LEONA DITCH, TX
LEONA DITCH, TEXAS. Leona Ditch, also known as the Ditch and Leona Chapel, was six miles southeast of Uvalde in far south central Uvalde County. The community was named for the irrigation ditch system used by the farming community. Leona Ditch was established in 1873 by the Leona Irrigation and Agricultural Association, whose membership included A. B. Dillard, John Patterson, W. B. Bowles, A. J. Spenser, T. E. Taylor and Charles T. Rose. The community established a system whereby each farm would receive water on certain days. The irrigation system helped the community change a wilderness of chaparral, mesquite, huisache, catclaw, and prickly pear into fields yielding tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes, vegetables, grains, black-eyed peas, corn, and fruit. A. B. Dillard, a Methodist lay preacher, oversaw the construction of the community's first church, a chapel built on land donated by S. T. Gilbert and made from green elm trees felled along the banks of the Leona River; the building also served as a school house, as a Masonic lodge, and as a site of numerous dances, weddings, and other festivities. Dillard also built a sawmill in the community. In 1894 Leona Ditch was washed away by a flash flood of the Leona River, after which most of the population moved to Uvalde. Nevertheless, there is evidence that the wedding of Ira Ware and Ada Priddy occurred at the Leona chapel in 1895. In 1900 twenty-four students attended the Leona school. An interurban railroad may have reached the site in 1914. By 1946 Leona Ditch consisted of a few scattered dwellings and a school. In 1975 all that remained was the cemetery.
A Proud Heritage: A History of Uvalde County (Uvalde, Texas: El Progreso Club, 1975).