This month's story is on the Charco Redondo which lies in two counties, Brooks and Duval. The Charco Redondo location is at the present day intersection of state highways 285 & 339 or about halfway between Falfurrias and Hebbronville on state highway 285.
The Charco Redondo was created by the south Palo Blanco Creek meandering north until it ran into a big hill and junctures with the north Palo Blanco Creek to create a huge basin in the terrain. Through the centuries waters running down through the creeks would collect in this basin and provide a valuable drinking resource for both livestock and humans. After time, the place was ringed by huge hackberry trees or palo blancos, hence the name Charco Redondo del Palo Blanco. The two creeks then formed one creek and it ran down toward present day Falfurrias, Texas then continued southeast to empty into the Laguna Salada. From there, the creek ran east before dying in present day Kenedy County, Texas.
In the first decade of the 1800's, Don Matias Ramirez, Don Simón Ramirez, Don Francisco Cordente, and Don Antonio Peña with their vaqueros must have been scouting the area north of the Rio Grande River for good pasture lands (agostaderos) to claim. No doubt they were first to visit and see the lush pastures that surrounded the Charco Redondo and the water that it held. They went back to denounce this new agostadero in 1808.
They must have been in agreement to share the waters of the charco because Don Matias took the southeast corner of the charco and named it "Palo Blanco del Charco Redondo". Don Simón Ramirez denounced the northwest corner and named it "San Pedro del Charco Redondo". Don Francisco Cordente denounced the northeast corner of the tract and named it "Santa Cruz de la Concepcion", while the southwest corner of the charco was denounced by Antonio Peña and called "Los Magueyes de Palo Blanco". These four men didn't get to see their ranches flourish in this part of what was then called Nuevo Santander as they all died before reaching that goal. Their relatives though, did make use of these lands. When the new Mexican government came into power in 1821, they had to denounce these lands again.
Don Matias' son-in-law, Ysidro Guerra, took claim to the "Palo Blanco del Charco Redondo", Don Simón's son-in-law, Rafael Ramirez laid claim to the "San Pedro del Charco Redondo", Don Antonio's son, Ygnacio Peña laid claim to "Los Magueyes de Palo Blanco", and Juan Manuel Ramirez purchased the "Santa Cruz de la Concepcion" from Francisco Cordente's widow. All these claims took effect in 1831.
Through the years the land has changed ownership many times but there are still relatives of these first settlers who still own parts of these agostaderos. The present day village of Ramirez in Southern Duval County relates to the descendants of Rafael Ramirez.
No doubt that the Charco Redondo will always be here but this little history of it relates to the first settlers who laid claim to this valuable terrain with its precious water resource.
Even with the dry winter that we have experienced this year (1998-99) the Charco Redondo still holds a little water making its point of being a strategic place in South Texas history.