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Alicia A. Garza

LOS EBANOS, TEXAS. Los Ebanos is off Farm Road 886 half a mile north of the Rio Grande in extreme southwestern Hidalgo County. The first recorded Spanish visit into the area was in the 1740s, when an ancient ford south of the area was crossed by explorers and colonists led by José de Escandón. Los Ebanos was reportedly established by early Mexican settlers, who named the community for the abundance of ebony trees in the area. The ford was a popular crossing during the Mexican War in 1846. During the Civil War, on December 28, 1862, armed Mexican thieves crossed into Los Ebanos and attacked a Confederate wagontrain; three teamsters died, and all the goods were lost. Texas Rangers crossed the ford in 1874 to pursue cattle rustlers. Los Ebanos was the site of an engagement between United States customs officers and cattle thieves in November 1875. The Los Ebanos post office was opened in 1910, and in 1913 Dr. Alfred J. J. Austin established a ranch, brickyard, gravel pit, and pharmacy there. The community's population was estimated at 200 in 1920, and by 1936 Los Ebanos comprised a school, several dwellings, two churches, and seven businesses. During the 1920s and 1930s Los Ebanos was again popular as a crossing for smugglers, who brought alcohol from Mexico. Its population remained at 200 in 1946, when one business was reported in the community. A ferry connecting Los Ebanos to Ciudad Díaz Ordaz, Tamaulipas, was established in 1950. At that time it was the only government-licensed hand-pulled ferry on a United States international boundary. An inspection station was also established then. In 1964 Los Ebanos had a population of 100 and four businesses. A colonia formed in Los Ebanos during the late 1960s and early 1970s had 150 dwellings and an estimated population of 825 in 1976; by 1986 it had decreased to ten dwellings and a population of forty-five. In 1990 the population of Los Ebanos was estimated at 100. The population reached 403 by 2000.


Colonias in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas: A Summary Report (Policy Research Project Report No. 18, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, 1977). T. R. Fehrenbach, Mario Lorenzo Sanchez, and Aura Nell Ranzau, A Shared Experience: The History, Architecture, and Historical Designations of the Lower Rio Grande Heritage Corridor (Austin: Los Caminos del Rio Heritage Project and the Texas Historical Commission, 1991). J. Lee and Lillian J. Stambaugh, The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1954).

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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, Alicia A. Garza, "LOS EBANOS, TX," accessed April 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hll63.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on December 5, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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