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The Lee House

US 83 at Fort Ringgold
Rio Grande City, Texas


Recorded Texas Historic Landmark

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A 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 E. Lee).
Robert E. Lee Home, Fort Ringgold, Texas, 1860
Text on photo: Home of General Robert. E. Lee,
Fort Ringgold, Texas, 1860
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.
The Lee House, Fort Ringgold, Texas
Lee House, Fort Ringgold, Texas
My 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
The Lee House, Fort Ringgold, Texas
The Lee House

Photo courtesy George Benoit

Fort Ringgold Texas Forum

Subject: Playing 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

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  • Rio Grande City, Texas
  • Fort Ringgold

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