Presidio County History      


The 1880s brought Presidio County a larger population and improvements in the economy and in transportation. The census of 1880 reported 2,873 inhabitants, a total increase of 1,237 and 823 more Mexican immigrants than in 1870. John W. Spencer, a local rancher and trader, found a silver deposit in the Chinati Mountains in 1880 that resulted in the opening of Presidio Mine and the beginning of the company town of Shafter. From 1883 until 1942 the mine produced over 32.6 million ounces of silver, employed from 300 to 400 workers, and paid the largest tax assessments in the county. Also in 1880 the twenty-eight small grain farms of the county were valued at just over $47,000, but its nearly $54,000 worth of livestock proved more important to its economy. The railroad reached Presidio County in 1882 when the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway laid tracks through its northeastern corner. With the railroad to move livestock and the Indian threat over, a new generation of cattlemen came into the county and started large ranches in 1884 and 1885. W. F. Mitchell built the first barbed wire fence in the county at Antelope Springs in 1888. The widespread use of barbed wire resulted in the refinement of cattle breeds, improvement of ranges, and innovative use of water supplies. Windmills, water wells, and earthen tanks were introduced on Presidio County ranches in the late 1880s.

Read more of the Presidio County History from the Handbook of Texas Online


  History of Marfa and Presidio County, Texas, 1535-1946 by History of Marfa and Presidio County, Texas, 1535-1946, 2 volumes, available on microfilm from the Family History Center

A Short Time Line for Presidio County by Verner Bonner

A Short History of Presidio County by Verner Bonner

Presidio Texas Brief History from the Presidio Chamber of Commerce website

Brands of Old Presidio County

Texas campaigns to save historic 100 year old Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Ruidosa from the Washington Times

Fort Leaton State Historical Park

Marfa and Presidio County Museum
110 W. San Antonio St
Marfa, TX 79843   map