Magoffinsville, TX

By: Martin Donell Kohout

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: November 30, 2019

Magoffinsville was established by James Wiley Magoffin in 1849 about a half mile north of the Rio Grande on a site within what is now El Paso, Texas, in El Paso County. Magoffinsville was known as the American El Paso-in contrast to the Mexican city across the Rio Grande, El Paso del Norte, now Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Magoffinsville consisted of a group of adobe buildings around an open square and was watered by an acequia that ran from the river to the square. Magoffin resided in a large, elegant house, in which he lavishly entertained army officers and government officials. John R. Bartlett was among Magoffin's guests, and predicted that Magoffinsville would remain the center of Anglo-American settlement in the El Paso area. A post office operated at Magoffinsville in 1852 and 1853. In January 1854 an army post was established there, with four companies of the Eighth Infantry under Maj. Edmund B. Alexander quartered in buildings rented from Magoffin. In March 1854 the post was officially designated Fort Bliss. Most of the buildings at Magoffinsville, including the fort, were destroyed or severely damaged by a Rio Grande flood in 1868, the year Magoffin died. In 1870 the El Paso postmaster described the site as "only an old dilapidated ranch." The site was incorporated into El Paso in 1873. In 1875 Joseph Magoffin, James's son, built a home a short distance west of the site of Magoffinsville, on property that had belonged to his father (see MAGOFFIN HOME STATE HISTORICAL PARK).

W. H. Timmons, El Paso: A Borderlands History (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1990).


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

Martin Donell Kohout, “Magoffinsville, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 22, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 30, 2019