Presidio County
Historical Markers

Texas Lakes Trail Region

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Site of Alamito | El Fortin de la Cienega | El Fortin de San Jose | El Fortin del Cibolo | Faver, Milton | Fort D.A. Russell | Fort Leaton State Historic Site | Gillett, James Buchanan | Leaton, Home of Ben | Marfa and Presidio County Museum Association, Inc. | Marfa Lights | Mission del Apostol Santiago | Mission San Francisco de los Julimes | Paisano Pass | Presidio - Oldest Town in America | Presidio County | Presidio County Courthouse | Presidio del Norte | Captain Henry Skillman, C.S.A.

Site of Alamito

Marker Title: Site of Alamito
City: Marfa vicinity
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 2000
Marker Location: 7 mi. S of Marfa on US 67, then 24 mi. S on FM 169 to Alamito Creek.
Marker Text: Alamito Creek has been a passageway and the scene of human activity since prehistoric times. Spanish explorers began traveling through the region in 1535. Mexican families began to settle in the area about 1715 and established rancheros despite an Apache presence. Beginning in the 1850s, the infamous Chihuahua Trail, a route for heavy freight wagons from San Antonio to Chihuahua, Mexico, passed near Alamito. By 1870 Alamito was a community with several families farming and working on nearby ranches. John Davis, a pioneer from North Carolina, was a strong community leader. He married Francisca Herrera, the daughter of Carlos Herrera, one of the first Spanish settlers of Alamito, in 1875. They built a home with a chapel, one-room school, and a canal for crop irrigation. Davis was known for serving peach brandy to weary travelers who came through on the Chihuahua Trail. Francisca died in 1892 and was buried near the chapel in Alamito. The grief-stricken Davis went back to North Carolina and never returned to this area. The legendary railroad known as the "Road to Topolabampo" was the result of a longtime dream of A. E. Stilwell, railroad builder and urban promoter, for a rail line from Kansas City to Mexico's west coast. It passed through Alamito in 1930. The Railroad dug a deep well, constructed a tank to water the steam engines, built a section house for workers, and renamed the site Plata. At the end of the 20th century, only ruins of the Davis-Herrera home, school, cemetery and canal remain. Ruts of the Chihuahua Trail can still be seen in the bedrock north of Alamito. (2000)

El Fortin de la Cienega

Marker Title: El Fortin de la Cienega
City: Shafter vicinity
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1995
Marker Location: US 67, 5.5 mile N. of Shafter then East on private road about 8.6 mile.
Marker Text: Built along Cienega Creek in the mid-19th century and modeled after his headquarters ranch complex at nearby El Fortin del Cibolo, El Fortin de la Cienega was the second property developed by Milton Faver as he expanded the vast ranching empire he began in Presidio County in the 1850s. Faver chose a defensive site surrounded by hills and the creek to build a fortified adobe structure to serve as the Cienega ranch headquarters. The natural springs on the property were tapped to provide the needed water resources for stock raising and gardens. Also located at the Cienega site were dwellings, work rooms, stone corrals, fences, and holding pens. The primary activity at El Fortin de la Cienega was cattle ranching, and Milton Faver employed several families as vaqueros (cowboys) and laborers. Following Faver's death in 1889 his property was divided between his wife Francesca and his son Juan Faver, who received title to La Cienega. After Juan's death in 1913 his heirs sold the Cienega complex to neighboring ranchers John A. Pool, Sr. and J. W. Pool. It remained the property of the Pools and their heirs, the Greenwood family, until the 1980s. (1995)

El Fortin de San Jose

Marker Title: El Fortin de San Jose
City: Presidio vicinity
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1978
Marker Location: Fort Leaton State Historic Site, FM 170, 4.5 mi E of Presidio.
Marker Text: About 1773, the Spanish garrison at Presidio del Norte, present Ojinaga, Mexico, established El Fortin de San Jose in this vicinity to protect local farmers. The settlement retained the name after the post was abandoned about 1810. After Ben Leaton had acquired extensive property in the area in 1848, the community came to be called Fort Leaton. Ben Leaton's fortress is all that remains of the old settlement. Fort Leaton is neither the site of the original Presidio del Norte nor the Spanish mission Apostal Santiago, as stated erroneously by earlier markers at this location. (1978)

El Fortin del Cibolo

Marker Title: El Fortin del Cibolo
City: Shafter vicinity
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1992
Marker Location: SH 67, 5 miles N of Shafter go NW on private rd. about 4 mile.
Marker Text: Constructed in 1857, El Fortin del Cibolo was the headquarters of the vast ranching empire of Milton (Don Meliton) Faver (ca. 1829-1889). The heavily fortified structure was the first major outpost built between Fort Davis (established in 1854) and the Rio Grande. Faver, who reportedly learned of natural springs in this area from Indians who traded at his general store in Presidio del Norte, eventually acquired vast acreage surrounding the springs, thereby controlling the only steady water source in the vicinity. He built an irrigation system that supplied water for his immense vegetable gardens and peach orchard. Cibolo ranch crops supplied soldiers at Fort Davis and citizens of the nearby mining town of Shafter. El Fortin del Cibolo is a rare surviving example of a private fort in the Big Bend region. Reconstructed and restored based on archeological evidence and using hand labor, the one-story adobe, cottonwood, and cypress structure features a courtyard configuration with walls one to four feet thick; rounded towers at the northwest and southeast corners; gun ports; and wood canales (drain spouts). Hand-built stone fences accentuate the fort's primitive surroundings. It is one of the region's most significant historic structures. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1992.

Milton Faver

Marker Title: Milton Faver
City: Shafter vicinity
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1992
Marker Location: 5 miles N of Shafter on SH 67.
Marker Text: The earliest large-scale cattleman to settle in the Big Bend, Milton (Don Meliton) Faver prospered against seemingly impossible odds to become the first cattle baron west of the Pecos. While operating a freighting business on the Chihuahua Trail, he moved his family to Presidio del Norte and opened a general store about 1855 . After accumulating a large herd of cattle in Mexico he moved his family and vaqueros to the mountain country north of Presidio and made his headquarters on Cibolo Creek in 1857. He established two other ranches at nearby La Cienega and La Morita. Springs flowed abundantly on all three ranches, providing water for livestock and agriculture. In the fertile fields surrounding the ranches, Faver devised and installed irrigation systems that supplied water for vegetables, grain, and large peach orchards. El Fortin del Cibolo, ranch headquarters, served as a supply station for the U. S. Army quartermaster division at Ft. Davis. Troops used the ranch as a point of departure for forays into Indian occupied regions to the west and north. Celebrated for his hospitality, Faver was known as a gentleman of means who lived in style. He died in December 1889 and was buried on his ranch at Cibolo. (1992)

Fort D.A. Russell

Marker Title: Fort D.A. Russell
City: Marfa
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1989
Marker Location: Corner of First Ave. & Madrid St., Marfa
Marker Text: Originally named Camp Marfa, this installation began as a supply post for U. S. Army border patrol stations in 1911. It was a cavalry camp during the years of the Mexican Revolution. Renamed for Civil War general David Allen Russell, it became a permanent Army post in 1929. Deactivated at the end of 1933, it was reopened in 1935 with artillery units. During World War II Fort Russell became an army training camp, and was home to a chemical warfare battalion as well as German prisoners of war. The fort was officially closed in October 1946. (1989)

Fort Leaton State Historic Site

Museum Name: Fort Leaton State Historic Site
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1220
City: Presidio
Zip Code: 79845
Street Address: FM 170 3 mi E of Presidio
Area Code: 915
Phone: 229-3613
County: Presidio
Types of Exhibits/Collections: Art, Archeology, Historical, Local/Pioneer History

James Buchanan Gillett

Marker Title: James Buchanan Gillett
City: Marfa
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: Marfa Cemetery, HWY 90 W. City Limit, Marfa.
Marker Text: A very famous Texas Ranger. Born in Austin, son of Adjutant General of Texas. At 16 became cowboy on western frontier. At 19 joined Rangers; hunted down raiding Indians, rustlers, feuding settlers. After serving 1875-1881, became El Paso city marshal. Ranched 41 years in far West Texas (living in and near Marfa) and New Mexico. His book, "Six Years with the Texas Rangers", is read as an Old West classic. Recorded 1969.

Home of Ben Leaton

Marker Title: Home of Ben Leaton
City: Presidio vicinity
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: 4 mile E of Presidio on FM 170
Marker Text: First Anglo-American farmer in Presidio County. In August 1848, Mr. Leaton acquired the building and it has since been known as Fort Leaton. (1936)

Marfa and Presidio County Museum Association, Inc.

Museum Name: Marfa and Presidio County Museum Association, Inc.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 538
City: Marfa
Zip Code: 79843
Street Address: 110 W. San Antonio Street
Area Code: 915
Phone: 729-8178
County: Presidio
Types of Exhibits/Collections: Military, Aviation, Natural History, Photos, Historical, Local/Pioneer History

Marfa Lights

Marker Title: Marfa Lights
City: Marfa vicinity
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1988
Marker Location: 5 mile E of Marfa along US 67/90
Marker Text: The Marfa Lights, mysterious and unexplained lights that have been reported in the area for over one hundred years, have been the subject of many theories. The first recorded sighting of the lights was by rancher Robert Ellison in 1883. Variously explained as campfires, phosphorescent minerals, swamp gas, static electricity, St. Elmo's fire, and "ghost lights", the lights reportedly change colors, move about, and change in intensity. Scholars have reported over seventy-five local folk tales dealing with the unexplained phenomenon. (1988)

Mission del Apostol Santiago

Marker Title: Mission del Apostol Santiago
City: Presidio vicinity
County: Presidio
Marker Location: 4 mile E. of Presidio on FM 170 at Fort Leaton.
Marker Text: One of nine missions established in the Big Bend country by Father Fray Nicolas Lopez, O.F.M., and Don Juan Dominguez de Mendoza in 1683-1684. Maintained by Franciscan missionaries for the civilizing and christianizing of the Jumano, Julimes and other Indians of this area. (1936)

Mission San Francisco de los Julimes

Marker Title: Mission San Francisco de los Julimes
City: Presidio vicinity
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: From Presidio, take FM 170 West about 10.5 mi to Ochoa Ghostown Cemetery (Marker is located 100 yds west of hwy & cemetery).
Marker Text: One of nine Missions established in the Big Bend country by Father Fray Nicolas Lopez, O.F.M., and Don Juan Dominguez de Mendoza in 1683-1684. Maintained by Franciscan missionaries for the civilizing and Christianizing of the Jumano, Julimes and other Indians of this area. (1936)

Paisano Pass

Marker Title: Paisano Pass
City: Marfa vicinity
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: From Marfa, take US 67/90 East about 13 mi.
Marker Text: Legend recounts that two Spaniards meeting here greeted each other "Mi Paisano" (My Countryman). First known to history when Juan Dominguez de Mendoza camped here on January 3, 1684. Well known after 1850 as a point on the Chihuahua Trail, an emigrant road to California.

Presidio - Oldest Town in America

Marker Title: Presidio - Oldest Town in America
Address: US 67 E of Marfa
City: Marfa
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: 1/2 mile E. of Marfa (with Presidio County markers).
Marker Text: At confluence of Concho and Rio Grande Rivers. A settlement for over 10,000 years. Site of first recorded wagon train crossing into Texas, December [year illegible], headed by Antonio de Espejo. Marker placed jointly by Texas Society, Children of the American Revolution, Texas Society, Daughters of the American Colonists. (1961)

Presidio County

Marker Title: Presidio County
City: Marfa
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: 1/2 miles E. of Marfa on US 67/90.
Marker Text: Formed from Bexar County created January 3, 1850, organized March 13, 1875. So named for the early "Fortress garrisoned by soldiers." Erected for the protection of the Big Bend missions. County seat Fort Davis, 1875, Marfa, since 1885. (1936)

Presidio County Courthouse

Marker Title: Presidio County Courthouse
City: Marfa
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1964
Marker Location: SH 17 North at Highland Rd., Marfa
Marker Text: A landmark of the Big Bend. Large dome is visible for miles. Constructed of native stone and brick made at Marfa. Stucco added later. Built 1886 in this county's third seat of justice. First county seat was Fort Leaton, on the Rio Grande; second, Fort Davis. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1964.

Presidio del Norte

Marker Title: Presidio del Norte
City: Presidio vicinity
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Ft. Leaton, from Presidio, take FM 170 SE about 1 mile.
Marker Text: Proximate site of Presidio del Norte de la Junta established by Captain Alonzo Rubin de Celis in 1759-1760. Name of post retained in part by the present town and county. In this vicinity the missions of San Antonio de los Puliques, San Francisco de Los Julimes, Santa Maria la Redonda, San Pedro Alcantara, El Apostol Santiago, San Cristobal. Were first established in 1683-1684 by Don Juan Dominguez de Mendoza and Padre Fray Nicolas Lopez O. F. M. Maintained by Franciscan missionaries for the Christianizing and the civilizing of the Apache, Natages, Faraones, Puliques, Julimes, Jumanos, Zumas and other Indian tribes. Administered and controlled in 1746 by the custodia of New Mexico, 1836-1936.

Captain Henry Skillman, C.S.A.

Marker Title: Captain Henry Skillman, C.S.A.
City: Presidio
County: Presidio
Year Marker Erected: 1964
Marker Location: O'Reily St., in St. Francis plaza, Presidio
Marker Text: Renowned southwestern mail and stagecoach man. Born in Kentucky. Came to Texas before 1846. Served as a U. S. Army scout in Mexican War. About 1851 established the first mail service from San Antonio to El Paso. When the first Butterfield Overland stagecoach in 1858 made bid to establish fast service to the west coast, was selected to drive perilous Comanche Indian area from Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos to El Paso. Made it in 4 days without rest or relief, his 6-foot frame draped with revolvers and Bowie knives. A Confederate scout in the Civil War. From July 1862 when Federals seized El Paso and the Davis Mountains (to make the longest enemy occupation in Texas), served as liaison between regular Confederate troops and the C. S. A. patriots who plotted in their refugee colony in Juarez to recapture west Texas. Knowing country well, came and went at will. Spread false rumors of Confederates massing in deserts, to divert federal troops from combat. Came to be most dreaded scout known to the occupation. Was hunted by special force commissioned to take him alive. In showdown at Spencer's Ranch near here on April 3, 1864, fought to his death. (1964)


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