History

Wild West Legends in Uvalde

By  | 

Uvalde is a legendary “Wild West” town at the southwest corner of our Hill Country map. Known mostly for its outlaws during the early years, Uvalde produced several much-more-positive role models during the 20th century.

Wild West Legends in Uvalde

Photo: thestoryoftexas.com

The Uvalde area’s recorded history began largely with the establishment of San Antonio in 1718; from that time on, the region was crossed frequently by Spanish soldiers, traders, hunters, and prospectors. A mission (Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria) was established in 1762, about thirty miles northwest of present-day Uvalde; while it lasted only about five years before it was abandoned due to attacks by Comanches, Governor Juan de Ugalde defeated an army of Apaches near the site of modern-day Utopia (northeast of Uvalde) in 1790. The Sabinal Canyon was then known as the Canon de Ugalde. In 1849 (after Texas had joined the United States), a trail through the area to El Paso was marked by famous scout Jose Policarpo “Polly” Rodriguez, and Fort Inge was built a mile south of the current city center to protect settlers from Indian attacks.

One of the very few settlers then living west of Castroville (founded in 1844, a few miles west of San Antonio) was a rugged veteran of the Mexican War named Edward Dixon Westfall. He had built a cabin on the banks of the Leona River, and lived there with only his dogs for company; when the fort was built, he hired on as a scout for the U.S. Army. In 1853, a 23-year-old man named Reading W. Black purchased 4,650 acres (at 50 cents an acre) and built himself a home about a mile north of the fort. In 1855, he hired a surveyor from San Antonio to lay out an impressive city (which he first called Encina) on his piece of the wild, wild west.

Wild West Legends in Uvalde
Photo: thestoryoftexas.com

Page 1 of 5:12345