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ROMERO, CASIMERO

ROMERO, CASIMERO (1833–1912). Casimero Romero, pioneer sheep rancher in the Panhandle, one of four sons of a Spanish immigrant who reportedly arrived in Mexico about 1801, was born in 1833. Eventually the family settled in Mora County, New Mexico, where Casimero was a Comanchero and sheepman; he soon became a man of means. Since he and his wife, Salome, had no children of their own, they adopted her niece Piedad and a boy named José Ynocencio (Chencho). According to United States Army records, Romero once applied for a commission but was rejected, possibly because he was illiterate. In the fall of 1876 he and his family left their vast ranch and headed east to the Panhandle, where they arrived in November. Their caravan included twelve ox-drawn freight wagons, 100 peons, 3,000 Romero sheep, and another 1,500 sheep belonging to Agapito Sandoval, who accompanied them. For his home Romero chose a site on Atascosa Creek, near the Canadian River in northeastern Oldham County. He and his party endured the winter in tents and wagons while they dug an irrigation ditch from nearby springs, constructed permanent adobe dwellings, and planted cottonwood trees around the site. The Romeros thus became the first residents of Tascosa. Romero built a large adobe house, complete with wool carpets made in Dodge City and furniture freighted in from Las Vegas, New Mexico, planted oats, and cultivated a successful stand of irrigated alfalfa. He also harvested prairie hay and raised enough longhorn cattle to provide both beef and milk for his employees and neighbors. Later he purchased dairy cattle. At first the Romeros used Dodge City, Kansas, Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Trinidad, Colorado, as their main market and supply centers. After Tascosa grew as a distribution center for Panhandle cattlemen, Catholic Church services were held in the Romero home by a priest from Trinidad until a church was built in the late 1880s.

During the peak of Romero's wealth he had about 6,000 sheep, as well as horses and cattle. In 1882, after losing half of his sheep in a blizzard, he sold the remainder and began freighting on the trail to Dodge City for a livelihood. In 1883 he took a two-year contract with the Wright and Farnsworth freighting firm and moved his family to Dodge City, where his son was already in school. There he established the St. James Hotel. The Romeros moved back to Tascosa after the expiration of Casimero's contract in 1887. By then the influx of cattlemen had begun to crowd the open range, thus compelling most of the pastores either to buy land or drift back into New Mexico with their flocks. When the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway bypassed Tascosa, the Romeros' livelihood was further threatened. Although they hauled supplies for the XIT Ranch and continued to operate their own ranch, the railroad bypass gradually resulted in the demise of most of their freighting business. In 1896 Romero sold his ranch to Al Morris and moved to Bard, New Mexico, where he resumed sheep ranching on two quarter sections of land that he had purchased in 1893. He lived his remaining years at Bard and died in 1912. He is buried in an unmarked grave in the Endee Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Amarillo Daily News July 16, 27, 28, 1953. Amarillo Sunday News-Globe, Golden Anniversary Edition, August 14, 1938. Amarillo Genealogical Society, Texas Panhandle Forefathers, comp. Barbara C. Spray (Dallas: National ShareGraphics, 1983). Paul H. Carlson, Texas Woolybacks: The Range Sheep and Goat Industry (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1982). José Ynocencio Romero and Ernest R. Archambeau, "Spanish Sheepmen on the Canadian at Old Tascosa," Panhandle-Plains Historical Review 19 (1946).

H. Allen Anderson

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

H. Allen Anderson, "ROMERO, CASIMERO," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/froaq), accessed April 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.