on photo: Home of General Robert. E. Lee,
Fort Ringgold, Texas, 1860
Letter from George Benoit
Photos courtesy of George Benoit
My Family was one of the few families that lived in Fort
Ringgold in the 1960s. We actually lived in the Lee House (Robert
I was born in Rio Grande City
in 1961 and lived in that house until I believe 1969 when they asked
all the families to move out of the Fort. From there we moved into
Rio Grande City to 1000 Monroe
St. until 1971 when we moved to Alice.
The only family that stayed in the Fort was the Gallardo family. Mr.
Gallardo was the gateguard for the Fort. They had moved close to the
gate of the Fort but they use to live right next to us up on the hill.
My fondest memories there were:
When me and my 2 brothers and 6 sisters lived there we pretty much
had the run of the Fort as our playground, from the Rio Grande River
to the fenceline on highway 83.
Hurricane Beulah in '67, and right after when President Johnson was
assessing the damages, he flew in by helicopter to the Fort and I
walked up to him and shook his hand in the school cafeteria. I remember
the High School Auditorium burning down at night, I remember the snow
on the ground sometime in the late 60s (although the record books
say the snow storm of 2004 was the first recorded snow in 105 years
in the Rio Grande Valley--I just called my mother and she verified
my memory of the snow sometime in the late 60's, saying it didn' last
long but it was snow). I remember many hail storms, and watching (and
still not imagining how he did it) my now deceased father cut the
huge many acre yard of mainly johnson grass around the Lee House using
a Reel Push Mower (non-motorized) and a scythe.
After we had got out of the Lee House some vandals had gone in and
punched holes in some of the walls. The last time I visited the Fort
which was many years ago (70's) a fence was put up around the house
and a historical marker was placed on the house.
mother said that the original house was only 3 rooms and a bathroom.
The Bedroom, the coatroom or Foyer, and the Living room. Before we
lived there other rooms were added. We had 2 bedrooms, the bathroom,
the coatroom was made into a bedroom, the living room, a dining room,
a kitchen and laundry room, and we had a screened porch that ran the
front and right side of the house. My mother said that near the original
front door of the house the hook that the cavalry used to tie their
horses up to was still there when we lived there. Also I asked my
mother about a post in January 2005 about a guy on an artillery piece
near the Lee House and the comments of the poster. There was no brick
foundation anywhere near the Lee House when we lived there from 1960
to 1969. On the left side of the house there was a cement slab. We
used it to store our trash cans. My family and I do have several pictures
of the Lee House in the 60's but some may have been lost when my father
died. - George Benoit, Norfolk VA, June 15, 2006
Photo courtesy George Benoit
Hooky at Fort Ringgold
Hello I was just surfing around the web and wanted to check and see
what had happened to the Robert E. Lee house that is located at the
Fort Ringgold Campus in Rio Grande City..... I just want to say that
I was raised in Rio Grande City and went to school there since headstart
and graduated in 1990. When I was in the 6th grade I remember that
my girlfriend and I would skip school and go to the Robert E Lee house.
I moved out from Rio Grande City in July of 97 and have lived in MN
since. At the place I work I was telling some co-workers about the
stuff that I used to do and some of them don't believe me, I was asked
to bring them pictures of the house but I told them that the only
pictures I knew about were the ones here on your site. I sure am glad
to see that the house has been redone. I hope to be back in my hometown
soon. I miss it. - Nancy Guerrero (Perez), September 28, 2006