El Rancho in South Texas: Continuity and Change From 1750 Page: 21
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necessities (like clothing) for these workers. He also
covered the expenses of Fray Miguel de Santa Maria
de los Dolores of Revilla, who would spend a month
of each year on the hacienda, teaching the Indians and
Spaniards alike, baptizing and performing marriages
and attending to the sick (Fish 1991).
By July 20, 1757, the Jos6 Tienda de Cuervo inspec-
tion reported the addition of twelve soldiers and one
sergeant, who made up a "flying squadron" (compania
volante) to protect the ranch from marauding Indians.
Dressed in leather jackets, leather belts and shields,
they were armed with pistols, muskets, swords, and
daggers. They constantly patrolled the river by horse-
back, on the lookout for hostile Indians who raided the
Dolores and other ranches from time to time during
the establishment period. These were not the hunting-
and-gathering Indians who had occupied the region
prior to the coming of Escand6n, but rather the Lipan
Apaches and the Comanches from the north, who had
acquired horses and become some of the most skilled
warriors among the Indian tribes (Fish 1991).
The Cuervo Report also noted that the livestock on
the Dolores hacienda included 3000 mares, 400 saddle
horses, 15oo untamed mules, ioo tamed mules, 3000
head of cattle, 25o tamed donkeys and 8oo untamed
donkeys. Borrego was known for producing among
the best mules available in the region. In addition to
the fifteen vaqueros who tended the livestock and the
thirteen men of the mounted "flying squadron," Bor-
rego employed four men to operate the sturdy, flat
ferry boats which crossed the Rio Grande. By 1755,
most people who came through this region of Texas
crossed the Rio Grande at Dolores (Fish 1991).
The population at Dolores had grown to forty-one
families and a total population of 198 persons by 1767.
These people were all living in jacales (small huts made
of native materials such as mesquite), since none of the
finer structures had yet been built for the landowning
family. However, a stone chapel, or visita, had been
constructed for holding religious services whenever the
visiting priest came (Fish 1991).
There is little record of what occurred at Dolores
between 1767 and the beginning of the Mexican Revo-
lution in I8io, other than the fact that Borrego had
died and his descendants inherited the hacienda. It is
known that the revolution had a profoundly negative
effect on the hacienda's inhabitants. The Borrego family
was sympathetic to the cause of Father Miguel Hidalgo
y Costillo and his quest for independence from Spain.
Juan Jos6, one of Borrego's sons who had become a
priest, was executed in Chihauhua because of his open
support of Father Hidalgo. In 1811, when the revo-
lution reached the Rio Grande, a royalist officer and
ten men surprised the families living at Dolores in a
midnight raid. They seized and escorted to Chihau-
hua grandsons of the founder, Macario and Miguel
Borrego, and destroyed all of the original documents
at the hacienda, including the papers of ownership
During this era, Dolores was also under frequent
attack by Indians, who killed a number of the in-
habitants. In 1814, Jose Maria Margil de Vidaurri, a
grandson of Borrego, built a stone tower at the ranch
headquarters to defend against them. Dolores had to
be abandoned in i818 because of these frequent attacks.
Vidaurri and his family moved to Laredo, where there
was a small company of soldiers to protect the village.
In 1828, several citizens of Laredo declared the lands
at Dolores, Corralitos, and San Ygnacio unoccupied
and open to claim. The Borrego heirs appealed to the
State of Tamaulipas for validation of its titles, which
were restored to them. Soon afterward, Dolores was
occupied again, this time with a resident padre, a small
chapel, and a school, but the village was destroyed in
the 185os (Fish 1991). The survivors moved to Laredo
and the ranch headquarters of San Ygnacio. Only seven
of the forty-seven ranches in the area were occupied
because of the Indian depredations. The population
of Laredo had declined from a high of 2,054 in 1828
to 1,746 in 1834, and the city leaders had sent many
unanswered pleas for help to Mexican authorities (Wil-
Even though Dolores was never re-occupied, Bor-
rego's daughter Manuela and her son Jos6 Fernando
Vidaurri inherited the land. Jos6 took the grant known
as the San Ygnacio subdivision; the Corralitos sub-
The Ranch in South Texas
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Graham, Joe S. El Rancho in South Texas: Continuity and Change From 1750, book, 1994; Denton, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28328/m1/33/?q=el%20rancho: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.