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Historical Markers

Duval County has nine historical markers that include one at the Duval County Courthouse.
The following information about the Historical Markers in Duval County is provided by the Texas Historical Commission.

Barronena Ranch
Town:  Feer, Texas
Directions to Marker:  Located 27 miles South of State Highway 16 - the markers is NOT visible from the road and may be on the actual farm house which is located on private property.
Erected date:  1989

Marker Text:  The Barronena Ranch is an important reminder of early South Texas ranching. Named for a creek (now called Los Machos) which traverses the property, the ranch was part of a larger tract owned by Diego Hinojosa, who received a grant of five leagues from the Republic of Mexico. In 1856, Hinojosa received a state of Texas patent for 2237 acres of this land. James O. Luby (1846-1932) later owned a part of the ranch. a native of England and a Confederate veteran of the Civil War, Luby became the first county judge of Duval County in 1876. Barronena Ranch was purchased by J. M. Bennett (1831-1920) in 1905 and has remained in the Bennett family since that time. The nucleus of the ranch is a 19th century adobe house, reportedly a stage stop between Goliad and Laredo. Other structures include a native rock water trough and storage tank; a native rock wall more than one mile long; remains of a dipping vat and smokehouse; and rock foundations of other buildings, including a blacksmith shop. Richard King, grandson of the founder of the King Ranch, leased the Barronena Ranch in the 1920s. Santa Gertrudis cattle, developed by the King Ranch, were introduced here following World War II. (1989)

Duval County
Town:  San Diego, Texas
Directions to Marker:  404 East Gravis, San Diego, Texas
Erected date:  1996

Marker Text:  Created by the Texas Legislature in 1858 and organized in 1879, Duval County played an important role in the economic and political development of South Texas. Early settlers came to this area in the mid-19th century from Mexico, and Anglo pioneers began arriving in the 1860s. The early economy was based on ranching and agriculture. In the late 1870s the railroad brought increased employment and population to the county. The discovery of oil, gas, and uranium in the early 1900s boosted the economy and caused increased settlement in the region. (1996)

Duval County
Town:  San Diego, Texas
Directions to Marker:  Located on the steps of the Duval County Courthouse in San Diego, Texas.
Erected date:  1936

Marker Text:  Created February 1, 1858, organized November 7, 1876. Named in honor of Burr H. Duval, 1809-1836. Captain of a company of Fannin's command at Goliad. Murdered after the surrender March 27, 1836. San Diego, the county seat.

Duval County Courthouse - Historic Courthouse
Town:  San Diego, Texas
Constructed date:  1916
**No marker, just information about the Duval County Historic Courthouse**.

The courthouse was a three story red brick building with limestone detail.  The architectual firm for the building is Sanguinet, Staats & Gottlieb, with the contractor as Carl Gordon Staats.  The contractor is L.G. Hamilton and the style of the building is Classical Revivial.  Annex built in 1938. (Page Brothers) Some windows bricked in, fire escape added on front facade. Jail addition considered in 1995.

Duval County Historical Museum
Town:  San Diego, Texas
**No marker, just a musem exists**.
Directions to museum:  208 East Saint Joseph Avenue, San Diego, Texas

John C. Duval
Town:  Freer, Texas
Directions to marker:  Marker is missing
Erected date:  1936

Marker Text:  (1816 - 1897) First Texas man of letters. Wrote history not as a visitor, but a participant, and wrote to entertain and inspire. His "Early times in Texas" tells of days when, by bringing news of the outside world to the lonely settlers, a man could travel from the Sabine to the Rio Grande and spend not a cent for board. It also gives a personal account of Palm Sunday 1836 at Goliad, when Santa Anna's men shot down disarmed Texas prisoners of War -- a massacre from which Duval himself escaped, though an older brother was killed. His books, including "Early Times," "Bigfoot Wallace" and "Young Explorers," were not widely distributed at the time of publication, but made history live. As a young Austin citizen, the renowned O. Henry was influenced by Duval's work; so was J. Frank Dobie, dean of 20th century Texas writers. Duval was born in Kentucky; son of a territorial governor of Florida. Graduate of the University of Virginia. Civil engineer. First came to Texas in 1835. Fought in the Texas Revolution. Was a Texas Ranger and made a career of surveying frontier lands. Fought in the Mexican War and in the Civil War. This county was named for him and for two of his distinguished brothers. (1965)

El Rancho La Gloria
Town:  Freer, Texas
Directions to marker:  Unknown
Erected date:  2009

Marker Text:  Information needed

St. Francis de Paula Catholic Church
Town:  San Diego, Texas
Marker location:  405 South Victoria Street
Erected date:  1996

Marker Text:  Established in 1867 by Father Claude Jaillet, St. Francis de Paula Catholic Church was built through the contributions of its members and was the center of religious activity in the area. Father Jaillet served until 1872, and returned again from 1875-1884. This church was constructed in 1908 during the pastorate of Father Pedro Bard. The church was enlarged and remodeled and Parochial Hall was added by 1950. The church celebrated 100 years of service to its members and the surrounding communities in 1967, and continues to serve the area. (1996)

Valerio, Felipe, Store and Garage
Town:  San Diego, Texas
Marker location:  Texas 44 and Junction with Texas Farm Road 3196
Erected date:  1994

Marker Text:  (1.5 mi. southeast) Built in 1905 by Felipe Valerio (1878-1953) and his wife Jesusa (1886-1973), the Valerio store was an integral part of the small community of La Rosita. Located approximately halfway between San Diego and Freer, the store provided groceries and other goods for residents of this rural area. An increase in business from the area oil boom in the 1930s led to the addition of a gas station and garage. The store also served as a bus station, and Felipe Valerio was local postmaster from 1917 to 1929. Construction of State Highway 44 led to the closing of the store in 1956. (1994)

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