The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931 Page: 80
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Nueces; among the conditions was a prohibition against trans-
ferring it to a church or monastery, an echo of conflicts in Spain
long before the days of Mexican independence and of contem-
porary conflicts in Mexico. Some of the grants, together with
others lying outside of Dimmit County, were at once transferred to
Juan Carlos Beales, an English land speculator with a Mexican
wife, said to have been the daughter of Soto, and a Mexicanized
name. He, with Diego Grant, proposed to introduce "eight hun-
dred honest, industrious families from Europe" to convert "into
settlements useful to the State and Mexican nation the vacant and
desert lands." No settlement was made under the grants, if for
no other reasons, because the war of Texan Independence inter-
vened and because of unfriendly Indians.2 However, at least by
the end of the fifties or early sixties, and probably earlier, Mex-
icans from the river towns grazed cattle on the prairie during times
when Indian hostility was not too great, as was done in other por-
tions of the strip between the Nueces and Rio Grande.
Prior to permanent settlement at the close of the Civil War, the
prairies of Dimmit County, like other portions of southwest Texas,
were frequented by Indians, and visited by Mexican or American
mustang hunters, who came to "walk down" the wild horses, corral
them, and take them to the markets of San Antonio. Traversing
the county through the site of Catarina was el camino real, which
led through Presidio crossing on the river in Maverick County to
San Antonio and the Sabine Pass. Trade moved over this trail
until the early eighties, mainly in ox-carts. Peloncilla, Spanish
blankets, hemp, hair ropes and halters, and other products, were
brought from Mexico, and corn, rock salt, clothing and merchan-
dise were taken back.
Early settlers found the prairies covered with fine grasses, upon
which cattle fattened for market without extra feeding. It was
free of the brush, which, with the prevention of fires sometimes set
by Indians or others, has since become ubiquitous. Wild game was
plentiful-turkeys, deer, wolves, panthers, javelin hogs, and others.
Indeed, there is a myth that once in time of protracted drouth and
incipient famine the citizens of Dimmit County were the only ones
in the section who did not depend on State aid, because they hunted
2See Texas-Mexican Railway Co. v. Locke, 74 Texas 370.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931, periodical, 1931; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101091/m1/90/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.