Heritage, Volume 8, Number 4, Fall 1990 Page: 21
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Santo Tomas Ranch, 1790,
The story of 200-year-old Santo Tomas
Ranch contains elements of a Hollywood
script-creation by Spanish land grant,
frequent Indian attack, and a widow's
struggle to regain the family's land. The
tale began in 1767 when King Carlos III
granted young Don Eugenio Ramirez 6,150
acres south of the Rio Grande. It did not
unfold, however, until 1800. That year
Don Eugenio left Ramirez ranch headquarters
in Mier to cross the river and
establish another ranch on the gift from
the Spanish crown. By then he owned
25,000 acres, to which he had filed title ten
Don Eugenio crossed the river with his
second wife and recent bride, Dofia Maria
Rita de la Garza Falc6n, age twenty. The
couple christened their new ranch
Ramireno de Abajo. They built a stone
house, which had troneras-ledges with
peepholes to hold rifles-in place of
windows. Indian raids were commonplace,
and colonists kept vigil against sudden
attack. Three of seven Ramirez offspring
died at the hands of Indians. Nine-year-old
Hilarion was the first, killed by Comanches
as he tended a sick calf.
"Can you imagine the courage of those
people? They had no doctors, nothing to
help them but the grace of God," said
Mario Yzaquirre of Brownsville, one of four
descendants who own shares of the original
property. "It was a rough life. They never
knew what would happen the next day.
One [of those killed] lay outside for about
three days before anyone could come out to
recover the body. It was that dangerous."
Toward the end of his own life, Don
Eugenio became a bondsman, which nearly
cost the family its land. He put up
personal bail money for an official, who
quickly disappeared into the wilderness.
Don Eugenio had to mortgage his land to
pay the debt. Soon after, he suffered a fatal
stroke. To earn money, Dofia Maria Rita
and her children made soap, which they
sold in Monterrey, Mexico 150 miles away.
For nineteen years they struggled to pay the
debt and reclaim clear title to their
Tomas, a son, typified the family's pioneer
spirit. Prompted by the danger of
Indian attack, he sent his wife and seven
children to Mier for protection. Tomas,
meanwhile, rode herd on the open range.
At around age thirty-four, he was tied to a
tree, killed, and scalped. A vaquero who
escaped the attack rescued Tomas' body
and took it to Mier. The rancher's daughter,
Crescencia, later would recall standing
in the doorway to her home as her mother
combed her hair, watching her father ride
double toward the house. A forked branch
supported his head; a vaquero held his body
from behind. Only when the horse reached
the house did she realize something terrible
had happened. Crescensia's Uncle Ildefonso
met a similar fate on the open range.
Over the years, the Ramirez land was
subdivided many times among the heirs.
Crescencia and her husband, Tomas
Yzaquirre, inherited about 1,850 acres of
range, which they worked in common with
other family members. Tomas, descendant
of another pioneer family, was also willed
land. No longer threatened by Indians, the
family devoted all its energy to raising
cattle, sheep, goats, horses, corn, beans,
and sorghum. In 1915 a post office was
opened at Ramireno de Abajo, by then a
small town. The town was renamed Falc6n
in honor of Crescencia's grandmother,
Dofia Maria Rita.
In 1921, three Yzaquirre children
inherited the ranch, now called Santo
Tomas. A son, Maximiano, and his wife,
Angela, divided their time between their
home at Santo Tomas, twenty-two miles
HERITAGE * FALL 1990 21
Top: Janey and Doris Ella Singletary watched their grandmother, Patience Elizabeth Watters,
feed the chickens. Above: The cook wagon and chow wagon were always full during harvest
at Williamson Farm in Wichita County.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 8, Number 4, Fall 1990, periodical, Autumn 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45429/m1/21/: accessed November 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.