The First Settlers

cattle drive

The first settlers came from ranching communities in Queretaro, Nuevo Leon, and Coahuila, where they had already learned how to live and raise cattle successfully in those arid regions.

These small settlements, or villas, along the Rio Grande, together with the vast ranches supplying the missions near San Antonio and Goliad, were the birthplace of the American cattle industry.

Some of these Rio Grande ranches grew into settlements, becoming towns and cities.

On this far-south stretch of the river, Captain Blás María de la Garza Falcón, already a wealthy rancher, received a land grant totalling, 433,500 acres across the Rio Grande from Camargo. He established the ranch of Carnestolendas with fifteen families on the north side of the river in 1752. The headquarters would later be called “Rancho Davis” and in 1848 would become Rio Grande City.