The Museum of South Texas History invites the community to join in honoring its 2014 Heritage Associate FRIENDS at Los Novillos Ranch at 6:30 p.m. on March 22. The Board and staff of MOSTHistory are grateful to ranch owners Jack and Tina Scoggins who have extended their warm hospitality to the museum and its guests for one special evening. To attend the Heritage Ranch Gala, advance reservations must be purchased by March 14 by calling the museum. Gala guests will celebrate our South Texas ranching heritage in style, dining on gourmet food with a South Texas flavor and dancing under a canopy of stars in the company of friends and fellow museum supporters — all at a beautiful lakeside setting nestled in native brush at Los Novillos Ranch.
Los Novillos Ranch can trace its history back to Spanish Colonial times. In the mid-1700s the King of Spain, acting through the Viceroy of Nueva España, appointed Colonel José de Escandón to oversee settlement of Seno Mexicano, the remote region along the Rio Bravo del Norte or Rio Grande River. Escandón named the region Nuevo Santander and began dividing it into large portions of land to be granted to qualified families to settle and work the land. On Oct. 20, 1804, the San Ramon Land Grant (22,602 acres) was awarded to Julian Farias. He named the southeast portion of his grant Santa Guadalupe Ranch, whose headquarters was located between Rancho San Juanito and Camargo along the ancient salt trail known as El Camino de la Real Salina.
The ranch was passed in title to Martiniano Cantu and his partner Sam Lane. They lived just north of the Guadalupe on a pasture known as Los Novillos, which translates into English as “the steers.” Later in 1925, Cantu sold the Santa Guadalupe and Los Novillos pastures consisting of some 12,000 acres, and during the next ten years the property changed hands several times. In 1935, the ranch was sold to Raymond Gee, a Fort Worth banker, and Woods Christian, president of the First National Bank in Brownsville.
Plagued by drought, the ranch suffered. In the 1940s, drought tolerant bufflegrass imported from Africa and India was introduced to South Texas. Gee and Christian cleared their ranch from fence to fence and planted this “wonder grass” to improve stocking capacity. As native brush was cleared, the wildlife population decreased. Several decades later, the Scoggins acquired Los Novillos. They recognized the benefit of cattle and wildlife coexistence and began encouraging the regrowth of native brush to support both. Today, both cattle and deer thrive on Los Novillos.
Be sure to purchase your advance reservation by March 14 by calling the museum at +1-956-383-6911. Reservations are $165 per person for FRIENDS of MOSTHistory and $185 for future FRIENDS. Join or renew your FRIENDship at the same time and take advantage of special pricing.
About Museum of South Texas History
The Museum of South Texas History is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is located in downtown Edinburg at 200 North Closner Boulevard on the Hidalgo County Courthouse square. Hours of operation are from 1–5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday. Founded in 1967 as the Hidalgo County Historical Museum in the 1910 Hidalgo County Jail, the museum has grown over the decades through a series of expansions to occupy a full city block. In 2003 following the completion of a 22,500 square foot expansion, the museum was renamed the Museum of South Texas History to better reflect its regional scope. Today, the museum preserves and presents the borderland heritage of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico through its permanent collection and the Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives and exhibits spanning prehistory through the 20th century. For more information about MOSTHistory, including becoming a FRIEND, visit MOSTHistory.org, like us on Facebook, follow on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, find on Google+ or call +1-956-383-6911.