Martin Donell Kohout

GLENN SPRINGS, TEXAS. Glenn Springs was located on Glenn Draw eleven miles southeast of the Basin Ranger Station in Big Bend National Park in southern Brewster County. The spring for which the community is named was an important source of water long before the first white settlers arrived. It was used by Comanches going to and from Mexico along the Comanche Trail and may have been visited by the 1859 camel expedition under Edward L. Hartz (see CAMELS). In the latter half of the nineteenth century, while the spring was still visited regularly by Indians, the land on which it was located was bought and sold several times by speculators; at that time it was labeled Jordan Spring on maps of the area. The spring, like the draw on which it is situated, got its current name from W. J. Glenn, who surveyed the area in 1881 and later ranched in the area. In April 1903 local rancher Tom Pulliam bought it from an Alpine lawyer, and in March 1904 Pulliam sold it to Martín Solís, another local cattleman. The land remained in the Solís family until August 1914, when Martín's son Benito sold it to W. K. Ellis, who had previously operated a candelilla wax factory at McKinney Spring.

Ellis, with his partners C. D. Wood and Oscar de Montel, moved his base of operations to Glenn Springs, where they built a wax factory. They also moved the McKinney Springs post office, although they did not bother to apply for a name change. The post office closed in 1921 and was later reestablished under the name Mariscal at the Mariscal Mine. Ellis constructed several buildings, including a five-room house, and a piped water system at Glenn Springs; his partners Wood and de Montel lived at Robbers Roost, two miles west on Juniper Draw. The wax workers lived in a scattering of adobe huts or jacals that extended a half mile up the west bank of Glenn Draw.

The most famous incident in the history of Glenn Springs was the Glenn Springs Raid, which occurred on the night of May 5, 1916. A permanent cavalry camp was established at Glenn Springs, but it was abandoned in 1920 before being completed, as tensions along the border had lessened. Because of the raid, however, and because of the decline in the price of candelilla wax after World War I, Ellis sold his holdings in Glenn Springs and in the Mariscal Mine to William D. Burcham in May 1919. Burcham lived and ranched at Glenn Springs and commuted the six miles to Mariscal Mountain until the mine closed in 1923. In April 1929 Burcham sold the Glenn Springs property to Walter and Scott Yancy, who six months later sold it to Odessa automobile dealer J. J. Willis.

In 1932 Willis organized the Chisos Mountains Club, which offered members hunting, fishing, and camping in the area, but the club was never a major success. He also leased grazing rights and residence privileges in the Ellis-Burcham home to A. A. Green, who ranched at Glenn Springs until Willis transferred the land to the National Park Service in 1942. At the time of the 1916 raid Glenn Springs was said to have a population of nine Anglos and between forty and sixty Hispanic workers and their families. By the early 1970s all that remained of the community was a lone grave, a cemetery, and the spring itself, which dried up temporarily during a drought in the early 1950s.


Clifford B. Casey, Mirages, Mysteries and Reality: Brewster County, Texas, the Big Bend of the Rio Grande (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1972).

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:

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, "GLENN SPRINGS, TX," accessed March 26, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 11, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on!

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox