| Bank Building
in downtown Sabinal
a Pecan Shell
Thomas B. Hammer
is credited as being the first settler in the area. Hammer opened
a stage stop on the eastside of the Sabinal River around 1854 and
when a post office was granted the same year the town was designated
Hammer’s Station. A Cavalry outpost was established in 1856
on the west bank of the river for the settlers protection. The camp’s
presence, however, didn’t intimidate the bandits that killed Hammer
Sabinal got a railroad (Southern Pacific) connection in 1881– the
same year that Turkish Angora goats were introduced. In 1893 the town
had two hotels and the population was reported as 150 for 1884 – not
bad for the era.
By 1906, the year the town incorporated, 500 Sabinalistas called the
place home. Irrigation for cotton crops was provided by the lumberyard’s
windmill and enough cotton was
produced to keep six gins in operation. Wool and mohair production
were important economic mainstays.
Water and fire departments were established and telephone service
began – all in the magic year of 1906. By 1911, the population had
swelled to an estimated 1,500 – and those who could read, read The
Sentinel - the town’s own weekly newspaper.
A school specifically for Hispanics was opened in the mid 1930s. With
schools consolidations, a new elementary and high school were built
in town. Five school buses fanned out daily to gather students over
the district’s 356 mile territory.
The population reached its zenith in the mid-1950s, with about 2,300
people, but it had declined to 1,570 by 1974 By 1990 the estimated
population was about the same.
courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
(On US 90, 0.5 mile E of Hwy 127/FM 187
Named by Spanish
for Rio Sabina and Cypress trees along river. Town founded in 1854
by Thomas B. Hammer who operated a stage shop and was first postmaster.
Despite Indian depredations, town thrived as settlers built homes,
and a railroad reached here in 1881. In 1906, town was incorporated.
Telephone service started. City water works and volunteer fire department
organized. In 1907, Sabinal Christian College was founded. Closed
in 1917. Cotton industry was foremost in early 1900's. Today, farming
and ranching flourishing in community.
West of Sabinal
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, March 2008
The Sabinal River
which flows from springs north of Vanderpool
continues past Sabinal to the west of town and eventually joins the
The Sabinal River is only 60 miles long, and for some of its length
it flows underground. The Spanish had originally named the river Arroyo
de la Soledad, or "Stream of Solitude"
Book Hotel Here Uvalde
de la Soledad” - AKA Sabinal River
More Texas Rivers
love to read Texas Escapes and think about vanished Texas of my
childhood. Today I read about Papalote
in Bee County. My
Bonham grandparents had a farm there. Wolves would get the livestock.
My grandfather said Papalote meant windmill.
My grandfather had several farms. The nicest was Sabinal, the beautiful
stone house where VP John Nance Garner's wife, Ettie grew up. I
lived there too when I was early teenage and the house is magic.
Has an historical marker now. We would go to Garner
State Park and I still remember how sweet and pure was the air.
How fresh and crisp. I could smell the trees." - Barbara
Duvall Wesolek, July 30, 2020
County 1920s map showing Sabinal, Sabinal Creek, Frio Rio
East of Uvalde the county seat
From Texas state map #10749
Texas General Land Office
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact