San Elizario in El Paso County, Texas was the location of this conflict over mineral rights. San Elizario was founded in 1789 south of the Rio Grande River. In 1831 a flood changed the course of the river and San Elizario became an “island” between the two channels of the river. In 1836 the Republic of Texas set its southern boundary at the Rio Grande, so for a time the nationality of San Elizario residents was in question. With the Treaty of Hidalgo, the border was officially set at the southern channel, so San Elizario, already a thriving town (the largest between San Antonio and Santa Fe) was now officially Texan.
Reconstruction brought changes to that part of Texas with Republicans settling in the area after the Civil War. But, as we saw in last weeks article Democrats soon began to assert their political muscle to regain power. The Southern Democrats did not mix well with the Hispanics and their culture so rivalries arose.