The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931 Page: 85
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Historical Note on Dimmit County, Texas
Very little farming was done until the nineties. A little feed
was raised in good seasons by some ranchers; cotton was attempted
as early as the eighties, and a gin built, but not used. As late as
1898, comments in the Javelin emphasize the unimportant role of
agriculture; for instance, "What few crops we have in our county
are looking good. . . ."11 The following year, in more optimistic
mood, the editor declared: "Our soil only needs water to make it
the most productive in the State . . . during seasonable years our
farmers (none of them farming on a large scale) have raised
enough corn, beans, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables, not only for
home consumption, but for shipment to market."2
Among the early ranchmen, even gardens were rare. Food
supplies, including flour and meal, were hauled from San Antonio,
frequently by oxen; emergency supplies of some articles, such as
coffee, tobacco, and sugar, could be got at Presidio, across the river.
One of the first gardens was that of a young rancher from Balti-
more, who, dissatisfied with the diet which he found, irrigated a
garden patch from a windmill and tank in order to have the fresh
vegetables to which he had been accustomed. Some others began
to do the same, one providing irrigation by damming a creek, and
others by utilizing the artesian water discovered in the early
Local tradition has it that artesian water was first discovered by
a Negro boy, who stuck a lightning rod to the bottom of a spring.
Others secured flows from shallow wells which they dug. Probably
the first artesian well brought in by boring was that of S. D. Fra-
zier, of Carrizo Springs, completed in 1884. It was described as
follows: "Flowing well at 165 feet; cost $330; flows about 40 gal-
lons per minute. Used for domestic purposes and irrigation of 4
acres. Its irrigating capacity is estimated at 20 acres. The water
appears to have the same effect as rains. Irrigation is necessary
about three years out of five."'3 In this small way began the
utilization of the underground water supplies of the Carrizo sands,
which has changed the socio-economic life of Dimmit County by
elevating intensive agriculture above the pasturing of stock. But
March 26, 1898.
"Ibid., February 4, 1899.
"'Roesler, F. E., Artesian wells, Senate ex. doe. 222, 51 Cong., 1 Sess.,
1890, p. 287. F. Vivion and O. M. Addison also had wells about the
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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/m1/95/: accessed August 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.