Val Verde County Historical Markers

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Texas Brazos Trail Region

Map of Val Verde County

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Bean C.S.A., Roy | Brown Plaza | Site of Camp Del Rio | Camp Hudson, C.S.A. | Site of Chihuahua Road | Hood's Devil's River Fight | Jersey Lily Langtry | Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center | San Felipe Springs | Seminole Canyon State Historical Park | Seminole-African Scouts | U.S. Army Camel Corps | Val Verde County Courthouse Square | Whitehead Memorial Museum
Roy Bean C.S.A.

Marker Title: Roy Bean C.S.A.
City: Del Rio
County: Val Verde
Year Marker Erected: 1965
Marker Location: Next to seminole - African Scouts Marker (at Whitehead Museum), Del Rio.
Marker Text: Born in Kentucky. A trader in Mexico, 1848. Mining in New Mexico when Civil War broke out. As spy and scout, joined Texans in the Command of Gen. John R. Baylor during the 1861-1862 Arizona-New Mexico Campaign. Organized irregular company called "Free Rovers". In a narrow canyon, took part in capture of 800 federals by 250 Confederates. After 1862 was a Confederate freighter, hauling cotton to Matamoros from San antonio and bringing into Texas wartime goods: guns, ammunition, medicines, cloth, shoes, food. In 1882, began following with a tent saloon crews building railroad along the Rio Grande. Cooperating with Texas Rangers, was appointed justice of peace-- "Law West of the Pecos". Tamed rough frontier town of Langtry, where he spent rest of his life. Won fame in unique court decisions, as in trial and fining of a dead man for carrying a concealed wapon. Most widely celebrated show he staged was Fitzsimmons-Maher world championship boxing match, on a Rio Grande sand bar near his saloon in 1896. Court was held in the saloon, where he displayed pictures of "The Jersey Lily"--British actress Lily Langtry, whom he never met. She visited town at his invitation, but only after Judge Bean's death.

Brown Plaza

Marker Title: Brown Plaza
City: Del Rio
County: Val Verde
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: Brown Plaza, Del Rio
Marker Text: First Plaza established in Del Rio--a city built one site of a Pre-Colombian Indian Village. Abundant water, which attracted the Indians, also drew to this spot the earliest Europeans to visit Texas, including Cabeza De Vaca (1535) and Castano de Sosa (1590). The permanent community of San Felipe Del Rio was founded after frontier protection was assured in 1860s. The San Felipe Agricultural, Manufacturing & Irrigation Company (Organizsed Oct. 8, 1869) promoted settlement by giving land along San Felipe Creek as wages to its employees. Railroad lines reached Del Rio in 1884, furthering growth. Brown Plaza, dedicated on Cinco De Mayo, 1908, was gathering place for the community. A bandstand (or Kiosko) was built by the people. Musical concerts delighted audiences and performers. The Plaza was scene of political and social gatherings. Formal promenades became a custom. Travelers rested here and cooked thier food over charcoal fires. George Washington Brown (1836-1918), donor of the Plaza, was born in North Carolina, migrating West in his youth. He served his adopted state for 43 years in offices of county clerk and district clerk. The Plaza was restored in 1969. (1970)

Site of Camp Del Rio

Marker Title: Site of Camp Del Rio
Address: De La Rosa St.
City: Del Rio
County: Val Verde
Year Marker Erected: 1980
Marker Location: Just West of 277 South intersection with De La Rosa Street, Del Rio.
Marker Text: A United State Army post was established in this area on September 6, 1876. Originally known as Camp San Felipe, it was an outpost of Fort Clark (28 mile E), one of a chain of military fortifications constructed to defend isolated settlements of the Southwest Texas frontier. General E.O.C. Ord, Commander of the department of Texas, created the camp to protect the border area from raiding parties of Indians in Mexico who entered Texas to secure horses along the Pecos and Devil's Rivers. In 1880 the San Felipe Agricultural, Manufacturing and Irrigation Company donated land at this site to the United State Government for use as a military reservation. Since the original shareholders of the firm had founded the town of Del Rio, the camp name was changed. The grounds here included officers' quarters, a hospital, bakery, quartermaster's storehouse, and barracks. Later, when it was discovered some of the structures had been built on private property, additional land was leased from the owners. Indians raids in the area had ended by 1890 and the troops were moved to other posts. Camp Del Rio was officially abandoned the next year and the land was later transferred back to the original owners. (1980)

Camp Hudson, C.S.A.

Marker Title: Camp Hudson, C.S.A.
Address: 400 block of Pecan St.
City: Del Rio
County: Val Verde
Year Marker Erected: 1963
Marker Location: 400th block Pecan St. - Courthouse Square, Del Rio
Marker Text: When U.S. Troops were surrendered at outbreak of Civil War, camp became Confederate frontier outpost 1861-1862 to guard military road, escort supply trains, curb hostile Indians. Manned by 2nd Texas Cavalry. Texas Confederate Troops used as supply base in route to and from New Mexico campaign to stop flow of gold to north and gain access to pacific. Routine camp life prompted camp newspaper written to amuse troops who fervently desired to fight for Dixie. Located center of county on South Bank Devil's River.

Site of Chihuahua Road

Marker Title: Site of Chihuahua Road (Crossing at West end of Bridge)
Address: US 90, W of Del Rio
City: Del Rio
County: Val Verde
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: From Hwy 90 W 8 miles East of Del Rio.
Marker Text: In the 19th Centery, a life line that connected Chihuahua, Mexico, with the Texas port of Indianola. Opened to exploit rich trade in Mexican silver and gold, the road eventually carried every type of goods (including, in 1860, 27 camels), adventurers, settlers, soldiers, and "forty-niners" bound for the California gold rush. All sorts of vehicles used the Chihuahua Road: stagecoaches, wagons, ox-carts, and traveling ambulances, which were light carriages with 4-foot wheels. Not until the railroad came to San Antonio, 1877, did this road lose its commercial importance. 1968

Hood's Devil's River Fight

Marker Title: Hood's Devil's River Fight
Address: FM 163 and 189
City: Del Rio
County: Val Verde
Year Marker Erected: 1987
Marker Location: At intersection of 163 N and 189 E at 40 miles N of 90 W.
Marker Text: The men of Company G, a small unit of the U. S. 2nd cavalry, left Fort Mason on July 5, 1857, under the command of Lt. John Bell Hood (1831-1879), in pursuit of Comanche Indians in the vicinity. Traveling northwest, they discovered a fresh Indian trail leading southward toward Mexico. Crossing bluffs near the Devil's River on July 20, the men encountered an Indian camp on a ridge about two miles from the steam, marked by a white flag. Suspecting an ambush, Hood proceeded cautiously toward the ridge. A small band of Indians advanced to meet Hood's party. Then, throwing down the flag to signal their concealed allies, the Indians attacked. Outnumbered, and hampered by brush fires set by Indian women, the soldiers were forced into fierce hand-to-hand combat. They heard the loud cries of Comanche women through the smoke and dust, indicating an Indian retreat. Two cavalrymen, William Barry and Thomas Ryan, were killed, and five others, including Hood, were wounded. Later reports revealed that nineteen Indians were killed, and many more wounded. Hood and his men were later cited for valor in army reports. 1987)

Jersey Lily Langtry

Marker Title: Jersey Lily Langtry
Address: Law West Museum
City: Langtry
County: Val Verde
Year Marker Erected: 1965
Marker Location: Inside Law West Museum walls in Langtry.
Marker Text: 1882-1903 "Law West of the Pecos" Courtroom. Named for Judge Bean's idol, actress Lillie Langtry. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1965. More in Langtry, TX

Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center

Museum Name: Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 160
City: Langtry
Zip Code: 78871
Street Address: Loop 25 and Torres Ave
Area Code: 915
Phone: 291-3340
County: Val Verde
Types of Exhibits/Collections: Photos, Historical, Local/Pioneer History

San Felipe Springs

Marker Title: San Felipe Springs
Address: San Felipe Springs Rd.
City: Del Rio
County: Val Verde
Year Marker Erected: 1966
Marker Location: On San Felipe Springs Rd. - (off of US 90 W at 1 mile East of Del Rio), Del Rio.
Marker Text: Oasis for explorers, soldiers, freighters--from 1542 onward. In 1675 priests named the 7 Springs for King of Spain. In 18th Century Comanches camped here on their war trail into Mexico. In 1808 a mission was established 3 miles downstream, on San Felipe Creek. By 1856-57, Springs were on the 1470-mile San Antonio-to -San Diego mail route and on Chihuahua road for wagons hauling silver and gold from Mexico to Inidanola, then Chief Port on Texas Coast. After settlers came in 1864, irrigation "Mother Ditch" was dug; soon Del Rio was founded. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966.

Seminole Canyon State Historical Park

Museum Name: Seminole Canyon State Historical Park
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 820
City: Comstock
Zip Code: 78837
Street Address: Hwy 90 West
Area Code: 915
Phone: 292-4464
County: Val Verde
Types of Exhibits/Collections: Science, Art, Military, Aviation, Natural History, Archeology, Interactive, Photos, Historical, Local/Pioneer History, Archives, Other

Seminole-African Scouts

Marker Title: Seminole-African Scouts
Address: S. Main St.
City: Del Rio
County: Val Verde
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: S. Main at Whitehead Memorial Museum.
Marker Text: Serving with the U.S. Army at Forts Duncan and Clark and Camp Del Rio (1870-1881). The Scouts were key figures in ridding Texas of hostile Indians. The 100 Scouts were mainly descendants of runaway slaves who had intermarried with the Florida Seminoles, later moved to Oklahoma Indian Territory. They were invaluable because of their uncanny trailing skill, bravery, and ability to survive on meager rations (including rattlesnakes) during months of tracking. During an 8-year span of fighting under Lt. J.L. Bullis, not one scout was killed. (1968)

U.S. Army Camel Corps

Marker Title: U.S. Army Camel Corps
Address: Moore Park, east side of San Felipe Creek between US 90 and Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
City: Del Rio
County: Val Verde
Year Marker Erected: 2002
Marker Location: Moore Park, east side of San Felipe Creek between US 90 and Union Pacific Railroad tracks
Marker Text: U.S. Army Camel Corps The proposal to use camels for commerce and transportation in the arid southwest came about in the 1830s, but it was under U.S. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis that the idea became a reality. The first shipment of camels arrived on the Texas Gulf Coast in 1856, and they were taken to Camp Verde (150 mi. NE of here) for training. Several expeditions made their way west through Del Rio, and this park was the site of one of their camps. Although the officers in charge wrote favorably of the Camel Corps, the Civil War brought the experiment to a close. Confederate troops stationed at nearby Fort Hudson found camels still in the area, and confirmed sightings of wild camels continued into the mid-20th century. (2002)

Val Verde County Courthouse Square

Marker Title: Val Verde County Courthouse Square
Address: 400 block of Pecan St.
City: Del Rio
County: Val Verde
Year Marker Erected: 1980
Marker Location: 400 block of Pecan, Del Rio
Marker Text: Organized in 1885 from sections of Crockett, Kinney, and Pecos Counties, Val Verde County was named for a Civil War battle in New Mexico which involved Texas Confederate Forces. The growing railroad town of Del Rio was chosen as the seat of Government and Commissioners set up offices in a commercial building on Perry Street, now South Main. Soon after formation of the county, the Limestone Jail was built here on a corner of the public square. During construction of the courthouse, it provided additional office space. A three-story annex to the building was completed later. The Limestone Courthouse was constructed at this site in 1887. Architects were A.O. Watson and Jacob Larmour of Austin, designers of Courthouses in Milam and Comanche Counties. Built by the contracting firm of Hood and McLeod, it features classical revival detailing and octagonal corner turrets. As the area population increased, the buildings were modified to provide for the expansion of services. A separate facility for the Sheriff's office and county prisoners was completed in 1956, and the old jail was remodeled for use by other departments. (1980)

Whitehead Memorial Museum

Museum Name: Whitehead Memorial Museum
Mailing Address: 1308 S. Main
City: Del Rio
Zip Code: 78840
Street Address: 1308 S. Main
Area Code: 830
Phone: 774-7568
County: Val Verde
Types of Exhibits/Collections: Art, Military, Aviation, Archeology, Interactive, Photos, Historical, Local/Pioneer History, Archives

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