PONCE DE LEON, JUAN MARIA
PONCE DE LEÓN, JUAN MARÍA (?–1852). Juan María Ponce de León, wealthy merchant of El Paso del Norte (present Juárez, Chihuahua) and original owner of the site of present El Paso, petitioned the ayuntamiento of El Paso del Norte in January 1827 for some 215 acres of mud flats on the north bank of the Rio Grande. The grant was approved on September 20, 1827, and Ponce de León immediately set about improving the property. He dug an irrigation ditch, planted corn, grapes, and wheat, and built several adobe roundhouses for protection from Indian raiders. In 1830 a flood washed away one of the structures, so he rebuilt on higher ground. After that same flood Ponce almost doubled his holdings when the river eroded into El Paso del Norte. In the summer of 1849 he sold the property to Benjamin Franklin Coons, whereupon it became known as Coon's Rancho. Coons rented land to the army after the arrival of Jefferson Van Horne, who called the encampment "the Post Opposite El Paso [del Norte]," but after the military moved away in September 1851, Coons was unable to keep up his payments and Ponce de León repossessed it. Ponce died the following year, and his wife and daughter sold the rancho to the freighter William T. Smith.
J. J. Bowden, The Ponce de León Land Grant (Southwestern Studies Monograph No. 24, El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1969). Leon C. Metz, City at the Pass: An Illustrated History of El Paso (Woodland Hills, California: Windsor, 1980). W. H. Timmons, "American El Paso: The Formative Years, 1848–1854," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 87 (July 1983).
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Martin Donell Kohout, "PONCE DE LEON, JUAN MARIA," accessed April 03, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpo63.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 6, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.