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EL SAUZ, TEXAS

Willacy County, Gulf Coast / South Texas

Farm Road 497
13 miles E of Raymondville
Population: 85 est. (2010)

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History in a Pecan Shell

El Sauz is said to be is a variant of sauce, which is Spanish for "willow." The original land grant was given to Josť Narciso Cavazos in 1781 by the Spanish crown. His history of ownership is sketchy - but it is known that he had stocked it with nearly 1,000 head of cattle.

While riding north from Brownsville in 1852, Richard King mentioned that he had discovered a deserted ranch in that region named El Sauz. This is also a mention of a coastal community named El Sauz established around that same time frame. Situated on Redfish Bay, this town had a post office (1870 to 1875) and it's said that after a hurricane in 1882, the community moved inland to the present location.

In 1881 Richard King and his partner Mifflin Kenedy incorporated El Sauz into their vast holdings. It later became a subdivision of the King Ranch. A post office by the name of Sauz was opened in 1893 and the town served as a stage-stop - for the Brownsville to Alice stageline. A school district was established in 1925 and the 100,000 acre ranch was owned by the Atwood family - an extension of the King family.

El Sauz made national newspaper headlines in late 1936, when two residents of San Perlita, disappeared while hunting on or near the ranch. Family and friends of the missing men (whose bodies were never found) claimed that over zealous King Ranch employees murdered the two men for trespassing. There was enough outrage to have the Governor (James Allred) to send a token force of Texas Rangers to the area under Capt. Bill McMurray to prevent the public from storming the ranch.

TX Cameron County 1920s Map
Cameron County 1907 postal map (including the area that later became Willacy County) showing Sauz, 15 miles E of Raymondville
Courtesy Texas General Land Office

El Sauz, Texas
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Cameron County
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