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MORITA, TX

MORITA, TEXAS. Morita is between Cibolo and Cienega creeks at La Morita Spring, 5½ miles west of the Cienega Mountains and five miles southeast of Shafter in south central Presidio County. Morita, "little mulberry" in Spanish, was probably named for the shade trees growing around the spring. La Morita Spring became part of Milton Faver's ranch holdings in the 1850s. Faver, a pioneer Presidio County rancher, took up the land around the area's prominent springs-Cienega, Big Springs, Cibolo, and La Morita. With abundant springwater, Faver and his workers raised vegetables, fruits, cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and mules. Springwater made the Faver ranches self-sufficient in a land with little rainfall. Faver constructed walled bastions at his Cibolo and Cienega ranches for protection against Indian attack, but he did not fortify his La Morita sheep ranch. His brother-in-law, Carmen Ramírez, was the La Morita ranch foreman and lived there with his wife and their two small sons. On July 31, 1875, Indians raided La Morita Ranch and carried away Carmen and his family. The next day Carmen's brother Pancho rode from Cibolo to La Morita, learned of the Indian attack, and returned to Cibolo, where he found four men to pursue the Indians with him. Two miles up the trail the men found Carmen's body. The men continued following the Indians, aided by pieces of Mrs. Ramírez's dress dropped to mark the trail. When they came close enough to determine that the number of Indians was large, Pancho's companions refused to continue. Unable to go on alone, Pancho returned to bury his brother. Carmen's family was left with the Indians. By 1900 the La Morita ranch was the property of Faver's brother-in-law, George Dawson. La Morita was often the scene of celebration. It was an oasis of running water shaded by leafy trees. On the first day of May each year, children danced around May poles and picnicked at the spring. By the 1960s only an old adobe house and stone fences were left as witnesses to Faver's accomplishments at the Morita ranch. But his contribution to ranching in far West Texas was significant. Without his early settlement in the area, ranching operations would have been delayed for another thirty years.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Leavitt Corning, Jr., Baronial Forts of the Big Bend (Austin: Trinity University Press, 1967). John Ernest Gregg, History of Presidio County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1933). Carlysle Graham Raht, The Romance of the Davis Mountains and Big Bend Country (Odessa, Texas: Rahtbooks, 1963). Cecilia Thompson, History of Marfa and Presidio County, 1535–1946 (2 vols., Austin: Nortex, 1985).

Julia Cauble Smith

Citation

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

Julia Cauble Smith, "MORITA, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvmcf), accessed September 02, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.