time as long as the air did not touch it. As the
meat was needed, it was pulled out with a steel hook one piece at a
time. The lard with the chile was also used as a starter when they
cooked the food. The innards were cleaned and sometimes made into blood
sausage called "Murcilla" The head was usually used to make
tamales and some of the meat could be made into "chorizo,"
sausage. By using the tripe and washing it over and over until it was
very thin and it was blown up as a balloon and let dry. This was the
skin that was filled up with the chorizo mixture. Chorizo was meat mixed
with lots of spices, chile and vinegar. The dried tripe was filled with
the mixture and tied every 4 to 6 inches and left to dry for week or
two. The tying made into links and when ready, they would use as many
links as needed. The dried "chorizo" would keep for a long
((The Last Chapter.. Bob did not finish the book and Joe add little, if
any to it. Not knowing what Bob's intentions were, I added nothing to
it.. I have edited his writings for easier reading but not his thoughts
or intentions) ..... .Antonio E. Uribe
As my contribution.. will relate some stories by my great-grandmother,
Mama Olayita.. This were bedtime stories during our stay in San Ygnacio
and sleeping in the corralon (inside the fort walls) Some of this
stories took place in San Francisco, her father's property but feel they
merit mentioning here..
Indian Stories.. When San Francisco was just getting started when they
had trouble with indian raids and indians destroying the crops. A second
indian tribe would come and ask don Vicente for food which he gave them
crops as well as cattle. sheep and goats. When raids from first tribe
continued, he sent someone to talk to indian chief and made a deal with
him, Don Vicente would plant equal crops of corn squash melons and other
crops and when ready, he sent word to chief that crops were ready to
harvest, Chief would send a scout and don Vicente would show scout which
was his crop and which was indians. Indians would settle on their
section and when they left, ground was bare but don Vicente's was not
touched. When Indians were on war path, Chief would send a scout and
tell Vicente so people had to defend themselves but came next season,
everything was back to original agreememnt...
Story about of the wedding of the Indian Chiefs daughter in San
Mama Olayita related this story as an event that happened one summer
when the Indians came to gather their share of the crop that her father
don Vicente Gutierrez planted for them... She said the ceremony lasted
three days and there were dances and events during all that time... She
said she was very young when this took place and couldnt remember more
About he Confederates and Union Armies during the Civil War.. San
On different occasions, they were visited by units of both Union and
Confederate armies.. She said, the Union captain would ask for food and
always paid for what they took.. be it chickens. pigs or cattle while
the Confederacy soldiers would chase pigs or chicken and confiscate
them.. One time that the Union soldiers were there, don Vicente was
given 72 hours to move his belongings to the Mexican side... During that
time, everything was moves except a heavy peice of furniture which was
tied down to a tree.. On the last trip, don Vicente placed each of his
two youngest daughters, one being mama Olayita, on his shoulders and
started walking across the river.. Reaching deep water, he started to
swim standing up using his feet only to propell him.. The milk cows
would cross the river to the mexican side in the afternoon but crossed
over to the Texas side to pasture during the day... When they returned
to the Texas side, they ropero tied to the tree was still there and in
The Stars at night.. When we slept outside inside the Fort.
Most nights, the sky was clear and the statrs were visible.. She would
point out stars and name them.. This was the story for the night..
El carro grande y el carro chico y la estrella del norte....The
big and little dippers and the north star.. Las tres Marias (Three Marys)
a group of three stars in an arch, the center one a little higher then
the others and all with different magnitudes of brilliance.. La estrella
de la maņana o "el lucero" .. The morning star.. El camino
del patron Santiago.. The Milky Way.. There were so many she would
name.. Some of us would fall asleep as she pointed the stars out.. Other
names I vaguely remember.. "el Perro" "el Buey"
"el Flechero" (the dog, the ox, the archer)
About don Vicente Gutierrez, Mama Olayitas father..
In hisa story, Bob mentioined he was a man that was 6"3"
tall.. he did not mention his stregnth... Don Vicente's property had a
big stone as one of the markers.. Mama Olayita said it took 6 men to
lift the stone.. Tata Vicente was able to lift it and set it on his
Another story about tata Vicente... One time, oxen were pulling a cart
on a steep incline. One of the oxen laid down for he could pull no
more.. Don Vicente told the men to unhitch the fallen ox.. "What
are you going to do" they asked him.. "Voy a ayudarle al otro
buey" (going to help the other ox) he answered He took off his vest
and placing it on the yoke helped the other ox make the climb.
Mama Olayita used to say her father had vast stregnth.