LOS BURROS RANCH CEMETERY
Hidalgo Co. Cemeteries of Tx
Submitted by email@example.com (typed from records provided by surveyors)
Surveyed by Goldsby Goza and Fran Isbel on January 19 and 26, 1980.
COPYRIGHT HIDALGO COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Location: From La Villa in eastern Hidalgo County, 2.3 miles north of FM 491, turn east on caliche road, making two right angle turns to south. Cross Willacy Main Canal on wooden bridge (no railings), turn north along side levee .3 miles. Cemetery is on a brushy knoll in middle of plowed field.
Surveyed: Mrs. Joaquin (Evita) Chapa, Mrs. Maltilda Suarez and Miss Fran Isbell, March 2, 1981.
Perspective: Census was conducted south to north. Cemetery is rectangular, and measures approximately 100 x 100 feet. Oldest marked grave is that of a ranch owner, Martin Hinojosa, 1851-1892. Owner and relatives of decedents maintain cemetery. See owner, Conly Bell, at Bell Brothers Office, La Villa, for permission to enter.
HISTORY: Los Burros (Spanish for burros, i.e. donkeys; sometimes Las Burras, jennies) Ranch Cemetery is in the Ojo de Agua part of Las Mestenas (Mustangs) Land Grant of 23 leagues granted in 1798 by the King of Spain to Lt. Vicente Hinojosa, son of Captain Juan Jose Hinojosa and Maria Antonia Inez Balli Baez de Benavides of Reynosa.
Lt. Vicente Hinojosa promptly transferred the south 12 leagues of Las Mestenas Grant to his sister Rosa Maria Hinojosa de Balli (1757/58-1803), who had financed the application, paying all costs of survey and improvements. She renamed it Ojo de Agua (Spanish for eye of water, i.e. spring), after a natural spring on its eastern boundary, the Arroyo Colorado. The modern cities of Harlingen and La Villa are located in Ojo de Agua Grant.
Rosa Maria Hinojosa de Balli was matriarch of the large and powerful Hinojosa -Balli family which controlled about one-third of the Rio Grande Valley. As the widow of La Feria grantee Captain Jose Maria Balli, she was already in possession of her husband's 12-league La Feria (Spanish for fair) Grant, south of Ojo de Agua, which she added to her La Feria property.
The whole Ojo de Agua Tract was owned, at the time of his death, by Padre Jose Nicolas Balli (177?-1829), son of Rosa Maria Hinojosa de Balli, and was bequeathed to the descendants of his brother, Jose Maria Balli, Jr. The heirs were Maria Josefa, Juan Jose, Rosa Maria, Guadalupe, Maria Concepcion, and the children of Francisco Balli and of Carmen Balli.
Commencing in 1831, the owners or their assignees entered and took possession of separate portions of the Ojo de Agua Tract, locating on their shares their houses, ranches, farms, small pastures and other improvements. Probably Los Burros Ranch was founded at this time. It was on the Old Salt Road which went from El Sal del Rey directly south to Rosario Ranch on the Rio Grande, and which has been used for over 400 years. It went out of use around 1910. Among Los Burros Ranch owners before the turn of the century of Martin Hinojosa del Toro 1851-1892), who purchased one-half league (2214 acres) from Justo Trevino of Los Indios in 1878. (Trevino was a cousin of Jacinto Trevino, celebrated in a corrido for killing his brother's murderer). Hinojosa
married first to Santos Trevino, and their children were Maria de Jesus (married Manuel Hinojosa), Susana (married Jacinto Hinojosa), Juana (married Gumecindo Solis), and Santos, who married Isabel L. George.
He was married second to Crisanta Solis of San Jose Ranch. Their children were Marcela (married Alfonso Solis), and Blasa (married Vicente Larios). In 1892, they adopted Pablo, who married Virginia Zamora, and Francisca (Mrs. Frederick L. Johnston).
Commencing in the year 1886, and continuing until 1904, the owners and their assigns fenced off their holdings in large pastures, and thus divided the Ojo de Agua Tract among themselves. They erected houses, wells, windmills and other valuable improvements, and cleared, cultivated and continuously used for ranching and for farming the lands within their holdings, paid taxes and
maintained fences. In the following years, the land was further subdivided by sale, court judgment and partition.
Because Ojo de Agua was erroneously included in Las Metenas Tract in a number of legal documents, land sales for over a century encroached into its boundaries As a result, there were legal problems of ownership finally unraveled in 1935 by Judge Fred Bennett of Hidalgo County.
In a court judgment dated 1935, Martin Hinojosa's four daughters received the bulk of Los Burros Ranch. Share No. 14 (Tracts 16, 26 and 34) was adjudged to belong to Frederick L. Johnston and Francisca Hinojosa Johnston, whom he had married in 1896. It included Panchita (Little Frances) Ranch of 193.63 acres, 50 acres out of Los Burros Ranch, and another 10 acres out of the Johnston and Young subdivision. Johnston was a schoolteacher and sometime postmaster. He established a school on the ranch and later taught in Mercedes. Share No. 20 went to Blasa Hinojosa de Larios, wife of Vicente Larios. It contained Tract 24 of 10.30 acres out of Los Burros Ranch. Share 26 went to Marcela Hinojosa de Solis (Mrs. Alfonso Solis), to Juana Hinojosa de Solis (Mrs. Gumecindo Solis), and to Francisca Hinojosa Johnston (Mrs. Frederick L. Johnston). It consisted of Tract 27, 101.30 acres out of Los Burros Ranch.
The cemetery was in existence certainly by 1892, but was probably established much earlier.
During land development in the early part of the twentieth century, surrounding land in the area was included in the Barr Subdivision, but Los Burros (275 acres) and adjacent Durazno ("Peach," 368.1 acres) and Panchita (363 acres). Ranches were not subdivided. In 1935, owners granted easements for development of public roads and the North Floodway through the ranch.
In 1943, Francisca Johnston, widow, and Marcela's daughter Irene Solis, sold their interests to J. C. Looney to satisfy financial obligations. W. G. and J. Conly Bell of La Villa purchased Los Burros Ranch in 1946. At that time, Vicente Larios (1884-1955) lived in a frame house on the ranch. The land
is now farmed commercially by Bell Brothers and no buildings remain.
Sources: Scott, Florence Johnson. Royal Land Grants of LRGV.
Gilbert, Minnie. "Texas' First Cattle Queen." Valley By-Liners. Roots by the River. Mission, TX: Border Kingdom Press, 1978. pp 15-25.
Robertson, Brian. Wild Horse Desert, Edinburg, TX: New Santander Press, 1985, p 26.
Johnston, Frederick L. "The Treasure Cave." Ca. 1937. Typescript in possession of Albert Hughes of Weslaco.
Map. General Land Office, Texas. 1880. Hidalgo County.
Statement and Abstract of Title to the Engelman Ranch Properties in the Las Mestenas Grant, Hidalgo County, Texas, April10, 1911, date of file. March 14, 1928, copy.
Official map of Hidalgo County, Texas. H. E. Wilcox, Edinburg, TX, 1943. Shows Los Burros Ranch (275 acres) with Panchita Ranch (363 acres) on north, and Durazno Ranch (3681 acres). In Farm Tracts 111, 114, and 119. Surrounded by Turner Tract Subdivision. (On wall in Plat Room).
Texas Department of Health. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Standard Certificate of Death #1435. Matias F. Johnston, residence La Villa, Texas. Filed March 8, 1938. Informant was Frederick L. Johnston. Undertaker was S. G. Barreda, Mercedes. (Death certificate describes him as a laborer, a common Anglo misreading of the Spanish word labrador, farmer. Certificate also gives age at death as 55; recorded birth and death dates on certificate and tombstone in Los Burros Cemetery show that he was 83.)Hughes, Albert c. Oral history interview, Weslaco, Texas, Nov. 14, 1991.
Bell, Conly. Elsa, Texas. Telephone conversation March, 1992. Box 36, La Villa (262-1168).
Possible sources of information: Robert Larios and Sam Bingham, La Villa.
Abstract of Title to Tracts 24, 26, 27 out of the Los Burros Ranch in the Ojo de Agua Tract out of the Las Mestenas Grant, in Hidalgo County, Texas, No. 31668 and Supplement No. 31769, Hidalgo and Starr Counties Abstract Co., Edinburg, Texas, 1946.
Judgment May 27, 1935. Pilar Villarreal vs. A. A. Browne et al (Ojo de Agua Grant) Vol. 413, pp 35 - 138, Deed Records, Hidalgo County, Texas.
Hidalgo County, TX. County Clerk. Reverse Index to Deeds. Series 4. (J. C. Looney to W. G. and J. Conley Bell, Tracts 4, 26, 27 of Los Burros Ranch, 1946).
Paredes, Amerigo. A Texas-Mexican Cancionero. (Re corrido about Jacinto Trevino, who killed the overseer who beat his brother to death, then had to escape to Mexico after a fight with Rangers, 1911).
Solis, Silverio and Esperanza (Mrs. Juan) Solis. Interview, Mercedes, Texas, June, 1992. (Relationship of Francisca Hinojosa to Martin Hinojosa.)
A01. PERFECTA ALEC A
Nacio el dia 10 de Abril _____
Fellecio eldia ____ enero de 1940
Su esposa dedica este recuerdo de su memoria
(Cement cross, letters scratched on)
A02. PEDRO GUTIERREZ
Fellecio 11-9-39 al la de 76 anos
Un recuerdo de su esposa y hijos
E.R.L. (cement cross; funeral home marker)
B02. JOSE LUIS ROQUE
(Blue cement cross)
B03. (Cement cross, unmarked)
B04. PIEDAD C DE CABRERA
Nacio marzo 28 de 1987 Fallecio el dia ___ de enero de ____
Ha la memoria de PIEDAD C. DE CABRERA
Un recuerdo de su esposa + 1938
(Note obviously incorrect birth year)
(Cemenet cross; initials spelled out in glass marbles)
(Cement cross, initials spelled out in glass marbles)
B07. LIONIRES CASTILLO
Un recuerdo de su esposa, hija, y nietos
Nacio Agosto 8, 1864 Faleio Sep. 4 1952
(Headstone; Garcia Trevino Funeral Home marker)
C01. (Cement cross with glass marbles inset)
C02. (Cement headstone)
C03. (Cement headstone)
C04. PERFECTO CASTILLO
Nacio junio 15, 1908 Fallecio agosto 18, 1940
Un recuerdo de sus padres y hermanos. Q.E.P.D.
(Infant grave, at foot of D-2)
D02. ISIDRA MENDOZA
(Painted blue cross).
D03. DAVID REYNA
Nacio Feb. 13, 1936 Fallceio Dic. 17, 1949
Un recuerdo de sus padres y hermanos. Q.E.P.D.
E01. (Unmarked grave with wooden post. Possibly infant grave)
E03. (Broken cross)
E04. BLAS CAVAZOS
Un recuerdo de su familia
(Headstone and footstone)
E05. (Unmarked except for empty funeral home marker)
F02. NICASIO FELIX
Nacio Enero 1, 1947 Fallecio Abril 27, 1947
F03. NICHOLAS FELIX
Nacio Enero 1, 1947 Fallecio Mayo 5, 1947
F04. (Cement cross)
F05. (Cement block. Petrified wood log about three feet long nearby,
possibly used as headstone)
F06. RAFAELA HINOJOSA
DEP (LA SEP)
F07. GREGORIO HINOJOSA
F08. TOMASITA C. DE HINOJOSA
A la memoria del
Sr. Gregorio Hinojosa y Sra Tomasita C. De Hinojosa
De parte de sus hijos Jacinto, Virginia y Rafaela. DEP
G01. SEBASTIAN RIOS
DEP. Nacio en Monteray, N.L. Mexico
Murio en Pachita, Texas, June 29, 1942
Sus agradecidos amos Federico L. Johnston
Y Francisca H. Johnston dedican este recuerdo a su memoria
[Mrs. Chapa said he worked for her uncle, Federico Johnston]
G02. M. F. JOHNSTON
Nacio 1855 Fallecio 1938
Un recuerdo de sus hijos alta garcia M. F. Cavazos, EPD
[Mrs. Chapa said Manuel Cavazos was son-in-law of Matias F. Johnston]
H01. EULALIA TORES
Nacio 1860 Fallecio 1905 Edad 45
Un recuerdo de (cam?) quiridos hijos. EPD
H02. MARIA L. MUNOZ
(Unmarked; sister of Mrs. Chapa)
H03. TEODORO LOYA
(Unmarked; father of Mrs. Chapa. He died about 1912).
H04. MIGUEL LOYA
(Unmarked; brother of Mrs. Chapa. He died at age 39 in a car wreck
H05. SANTOS O. DE HINOJOSA
Nob. 2, 1882 July 25, 1920
Su esposo e hijos este recuerdo a su memoria. Q.E.P.D.
(Three graves inside iron fence)
H06. MARTIN HINOJOSA
Nacio en el rancho de la Palma, Tamps., en 1851 y murio en el Rancho
dePanchita, Texas Julio 25 de 1892. Su esposa y familiar dedican
este recurdo a su memoria.(One of three graves inside iron fence)
H07. CRISANTA HINOJOSA
Nacio 1848 Fallecio Jan 21, 1933
Sus hijos dedican este recuerdo a su memoria. E.P.D.
(Inside iron fence. Curbed slab, capped headstone)
[Mrs. Chapa said she was owner of ranch]
I-J01. PABLO HINOJOSA
Nacio Sep 11, 1891 Fallecio Aug 1, 1958
Un recuerdo de su esposa y sus hijos. E.P.D.
(Hurricane fence around plot. Initial "L" on gate for Larios,
owners. Mercedes family)
I-J02. MARCELA HINOJOSA DE SOLIS
Nacio Sep 3, 1886 Fallecio Feb 27, 1934
Sus esposo e hijos le dedican este recuerdo a su memoria. Q.E.P.D.
I-J03. VICENTE LARIOS
Nacio enero 6, 1884 Fallecio Nov 2, 1955
Un recuerdo de su esposa e hijo. E.P.D.
K01. HILARIO OCHOA
(Blue tile cross; he was son of Epitacio and Librada Ochoa,
K02. (Wooden cross, burned)
K03. EPITACIO OCHOA
Dedican este recuerdo sus hijos
K04. LIBRADA OCHOA
Dedican este recuerdo sus hijos
K05. (Unmarked - outlined with brick)
End of Los Burros Ranch Cemetery listing