Hello, my fellow history buffs! I hope this publication finds you in good spirits and in a cool place to relax this summer. As in many homes, our home holds regular discussions of “imagine that” or other enlightening talks. One of our recent discussions is the legacy left behind once we’re gone. Atascosa County can be used as a good example; the leaders that have gone before us have left a great imprint that we still see. There are well-documented history books of Atascosa County available and I encourage you to look through one every now and again.
When I was researching Battle of Medina history, I surrounded myself with any and every publication and Battle of Medina material. For weeks on my drive to and from work, I listened to a podcast by Brandon Seale about the Battle of Medina. As with anything else, once you scratch the surface of one historic subject, you link to another. The research of Medina led me to Esparza Cemetery. Shortly thereafter, the decision was made to historically designate this cemetery. After months of work and waiting, the designation has been approved by the state. I am excited about this designation due to the historic significance this cemetery has on our county. The descendants of these “first families” of Esparza Cemetery still reside in Atascosa County and I hope they are proud of their lineage and their ancestors’ role in developing Texas and Atascosa County.
I also did extensive research for this cemetery designation. The manner in which Enrique, Manuel, Francisco and the Esparza Family lived during their lives is noteworthy. They faced adversity, hardships and Indian raids. Indian raids existed until the early 1900s along the Galvan Creek, near the San Augustine Community.
The Esparza Family research led me to the Wiley Family and “Wiley’s Tank” or “Dead Man’s Tank.” The story goes: Wiley and a worker were digging a stock tank in the Christine area when the worker, who was from Mexico, noticed that the nearby trees were marked noting a burial in the area. Once digging began, approximately 68 human skeletons were found. No archaeological proof exists, but from descriptions and oral history, the assumption has been made that the skeletons were Spanish settlers killed during an Indian raid.
I’ll continue to connect the dots and if anyone has any further information, let me know. All input is welcomed.
Y’all be safe and healthy, and keep our history alive!
Keep up with us on Facebook, until next time.
MARTIN GONZALES is the Atascosa County Historical Commission Chairman. If you have history to share, you may contact him at 830-480-2741.