Surname List
Name Index



Nobility ?
Surname Origins

New Spain
Nuevo Santander
La Grulla
La Encantada
The Alcala Exodus


Gallery 1
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Gallery 4
Gallery 5




La Grulla is located on the opposite bank of the Rio Grande from Camargo, and a few miles downstream. It is situated in Porcion 94, originally granted to Pedro Longoria in 1767. Juan Longoria was probably the first Longoria to actually reside in La Grulla. In “Memories from La Grulla on the Rio Grande” Josefina Vera writes "In the year 1836, Juan Longoria Flores, his wife Yrinea Villarreal, and their small children moved across the Rio Grande to settle in that part of their Porcion 94, and called the settlement "Los Mesquititos"...The portales and jacales were hidden by dense mesquite and retama. Thick log fences were built around the yards. Armed men guarded the place day and night. Through a small peep hole in the fence, they could see anyone approaching." This was the beginning of the settlement known today as La Grulla (official post office designation is “Grulla”).

The timing of Juan's move across the river is very interesting. It was on March 2, 1836, that Texas declared its independence from Mexico. The Alamo fell on March 6, 1836, and Santa Anna was defeated in the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. With Texas now a republic, many "gringos" started forcing non-Anglo landowners off their lands and confiscating them as their own. To maintain possession of their lands, the non-Anglo citizens had to live on them and fight to keep them. I believe this is what prompted Juan Longoria to relocate his family from Camargo to the future La Grulla in 1836.  And he succeeded in maintaining possession of his lands.  To this date, some of Juan Longoria's descendants still live in La Grulla.

One of the landmarks in La Grulla is the San Roque church, originally constructed in 1891. It was built by Juan and Yrinea Longoria to honor the memory of one of their sons, Eugenio, who had been killed in 1870. Eugenio had gone to visit friends and relatives in Las Cuevitas, but was never seen again after he departed La Grulla. Family members searched for weeks but could find no trace of him. Months later, the skeleton of a man and his horse were found in thick brush just off the trail near Penitas, Texas. The man’s hand still had a gold ring with the initials E.L., identifying the remains as those of Eugenio. The skull of the horse had three bullet holes in it. The cause of Eugenio’s death was never determined. The San Roque church was restored in the mid-1990’s and is still in use today.

Juan Longoria was born about 1815, when Mexico had not yet gained its independence from Spain, and died in 1892. Thus, it can be said that Juan Longoria lived under "five flags of Texas": the Spanish, Mexican, Republic of Texas, Confederate, and United States flags. If one also includes the flag of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande, then Juan Longoria lived under “six flags of Texas” (not the same six as claimed by the modern state of Texas, which includes the French flag).

Ranching provided their sustenance and it was their main means of raising the cash needed to buy other necessities.  This meant however that the cattle would have to be driven to other places where there were ready buyers.  The cattle drives were not easy, and they could be perilous. On July 10, 1874, Juan Longoria went before the District Clerk of Starr County and signed a document granting his son Ponciano a Power of Attorney “ drive, handle, sell and dispose of my stock consisting of horses and cattle running on the range at San Ysidro del Encinal in said County of Starr and State of Texas branded and marked with my brand…...and authority to execute in my name good and valid bills of sale for any animal or hide sold by him by virtue hereof, and to reclaim from any persons having the same in possession without the necessary bill of sale, any hide or animal branded as above, giving to him my said son full power and authority to do every act and thing necessary to be done in the premises as fully as I myself could do if personally present”. Apparently, Juan was giving his son full authority to do everything that a rightful owner of cattle or horses could legally do to a cattle thief or horse thief.

Ponciano’s cattle drives probably went from La Grulla to Corpus Christi, passing through the La Encantada land grant in what is now Brooks County. La Encantada was purchased by Gregorio Villarreal in 1872.  Four years later in 1876, Ponciano Longoria married Maria Rita Villarreal, one of the daughters of Gregorio Villarreal.  It was sometime around 1915 that Ponciano decided to relocate his family from La Grulla to the La Encantada land grant.

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Juan & Yrinea'a home (click to enlarge)
Juan & Yrinea Longoria’s last home

Longoria Cemetery (click to enlarge)
Longoria Cemetery 

San Roque (click to enlarge)
San Roque Church

Ponciano & Rita's home (click to enlarge)
Ponciano & Maria Rita Longoria's home

ceiling rafters (click to enlarge)
Ceiling in Ponciano Longoria home.


Copyright © 2001.  Raul N. Longoria.  All rights reserved.