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Trevino Circle T Ranch

Alicia A. General Entry

The Treviño Circle T Ranch, one mile west of Zapata in west central Zapata County, was founded by Bartolomé de Lizarraras y Cuellar and María Gregoria Martínez. Lizarraras was a member of the Cuellar and García families, the original settlers of Saltillo, Coahuila. The Lizarraras family was among those who took part in the colonization of Nuevo Santander under José de Escandón. They settled in Villa Revilla (present-day Guerrero) and were assigned porción 37, which comprised 7,085.41 acres. The tract came to be called Capitaneño. Don Bartolomé raised cattle, goats and sheep and grew vegetables and hay. The family eventually moved across the river to what is now Zapata County, Texas, where their earliest buildings date to the 1760s. The floors of the structures were made of clay or flagstone; each of the dwellings had a fireplace for cooking and heating as well as loopholes through which muskets could be fired. In 1767 Lizarraras was granted another tract by the Spanish crown. After his death his ranch passed to his son José Miguel, who already owned two porciones. The younger Lizarraras completed construction on the ranch's buildings and with his wife, María Gertrudis González, had six children, of whom José Antonio inherited Capitaneño at his father's death in 1816. John James Audubon is said to have visited the ranch to sketch roadrunners for his Birds of America. The next to manage the ranch was Juan Nepomuceno Lizarraras, who inherited it in 1859. He and his wife, Nepomucena Ochoa, kept the ranch going through the Civil War. Upon his death in 1889 the ranch was divided, and 943 acres went to Nepomuceno's son Manuel. In 1922 Luisa, daughter of Manuel and Nepomucena Ochoa Treviño, inherited 132 acres, on which she and her husband, Filiberto Treviño, continued to raise cattle and crops. During the early 1950s most of the ranch was inundated by the International Falcon Reservoir. All the original buildings were submerged, but the family was able to save a mesquite door and some hand-hewn sandstone that was subsequently used in constructing the present ranchhouse. In 1959 Antonio Treviño, one of Luisa and Filiberto's nine children, acquired eleven acres of his mother's land and added 117 more acres of the original grant, which he bought from an uncle. Antonio, with his wife Evangelina González, raised horses and cattle and grew hay and had the land resurveyed. They also built a house, fences, pens, and barns and dug a tank; more recently, they drilled a water well and a gas well.

Guide to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in South Texas (Austin: Texas General Land Office, 1988). Virgil N. Lott and Virginia M. Fenwick, People and Plots on the Rio Grande (San Antonio: Naylor, 1957). Virgil N. Lott and Mercurio Martinez, The Kingdom of Zapata (San Antonio: Naylor, 1953). Texas Family Land Heritage Registry (Austin: Texas Department of Agriculture, 1974-).


  • 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., “Trevino Circle T Ranch,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 21, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1996

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: