Francisco Salinas  & Nicolasa Garcia



Francisco Salinas Guerra & Nicolasa Garcia Salinas

     Francisco Salinas: Born September 16, 1878

   Place: Las Escobas Ranch in Starr County

   Parents: Jose  Angel Salinas and Maria Emilia Guerra

    Siblings: Zaragosa, Salvador, Jose R., Eduardo, Manuelita, Margarita, Ramoncita,       Paulita

     Married: Nicolasa Garcia on October 31, 1908

     Nicolasa Garcia: Born September 10, 1882

     Place: San Diego, Texas

     Parents: Jose Pedro Garcia and Maria Isabel Salinas

     Children:  Lauro H., Maria Lucila, Ruben Jesus., and Maria Isabel

    My grandfather, Francisco (Panchito) inherited one ninth of the estate of Jose Angel Salinas and Maria Emilia Guerra. According to a story told to me by my uncle Judge Dario Garcia,  my grandparents met due to buggy wheel tire problems. My grandfather  Papá Panchito was traveling to Las Escobas Ranch in his buggy and he got a flat tire in front of El Brazil Ranch where Nicolasa (Mamá Chata), my grandmother, lived and as destiny had it Nicolasa Garcia and Francisco Salinas met and later got married.

     My grandfather Papá Panchito followed his father's traditions and continued to make improvements at Las Escobas Ranch.. When my grandfather Francisco along with his brother Salvador, took over the ranch Braham cattle were introduced but quickly changed to Herefords finding that Braham cattle were too wild in the primitive brush land situation. Through the guidance of the Starr County Soil and Water Conservation District with headquarters in Rio Grande City, Texas local farmers and ranchers along with my grandfather changed their ways by analyzing their operation and made an inventory of resources including the soil, grass and condition of the livestock. Some of the changes in the ranch were to give up dry land farming and the land was terraced to prevent water and soil erosion and put back into grass. Another suggestion was to reduce the size of the herd. The land was overgrazed. They began to use rotation grazing which would allow the land to rest. Roller cropping was used for brush control. Fields were planted with buffel grass and blue panic. Other improvements were the introduction of registered Santa Gertrudis bulls into the herd to improve his commercial herd. The Santa Gertrudis were crossbred with the Herefords to produce a more satisfactory commercial animal.

     The concept of wildlife management was introduced as a secondary land management use. In 1950, five years after I was born, long before the idea of wildlife management was popular, an agreement was signed not be hunt any of the deer or javelina at Las Escobas Ranch for five years. This would allow the herds to build up. In 1956, the herds had increased to the point that hunting rights could be leased. This activity was heavily monitored. Hunting camps were set up and deer blinds were placed in various locations all over the ranch. A board in the camp house showed the locations of the blinds. When a hunter chooses his site, he hangs his nametag on a nail marking the site so that other hunters will know to stay away. Recent Texas Wildlife Department surveys have indicated the need to eliminate some of the doe population. I was 11 years old when the ranch was leased to hunters from South Padre Island by the surnames of Haney, Estes, Postons, PeeWee Shumacher, and many others. These hunters remained there for many years. It was a big hunting operation. All the Salinas heirs abided by hunting agreements and followed the suggestions of The Soil and Water Conservation District. Currently due to many ranch owners and differences in philosophy, it has become the practice to high fencing in order to privately maintain wildlife management plans.

     Las Escobas Ranch is the oldest and one of the most historic ranches in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. The ranch is currently owned by different family’s descendents of Jose Felipe Guerra Hinojosa. Las Escobas has been subdivided into generations of heirs.    Las Escobas Ranch has "potreros" named through the years by our great grandparents such as El Gato, El Monte, El Llano, Las Bolsas, El Siete, La Gabiota, El Fresnito, and many others. Over the years these names remain as a way to point out different locations within the Las Escobas Ranch property. Some heirs have sold their properties and others have passed it on to their children. It was our great grandparents wish that the ranch properties be kept together after they died. Unfortunately in many instances it did not happen according to their wishes. The 18,000+ acres managed by Jose A. Salinas was divided into numerous smaller operations all throughout Las Escobas Ranch.
    I am told that my grandfather , Papá Panchito did not like for anyone to take his picture. He would get very upset if anyone attempted to take his picture. He was a very short man and looked like his father Jose. Some stories I hear about him are that when he wasn't working out in the ranch he enjoyed listening to novelas in the radio, loved to play the violin, loved to listen to music in the radio such as "Los Montaneses del Alamo" .My mom tells me that he would come to our house to hide from visitors that would come to his house. He would stay away for hours until they left. His daughter, Tia Chabelita would say that he had a great sense of humor and was somewhat of a prankster (era muy travieso). He was a very kind and loving father and husband. She would say that he didn't spank them when they were growing up. He would just talk to them. He became ill a few years before his death with a stroke and also suffered from Alzheimer's. Tia Chabelita took care of him for about two years at her home when he first became ill. Later, he was taken to Las Escobas Ranch and my dad, Ruben and my uncle Lauro took turns sleeping with my grandmother to help take care of him until he died March 13, 1957. I was 12 years old when he died. He is buried in the Rio Grande City Cemetery..
                Mí abuelita  known as “Mama Chata”

                                (click on the Jose Pedro Garcia button to read more)

      I have very fond memories of my grandmother, Mama Chata. The photo on the heading of this page of Mama Chata was taken in 1945, the year I was born. She is holding my Uncle Lauro H. Salinas picture who was serving in World War II and holding my oldest brother, Lauro on her lap. She was born September 10, 1882 in  San Diego, Texas, Duval County.  She was an angel/saint (era una santa). I would walk about a half mile to her house from my house to her house and could smell the "gorditas" way before I got there. I would sit and eat my gordita and enjoy to chat with her. She knew that I loved "pan de polvo" and she would save it for me in a glass container hidden in the cupboard. She would tell me, "Lo escondí para tí". I sat in her kitchen so many times as she gave me "consejos". We were being raised by my mom without a father at the time due my dad's tragic death.  I remember her stories vividly. She convinced me that I had to try very hard at anything I did so that I would be successful because she expected that from me. She would say, "Irmita, tu tienes que trabajar mas duro que nadie y educarte porque eres mujer y es lo que tu padre quisiera de ti." She was the kind of person that you wanted to please. I never heard her raise her voice or express negative comments to me or anyone around her. She was a lady of faith, kindness, and "puro corazon.". Mama Chata would bless everyone in the family daily, even when they were not present by pointing and forming a cross in different directions indicating where they lived or where they may be traveling. She taught us faith by example. She prayed the rosary everyday and demonstrated how she placed her daily life in God's hands. We often had bad droughts at the ranch and she would place a rosary and a "santito" in a glass jelly jar. She asked us to take them and hang them on trees and pray for rain. I remember her dressed in black , head to toe, most of her life. She wore black from 1957 until she died May 8, 1973 in honor of my grandfather and my father's death. I have not been able to find a picture of my grandfather, Papa Panchito.
          I thank God for my ancestors in prayer for all their hard work, the legacy and heritage passed on to us, how proud I am of them and their accomplishments in  their lives. They have inspired me with what I know about them. As they are our guardian angels from heaven, I hope they are also proud of me/us as we are trying to keep their memories alive. May they all rest in peace. We will continue to honor them and remember them in our daily lives.