El Sordo Ranch

By: Alicia A. Garza

Type: General Entry

Published: January 1, 1995

El Sordo Ranch, off Highway 16 twelve miles southwest of Hebbronville in north central Jim Hogg County, was started in 1848. The land was part of the Agostadero del Sordo ("Summer Pasture of the Mute [or Deaf] One") grant from Mexico to Luis Vela. The present ranch known as El Sordo was part of the 23,400 acres purchased by William A. Waugh in 1883 from J. H. McLeary. The headquarters was on an additional 693 acres that Waugh bought from C. W. Earnest. Waugh was one of the first Anglo settlers in Jim Hogg County. He and his wife, Angelita María (Serña), had three daughters. In 1895 Florence, one of the daughters, and her husband, Henry C. Yeager, acquired the ranch headquarters and began raising red Durham cattle. Henry Yeager was known for refusing to foreclose on ranchers with delinquent loans. In 1906, at his death, part of the 14,000 acres of his land went to his daughter Martha Josephine Armstrong. Included in that bequest was El Sordo Ranch. Martha, with her husband, E. L. Armstrong, added 2,280 acres to their holdings and raised cotton, horses, and Hereford cattle. The ranch headquarters burned in 1934 and had to be completely rebuilt. The Armstrongs established a school for their children and the children of the ranchhands. Earnest Roberts Armstrong, who inherited the remaining 693 acres of the ranch, added improved pastures and watermelon fields to his cattle and horse raising. The original ranchhouse was remodeled in 1968 and continued in 1992 to be inhabited by the owners. El Sordo Ranch has served as ranch headquarters, post office, and way station for travelers.

Guide to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in South Texas (Austin: Texas General Land Office, 1988). Jim Hogg County Enterprise, Silver Anniversary, March 1939. David Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836–1986 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987). Texas Family Land Heritage Registry (Austin: Texas Department of Agriculture, 1974-), Vol. 10. WPA Texas Historical Records Survey, Inventory of the County Archives of Texas (MS, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin).
  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • 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, “El Sordo Ranch,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/el-sordo-ranch.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects:

El Sordo
Currently Exists
Place Type
Town Fields
  • Has post office: No
  • Is Incorporated: No
Belongs to
  • Jim Hogg County