Corn crop made big entry in Duval County in 1886

Con artists were common in the frontier. In 1885, an Anglo con artist passed himself off as half Mexican by the name of Federico Milmo. He bought some mules in San Diego without paying, left one at the Lara ranch between Collins and San Diego, and went into Collins and told the Sheriff someone stole his mules at Piedras Pintas. Milmo took the train to Corpus Christi.

The next week, Milmo found himself in jail in San Diego where he persuaded a deputy to let him out so he could go visit a woman friend. Milmo of course disappeared in the wind. The sheriff heard he was in Concepcion and went after him. Authorities believed Milmo was the same con artist who hoodwinked Lazaro Peña of Peña Station two years before.

Another con artist by the name of MacManus deceived some people in San Diego and escaped to Eagle Pass where he continued practicing his trade. Reports from Eagle Pass had him escaping from there as well.

Not everyone was a con artist, some entrepreneurs sought to advance themselves and the community in favorable ways. Fabian Favela, of example, was manufacturing wool hats in San Diego. The hats’ fine quality found many customers for the local manufacturer. Favela was also collecting money in San Diego to buy cottonseed to give to the poor so they could plant and raise a crop. Quite a bit of cottonseed was collected.

An unforgiving cold front hit San Diego in January 1886. The thermometer dipped to 18 degrees and the weather included rain, sleet and snow. While some enjoyed snowball fights, not everything was fun. Stockmen lost a large number of cattle.

The freeze did not deter Favela and area farmers. By March, farming was in full swing. Farmers were harvesting a large corn crop. Due to the success they had with the corn harvest the year before, farmers enlarged their cornfields and were planting on a larger scale. Farmers are thrilled with the outlook of the crop. Favela, who had several years of experience farming, was credited with introducing corn farming in Duval County.

Some of the more prominent planters in the county included Placido Benavides, Isidro Benavides, and Vicente Vera. W. A. and R. B. Glover were using their gristmill to produce corn meal. R. R. Savage shipped 10 carloads of corn to Corpus Christi from Realitos and planned to ship more.

At Concepcion, in addition to a good corn crop, farmers were planting garden vegetables, melon and peaches. Well-known planters in Concepcion were Julian Palacios, Charles Stillman, and Teodoro and Alejo Perez.