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Mexican raiders attack Luke Brite's ranch

December
25
1917

On this day in 1917, some forty-five Mexicans, possibly followers of Pancho Villa, crossed the border and attacked Luke Brite's Presidio County ranch. The Christmas holiday found the Brites and most of their workers away from the ranch; the family of ranch manager T. T. Van Neill fought the invaders, but were forced to surrender the key to the ranch store. The raiders looted the store of food, clothing, and cash and stole the best horses and all the ranch's saddles. The mail stage arrived during the raid and the postman and two passengers were murdered. After several hours, neighbors and members of the Eighth U.S. Cavalry arrived and drove off the raiders. On the following morning, the raiders crossed back into Mexico. Some 200 cavalry troopers followed, killing ten of the bandits and recovering some of the stolen goods. A few days later, Texas Rangers killed fifteen Mexicans in Porvenir, in part in retaliation for the Brite Ranch raid; the Porvenir Massacre was one of the most serious acts of ranger misconduct cited in the Texas Ranger investigation of 1919.

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