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DABNEY, TX

DABNEY, TEXAS. Dabney, also known as Whitesmine, was a mining community at the southern end of Farm Road 1022, six miles south of Cline in far southwestern Uvalde County. An asphalt-mining operation was opened by the Lathe Carbon Company at the site in 1888. In 1891 J. G. Smyth purchased 20,000 acres in southwestern Uvalde County that encompassed a portion of the Nueces River and the Lathe Company mining site. In 1906 thirty-one students attended the one-teacher Dabney school. The mine was closed in 1900 and reopened sometime after 1913, most probably in 1923, by a former employee of the Uvalde Rock Asphalt Company, R. L. White, who, after having left his former employers in 1918, returned for a source of raw limestone asphalt to supply his San Antonio-based Alamo Paving Company. White was married to Smyth's daughter Ethel and controlled a small interest in the property. He concluded an agreement with the remainder of the Smyth Ranch owners on September 14, 1923, that permitted his White's Uvalde Mines Company to mine and remove rock asphalt. Beginning in 1923 the Asphalt Belt Railroad transported the raw material to a siding, called Whites, on the San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf Railroad. By 1928 the Whites Mine Corporation had developed a new process to manufacture on site a cold-mix paving material; the company began to market the new product during the Great Depression.

In 1935 White brought the mine to full production. In 1941 he took advantage of a proviso in the contract permitting him to pay a lump sum in order to cancel the lease portion of the agreement and permit the removal of 56,000 additional tons of asphalt without further compensation. A legal dispute over the removal of the additional asphalt reached the Texas Supreme Court in 1947, and the court exacted a sizable judgment against White and White's Uvalde Mines. By 1946 Dabney had been abandoned except for one dwelling, although a mining operation three miles southeast appears to have been in full operation.

The population of Dabney in 1966 was estimated at twenty-five. In the early 1970s a shortage of available railroad cars forced White's mine operators to turn to trucks for their transportation needs. In 1988 Dabney had an estimated population of thirty, two mines, and one business near the railroad depot. In 1990 the Vulcan Materials Company, based in San Antonio, operated the mines at Dabney. According to the plant manager in Dabney there were no longer any people living at the site; the seventy employees were transported by a company bus each day from their homes in Uvalde and Sabinal.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

A Proud Heritage: A History of Uvalde County (Uvalde, Texas: El Progreso Club, 1975). Texas Supreme Court, Texas Reports: Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court (Austin: Gammel-Statesman, 1903–63).

Ruben E. Ochoa

Citation

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

Ruben E. Ochoa, "DABNEY, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnd01), accessed September 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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