El Rancho in South Texas: Continuity and Change From 1750 Page: 49
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McCartys by Anglos) of braided rawhide. Horsehair
equipment they made included cabrestos, bridle reins,
headstalls, cinches for saddles, and other objects, such
as belts. Some wove saddle blankets from wool. Many
also continued to make their own chappareras, although
the leather workers in the King Ranch saddle shop also
made and sold these (Graham 199Ib).
Mexican Americans in South Texas continued to
build in the traditional style of earlier periods even
though exposed to new styles of architecture brought
by the Anglos. The casas mayores continued to be
built of sillares, and the pedn class continued to live in
jacales. The main ranch house built in the I85os by the
Bazin family on the Mota de Olmos Ranch, for in-
stance, consisted of a large room made ofsillares. When
threatened by Indians, the family gathered food and
water, secured the doors from inside, and climbed onto
the roof through an opening. Parapets, with troneras
through which Bazan and his men could fire, extended
about five feet above the chipichil roof (Graham 1992).
Antonio Hinojosa settled the El Guajillo Ranch in
southern Duval County in the early I860s. The two
main houses of the original ranch headquarters were
made of sillar blocks, but unlike most houses of this
period built by Tejanos, these two had pitched roofs
made of cut lumber and wooden shingles hauled from
Corpus Christi on wagons. Other structures also had
unique characteristics. The fortress-like home on the
L6pez ranch in Jim Hogg County is a two-story sillar
building with a round tower (torredn) connected to it
by a ten-foot high wall (Graham 1992).
Anglos brought their own architecture into the
region, and their example influenced some of the
Mexican-American builders. The walls of the main
house on the Las Albercas Ranch house (in Webb
County near Mirando City) are made of sillares quar-
ried from a nearby hill, but the architecture is signifi-
cantly different from other Mexican-made buildings of
this era. Workers on this ranch also lived in a bunk-
house rather than injacaes.
Perhaps the first bunkhouse in the area was built
on the King Ranch for its single vaqueros and workers
(Lea 1957). Richard King married Henrietta Chamber-
lain in 1854, and the first house they lived in was, in
Henrietta's words, "a mere jacal" (Lea 1957). The house
King built for his family was described as follows:
... low and rambling, built of frame, with an attic or half
second-story and an inviting, bannistered front gallery. The
dining room and kitchen, built of stone to avoid the haz-
ard of fire, formed a separate building at the rear and was
connected with the living quarters by an unroofed walkway
open to the weather. A little to the north of this main house
was the stone-built commissary and store, together with a
kitchen, eating space and sleeping quarters for extra hands,
teamsters and those who came seeking work at the ranch. By
the commissary stood a watchtower, and a men's dormitory
for buyers, visitors and chance travelers. Farther to the north
were stables, corrals, carriage and wagon sheds, a busy black-
smith's shop and a rough line of small houses where ranch
employees lived with their families. Sometime in the I86os a
one-room school was established for children on the ranch,
doubtless under supervision by Henrietta King. (Lea 1957)
Much of the lumber used to build these structures
was secondhand material bought from the government
when the Army post and depot in Corpus Christi was
abandoned in 1857. Other lumber came from Louisi-
ana and Florida, brought through Corpus Christi and
hauled to the ranch by oxcart and heavy wagon.
The Ranch Modernizes: 1885-1930
By 1885, the open range was a thing of the past in South
Texas. Much ranchland would become farmland, par-
ticularly along the Lower Rio Grande Valley, locally
called "The Valley." New towns began to spring up as
more people migrated into South Texas from Mexico
and various parts of the United States. Deep wells and
windmills played a major role in the modernization of
the ranch, leading to the crossfencing of the land and
bringing such advances as the upbreeding of cattle and
the eradication of the tick which caused Texas Fever.
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/m1/61/?q=el%20rancho: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.