How did this road get here?

Historically Speaking



Hello, my fellow Atascosans! I hope everyone is enjoying this warmer weather. After February’s winter storm, I will never complain about the hot weather (well, maybe just a little).

So, last Tuesday, I was privileged to present for the Longhorn Museum Society in Pleasanton. I was given the choice to speak about any history item. I chose development of county roads and roads in general. To speak about the development of county roads, you must include land grants. During my research, most of the time the issuance of land grants and their boundaries developed the shape of the road. I used the examples of Strawberry City Road and Casarez Road.

Just so everyone understands, land grants were issued as follows: The passage of the Homestead Act of 1862 established a land grant program that allowed individuals to apply for 160-acre plots of land. “Homesteading” was a term referring to the process of moving west onto land in unsettled territories and cultivating the land. Land was surveyed and drawn on a map, then turned in to the County Clerk for recordkeeping.

Before I lose track, let me go back and explain my examples. The Thomas Hand and Ignacio Herrera Land Grants create a boundary that is now Strawberry City Road. The Manuel Esparza and Henrique Esparza Land Grant boundaries create the beginning of Casarez Road near to IH-37. Point of interest: IH-37 just east of Casarez Road runs through the old Francisco Esparza Land Grant. The Esparza Grants were issued between 1862 and 1878. They are considered the more recent of the grants.

Then you have the Spanish Land Grants that go way back. They go back from the time of New Spain (Mexico before it’s independence from Spain), then you have grants issued by the Mexican Government. There is one in particular that has a living marker that still survives today. The Jose Antonio Navarro Land Grant was one of the largest grants I have seen. His was issued in 1831 ‘Por el estado de Coahuila y Tejas’ (by the state of Coahuila and Texas). The map attached to the scanned grant encompasses a large amount of land in Atascosa County. The Navarro Grant contained the Agua Negra and Palo Alto Creeks along with the Atascosa River. If you travel north on Highway 16 as you leave Poteet, to the right at the intersection of FM 476 and Highway 16 sits an old oak tree. That was the northeast point of the Jose Antonio Navarro Land Grant.

You can find that land grant at: https:// SCANDOCS/archives_ webfiles/arcmaps/ webfiles/landgrants/ PDFs/1/0/3/4/1034456. pdf.

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.

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