Martin Donell Kohout

SAN VICENTE, TEXAS. San Vicente was on the Rio Grande five miles southwest of Boquillas in Big Bend National Park in southern Brewster County. It lay on the Comanche Trail, and its history is inextricably linked to San Vicente mission and presidio, established south of the river in 1772 to protect against Indian raids into Mexico from the north. The Spanish abandoned the presidio in 1781, but Indians and explorers continued to use the Comanche Trail. In October 1851 Col. Emilio Langberg (see LANGBERG, EDVARD EMIL), a Danish soldier of fortune who was the Mexican commandant of Chihuahua, led a group through the Big Bend, probably passing through the area of San Vicente. The surveyor M. T. W. Chandler and the camel expedition under Lt. Edward L. Hartz (see CAMELS) were in the vicinity in 1852 and 1859 respectively. In November and December 1884 Capt. Robert G. Smither and Lt. M. F. Eggleston camped at San Vicente while pursuing Mexican raiders who had murdered a pioneer family. In March 1912 twenty-five soldiers were posted to San Vicente to protect the community against an anticipated attack by Mexican raiders, but a few months later, when the raiders had failed to appear, the troops returned to Marathon. During World War II San Vicente was designated the site of an auxiliary airfield. In 1947 a one-room school operated there when a teacher was available, but no community center existed for the twelve or so Spanish-speaking families who lived there. San Vicente is of some interest to students of folklore for matachines, the rain dance-fertility ritual traditionally held on May 3 and introduced in 1895 by pioneer families from Comanche, Chihuahua. By the early 1970s no traces of San Vicente appeared on maps of the area.


Arthur R. Gomez, A Most Singular Country: A History of Occupation in the Big Bend (Santa Fe: National Park Service; Salt Lake City: Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Brigham Young University, 1990).

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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, Martin Donell Kohout, "SAN VICENTE, TX," accessed April 21, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 22, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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