Hidalgo Co. Cemeteries of Tx

Submitted by Frances Isbell

With Permission  of Hidalgo Co. Historical Commission (2005)

Surveyed by Goldsby Goza and Fran Isbel on January 19 and 26, 1980.

On February 17, 1977, Joe Fallin, Leo J. Leo and Dale Swartzmiller of  the Hidalgo County Historical Society located two very old cemeteries near  where the old village of Tabasco once stood. Both of these cemeteries are located back in the brush and uncared for. They are on ground that once  was near or on the banks of the former bed of the Rio Grande River. Both cemeteries are now back from the present dirt roads south of the present railroad line.

The oldest of these cemeteries is located just west of where the plaza was situated in the first Tabasco village. There are a few grave markers and  a couple crumbling bovedas left. None were legible. Mr. Leo said that he remembered as a boy that the cemetery was well kept, but when the original village was more of less destroyed by the floods of 1908 and 1909, the people moved to higher ground and the cemeteries ceased to be cared for and a  cemetery was started at the second location.

It was possible to read a few grave markers in the second cemetery. This cemetery is located about a mile east of Number 1 site. One marker was in good shape and the name on it was "FELIPA M. REYNA, Un Recuerdo de sus hijos" but there were no dates. The second cement cross was legible as "JUAN MORA"  but no other data. There was a third stone that faintly showed the initials "J.T." which was assumed by Mr. Leo to represent JUAN TREVINO, a descendent  of the original land owner. Waiting at the road when we emerged from the  brush was Mr. Trevino, a current owner of adjoining land and a descendant of one of the original settlers. Mr. Trevino could not verify what the "J.T."  stood for.

To the west of the first old cemetery is Porcion 46, one of the 1767 General Visita grants or by the "Act of Possession", 1768.

According to recorded history, Tabasco was founded by Francisco de la Garza. He was a member of a family of the first colonizers of this area. Tabasco  was a part of Old Reynosa and in the early 1800s, many of the Ranchos  extended to both sides of the river and cattle were grazed on the north side of the Rio Grande as well as the south side. In those days, there were no  dams so it was possible to ford the river at various places when it was not  in flood. As time went on, some of the owners moved to the north side of  the Rio Grande to live and this is how Tabasco on the River and La Joya  further north began. La Joya was originally a part of Tabasco.

Francisco de la Garza was an adventurous fortune seeker and a mercenary  soldier of south of the Border. He acquir4ed wealth and purchased the land  to found Tabasco, naming it after Tabasco, Mexico.

The site of the old village was south of the present railroad tracks. It is possible today to see where the village plaza was located. The town was able to grow because of its location on the Rio Grande where travel was possible  by water. Recurring floods, however, troubled the village, and finally after 1909, the people were so discouraged that they deserted the old site for  higher ground, which in many cases was where the village of La Joya now  stands.

Presently, there is a cemetery in La Joya that takes the place of the two  old Tabasco burying grounds.

It was thought by Mr. Leo that this section of land along the Rio Grande was never a part of an original granted Porcion. It was Common Grazing Land reserved for the possible use of the people of Old Reynosa. Control was with Los Ejidos de Reynosa Viejo.

After Mexico became free of Spain, the new government made land grants to  some settlers of Reynosa Viejo. This land was north of the Rio Grande and  the settlers took up residence at Tabasco and other points north of the river La Joya was formerly known as Tabasco. It is said that Tabasco was founded  about 1840 or about 70 years before other Valley cities other than 
Brownsville Hidalgo, Rio Grande City and Roma.

Some of the early settlers in the Tabasco - La Joya area were families named Hilario Silva, Condido de la Rosa, Juan Mora, Pedro Mancias and Romera. Many descendants of these families still live in this general vicinity. One descendant of Pedro Mancias now lives (Feb. 1977) across from St. Joseph's  Church in Havana. His name is Gonzolo Mancias.