"Sauz" is a Spanish word for the native black willow tree
(Salix nigra) found in alluvial soils and other wet areas in the
eastern two-thirds of Texas.
El Sauz Ranch was established in 1792
when Jose Narciso Cavazos purchased the San Juan de Carricitos
land grant from the Spanish government and stocked it with
cattle. Encompassing more than 584,000 acres, this was the
largest Spanish land grant in south Texas.
Captains Richard King and Mifflin Kenedy
eventually bought much of the land in the grant, and in 1874
Edward B. Raymond was hired to manage the El Sauz Division of
A ranch house was built in 1884. The
Brownsville to Alice stage-line began to use it as a stopover,
and it developed into a small community with Raymond serving as
telegraph operator and postmaster, a schoolhouse and a
The post office operated from 1893 to
1915. The El Sauz School District was established on March 6,
1925 and operated until the mid-1950s. The ranch house withstood
numerous hurricanes but was ultimately demolished in 1980 after
almost 100 years of service.
Durham, the famous Texas Ranger, succeeded Raymond as foreman of
El Sauz. Duhram rode with a special force of Texas Rangers led
by Captain L. H. McNelly. These Rangers were dispatched to
restore order to the Nueces Strip, the untamed country along the
Texas/Mexico border. A thrilling account of their adventures is
available in his book, Taming The Nueces Strip – The Story of
McNelly's Rangers. After the force was disbanded, Durham served
as Captain King's bodyguard for some time before marrying
Caroline Chamberlain and moving to El Sauz. He was succeeded by
two of his sons (George Durham, Jr. and Bland Durham) and a
nephew (Beto Durham).