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Presidio County established

January
03
1850

On this day in 1850, Presidio County was established from Bexar Land District with Fort Leaton as the county seat. The area around the present town of Presidio on the Rio Grande, known as La Junta de los Ríos, is believed to be the oldest continuously cultivated farmland in Texas. The first Spaniards probably reached La Junta in 1535 when Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca crossed on his trek across Texas. The entrada of Juan Domínguez de Mendoza and Father Nicolás López in 1683-84 established seven missions at seven pueblos along the river in the La Junta area. The area remained devoid of permanent settlements, however, because neither the Spanish nor, later, the Mexican government could control the Apache and Comanche Indians in the area. With the 1846 annexation of Texas, Americans recognized the economic potential of the frontier along the Rio Grande, and by 1848 Ben Leaton had established Fort Leaton on the site of an old Spanish fort. Although the 1850 United States census reported no population for Presidio County, a sufficient number lived there to establish the county. Several Americans irrigated crops and grazed herds on the Rio Grande in the 1850s and 1860s, and rancher Milton Faver became the first to move away from the safety of the river. Presidio and Marfa are the main communities in Presidio County today.

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