Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 60
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TEXIAN STOMPING GROUNDS
was largely virgin land. There were not even resident Indians.
Arrowheads and other Indian relics abound today, but the only
Indians were raiding parties from farther north. The three
Guerras came out to the Becerra Ranch, then owned by Casimiro
Benavidez. At that time there were only four ranches in the
region-El Pato, La Becerra, El Nido, and La Parida. Of them,
only La Becerra remains.
After the Civil War broke out and the Southern ports were
blockaded, the only outlet for cotton was through Mexico.
One of the cotton roads from San Antonio to the Rio Grande
was hacked out through the brush six miles north of La Becerra
Ranch. The opening through the brush, now grass covered,
and the marks that the wide iron tires of the ox carts left on
flint rocks in their path can yet be seen. While the guns of war
thundered far away and ox carts rumbled across the Becerra, Don
Justo Guerra, his wife, and their sons saw their herds increase.
Ranching was the sole occupation of the country, and for most
of these border ranchers the war was as far away as the opera-
tions of Bismarck in Germany. At the brandings, all the rancheros
working in co-operation, the orejanos--the 'slick ears,' or mave-
ricks-were held until the cow hunts were over. Then there was
a roping contest, a kind of fiesta, at which the best ropers kept
for their own the wild, unclaimed animals on which they
contested. Sheep and wool, however, for a long time were the
chief products of the ranchers of this part of Texas.
Shortly after the close of the Civil War, Florencio Guerra
married Josefa Flores from Laredo. He established himself
farther down the creek at a natural rock ford. The banks were
higher here, the creek deeper, the land more fertile. He named
the place Buena Vista (Good View). Meanwhile, the country
was being settled, and it became necessary to establish legal
claim to the land under the Texas Homestead law.
So much for the establishment of the Rancho Buena Vista.
In time a school was built near the ranch house. Without pre-
suming to domain or wealth, Buena Vista became a kind of
social headquarters for the country around it. Yet the ways of
life on it were characteristic of the ways of life on scores of other
Mexican ranches between the Nueces and the Rio Grande, in
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Texian Stomping Grounds, book, 1941; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67663/m1/68/: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.