The Norias Ranch Raid occurred during the "bandit wars" that took place from 1912 through 1915 along the Texas-Mexico border. At dusk on August 8, 1915, a band of Mexicans rode into the southern end of the sprawling King Ranch and attacked the Norias division headquarters, located on the railroad about seventy miles north of Brownsville. Earlier that afternoon, in response to a call from Caesar Kleberg at Kingsville concerning Mexican horsemen in the Sauz division, Texas adjutant general Henry Hutchings,Texas Ranger captains Henry Ransom, J. M. Fox, and George J. Head, as well as ten rangers, and a corporal and seven cavalrymen stationed at Harlingen, arrived at Norias on a special train from Brownsville. They left the soldiers, then hurried by horseback to the Sauz pasture. The regular train reached Norias near sundown with three customs inspectors-D. P. Gay, Joe Taylor, and Marcus Hinds-and Cameron County deputy sheriff Gordon Hill. There were now sixteen men at the headquarters. At dusk Hinds saw horsemen approaching and thought they were Texas Rangers returning from patrol. When they were about 250 yards away, the horsemen, carrying a red flag, began firing at the ranchhouse. The besieged took cover behind the railroad embankment near the section house and returned fire. Albert, the cook, telephoned Kingsville for help.
The number of raiders was variously reported as anywhere from fifty to seventy men. Ranchhands Pedro Longorio, Luis Solis, and Macario Longorio said later that around two A.M. at the King Ranch Cerritos headquarters, fifty-two outlaws forced them to water and feed their horses. They reported that Antonio Roche and Dario Morada led the group. Another report said that Luis de la Rosa commanded a force of about fifteen men and had joined with a band of twenty-five. The raiders forced Manuel Rincones, a King Ranch employee, to guide them. At nightfall, after two hours of fighting, the raiders suddenly stopped firing and vanished into the darkness. They had broken into the section house and killed Manuela Flores. George Forbes, Frank Martin, and two soldiers were wounded. Some five or more raiders were killed and perhaps a dozen wounded. A wounded bandit said later that they expected to find only three or four cowboys at the headquarters. They planned to rob the ranch store, derail and loot the night train, and burn the ranchhouse. The Norias raid provoked outrage in the lower Rio Grande Valley. Mexican banditry escalated, and the United States Army promptly increased its presence in the area to curb the violence.
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Kate Adele Hill, Lon C. Hill, 1862–1935: Lower Rio Grande Valley Pioneer (San Antonio: Naylor, 1973). Tom Lea, The King Ranch (2 vols., Boston: Little, Brown, 1957). James Sandos, Rebellion in the Borderlands: Anarchism and the Plan of San Diego, 1904–1923 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992). William Warren Sterling, Trails and Trials of a Texas Ranger (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
Rebellions, Raids, and Wars
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Alicia A. Garza,
“Norias Ranch Raid,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 23, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
December 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
March 23, 2019