Earliest land grants, Part 2

San Leandro grant on south bank of San Diego Creek.
The Spanish were not the only ones looking at this part of Texas to see if it was suitable for their needs. The Comanche were pushing their archenemies the Lipan Apache into South Texas from their natural habitat in eastern Colorado. The Lipan Apache were a nomadic group that relied on buffalo for subsistence. By 1775, the Apache had gained control over South Texas from the more docile Coahuiltecan Indians, who found themselves in a vise grip between the Spanish and Lipan Apache.

It was not uncommon for colonists to seek protection in other settlements during Indian raids. In 1823, José María García reported Indian attacks on his property at San Diego. In December 1826, Cristóbal Treviño, “with the San Diego detachment,” returned to the presidio from patrol for Indian activities. Spanish soldiers from the presidio at Laredo often made forays in the area and to repel Indian attacks. Records suggest that the soldiers had a detachment in San Diego. Indeed, the Casa Blanca bar–a square structure with large blocks quarried from caliche, which the Spaniards called sillar–may have served as an outpost for this detachment.

This home at the corner of St. Joseph and Perez streets in
San Diego may have been part of the Flores ranch headquarters. 
Across the creek, meanwhile, Rosales was developing the San Leandro. He testified in a Spanish document “tengo…desde el antiguo gobierno cuatro sitios en el paisaje de San Diego en la costa…que poblé y cultive…” The ranch was located off the right margin of Arroyo de San Diego, 55 miles west of Corpus Christi and had pens, corrals, stock, and servants. The family had possession of that place except when driven off by Indians and during the war for independence. Ruins of a sillar house on the south banks of the creek may have served as the ranch headquarters. Across the river, ruins at the corner of St. Joseph Avenue and Perez Street may have been the location of the Flores ranch headquarters.

The San Florentina grant was never perfected and references to it disappeared from the written record.
To be continued...