Val Verde County, Texas

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Val Verde County is a county located on the Edwards Plateau in the U.S. state of Texas. In 2008, estimated population was 55,000. Its county seat is Del Rio.[1]

Val Verde, which means "green valley", was named for a Civil War battle. In 1862, soldiers of Sibley's Brigade took part in the Texas invasion of New Mexico Territory, where they captured several artillery pieces at the Battle of Val Verde. The battle is memorialized both in the name of the county and a small settlement in Milam County.

The Del Rio Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Val Verde County.

Judge Roy Bean (1825–1903) operated a general store and saloon west of the Pecos River in Langtry, where the original Bean building is displayed at a Texas Tourist Bureau station. Bean and his son are interred on the grounds of the Whitehead Memorial Museum in Del Rio. Bean is the subject of the 1956 syndicated television series Judge Roy Bean, starring Edgar Buchanan, and the 1972 film, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, with Paul Newman in the featured role.


History Timeline

  • First inhabitants were 6,000–10,000 years ago and later came to include Lipan Apache, Coahuiltecan, Jumanos, Tamaulipans and Comanches.[2][3]
  • 1590 Spanish explorer Gaspar Castaño de Sosa leads a mining expedition of 170 who pass through Devils Draw. He refers to a stream by the name of Laxas, which is believed Devils River.[4][5][6]
  • 1673 Juan Larios opens a mission school at between Del Rio and Eagle Pass.[7][3]
  • 1675 Traveling Franciscan priests celebrate Mass at San Felipe.[7][3]
  • 1736 Lt. Miguel de la Garza Falcón[8] leads100 soldiers along the Devils River[9] in pursuit of Apaches.
  • 1834 James Grant[10] and John Charles Beales[11] establish settlement on San Felipe Creek,[12] which becomes undesirable due to Indian attacks.
  • 1850’s Military bases to protect against Indian attacks include Camp Blake,[13] Camp Hudson[14] and Camp San Felipe.[15]
  • 1860 Population of 2,874, includes 108 blacks and 1,103 foreign-born.[3]
  • 1868 San Felipe community is established.[3]
  • 1869 through 1882 Seminole Negro Indian Scouts (mixed heritage Seminoles with African blood) under John Lapham Bullis, namesake of Camp Bullis, defend the Texas border against Indian attack.[16][17]
  • 1883 Galveston Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway is completed.[18] Frank Qualia establishes Val Verde winery.[19][20][21]
  • 1884 Langtry community established, named by Judge Roy Bean after Lillie Langtry.[22][3]
  • 1885 Val Verde County is organized from Crockett, Kinney, and Pecos counties. Roy Bean elected justice of the peace in Langtry, operating out of the Jersey Lily Saloon and becoming renowned as “the Law West of the Pecos”.[3]
  • 1886 Juno and Devils River communities established.[3]
  • 1888 Comstock community established.[3][23]
  • 1889 Norris community established.[3]
  • 1928 Lake Hamilton Dam complete.[3]
  • 1904 Lillie Langtry visits the community of Langtry.[24]
  • 1929 Lake Walk Dam complete.[25][3]
  • 1942 Laughlin Field/Laughin Army Air Field opens to train World War II pilots.[26][3]
  • 1945 Laughlin Field closes.[3]
  • 1952 Laughlin Field reopens as Laughlin Air Force Base, and serves as a secret U2 unit. Major Rudolph Anderson, a U-2 pilot from Laughlin, is the only casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis.[27][28]
  • 1969 Armistad Dam and Reservoir complete. The project cost $78 million.[29][3]

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