El Sauz, TX (Willacy County)

By: Alicia A. Garza

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: September 11, 2019

El Sauz is a ranching community and game preserve on Farm Road 497 some thirteen miles east of Raymondville in Willacy County. Sauz is a variant of sauce, Spanish for "willow." The ranch is on the San Juan de Carricitos land grant, which was given to José Narciso Cavazos in 1781 by the Spanish government (see SPANISH TEXAS). He took possession of the land and stocked it with 900 cattle. Richard King claimed to have come across a deserted ranch named El Sauz in that vicinity in 1852 while riding north from the Rio Grande. According to some sources, another community named El Sauz was established around 1852 on Redfish Bay, had a post office from 1870 to 1875, and was moved to the current site after the storm of 1882. In 1881 Richard King and Mifflin Kenedy took ownership of much of the land in the grant, including El Sauz, which became a subdivision of the King Ranch. The settlement was a stage stand between Alice and San Antonio, and a post office by the name of Sauz was in operation there from 1893 to 1915. The El Sauz school district was established on March 6, 1925. In the 1950s, when the ranch was owned by the Atwood branch of the King family, the ranch encompassed 100,000 acres. The school district was still in operation in the mid-1950s. During the early 1990s several dwellings were maintained on the ranch. El Sauz made national headlines in November 1936, when two residents of San Perlita, Luther Blanton and his son John, disappeared while hunting on the ranch. Some locals claimed that the two were murdered by King Ranch fence riders, and that the Kleberg family covered up the incident. Enough of the area's residents threatened to enter the ranch to destroy property that Governor James Allred ordered a company of Texas Rangers to the area. Capt. Bill McMurray found no evidence of foul play, however, thus confirming the previous findings of Willacy county sheriff Howard Cragg.

Tom Lea, The King Ranch (2 vols., Boston: Little, Brown, 1957).


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

Alicia A. Garza, “El Sauz, TX (Willacy County),” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 28, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/el-sauz-tx-willacy-county.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 11, 2019