Bustamante Ranch, located on State Highway 16 fifteen miles northeast of Zapata in central Zapata County, was established in 1802 by Pedro Bustamante. Not until January 2, 1848, did he acquire legal ownership to the land. On that date the Mexican government deeded him 22,142 acres as a part of Las Comitas, a land grant. Bustamante was a contemporary of Col. Antonio Zapata, with whom he often fought against raiding Indians. The primary crop produced on the ranch was peanuts, although Bustamante also raised sheep, goats, and cattle. Bustamante and his wife, Micaela (Villarreal), had ten children, and their son Manuel inherited 22,000 acres in 1856. He and his wife, Anastacia (Salinas), continued the enterprise, raising sheep, goats, cattle, and peanuts. They had eight children, and in 1890 their son Dionicio acquired 1,040 acres. He eventually added 500 more acres. Dionicio married Petra de los Santos, and they had seven children. Among the crops they raised were sugarcane, peanuts, cotton, squash, and watermelons. They also continued raising cattle and added a pond to the ranch; they sold both cattle and crops at market. In 1930 their son Francisco was given 183 acres, and he and his wife, Matiana, continued the tradition of raising cattle and producing peanuts. The great-great-grandson of Dionicio Bustamante, also named Dionicio, acquired the ranch in 1952. In the mid-1980s the ranch consisted of forty-one acres and was dedicated to cattle raising. It was under the management of the Garza brothers, Dionicio's cousins.
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Guide to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in South Texas (Austin: Texas General Land Office, 1988). Virgil N. Lott and Mercurio Martinez, The Kingdom of Zapata (San Antonio: Naylor, 1953). Texas Family Land Heritage Registry, Vol. 10.
Ranching and Cowboys
Ranches Established Before 1835
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Alicia A. Garza,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 20, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
November 1, 1994
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: