The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Support Texas History Now

Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.

Become a TSHA Member Today »

Nueva Dolores, TX

John Hazelton General Entry

Nueva Dolores is on high land above the Rio Grande just west of U.S. Highway 83 twenty miles south of Laredo in the northwestern corner of Zapata County. It is on land that originally belonged to José Vázquez Borrego, who established a ranch, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores Hacienda (also known as Nuestra Señora de Dolores), on the north bank of the Rio Grande in 1750. Nueva Dolores is two miles upriver from the original ranch headquarters, known as Dolores.

In 1859 Cosmé Martínez of Guerrero, formerly Revilla, in Tamaulipas, Mexico, purchased one-fourth of the Dolores ranch and established a community of laborers at Nueva Dolores, apparently the site of a former settlement. Members of the Martínez and Vidaurri families (the latter were descendants of José Vásquez Borrego) lived there as well. The settlement had a population of forty to fifty in Cosmé Martínez's day, and a total of fifteen stone houses by 1900. The residents tended livestock and raised corn, cotton, pumpkins, squash, and melons. By 1902 there was a thatch-roofed school in the village and a resident teacher. But there was not much else in the community, and the trip to Laredo took six hours. In 1932 a nearby ranch started the large-scale cultivation of onions, and the higher pay there attracted ranchhands from Nueva Dolores. In 1933 the school burned and was not replaced. The settlement was abandoned in the late 1930s, and most of the residents moved to Laredo.

Nueva Dolores is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The site contains the ruins of seven stone houses, a well, and a cemetery. The largest house belonged to Cosmé Martínez and is said to date from 1860.

José Roberto Juarez, Jr., An Architectural Description of Dolores Ranch (MS, Ranching Heritage Center, Texas Tech University, 1976). Gregorio Lara, Interview by Virginia Vargas, December 5, 1984, Nuevo Santander Museum, Laredo State University. Texas Historical Commission, National Register Files.


  • Communities

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

John Hazelton, “Nueva Dolores, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 08, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995