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RELAMPAGO, TX

RELAMPAGO, TEXAS. Relampago is off U.S. Highway 281 ten miles southeast of Weslaco in southeastern Hidalgo County. The area was part of the original Llano Grande land grant issued to Juan José Ballí by Spain on May 29, 1790. Ballí settled the area, keeping the grant undivided, until 1848, when it was partitioned among his heirs. A fifth of the grant was allocated to Vicente Hinojosa, his son. Cirildo Hinojosa, the son of Vicente Hinojosa, was the first occupant of what became Relampago. By 1852 a community had developed, and that year a portion of the land extending fifteen miles north from the river was sold to Thaddeus Rhodes of Brownsville. About 1856 the neighboring 1,400-acre tract was sold to José María Mora, a local rancher. Rhodes and Mora established the Relampago Ranch as co-owners. By 1860 Rhodes had built a ranchhouse and port of entry half a mile north of the river, and served as deputy collector and inspector. In 1880 Relampago had an estimated 158 residents and a general store owned and run by Mora. Mora sold 619 acres of his land to Laureano Hinojosa in 1881. By 1884 Relampago Ranch was a station on the stagecoach from Brownsville. In 1896 a school named Relampago had a teacher and forty-three students. In 1902 Rhodes sold 2,655 acres to the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company. The Capisallo Town and Improvement Company, a subsidiary of ARGL&I, platted the first Relampago townsite in 1908. Twelve blocks with three east-west streets were laid out. The failure of the community is attributed to a devastating flood in 1909, which killed livestock and destroyed farmland. A post office at Relampago was established in 1910 and closed in 1918, when services were transferred to Mercedes. Relampago had a brick plant at one time. Mora's store closed in 1927, with the death of Isabel de la Viña de Mora. Relampago later served as the headquarters of the Rosenthal Farms, Incorporated. In the late 1960s the community had an estimated population of 200. During that time a colonia developed, which by 1976 had thirty-nine dwellings and an estimated population of 215. In 1986 there were only thirty dwellings, and the population had dropped to 135. In the early 1990s Relampago was primarily composed of the colonia. The Relampago Cemetery was in the area and has been used for several generations of the Mora and Rhodes families. Relámpago is Spanish for "lightning flash." In 1990 Relampago was still listed as a community. The population was 104 in 2000. See also COLONIAS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Colonias in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas: A Summary Report (Policy Research Project Report No. 18, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, 1977). Historical Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin.

Alicia A. Garza

Citation

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

Alicia A. Garza, "RELAMPAGO, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrr17), accessed April 19, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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