Floresville Interesting Facts
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Floresville was named for Don Francisco Flores de Abrego, a rancher who established his ranch about six miles northwest of the current location of Floresville in 1832. In 1833 the nucleus of the present town was founded on land donated by the Flores family; it became the Wilson County seat in 1885.
Flores de Abrego’s ranch followed in a farming and ranching tradition already 100 years old at the time of his settlement. Rancho de las Cabras, or “the goat ranch,” was established near present-day Floresville in the mid- 1700s as a grazing ground for Mission Espada. The rancho was located about 30 miles southeast of Mission Espada, on the San Antonio River, near present-day Floresville.
Rancho de las Cabras was a place to raise cattle to feed the Spanish priests and the Indians who lived at Mission Espada. Missionaries trusted certain Indian vaqueros, or cowboys, to live on the ranch and take care of the animals. These Indian cowboys lived with their wives and children on the ranch. Once a week, seven or eight head of cattle were brought from the ranch to Mission Espada. These were some of the first cattle drives and were quite dangerous due to the hostile Indians along the path. The ranch eventually was shut down because Espada was taken over by the government, relieving the church of the job of feeding the Indians.
Apache raids in the late 1770s caused problems with the rancho system. The Spanish government took over ownership of unbranded cattle in 1778 and in the early 1800s, the rancho lands became the property of the people who had been living there and of new settlers to the area.
All of the animals in the rancho had a different purpose other than meat and there was often a surplus. Oxen plowed, cattle produced hides, soap, grease, and horns for carving and other uses. Horses provided were used for transportation and helped to herd livestock. Cattle, sheep, goats (although there weren’t many) and pigs were food. Sheep provided wool, and goats produced milk.
On September 15, 1995, the National Park Service acquired a small section of the former ranch from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. It is now a a part of San Antonio Missions National Historical Parks. The park service plans to restore the Rancho de las Cabras if they can get the money. In 2015, the United National Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed collectively San Antonio's five Spanish collonial missions and the Rancho de las Cabras in Wilson County as a World Heritage Site.
Today, with a growing season of 285 days, Floresville is a marketing point for watermelons, flax, cotton, beef cattle, dairy and poultry products. A huge peanut on the courthouse lawn recognizes the peanut crop grown in the area and the community’s annual Peanut Festival.