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Dale Lasater

FALFURRIAS, TEXAS. Falfurrias, the county seat and principal trading center of Brooks County, is on State Highway 281 sixty miles southwest of Corpus Christi and ninety miles from Laredo in the northern part of the county. Its founding and development were largely the effort of Edward C. Lasater, pioneer Rio Grande valley rancher and land developer, who in 1895 started a cattle ranch in what was then northern Starr County; his spread came to be known as Falfurrias Ranch, after La Mota de Falfurrias, the grove of trees he chose as the site of his headquarters. To increase settlement in the area Lasater encouraged the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway to extend a line to his ranch in 1904. At the railway terminus four miles east of his ranchhouse he founded Falfurrias; he also changed the name of his ranch to La Mota. His Falfurrias Immigration Company set about attracting settlers by offering subdivided ranchland near the railroad at low prices and advertising extensively in the East and Midwest.

The name Falfurrias antedates Anglo association with the area, and its derivation is uncertain. Lasater claimed that it was a Lipan Indian word meaning "the land of heart's delight"; others believed it was the Spanish name for a native desert flower known as the heart's delight. Less romantic is the theory that Falfurrias is a misspelling of one or another Spanish or French word. The word filfarrias, for example, Mexican slang for a filthy, untidy person, was long associated with an old shepherd in the region whom the locals referred to as Don Filfarrias. According to local tradition the shepherd's land came to be known as La Mota de Don Filfarrias (la mota meaning "a grove of trees"), which eventually evolved into La Mota de Don Falfurrias and was finally shortened to Falfurrias.

A post office under that name began operation in 1898. The Falfurrias Facts began publication in 1906. In 1911 the state granted a petition by local residents to form a new county, with Falfurrias as the county seat. Lasater established a creamery operation in 1909; he imported purebred Jersey dairy cattle to his ranch and eventually built what was said to be the largest Jersey herd in the world. Falfurrias butter is renowned. Irrigation, introduced during the late 1920s, brought in truck farming and the citrus fruit industry, with Falfurrias as the shipping center. The discovery of extensive oil and gas reserves around Falfurrias in the 1930s and 1940s added a new dimension to the town's growth and prosperity. Falfurrias had a population of 2,500 in 1925 and 7,500 by 1970. In the late 1980s the population was just over 6,500. Falfurrias continues to be a business center for the area's dairy, agricultural, and oil and gas industries. In 1990 the population was 5,788, and in 2000 it was 5,297.

A Brief History of Falfurrias, The Land of Heart's Delight (Falfurrias, Texas: Falfurrias Jersey Dairy, 1912). Dale Lasater, Falfurrias: Ed C. Lasater and the Development of South Texas (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1985).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Dale Lasater, "FALFURRIAS, TX," accessed July 10, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hff01.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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