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Historical goat ranch beckons interest in Wilson County history

Historical goat ranch beckons  interest in Wilson County history
GREGORY RIPPS A ridge of sand protects a portion of wall at the Rancho de las Cabras National Historical Park in Wilson County.

When San Antonio’s historical Spanish missions received recognition July 5 as a World Heritage Site, so did a landmark in Wilson County.

The Rancho de las Cabras, near Floresville, is part of the San Antonio Missions National Park.

The ranch was used to raise livestock to help feed the inhabitants of Mission Espada, the southernmost mission, during the latter 1700s. Despite the name, “Ranch of the Goats,” historical records suggest that cattle outnumbered other livestock there.

“Some of the missionaries had knowledge of managing horses and cattle,” said Maurine Liles of the Wilson County Historical Society. “They trained some of the mission Indians to ride and work cattle.”

Fellow member Gene Maeckel said, “Some scholars consider the area along the San Antonio River and Cibolo Creek to be ’the cradle of Texas ranching.’”

Piles of sand protect the ranch’s surviving walls. Archaeologists have determined general outlines of the ranch’s structures and their probable purpose.

People interested in visiting the site may contact Wilson County Historical Society President LaJuana Newnam-Leus at 830-393-2166 or 830-391-4625 and leave their name and contact information. She hopes to arrange some special, in-depth tours.

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