Old timers make way for new players

Half a century, or so, after settlement came to the Duval County area, it appeared as if the old timers were making way for the new; not always by their choosing. In 1892, J. Williamson Moses resigned his post as county judge after suffering a stroke and paralysis.

F. Garcia Tovar was appointed to finish the term. Pablo Perez, one of the founders of San Diego, died later that year on May 29 and was buried in the San Diego Cemetery.

Pablo Perez head stone.
Moses had a colorful career as a South Texas pioneer. He first came to the area as a mustanger in the 1840s. A mustanger is the Anglicized term to describe a mesteñero or someone who rounded up wild horses for sale to area ranchers or to start their own herds. They were a hardy lot of men, with little regard for danger or at times, the law. Moses spent much of his mustanging days in ranches that are now in present day Jim Wells County, such as Amargosa, Trinidad, and Los Presenos. After settling down as a cattle raiser and businessman, Moses became postmaster and later Justice of the Peace at Banquete.

Moses came to San Diego in 1871 and five years later was among a number of citizens that petitioned the Nueces County Commissioners Court for an election to organize Duval County, created nearly 20 years earlier. In the first slate of elected officials in 1876, Moses appears as the first County Attorney for Duval County. He assumed the post of County Judge in 1883 upon the resignation of Judge Edward S. Atkinson. In 1884, Moses won election to the post outright in a contentious election. He served until 1892 when he resigned due to ill health. He died a year later.

F. Garcia Tovar first appears in newspaper accounts in 1888 when he was named to the grand jury. After his appointment as county judge in 1892, he won the position outright in elections later in the year. While little appears in newspaper columns, he was no doubt a member of the Garcia and Tovar families that played an important role in the area’s development from the start.