Starr County
Historical Markers

Map of Starr County

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Early Commercial Center | Site of Cortina Battle | De Escandon, Jose | Fort Ringgold | The Mier Expedition | Mission Mier a Visita | Site of the Mission San Augustin de Laredo a Visita | Old Rancho Davis | Old Ringgold Barracks Hospital | Rio Grande City, C.S.A. | Roma Historical Museum | Starr County

Early Commercial Center

Marker Title: Early Commercial Center
Address: Hildalgo Street at Plaza
City: Roma
County: Starr
Marker Location: Main Plaza and Hidalgo Street, Roma.
Marker Text: Built shortly after the U.S.-Mexican War (1846-47) of hand-cut stone in indigenous Mexican style to withstand cold, heat, and Indian attacks. Purchased from estate of James Linton, in 1850, by Simon Jones, first of several merchants in the "Zona Libre" trade between the U.S. and Mexico to occupy the site. Since 1872, it has served as store and residence. Adan Guerra, who bought the building in 1941, and lived in it until 1971, changed several doorways into windows.

Site of Cortina Battle

Marker Title: Site of Cortina Battle, Dec. 27, 1859
Address: Old Cemetery Park
City: Rio Grande City
Site of Cortina Battle County: Starr
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: Old Cemetery Park, Rio Grande City.
Marker Text: Crushing defeat for partisan leader Juan Cortina who in late 1859 laid waste the lower Rio Grande Valley. Cortina's band of 450 were surprised here at daybreak by Maj. S. B. Heintzelman with U.S. Army troops, joined by Texas Rangers recruited by John S. ("Rip") Ford. Cortina fled to Mexico by horseback. Many of his men jumped into the Rio Grande. Regarrisoning of Ringgold barracks put end to partisan raids for a time. But with the American Civil War (1861-1865) and Cortina's rise to power in Tamaulipas, raids were renewed -- until Cortina was removed, 1875.

Jose De Escandon

Marker Title: Jose De Escandon
Address: E 4th St.
City: Rio Grande City
County: Starr
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Courthouse Grounds, E. 4th Street, Rio Grande City.
Marker Text: In memory of the greatest colonizer of northern Mexico Jose de Escandon; who executed exploration from Tampico to the San Antonio River; laid out 23 towns, most of which still exist. Founded missions, opened roads, and established settlers. Conferred in recognition of his services to the crown of Spain, the title of El Conde de la Sierra Gorda.

Photo of barracks and guardhouse at Fort Ringgold taken by Charles M. Robinson, III from the book, Frontier Forts of Texas
Photo of the barracks and guardhouse taken by Charles M. Robinson, III from the book, Frontier Forts of Texas.
Fort Ringgold

Marker Title: Fort Ringgold
County: Starr
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: US 83, Fort Ringgold, main entrance, Rio Grande City.
Marker Text: Established October 26, 1848, at Davis Landing by Capt. J.H. La Motte, 1st U.S. Infantry, as Ringgold Barracks. Named in honor of Brevet Major David Ringgold, 4th U.S. Artillery, who died of wounds received at Palo Alto, May 8, 1846. Troops were withdrawn March 3, 1859. Reoccupied December 29, 1859. Abandoned in 1861. Reoccupied by U.S. troops in June 1865. General Robert E. Lee passed a few days here in 1856 and in 1860.

The Mier Expedition

Marker Title: The Mier Expedition
Address: US 83 about 1 mile west of Roma
City: Roma
County: Starr
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: From Roma, take US 83 about 1 mile west.
Marker Text: A body of Texans intent on invading Mexico camped here on December 21, 1842. After being made prisoners at Salado, Mexico, they drew beans, white for life in prison, black for death. 17 members of the expedition were shot by order of General Santa Anna, March 25, 1843. More

Mission Mier a Visita

Marker Title: Mission Mier a Visita
Address: US 83 west of Roma 3.5 miles
City: Roma
County: Starr
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: From Roma, take US 83 west about 3.5 miles.
Marker Text: In the vicinity of this site was Mission Mier a Visita; established in 1750 as a part of Jose de Escandon's project to settle the region and civilize and Christianize the Indians.

Site of the Mission San Augustin de Laredo a Visita

Marker Title: Site of the Mission San Augustin de Laredo a Visita
Address: US 83, about 2.5 miles west oof Rio Grande City
City: Rio Grande City
County: Starr
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: From Rio Grande City, take US 83 west about 2.5 miles.
Marker Text: Established in 1749 as a part of Jose de Escandon's project to settle the region and civilize and Christianize the Indians.

Old Rancho Davis

Marker Title: Old Rancho Davis
Address: Britton Avenue
City: Rio Grande City
County: Starr
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Britton Avenue, Rio Grande City, Town Plaza.
Marker Text: Home of Henry Clay Davis, a Kentuckian; came to Texas in 1939. Served with Taylor's army in 1846. Married into the Garza family, pioneer settlers and large landowners in the region. Around his home Rio Grande City grew up. Steamboats from Brownsville made the town a trading center. Ringgold Barracks was established nearby in 1848. Rio Grande City, the county seat.

Old Ringgold Barracks Hospital

Marker Title: Old Ringgold Barracks Hospital
Address: US 83 at Fort Ringgold
City: Rio Grande City
County: Starr
Year Marker Erected: 1965
Marker Location: Highway 83, Fort Ringgold, Rio Grande City.
Marker Text: Architecture Moorish; wide surrounding porches ornamented with 15' arches. Built according to plans of surgeon general. First occupied Nov. 25, 1870, and used for 75 years until post was inactivated in 1944.

Rio Grande City, C.S.A.

Marker Title: Rio Grande City, C.S.A.
Address: US 83 on Courthouse grounds
City: Rio Grande City
County: Starr
Year Marker Erected: 1963
Marker Location: Courthouse Grounds, Rio Grande City, US 83.
Marker Text: An official Confederate port of entry, customhouse and major terminus of the cotton road to Mexico. Cotton was the one great money crop of the South that could be sold to hungry European mills for cash for necessary arms, munitions, drugs that had to come from Europe. International ports on the Rio Grande were the South's frail lifelines, its last resource in a war with an industrialized North that manufactured for its self what the South had to import. Cotton arrived at this booming border town on wagons and oxcarts after a hot and dusty trip. It was then ferried across the river and delivered to the neutral ships anchored in the Gulf. Teamsters loaded vital leather goods, clothing, blankets, guns, ammunition and medical supplies for the return trip. Troops from nearby Fort Ringgold guarded the wagon trains and town from bandit raids. In November 1863 Federal forces captured Brownsville and the 1st Texas Union Cavalry advanced up river, captured and occupied this town, seizing the cotton awaiting entry. Rio Grande City was reoccupied in May 1864 and used as a supply and reserve base for the recapture of Brownsville. There was constant danger here from raids by Mexican guerrillas paid by enemy agents to make trouble in Texas. Draft evaders, Union sympathizers and those wanting to avoid conflicts of war tried to cross the river here. In an arrangement with Mexican officials, Confederates both required and checked passports to curb desertions and smuggling.

Roma Historical Museum

Museum Name: Roma Historical Museum
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2507
Street Address: 708 Estrella Street
City: Roma
Zip Code: 78584
County: Starr

Starr County

Marker Title: Starr County
Address: US 83
City: Rio Grande City
County: Starr
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Courthouse Grounds, US 83 West, Rio Grande City.
Marker Text: Formed from Nueces County; created February 10, 1848; organized August 7, 1848. Named for Dr. James Harper Starr 1809-1890; pioneer Texas surgeon and Indian fighter, located at Nacogdoches in 1837; Secretary of the Treasury of the Republic of Texas 1839-1840; Assistant Postmaster General of the Confederacy. Rio Grande City, the county seat.


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