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LOS OJUELOS, TX

LOS OJUELOS, TEXAS. Los Ojuelos, or Ojuelos, is on Farm Road 649 some 2½ miles south of Mirando City near the southeastern corner of Webb County. Centuries before Spanish settlers arrived, Indians camped on the site, one of the few locations in the semiarid surroundings where surface water was dependable. The local springs attracted Eugenio Gutiérrez, who received a land grant from the king of Spain in 1810 and eventually attempted to settle in the area. But frequent Indian attacks forced Gutiérrez to abandon the site for the relative safety of his hometown, Guerrero, Tamaulipas. Eugenio's son Isidro returned in 1835 and managed to clear the title for two sitios of land, but the Indian threat once again proved to be insurmountable. In 1850 a company of Texas Rangers, under the command of Capt. John S. (Rip) Ford, established a camp at Los Ojuelos to police the trade road running through the site from Laredo to Corpus Christi. Once the Indians' dominance in the area had been curtailed, José María Guerra, a grandson of Eugenio Gutiérrez, returned to Los Ojuelos. In 1857 he built an irrigation system and a chapel, as well as a stone enclosure to protect the springs from further Indian raids. These amenities and Guerra's efforts to attract new residents enticed many Mexicans from the Rio Grande valley; by 1860 about 400 had settled at Hacienda de los Ojuelos.

The Texas-Mexican Railway in 1881 bypassed the town a few miles to the north, and when it connected with the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway in 1885, freight headed to and from Laredo was shipped mostly by rail instead of passing through Los Ojuelos. An Ojuelos post office opened in 1894, but the population of the settlement had declined to 178 by 1904. The Ojuelos post office was discontinued in 1917, and Los Ojuelos remained quiet until O. W. Killam discovered oil nearby in the early 1920s. Killam established Mirando City just north of Los Ojuelos, and children from the new town attended the Los Ojuelos school through the 1940s. The 1948 county highway map shows an active school and eight homes in Los Ojuelos. The oil boom temporarily expanded the community's population, but quiet returned to Los Ojuelos once drilling at the Mirando City oilfield stopped. From the 1950s through the 1980s Los Ojuelos remained virtually abandoned; its buildings were used by local ranchers.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

T. Lindsay Baker, Ghost Towns of Texas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986). Ellis A. Davis, and Edwin H. Grobe, comps., The New Encyclopedia of Texas (4 vols. 1929?). Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). S. G. Reed, A History of the Texas Railroads (Houston: St. Clair, 1941; rpt., New York: Arno, 1981).

Lea Anne Morrell

Citation

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

Lea Anne Morrell, "LOS OJUELOS, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrl45), accessed December 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on January 25, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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